Poverty and the White Horse’s Red Strap

Exploring Babylon Chapter 18-1/2 The previous chapter, “Exile, Passover, and Melting Pot,” looked at nine bible verses using the word “kur,” usually translated as “crucible” or “furnace.” This addendum shares the odd midrash on one […]

Exile, Passover, and Melting Pot

Exploring Babylon Chapter 18 “The Americas were far. The Americas were different. It was rabbinic exile.” This, writes Rabbi Oran Zweiter, is how European immigrant rabbis to the New World felt, beginning with Rabbi Isaac […]

Ezekiel, Exodus, and Babylon

Exploring Babylon Chapter 17 Recent scholarship concerning the prophet Ezekiel touches on some fascinating questions about the extent to which Judeans in Babylonian exile were acculturated and how cultural contact between Babylon and Israel might […]

Computing Failures and Babylon

The People’s calculations before the Golden Calf incident, like attempts to calculate the end of exile, yield disastrous results.

Lament for Mismatched Glassware

Exploring Babylon Chapter 16.1 At several points in the Megillah reading, the chant for the Book of Esther shifts to the Lamentations chant. The lament behind some verses seems clear: Mordecai’s introduction as a descendant […]

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 […]

Foreign Languages and Imagination

The brand new Koren Rav Kook Siddur presents commentary, not previously published in English — including this note on the Psalm 81 which sheds some light for #ExploringBabylon.

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.”