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The Wizard of Az
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I have a theory: Any time a single stream of water is split into multiple streams, the people who are there to witness it will automatically break into a song. Just think about it. The splitting of the sea over 3,000 years ago caused a whole nation to sing Az Yashir – אז ישיר; and […]
The Egyptians Could Have Done Better
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Twelve Nisan The Torah makes Par’oh the foil to Moshe and Aharon, mentioning the Egyptian people only infrequently. This can give the impression that they were pawns of their evil king, suffering for something beyond their control. Ramban and others—who lived under monarchs, so that we’d have expected them to see how impossible it is […]
Failures On the Eve of Exodus and Its Aftermath
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Eleven Nisan What does it take to change a mindset? Commentators’ readings of Shmot confront us with this question, because they saw the Jews as clinging to their connection to Egypt and the Egyptians, to their old ways of looking at the world, displaying a remarkable immunity to learning from what they are seeing. I […]
1. Anthropomorphism of God in the Torah
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The articles in this series are based upon ideas expressed in the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed). Numbers in brackets represent the book and chapter of Moreh Nevuchim where these ideas are discussed. —————————- Anthropomorphism: attributing human form or human characteristics to something that is not human. Does God have hands? Does […]
Dragging Down the Redemption
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Ten Nisan The distance of history reassures us that as we list the failures of the generation that left Egypt, we will not be seen to be judging them or pretending any confidence we would have done better. We enumerate where they went wrong to teach ourselves how to avoid repeating the past, to make […]
Moshe Rabbenu’s Failures
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Eight Nisan Pointing out others’ failures can be an act of smugness. Or, as I hope it will be for us, it can be a reminder that it’s never easy, for any of us. Especially since we’ve just seen the greatness Moshe had at birth and then developed, seeing that he did not always manage […]