Category: literary analysis

Babylon and Rachel’s Offering

This midrash offers lessons for people struggling to function with integrity and flexibility in a diverse, often contradictory, world.

The Babylon Road

The biblical Rachel’s life and death link her to the Babylon of the past and future and to the precarious nature of Israel’s future on the land.

Babylon and the Writing on the Wall

Rome’s satirical translation of the “writing on the wall” seems as appropriate to 2017 as to 1939, and it’s quite faithful to the biblical text… This song also leads to further questions about how we understand and interact with sacred text, particularly at times of crisis.

Babylon: Assimilation and Separation

Reading the story of Gerar as a morality tale about the dangers of “religious prejudices,” helps make sense of an otherwise disturbing and puzzling text. It seems a powerful lesson any generation could use. Whether Jews in Babylonian Captivity actually gleaned…

Babylon: Back Home

Updated with additional Moon-cult link and previously missing footnotes. Exploring Babylon: Chapter 3:2 The Torah doesn’t tell us much about the background of Abraham and Sarah, except that they leave it. We learn later, though, […]

Babylon: Babel’s (Distant) Background

Exploring Babylon: Chapter 3.1 The Hebrew “Bavel” is translated into English as “Babel” in Genesis and as “Babylon” when it appears elsewhere in the Tanakh. Bavel as Babel shows up in a total of two […]

Amichai’s Love and the Entwives

Ents are Middle Earth’s very old, male, tree-like creatures who have somehow…

Distance, part 2

Distance between people and God, and if/how to bridge it, is a major theme…

Matot: Heavy Tongue, or the House of Cards theory of bible study

I want to begin by acknowledging my teacher, Max Ticktin z”l, for whom the period of shloshim is coming to a close and whose connections to Temple Micah are more varied and interesting than I […]

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 […]