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The Divided Sea: Natural or Supernatural?
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The splitting of the Reed Sea is engraved in Jewish memory. We recite it daily during the morning service, at the transition from the Verses of Praise to the beginning of communal prayer. We speak of it again after the Shema, just before the Amidah. It was […]
Against Their Gods
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The ninth plague – darkness – comes shrouded in a darkness of its own. What is this plague doing here? It seems out of sequence. Thus far there have been eight plagues, and they have become steadily, inexorably, more serious. The first two, the Nile turning blood-red […]
The God Who Acts in History
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The Israelites were at their lowest ebb. They had been enslaved. A decree had been issued that every male child was to be killed. Moses had been sent to liberate them, but the first effect of his intervention was to make matters worse, not better. Their quota […]
The Light at the Heart of Darkness
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life She is one of the most unexpected heroes of the Hebrew Bible. Without her, Moses might not have lived. The whole story of the exodus would have been different. Yet she was not an Israelite. She had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by her courage. […]
The Future of the Past
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The scene that brings the book of Genesis to a close is intensely significant. Joseph’s brothers were terrified that, after the death of their father Jacob, Joseph would take revenge against them for selling him into slavery. Years before, he had told them that he forgave them: […]
Does My Father Love Me?
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life It is one of the great questions we naturally ask each time we read the story of Joseph. Why did he not, at some time during their twenty-two year separation, send word to his father that he was alive? For part of that time – when he […]
The Universal and the Particular
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The story of Joseph is one of those rare narratives in Tanach in which a Jew (Israelite/Hebrew) comes to play a prominent part in a gentile society – the others are, most notably, the books of Esther and Daniel. I want here to explore one facet of […]
Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognise it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognises it and replies, […]
Physical Fear, Moral Distress
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life Twenty-two years have passed since Jacob fled his brother, penniless and alone; twenty-two years have passed since Esau swore his revenge for what he saw as the theft of his blessing. Now the brothers are about to meet again. It is a fraught encounter. Once, Esau had […]
When the “I” is Silent
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Covenant and Conversation Family Edition on OU Life This week’s parsha relates a powerful, primal vision of prayer: Jacob, alone and far from home, lies down for the night, with only stones for a pillow, and dreams of a ladder, with angels ascending and descending. This is the initial encounter with the “house of God” that would […]