Book review: David Hopen, “The Orchard”

In one sense, this is a story I’ve seen many times before. A “fish-out-of-water” tale, involving a sensitive kid from one neighborhood, is ejected from Point A and sent to Point B. Point B happens to be an elite prep school full of elite-prep-schoolers, and they all live in neighborhoods that embody the opposite of […]

Commentary on Exodus: Terumah

Last night’s Torah study had a big surprise for me. I ended up coming back to a text I first met many years ago, and had all-but forgotten since. I didn’t remember how the text started, or how it ended, or any of the context surrounding it. But right away, I dunno, I remembered – […]

Commentary on Exodus 19:3-20

This week’s parsha, “Yitro,” climaxes with the nothing less than the revelation of the Ten Commandments. Everything about this portion is Grandiose, with a capital G. Yet, last night, while wading through the Spectacle and the Awe, I found myself being less and less interested in the big stuff, and more interested in the personal, […]

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 […]