Category Archives: Talmud

Beginnings Ripe And Ripening

Rabbi Eliezer asks:  From where do we learn that the world was created in Tishrei? From the verse: God said, let the earth sprout grasses, seed bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth bearing fruit with the seed … Continue reading

Posted in Days of Awe, Holidays, Passover, Poetry, Talmud | 2 Comments

Amen: The Final Word

On my table sits a stone amen written upon it, a grave stone fragment, a remnant of a Jewish graveyard destroyed more than a thousand years ago, in the city where I was born. One word, amen, cut deep in … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Talmud | 1 Comment

You Open For Him

Rabbi Eleazar HaKappar said:  Do not be like a lintel overhead that no one can reach; neither, be like a door beam that injures faces, nor like a raised threshold that bruises feet. Rather, be like a low threshold that … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Passover, Poetry, Talmud | 1 Comment

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

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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

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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