Spoiler alert: Morgan Freeman does not play God in Exodus: Gods and Kings. And this is only one of the many courageous risks that director Ridley Scott took in bringing the story of Moses to life in the just released movie. Instead of trying to depict the literal text of the Bible...
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June 5, 2008 | 2:21 pmWhen I think of Torah, the first thing that comes to mind is a divine, rigorous system of laws that guides an ethical and holy way of life.
The last thing I think about is whimsy and romance.
Yet, over the past few weeks, as part of the B'nai David-Judea Congregation, I have...
June 14, 2007 | 8:00 pmMoses buries him.
Literally - he opens up the earth, and Korah and his followers are swallowed alive.
The rabbis of the Midrash were more graceful. They only buried him literarily and morally - projecting upon him every evil motive and base intention.
For the rabbis, Korah...
October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm
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May 11, 2006 | 8:00 pm
"Bar Mitzvah: A Guide to Spiritual Growth" by Marc-Alain Ouaknin (Assouline, $24.95)
When a book on bar mitzvah opens with a poem by Rudyard Kipling and a quote from French ethical philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, it's clearly not your usual bar mitzvah book, of which there are many....
March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher made me diagram sentences, not unlike most seventh-graders in America's public schools. Truth be told, I would have rather pulled knitting needles through my cheeks than learn the rudiments of English grammar, but Mrs. McGee insisted...
January 5, 2006 | 7:00 pm
"Biblical stories are in our present -- in the cheder we cried when we learned of the sale of Joseph -- and we rejoiced in his ascendancy to power. There was a freshness, a vigor, a nearness, which we felt in that drama." -- Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik
Oh to be a fly on the wall of...
December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm
There were always Jews in punk, even before there was punk.
"It really begins with Lenny Bruce," says Steven Beeber, whose new book "The Heebie Jeebies at CBGBs: A Secret History of Jewish Punk," will be published next year by A Capella Books. "Bruce sort of epitomizes the attitude,...
June 2, 2005 | 8:00 pm
In the essay "The World as I See It," Albert Einstein wrote: "A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give the same measure as I have received and am...
May 20, 2004 | 8:00 pm
The Midrash on this Torah portion contains a fascinating note. When the question is raised, why God chose to give the Torah in the desert (and not, for example, on Mount Zion in the land of Israel), one classic rabbinic interpretation given is that the locale is to teach us a lesson...
March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm
Once, on a mission to Israel, we needed a minyan for a prayer service during the airplane flight. We were a total of six men in our group, so we began to scan the plane for the remaining four for the requisite 10 men.
As I went up and down the aisles, one fellow turned to me and...
September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm
"The Discovery of God: Abraham and The Birth of Monotheism" by David Klinghoffer (Doubleday, $26).
David Klinghoffer's biography of the patriarch Abraham rides on a new wave of interest in the Bible, and a growing sense of the Abrahamic heritage that Christians, Jews and Muslims...
July 31, 2003 | 8:00 pm
We're now in the midst of a period called Bein HaMetzarim, a three-week period of national mourning for tragedies throughout Jewish history.
The most powerful of these tragedies was the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem; these three weeks culminate with Tisha B'Av, the day...
January 3, 2002 | 7:00 pm
January 7, 1999 | 7:00 pmGod spoke to me once when I was 12 years old. Although it happened years ago, I remember it as clearly as if it were today. Revelation is a tricky thing. I am reminded of the Midrash that when God gave the commandments at Mt. Sinai, God speaks to the Children of Israel in a divine...
October 9, 1997 | 8:00 pm
Before God created the human being, according to alegend of the Midrash, He consulted the angels of heaven. The angelof peace argued, "Let him not be created; he will bring contentioninto the world." But the angel of compassion countered, "Let him becreated; he will bring...