And one way or another, they told me a thing that was difficult to articulate: that there was something about the work that sustained itself, that acknowledged death and injustice and love thwarted and hope extinguished and potential squandered without accepting them as facts preeminent over life and justice and love triumphant and hope eternal and potential fulfilled.
Pediatric oncologist Chris Adrian, on conducting research into doctors’ roles in pastoral care, in “The Question,” New England Journal of Medicine
The human soul is the lamp of God (Proverbs 20:27) – for the human being was created in order to bring light into this world. The People of Israel light the menorah [because] they themselves are vessels that receive divine light… and today, the commandment to light the Chanukah candles reminds us that we bring light through our deeds.
S’fat Emet (Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter of Ger), 1847-1905
Even for the same reader the same book changes, for we change; we are the river of Heraclitus, who said that the [wo]man of yesterday is not the [wo]man of today, who will not be the [wo]man of tomorrow. We change incessantly, and each reading of a book, each rereading, each memory of that reading, reinvents the text. The text, too, is the changing river of Heraclitus.
Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights
As my friend Rachel said, this is awesome. The need for it existence is the opposite of awesome.
Please note up front that I am not Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim. I am an American Jew. So any list I draw up with this title is doomed to be incomplete, because there are a lot of facets of the Palestinian experience that I just don’t see.
We must keep asking the Torah to speak to us in human language, this crude jargon studded with constraints and distortions, silences and brutalities, that is our only vessel for holiness and truth and peace. We must keep teaching each other, we and our study partner the Torah, all that it means to be human. Human is not whole. Human is full of holes. Human bleeds. Human births its worlds in agonies of blood and bellyaches. Human owns no perfect, timeless texts because human inhabits no perfect, timeless contexts. Human knows that what it weds needs not be perfect to be infinitely dear.
Sacred need not mean inerrant; it is enough for the sacred to be inexhaustible. In the depths of Your Torah, I seek You out Eheyeh, creator of a world of blood. I tear Your Torah verse from verse, until it is broken and bleeding just like me. Over and over I find You in the bloody fragments. Beneath even the woman-hating words of Ezekiel I hear You breathing, “In your blood, live.”
Rachel Adler, “‘In your Blood, Live’: Re-Visions of a Theology of Purity”
and hell followed with him
It’s time to play catch-up with my book reviews, even though I haven’t read as much as usual and…
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This is hilarious on so many levels.
This gave me chills: “[I]mage of President Obama seated in the bus where Rosa Parks initiated her quest for civil rights.”