Category: Breishit

Babylon: the Earthling and the Tower

Rabbi Meir’s comment celebrates both diversity and unity of humanity. Rav’s further specifics can also be understood more generally to speak to our divided, or blended, natures.

Babylon and the Beginning

Ancient commentary finds reference to exile, to Babylon in particular, as early as the bible’s second verse

Rivers of His Hands

“The rivers of his hands [נהרות ידיו] poured into his good deeds,” reads the Yehuda Amichai poem “My Father.” The Hebrew Poetry group at Temple Micah discussed this poem on Shabbat, and I later recalled […]

Warring Nations, Sibling Tears

The Torah portion Toldot (Gen. 25:19 – 28:9) illustrates the struggles of nations and individuals. We are simultaneously the inheritors of this mess and the participants – all of them – in the heart-breaking. So, […]

Teapots in Babylon

My personal connection to the language of “Babylon” has been growing for some time…

Foreign and Familiar

In this week’s Torah portion, two of the central characters receive new names: Abram becomes Abraham (Gen 17:4), and Sarai, Sarah (17:15). God announces this to Abraham as part of a statement of the covenant […]

message to the Hebrew

Sandwiched in a Torah portion packed with narrative is “the war of the kings” with Lot’s capture and rescue (Gen. 14). It begins, really, with Abraham and his nephew Lot separating to avoid quarrel over […]

Whence have you come?

An angel encounters Hagar in the wilderness (Gen. 16:7). At this point, she has been introduced to us as maid to Sarah, who has been married to Abraham for ten years without producing a child […]

Noah, Covenant, and “Cursed be Canaan”

Curse and Covenant The “curse of Ham” — with related ideas about slavery and race, unsupported by the the text itself — emerged over the centuries from the biblical story of Noah. Regardless of our […]

Getting Exodus Right: Watch the Women and Learn (or: Family Travail Becomes Community Action)

A coffin in Egypt closes the Book of Genesis (Genesis 50:26), and the Exodus story is launched with a basket on the Nile (Exodus 2:3). Joseph’s death, which closely follows that of his father, Jacob […]