Category: Midrash

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

Der Apikoyrus Rebbe

RABBI AKIVA TATZ IS A turned-on guy whose shiurim (lectures) are ripe with mystic but rational Torah learning. R’Tatz tells a wonderful story about apikorsim (singular “apikorus,” from the Greek “Epicurean;” one who disbelieves the divine origin of Torah and…

Contradicting the Paradox

“Most people don’t worship God. What they do is make an image of what they think God is, and worship that.”— James “Sputnik” Gjerde The biggest problem with Aristotelianism is that it posits false dichotomies (good/evil, up/down, is/ain’t, tastes great/less…

Message From Beyond

Not all mitzvot turn into ghost stories — but when doing holy work, it’s always a good idea to expect the unexpected. My wife Ann and I are members of the Sonoma County Chevre Kadisha. “Chevre Kadisha” literally means “holy…

Midrash Ko(r)ach

Torah Study Saturday, July 110:00 a.m. – noonNeal’s and Ann’s housePortion: Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) “To a man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” – Anon of Ibid. This week’s portion, Korach, seems fitting for the Shabbat…

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…”…