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Extraterrestrial Jew

Extraterrestrial Jew

THE Talmud says, quoting Rav:

“Adam, the first man, reached from one end of the world to the other. . . . When he sinned, Hashem placed His hand on him and shrank him. . . . “ What is this? Poetry? Metaphor?

What does it mean, on any level? This Talmudic statement is actually paired with another one, equally enigmatic, in the name of R. Elazar: “Adam, the first man, reached from the earth to the heavens. . . . When he sinned, G-d placed his hands on him and shrank him. . . . ”

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 February 2014 02:42 )

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View from Central Park

Love Your Brain

Love Your BrainGoing in to watch “Crash Reel,” I hadn’t known a thing about it. As the documentary by Lucy Walker, starring Kevin Pearce, a one time Olympian hopeful raised on the hills of Vermont, began, there was a lot of rustling going on in the room. With popcorn bags and warm cookies offered to the audience, there was the sound of munching and crackling bags as the beginning of the movie started by showing Youtube style clips. Until suddenly the room turned silent. You could hear a pin drop. The mo...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:40 )

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Reflections

My grandmother’s candlesticks

I ENTERED the classroom of 32 seventh graders at the worst time imaginable — seventh period on a Friday afternoon, the weekend before winter break. I knew the deck was stacked against me. I had been warned by the very enthusiastic teacher who asked me to read my short story as part of her unit on ethnic literature, that this class was a “rowdy” group. I came prepared with two grocery bags, one filled with boxes of donuts and soda and the other with my copy of Chicken Soup for the Jewish S...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:05 )

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View From Denver

Flight of the alone to the Alone

Flight of the alone to the AloneWHAT is prayer? It is the defeat of the illusion of human community. For the human condition, as the Greek philosopher Plotinus said, is the flight of the alone to the Alone. Prayer is the periodic hopscotch to the ultimate loneliness, and the ultimate union. Prayer prefigures the conclusion of life and animates the path of life. Prayer is paradox, for we pray from out of our inescapable existential aloneness in order to transcend it. We pray for everything that connects us. For children. For...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:05 )

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View From Denver

Where is G-d?

Where is G-d?WHERE is G-d? The Kotzker Rebbe answered, “wherever you let Him in.” It’s a poignant response, but it really answers a different question, “where is G-dliness?” “Where is G-d” is a philosophical question with a poetic and profound answer in Rashi, based on a phrase in this week’s Torah portion. Due to its pithiness and poetry, this is my favorite Rashi in the Torah. Exodus 33:21-23 reads: “ . . . Behold! there is a place near Me; you [Moses] may stand on the rock. When My gl...
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