Raymond P. Scheindlin


You Sold Your Brother For a Pair of Shoes

By Raymond P. Scheindlin

The author of the following poem was Pinhas ha-Kohen, a prolific liturgical poet who seems to have lived in eighth-century Tiberias. His recounting of the story of the encounter between Joseph and Judah as a dramatic dialogue is somewhat different from that of the narrator in our portion. In Genesis, Judah approaches Joseph in order to beg himRead More


The Mirrors of the Women

By Raymond P. Scheindlin

And they made the laver of copper out of the mirrors of the women who trooped to the opening of the Tent of Meeting.

— Exodus 38:8 The women weren’t eager to give up their mirrors, but the copper was essential. The Israelites had the gold and silver they’d taken from the Egyptians as God had ordered. They assumed it was wages for theirRead More


The Problems of Picking a Successor

By Raymond P. Scheindlin

Then God said to Moses: “Your days are approaching death. Call Joshua and stand, both of you, in the Tent of Appointment so that I can give him his charge.” So Moses and Joshua went and stood, both of them, in the Tent of Appointment.

— Deuteronomy 31:14 Moses had been thinking of retiring ever since the episode of the Golden Calf,Read More


The Blasphemer’s Tale: Obsession With Otherness

By Raymond P. Scheindlin

The son of the Israelite woman pronounced the Name in blasphemy, and he was brought to Moses — now his mother’s name was Shlomit daughter of Divri of the tribe of Dan — and he was placed in custody, until the decision of the Lord should be made clear to them.

— Leviticus 24:10 Shlomit bat Divri was her name, and her nameRead More


The Golden Calf as a Symbol Of Desire for a Knowable God

By Raymond P. Scheindlin

‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4)The people couldn’t have been so blind as to believe that the statue that Aaron had just made right before their eyes was their God. All the Israelites, even women, children and infants in arms, had just, unforgettably, seen God three months earlier whenRead More



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