Hatred of Haters and Turbulent Branching of Thoughts

Put an end to the hatred of haters those who have made me their foe Search me out with shovel and torchlight, God know my heart by means of compassion. Understand the turbulent branching of my thoughts. See the road that brings me sadness, and lead me instead on the path of eternal life. — […]

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A Song of Reward and Punishment

Exploring Babylon Chapter 22 Here is further response to a long-ago comment of Max Ticktin (z”l), based on the words of Jeremiah and in a sort of homage to Leonard Cohen. “Has this song gone on too long? A song of reward and punishment for exiles in Babylon and elsewhere” The theme repeats again and […]

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Notes on Jeremiah: Max Ticktin’s Scribbles

Exploring Babylon Chapter 21 Several updates below. In addition to the many other things he left us, Max Ticktin z”l (1920-2016) left behind a lot of books, and his family kindly offered them to interested community members. Some of the volumes I inherited this way are from a Tanakh that was re-bound, as a gift […]

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Poverty and the White Horse’s Red Strap

Exploring Babylon Chapter 18-1/2 The previous chapter, “Exile, Passover, and Melting Pot,” looked at nine bible verses using the word “kur,” usually translated as “crucible” or “furnace.” This addendum shares the odd midrash on one such verse, mentioned in the earlier post, which suggests some ideas about Passover, exile, and learning. Furnace Midrash Each appearance […]

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Ezekiel, Exodus, and Babylon

Exploring Babylon Chapter 17 Recent scholarship concerning the prophet Ezekiel touches on some fascinating questions about the extent to which Judeans in Babylonian exile were acculturated and how cultural contact between Babylon and Israel might have affected Jewish sacred text. Much of the discussion revolves around links between the Book of Exodus and Ezekiel’s visions. […]

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Chanukah and the Five Powers

Five foreign powers show up this week in the Jewish calendar. It’s worth examining each of these empires to see what light it sheds — on its own and in conjunction with the others.

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