Commentary on Exodus 14:8-18

There’s always so much to comment on, but this week, my thoughts can be boiled down into trying to understand a single word: kavod. There are a half-dozen ways to translate it, and each of them brings a new flavor to both the word and the verses where the word appears. The translation I worked […]

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 […]

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 […]