Ki Teitzei: Productive Erasing

Destruction – even of an evil, in ourselves, or in a relationship, with a brother or an enemy – is only half the task. The real God- imitating work is in destroying in order to rebuild something better in ourselves, in our relationships and in the wider world.

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Babylon and 929

Babylon — in fact, “The Three ‘Bavels’” — is featured this past week on the English portal for “929,” chapter-a-day study in the Hebrew Bible: The place name, בבל, bavel can refer to: Babel, Babylon, or Babylonia. Each of these ancient “Bavels” suggests a model for the 21st century…. The rise of Bavel/Babylonia was a […]

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Korach and Dysfunctional Systems

Why are Moses and Aaron, and God, unable to hear the people’s desperation and anger, in the face of completely failed expectations? And what is our job…How might better listening, and closer attention to circumstances behind complaints and rebellion, change things?

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The Powers and the Wealth

Exploring Babylon Chapter 15.1 The battle between God and Pharaoh reaches a crescendo in this week’s Torah portion — Bo (Ex 10:1 – 13:16) — and the denouement includes an exchange of treasure between the Egyptians and the Israelites. Rabbinic lore links these riches back to Genesis and forward through history, ending with the familiar […]

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Babylon and New Beginnings

Exploring Babylon Chapter 14 The Joseph Cycle, which closes out the Book of Genesis, has it all, in terms of story-telling: politics, sex, family drama, passages that touch on religious and cultural practices, plus a few dream sequences. The Book of Exodus is quite the drama as well, but it shifts focus to national struggle, […]

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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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Dick Gregory and Rabbis Under Rome

“Joseph found out it’s dangerous to be a dreamer….Or sell the dreamer into slavery; purchase the dream with foundation grants or government deals…” Dick Gregory, in 1974, sounded a whole lot like Rabbis under Roman rule.

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