Malchut: Levinas on Response-ability

international women's day

Malchut. Literally: kingdom, reign, royalty. Kabbalistically: seat of God’s throne where heaven and earth meet, cosmic cervix that births the world, divine maternal presence, feminine receptivity both reproductive and interpersonal. More familiarly: Shechinah, an indwelling presence; a loving face of God that accompanies and receives you wherever you go. Do you let Shechinah receive you? Do you see her reflected in faces around you? Are you willing to receive from […]

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Secrets of Teaching

ldk & eli at purim1

“Should we offer the best classes we can, or teach adults to become independent learners of Jewish texts?” So my memory paraphrases a question asked on JEDADULT, a Facebook group discussing adult Jewish education. An odd question, to be sure. In the best of all possible worlds, great adult education classes would teach content and skills. All Jewish adult educators would simultaneously share deep insights and empower student learners. But […]

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Yesod: Cohen on Peace

olenick Shalom

Sixth week of the Omer count: An opportunity to reflect on Yesod: Foundation In today’s “postmodern” intellectual climate, philosophers like to discuss foundationalism. Human consciousness is diverse. We wander between sensing, reasoning, feeling, imagining, and dreaming. These interweave to form human knowledge and experience. If the weave becomes complex and confusing, foundationalists have the solution: look to the most foundational state of consciousness. Some say that’s reason, some sensation, others […]

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Hod: Two Philosophers, Two Qualities


“To you God, belongs greatness, strength (gevurah), beauty (tiferet), eternity (netzach) and splendour (hod), because…well, everything in heaven and on earth!” So says King David on the day he commissions his son Solomon to build the Temple in Jerusalem (I Chronicles 29:11). These words echo through the names of the sefirot. Synagogue-goers chant them before reading from the Torah scroll. And they inspired several Jewish philosophers to reflect on how […]

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Fly On, Sweetie

pink fly cropped

We sat on my brother’s tiny urban porch, in the bright sun, six stories above the street. A fly lit on the rail, lazily exploring. I extended my hand towards the fly, thinking “You’re so beautiful, so great, come visit me.” Over and over again, I repeated the thought in different words. The fly turned around, walked to the edge of the rail, and hopped onto my hand. My brother saw! But he wasn’t skeptical […]

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