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…)
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…)
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…)
This week Karl Stevens and Daniel Bogart dive into Ch. 2 of Exodus during their Chevruta Bible Study. You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or other fine podcast distributors, or listen to it using the player below. Show notes are also below. (more…)
Painting: Pharaoh’s Daughter & Moses by Marc Chagall
As we go deep into the story of Exodus, and learn more about Jewish midrash from Karl Stevens and Daniel Bogard’s “Lost in the Wilderness” podcast, it makes sense to explore some of the “cultural midrash” that have been drawn out of the biblical narrative by both Christian and secular artists and writers. A beautiful example of this is Eleanor Wilner’s poem Epitaph. Wilner teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA program, and has received the Juniper Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation. In describing her own poetic vision, she writes: (more…)
This week Karl and Daniel plunge into Exodus Ch. 1 for their Chevruta Bible Study. You can find the podcast in the iTunes Store, or listen to it right here. The show notes are below the web player.
Daniel directed us to Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts Online.
Karl is using Robert Alter’s The Five Books of Moses for this study.