Category: Midrash

Hebrew for “delving,” specifically of a religious text. In this context, the text is also life.

Comfort of Nothing

Addressed to a mailing list of old and dear friends, during one of the perennial and genial “Nature of God, or Someone Like Him/Her/It” discussions, and whether Immanence vs. Transcendence helps one sleep better at night: Back when I first…

Circlogics

Circles, by definition, have no ends — each is a continuous line which, as the philosopher Charles Fort tells us, “one measures … beginning anywhere.” However, like life’s other complexities, not all circles conform to strict definition. Consider: Earth’s orbit…

Torah of Vigilance

“Pay attention! and be prepared To do it right The Super Thing — the thing That makes you bigger than life.” — Devo, The Super Thing Friends, Tonight marks the beginning of Shavuot, the ancient harvest festival which post-Temple Jewish…

Na(t)ive Torah

Considering that this is how many of us returnees (including myself) came to study Torah in this unannounced-but-nonetheless Golden Age of Judaism, Plotz’ wide-eyed innocence struck a deep chord with me. Perhaps this is one reason why the Torah remains…

Omer’s Where The Art Is

“Meanwhile, we dig.” — Big X (Richard Attenborough), The Great Escape Pesach is over, the last of the matza crumbs have been vacuumed up, and our stomachs have finally returned to normal (or soon will). Now what? When we were…

Feel The Fear

When Ann and I joined the small synagogue in our Northern California town back in 1998, it was with the understanding that we would get involved. Neither of us had been, when we were younger. But especially since 2000, when…

Home Away

For me, there are five distinct stages involved in the building of our backyard sukkah: Denial: “Is it Sukkot again already?” Rage: “Where did I put the $#@! zip-screws?” Bargaining: “Please don’t make me go to the hardware store again…”…

Shema Echad, Shnei Regalim

Couple of random recent things: 1.) An amazing and unexpected side effect of daily prayer (which, last night in the shower, I have decided to call “Jewish text-guided meditation”) is the feeling of expansion and contraction. This occurred to me……

Yids With Lids

A recent poster to soc.culture.jewish.moderated was soliciting opinions from full-time kippa wearers for a paper she’s writing. I contacted her, and submitted the following responses to her questions: : Why do you wear a kippa? I began wearing a kippa…

Substitute Rav

While our chicken dinner is marinating in mmmm-good Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce, and before I pop it in the oven: Friday night services went pretty well, I think. As I am not yet proficient enough with the Reconstructionist siddur to lead…

Chinning the Bar

One of the reasons why I love my wife so much is that our conversations range from the silly to the serious. On the silly end are our discussions about the secret lives of animals: their tea-parties, nutritional choices, and…