Category Archives: Talmud

Seeing Life In the Distance

Imagine a life in which repentance—teshuvah—is not necessary; a life in which there is no distance to close between action and ideal. According to the 3rd century sage, Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba, the promise of such a life was beyond … Continue reading

Posted in Days of Awe, Poetry, Talmud | Leave a comment

To Forgive Is Human

How divine is forgiveness? asks the poet, Marge Piercy: It’s a nice concept but what’s under the sculptured draperies? We forgive when we don’t really care… We forgive those who betrayed us years later because memory has rotted through like … Continue reading

Posted in Days of Awe, Mishnah, Talmud | 1 Comment

In Light of Obligation

Halacha is law; the obligated Jewish life. To live without halacha is impossible. To live with it is risky— from a lecture by Rabbi David Hartman. When halachic man looks to the western horizon and sees the fading rays of … Continue reading

Posted in Midrash, Poetry, Prayer, Talmud | 3 Comments

More Moment Than Mountain

Ancient legends say that great mountains contended to be the site where God would reveal the Torah. But God did not have loftiness in mind: Mount Tabor and Mount Carmel presented themselves with pride as wide as the world saying:  … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Midrash, Poetry, Talmud, Torah | Leave a comment

Giving God A Hand

In memory of Rabbi David Hartman …a memorial between your eyes (Exodus 13:9) During what turned out to be Rabbi David Hartman’s final lesson in his beloved summer Rabbinic Torah Seminar, he shared a personal prayer that he would offer … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Prayer, Talmud | 2 Comments

Raised, Not Razed

Here in a place where a ruin wants once more to be a new house, its desire increases our own…. Everything here is busy with the work of remembering: the ruin remembers… (Click here for complete Amichai poem in Hebrew … Continue reading

Posted in Elijah, Jerusalem, Poetry, Prayer, Talmud | Leave a comment

Yerushalayim: A Pronounced Hope

The name, Jerusalem/Yerushalayim, evokes meaning beyond what the word can contain.  Since ancient times, what sounds like the dual plural ending of her name—ayim—has suggested that she is, after all, two cities. She is real estate and also unreal, a … Continue reading

Posted in Jerusalem, Poetry, Talmud | 3 Comments

The Fragrance of Paradise

Rabbah bar Abbuha met Elijah standing in a cemetery. He cried to Elijah:  I am too poor to take time for learning as I would like. Elijah led him into the Garden of Eden and said to him: Take off … Continue reading

Posted in Elijah, Talmud | 4 Comments

A Passover Conversation in Four Voices

Four conversed about the pine tree.  One defined it according to genus, species and variety.  One held forth concerning its shortcomings in the lumber industry.  One quoted verses about pine trees in numerous languages.  One struck root, stretched out branches … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Passover, Poetry, Talmud | Leave a comment

Divine Gaze

After the fiasco of the golden calf, a resentful God said to the pleading Moses: You cannot see my face, for no one can see my face and live (Exodus 33:20). So says one ancient story teller: It was taught … Continue reading

Posted in Parshat HaShavuah, Poetry, Talmud | 5 Comments