Category Archives: Judaism

Rosenzweig and the philosopher-hybrid

I get the same feeling reading Rosenzweig as I do reading Levinas: I begin to feel a little like a paraphrasing popularizer, or vulgarizer. In a little over a day from now I hope I’ll just feel like a fellow … Continue reading

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Some entities cannot be comprehended, only known-toward. This is a kind of knowing, but it only appears such if we allow knowing to be more than the conceptual grasping of objective comprehension. This doesn’t mean that objective comprehension is a … Continue reading

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Adonai Echad

Even an ordinary human mind is multiple. We weigh different values against each other, we find ourselves torn in decision, we try on multiple perspectives, we feel the pull of different people’s influences on our thinking, we anticipate divergent futures … Continue reading

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I need to read about Gershom Scholem‘s life. Scholem, along with his best friend, Walter Benjamin, could be a Northwest Passage from Judaism into those aspects of Nietzsche which remain as compelling to me today as when they blew me to … Continue reading

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The book I have been reading for the last thirty or so mornings has been Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. I am currently reading the chapter on Isaac Luria, and it is sparking insights and connections with other things I’ve read, in particular with … Continue reading

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A panentheological outburst

A disorderly spew of thoughts on the theory and practice of panentheism… * According to the New Oxford American Dictionary,  panentheism is “the belief or doctrine that God is greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it.” * How do you … Continue reading

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Jewish red thread

A part of my autobiography that I had to compress into two lines was my experience with Jewish thinkers. Judaism only became a serious interest for me following my very strange experience of intensive study of Nietzsche starting in 2002 and extending to … Continue reading

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My 500-word spiritual autobiography

As part of my conversion process I’ve been asked to write a 500-word spiritual autobiography, and to pick out a Hebrew name. I thought I would choose Israel or Yisrael, but then I found Nachshon, and it is perfect for me. … Continue reading

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Shells and pearls

This is a series of rewritten, streamlined posts on the theme of shells and pearls, which I’m considering incorporating into my pamphlet. I’ll link to the originals. If you have time to compare, let me know if you think anything was lost in … Continue reading

Posted in Chord, Fables, myths & parables, Ideas, Judaism, Philosophy | 1 Comment


I think Nachshon will have to be my Hebrew name. Legend has it that Nachshon waded into the Red Sea, all the way up to his nose, before Moses parted the waters. If you (as I do) read water as … Continue reading

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The mezuzah is a Jewish Janus-face, a point on the door we pass as we go out and as we come in. Hidden inside the mezuzah case is a binding priciple of inside and outside.  As we go out we … Continue reading

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Procrustean skull

People who hate the infinitude of reality have procrustean skulls. What refuses to fit inside the mind is chopped to fit or pulverized and poured in. (Transcendence is an experience — an intuition  of otherness or beyondness, they’ll tell you.) … Continue reading

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Since last Saturday I’ve been obsessing on the concept of machloket, “sacred arguing”. I haven’t been this happy since I learned the word “agonism”. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I hoard ideas. This is the root of my … Continue reading

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Reading together

Intimacy is made possible by shared experience. Some tangible forms of shared experience are: shared language, shared history, shared spaces, shared relationships, shared institutions, shared customs, shared beliefs. Less tangible, but perhaps even more crucial forms of shared experience are: … Continue reading

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When I say that some fact is “definitely true” it means that I cannot conceive how it could be otherwise. Sometimes, however, unexpectedly and shockingly infinity will demonstrate that reality is otherwise than how I thought, despite the fact that … Continue reading

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Thaumatolatry – Worship or undue admiration of wonderful or miraculous things. * My religiosity is non-thaumatolatrous. God, being infinite, is present in all kinds of mundane miracles, like generosity, scientific research and conversation. I don’t rule out apparently magical miracles — … Continue reading

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When people used to ask me what my religious beliefs were I gave a complicated answer: I have a Taoist metaphysic and a Judeo-Christian ethic. Now, after taking six months of Judaism classes at a Reform synagogue, participating in Torah … Continue reading

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Judaism 102 homework

I have been taking classes for Jewish conversion. Our latest assignment is to write a paragraph describing what we think God wants from us, and another paragraph describing how this impacts how I live my life. Here is what I have written … Continue reading

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Yet another attempt at Levinas

Whenever I try to read Levinas I have two reactions: first, an immediate relief in reading someone who shares my understanding; but second, a lingering anxiety that pervades and darkens every moment and detail of my life. I have had … Continue reading

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