Category: Shemot

Oved with an Ayin

Confusion sometimes arises from the similarity, in English transliteration and in pronunciation, between two prominent words in the haggadah: ‘oved‘ meaning ‘slave’ and ‘oved‘ in the phrase “Arami oved avi,” from Deuteronomy 26:5. The previous […]

Why is This ‘Oved’ Different from The Other Seder ‘Oved’?

“When do we eat?” is often identified as the fifth question at the Passover seder, after the prescribed four about dipping and reclining, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Just as often, in my experience, people […]

Trouble to See #1: Expelling a Crease or Two

[updated 8/15] At the invitation of Temple Micah‘s Lunch and Learn program (8/10/16), I shared some thoughts about Jews and Racial Justice. I appreciate the opportunity. As promised, I offer the references cited for anyone […]

Blasphemy of Pharaoh’s Overreach: Theology, Context and the Trouble I’ve Seen

“Claiming the center stage, just like Pharaoh and Caesar did in their time, has always been a blasphemous overreach that actually places oneself on the margins of God’s reign,” thus writes Drew G.I. Hart in […]

“Wrestling Jerusalem” and Listening thru Oppression

“…but they did not heed because of shortness of spirit-breath” (Exodus) “It’s complicated…” (“Wrestling Jerusalem”) Early on in the Exodus story, we learn that the Hebrew slaves in Egypt were unable to absorb Moses’ message […]

In Touch with the Source (Beyond 10)

Three days into the wilderness journey, the promise of freedom seems to fade — וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לִשְׁתֹּת מַיִם מִמָּרָה כִּי מָרִים הֵם they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter […]

Mishpatim: Racism and Idolatry

This week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim ([Laws], Exodus 21:1-24:18), warns us severely and often about evils of racism. The bible knew no such word, of course, and, ironically, this portion also contains material that appears to […]

Exodus Revisited: Pharaoh’s “Hardened Heart” and Contemporary “Criminal Justice”

Pharaoh’s “hardened heart” plays a big role in Exodus, providing a framework for the ten plagues, the eventual freeing of the Israelites from bondage, and serious disaster for biblical Egypt. Policies like “zero tolerance” in […]

Unlikely Answers: At the Burning Bush with Durante, Mamie Smith, and Sherman Alexie

“Without impossible questions and unlikely answers, faith is only dust,” Sherman Alexie writes in a poem that finds Moses at the Burning Bush. Alexie reaches this mountaintop via a circuitous path that touches on roller […]

Community, Leadership, and Listening

Leadership and community are key elements in the early chapters of Exodus. We see a variety of strong actions and interactions: 1) Moses sees an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew; he responds by killing the […]