Category: Midrash

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

365 Names of God: El Shaddai

EL SHADDAI is the name used primarily by the Biblical Patriarchs, usually translated as “God Almighty” and focusing on the deity’s providential or nurturing aspect. Scholars differ over whether “Shaddai” is cognate with similar Phoenician or Ugaritic words for mountains,…

The Torah can be taken, among other things, as a ‘polyphonic’ text, or a loose anthology of competing claims regarding the legal stipulations of the covenant. The edited Torah, following this approach, was not meant to be read as a practical and coherent handbook on how to carry out the law, but as a collage of competing understandings of the requirements of the covenant.

— Rabbi David Frankel

Living-Room Torah

INSIDE A MODEST HOME ON Sonoma’s East Side sits our town’s best-kept open Jewish secret. Dubbed the “France Street Shtibbl” (or, for non-Yiddish speakers, the “France Street Beit Midrash (house of study)”), our living room has hosted a semi-monthly (or,…

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

A Torah of Fire

“If you have learned much Torah, do not take credit for yourself — for that is why you were created.” — Pirkei Avot IT’S OFTEN OVER MY HEAD, but there’s an eight-page “parsha sheet” (Torah-commentary newsletter) I have been following…