Aryeh Lev Stollman


Family Reunion

By Aryeh Lev Stollman

Three times in the Babylonian Talmud we find the Aramaic expression nafal nehora — “light fell.” This is the light of a powerful physical beauty that behaves almost like matter, seemingly pulled down by gravitational force — a light that may kindle overwhelming desire. Sometimes the combination of beauty and desire reminds us of the ephemeral nature of life. In one story, light falls from a woman hidden in an attic, inflaming the passion of Rabbi Amram who, in a pre-Freudian moment, shouts, “Fire!” rousing his neighbors to come and save him from sin. In another story, Rabbi Yochanan visits his poor, ailing friend, Rabbi Elazar. The famously beautiful Yochanan raises his comely arm, thereby illuminating the darkened sick-house. Suddenly, both rabbis weep to think that such beauty will one day become dust in the earth.Read More


Biblical Brains

By Aryeh Lev Stollman

And the serpent was more cunning than all the creatures of the field that the Lord God created. And he said to the woman, “Did God say: You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’”

— Genesis 3:1

And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these threeRead More


Serpents, Seraphs and Memory

By Aryeh Lev Stollman

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a seraph and mount it on a standard…” [and so] Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the copper serpent and live.— Numbers 21:8-9 [King Hezekiah] also broke into pieces the copper serpent that Moses had made, for until thatRead More






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    • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
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