Category: literary analysis

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: Additional Moon-cult link and missing footnotes below. 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, that […]

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 […]

Surrounded by Big Things: Jonah, Harvey, and Yom Kippur

One of the things we might notice about Jonah is that he’s a little hard to follow: one minute, minding his own business, in his own land, and next thing he’s on the way to […]

Maybe: Janis Joplin, the Chantels, and Jonah

“Maybe” is not always comfortable in a world that values black and white, in or out, yes or no. But the Book of Jonah, recited on Yom Kippur afternoon, suggests that coming to terms with […]