Category: National biography

The Treasure and the Favor

Just as the stories of Exile and Return include people of quite different mindsets, Exodus peoples are not monolithic.

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 […]

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 […]

The Five Powers, part 3

A few notes on Rome — and on Micah’s “seven shepherds” — to round out the discussion of “Ma’oz Tzur.”

The Five Powers, part 2

Before Chanukah is too distant a memory, let’s look at the remaining powers, Persia and Rome, associated with the holiday and the piyyut that includes them all.

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.

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.

Jacob’s Dream and What’s Ours

Jacob’s Dream and the holiday of Thanksgiving call us to carefully examine what is “ours” and how we view its rightful distribution.

Babylon, Taxes, and Thanksgiving

U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and the economics of “Black Friday” make this a good time to consider what Judaism demands in terms of taxes and justice.

Babylon: Entangled and Free

Can the larger Jewish narrative, of being entangled and free and entangled again, help us find a way out of the thicket?