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Jewish Journal

Tag: Midrash

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  • From Pharaoh to Freud: The Bible’s Ultimate Id

    By Jared Sichel

    April 17, 2014 | 10:23 am

    It's up there in the annals of stupidity.

    God had just undone Egyptian society with 10 devastating plagues, striking at the heart of Egypt's various nature gods. Water turned to blood. Animals turned against humans. Light stopped working. Pharaoh's Egyptian experiment, for all...

  • Women and Torah: Masking words

    By David Suissa

    March 12, 2014 | 12:32 pm

    Especially during this time of year, when many of us disguise ourselves for the holiday of Purim, the idea of masks is usually associated with people. Even in politics and everyday life, we talk of people masking their real intentions or hiding behind a façade.

    But in Judaism,...

  • Willing to sacrifice

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    March 21, 2013 | 4:49 am

    The mind of the midrashist drifts effortlessly over the face of the Tanakh as verses from the Torah conjure up similar verses and phrases from other sacred books. Thus, our parasha’s descriptions of the thanksgiving offerings and the free-will offerings call to mind a phrase found...

  • Combatting Sloth!

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 21, 2013 | 3:06 pm

    Classically, the vice of sloth (laziness) had two components:

    1. acedia – a lack of caring or indifference
    2. tristtitia – sadness, sorrow, or despair   

    I would argue that the negative aspect of individualism that exists today in 21st century is furthered by acedia. The...

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  • Shavuot 5768: Midrash love

    By David Suissa

    June 5, 2008 | 2:21 pm

    When 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...

  • An inconvenient voice

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    June 14, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Moses 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...
  • Full circle

    By Rabbi Steven Weil

    October 12, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    My daughter, the animal lover, has a father who isn't. A hamster is the biggest pet I've gotten talked into so far. It lives in her room, and basically I wouldn't even know it was there except for one thing -- it's nocturnal.
     
    All night long I could hear Ruby the hamster running in...
  • A Banner Day

    By Rabbi Zoë Klein

    May 25, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    At the beginning of the month, I joined the hundreds of thousands of people who marched from MacArthur Park to the

    La Brea Tar Pits in support of basic rights for immigrants, the strangers among us. I was worried about my family becoming separated in the throng of marchers, so I...

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah - A Postmodern Coming-of-Age Guide

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    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.

    ...
  • Focus on the Love

    By Rabbi Perry Netter

    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...

  • Why Are We Jews?

    By Rabbi Asher Brander

    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...

  • Punk Princesses:  Jews With Attitude

    By George Robinson

    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,...

  • Task at Hand

    By Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

    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...

  • Untamed Order

    By Rabbi Mordecai Finley

    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...

  • A Divine Call to Action

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    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...

  • Finding a Kindred Spirit in a Patriarch

    By Rochelle Furstenberg

    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...

  • The Big Question

    By Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin

    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...

  • A Portion of Parshat Shmot

    By Abby Gilad

    January 3, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    It's a new year and a new book of the Bible. Last week we finished Genesis. This week we start Exodus. In it we will follow the Israelites' move from slavery to becoming a free nation. Have you decided to free yourself of anything this year? Are you letting go of watching too much...

  • A Divine Voice

    By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

    January 7, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    God 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...
  • The Truth Hurts

    By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

    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...

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