Text and City

On a plane returning from Israel to New York, I struggle to take in this week’s parasha, Mishaptim, but all I can see are the faces of the 75 candidates we interviewed over the past week for Amitei Bronfman. It is Admissions season at the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, on both ends of the Atlantic....

'פָּנִים בְּפָנִים דִּבֶּר ה' עִמָּכֶם בָּהָר מִתּוֹךְ הָאש'. (דברים ה ד)   “Face to face did God speak with you on the mountain, from the midst of the fire” (Deut. 5:4) 1. Jews usually flee whenever God is the topic. Religious or secular, it’s best not to speak too much about...

Rabbi Yehoshua said: Once I was walking along the path, and I saw a child sitting at a crossroads. I asked him: Which path will lead me to the city?He said: One path is short and long, and one path is long and short.I took the short and long one. Once I arrived at the city, I found the passageway...

A few years ago I attended the Samaritan paschal sacrifice. Numbering 745 members, the Samaritans are an ancient non-Jewish ethnic group, split between Nablus and Holon, who continue their version of Biblical traditions. On Passover this includes joining together on the 14 of Nissan...

“We still believe, or many of us do, what the Exodus first taught about the meaning and possibility of politics and about its proper form: First; that wherever you live, it is probably Egypt; second; that there is a better place, a world more attractive, a promised land; and third, that the...

Western culture loves it heroes. As Freud’s student Otto Rank showed in his classic “The Myth of the Birth of the Hero” (1914) Western culture is deeply founded on the myth of the hero (from Oedipus and Jesus to Harry Potter and most Hollywood films). A child (male) with special powers, born...

This week’s Parsha is all about Yaakov’s passing away in Egypt. I always enjoy the moment when Yaakov, the namesake of Israel, is mummified by the Egyptian doctors, and all of Egypt comes out to lament his passing. It’s a great reminder of the way Judaism bounces back and forth between its unique...

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