Commentary on Exodus 12:29-42

This week’s parsha is a real challenge. It begins with a staggering atrocity, and ends on the exact day when the Israelites, finally, escaped the yoke of slavery in Egypt. There is a deeply disturbing juxtaposition here: revolutionary upheaval provides both fresh suffering and fresh life. One person’s slave rebellion, is another person’s social collapse. […]

Commentary on Exodus 6:29-7:13

I came across a few passages during last night’s Torah study that fascinated or disturbed me enough that I actually had thoughts about them in the middle of the night. Can’t say that’s ever happened to me before – and I was thrilled. When I am most engaged with whatever work I’m doing, I’ll usually […]

Game 5: Chaos, as a force for good

I was sitting in temple with my cell phone burning a (metaphorical) hole in my left pant pocket. It was the most solemn day of the year. I was an hour into a set of concluding services. I freely admit that I already have at least one thing to atone for in 5780, because my […]

Review: BMPDF Overdrive

We all have our weaknesses and mine is for the distorted electric guitar. I love it. I love the various types and timbres and all the science behind why these things work—it’s all interesting to me. I belong to a number of fan-forums for people who love this stuff more than I do (and certainly […]

Your 2017 Nationals–if they were guitars

In the lead-up to the All-Star Game, Major League baseball launched a social media experiment: one last push to get some all-universe baseball players into the game, guys who hadn’t made it on popular vote alone, by tallying how many times a specific hashtag was hashed. It does blow my mind that an all-universe player […]

Black Hole Sun: We’re gonna miss you, Chris

  Forgive my instant reactions but I cannot help myself today. I guess I was 11 or 12 when I first encountered the album Superunknown. I remember that my best friend’s older brother had this record kicking around in his room, and I just caught a glimpse of the album cover. The shapeless howl caked in saturated reds […]

A tale of two beers

Let’s get this out of the way: beer is good. It goes well with cheese. It goes well with meat. It goes well with pizza. It goes well with pong. It goes well with sportsball-watching. It goes well with board-game playing. It goes well with writing. It goes well with sitting around doing nothing of any […]

What happens when you ski into a tree

I recently wrapped myself around a tree on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California. I am from the East Coast, where the mountains are gently rolling tree-covered slopes that are, occasionally, graced with snow. They are beautiful but they are old and well-worn; relentless Time has shaved down and rounded out their sharp edges and peaks. The Sierra Nevadas […]