Author: editor

image credit: The plague of blood” from “The Golden Haggadah,” Catalonia, early.

This week Daniel and Karl are joined by Robin Holland for their discussion of Exodus Chapter 7.  The plagues begin!  There are magical battles between the Levite Bros. and Pharaoh!  And we get to ask questions about free will, systems of dominance, and the natural creation. (more…)

Daniel and Karl are joined by Maggie Leidheiser-Stoddard to discuss Exodus Chapter 6, a chapter full of quarreling with God, insecurity about leadership, and lots and lots of genealogy.  We all ended up feeling sorry for Moses, and wondering why verses 26 and 27 go out of their way to assure us that it’s the Moses and Aaron the descendants of Levi who were battling Pharaoh, not some other Moses and Aaron.  Were there a lot of Moses and Aaron’s running around in the ancient world? (more…)

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by Karl Stevens

In her Adult Forum video, “Revolutionary Themes in Exodus,” Paula Jackson points out that the first plague, the river turned to blood, reveals the violence that’s already inherent in the world.  Pharaoh has been using the Nile as the means of murdering the firstborn Hebrew children.  The river is full of blood, but this can be ignored as long as the water runs clear.  However, God is not content to let privileged people rest in their safety, untouched by the horrific things that are done in their name.  Everybody suffers when the water is turned to blood, and that’s the point.  The poor and oppressed have been suffering all along.  They can’t be relieved of their suffering until the rich and powerful have a change of heart.  And God’s plan is to give privileged people the experience of suffering, so that they can’t ignore it and will learn to hate it, not just for themselves but for everyone – and because they’ve experienced it and hated it, they will assist in the change that needs to happen in the world. (more…)

Image: Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh, 1931, Marc Chagall

Daniel and Karl dive into Chapter 5 and discuss the nature of God, the nature of social movements, the struggle for justice, and the tragedy of injustice.  The midrash that Daniel selected for us is below the audio player on this page. (more…)

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by Jason Prati

“The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us; let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God” (Exodus 5:3)

Many times throughout chapters 3-8, the reason given for the Exodus is worship.  In Moses’ first encounter with God in the burning bush, God commands him to tell Pharaoh that “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God (Exodus 3:18).” Here in Exodus 5, Moses and Aaron fulfill the Lord’s command.  They could have given a whole angry list of reasons to shout at Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free: the hardship of their labor, the injustice of the oppression, the affliction that they bore.  However, the reason given is to worship. “Pharaoh, we need to get out of Egypt for a couple of days for a “Church service,” would that be cool with you?” The reason, at first glance, seems bizarre. Yet, in the context of the Torah, it is the fundamental reason of human existence. (more…)

Karl and Daniel delve into Exodus, Ch. 4 and make many jokes about donkeys and circumcision.  Daniel’s selection of midrash is below. (more…)

In this week’s episode, Daniel and Karl are joined by Manoj Zecharia to discuss Exodus Ch. 3.  Listen below.  Show notes follow. (more…)

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Image: The Rylands Haggadah, detail, 14th century

by Mike Kreutzer

Churches have to deal, at least at times, with shortages: shortages of money, of time, of volunteers.  But one shortage that they never seem to have is a shortage of people who want to give their opinion on what “somebody” in the church should be doing – not themselves of course, but somebody else, or maybe just the generic “they.” (more…)

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Alen Kanfer seems to be a somewhat mysterious figure.  Born in Russia in 1905, he spent most of his life teaching English at Grover Cleveland High School in Queens.  A prolific poet, he was published in the Kenyon Review, Harper’s, Poetry magazine and the Sewanee Review.  And that is all the internet seems to know about him.  But his poems are lovely, and this is among the loveliest: (more…)

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During the Convocation, we asked eight questions as part of our World Cafe table discussions. (more…)