I live in a country with wars raging on all sides, with failed states collapsing into a primordial stew of hatred and nihilism an hour’s drive north of me, with suicidal regimes seeking nuclear weapons in order to carry out their expressed goals of obliterating me, my family, and everyone with whom I interact on a daily basis. But for all this, I don’t feel as if I’m living in a war zone. We know about death and we know about weapons of war, but we don’t fetishize them. How is it that Americans seem willing to arm the enemy within for the sake of security?View full post
The Moon Taker takes us out of the sitting room and into the lives of some of Libi Astaire’s more colorful characters. The book’s narrator is a young pickpocket known to his friends and accomplices as General Well’ngone, the right-hand man of the self-styled Earl of Gravel Lane. When a Jewish con man is murdered in their neighborhood, the Earl sees it as a personal mission to solve the mystery.View full post
A secret is concealed in the juxtaposition of Parashat Ki Tavo and Nitzavim. We are told how to relate to our history, and that we will not face it alone. “When all this has come upon you…” The procedure for bringing the first fruits contains a holographic image of all of our history. It is the model for the period in which we now find ourselves, now that all of this has come upon us.View full post
The Disappearance of God details the gradual decrease of the divine presence in the Biblical writings—from the unquestioned companion and teacher of the Patriarchs, to the distant but still present redeemer in Exodus, to the absent Deity of Esther. Each stage of the withdrawal of the perceived Divine presence is another stage of human development. But how is it, asks Friedman, that the numerous biblical authors, in the complete absence of any coordination between them, managed to tell the same story of gradual Divine withdrawal from human history?View full post
A Damaged Mirror – Home
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Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo speculates on the implications of resurgent memory in our day. Could it be that we are witnessing the revival of the dead without even recognizing it?
He can’t speak of what he was forced to do to survive the horrors of Birkenau. She is haunted by a memory of something she could not have lived. Together, they must unlock the gates of memory and face unspeakable horror, to find the hope that lies beyond despair.
How do we come to terms with the past? What is responsibility? What choice do we have when all choices are taken from us? How can we accept the unacceptable, and still be who we were? Even if others are willing to forgive, how can we forgive yourselves? How can we know we are truly forgiven?