An evolving midrash on Fabrangen‘s Omer Blog is exploring the idea of eating the fruit — honoring the essential Torah of an individual or community — while discarding the rind: In the case of the talmudic era Elisha ben Abuyah, the “rind” is understood as outright apostasy, but his student/friend Meir continues to defend and enjoy the fruit.
Even beyond the “fruit/rind” strategy, Rabbi Meir insists on redeeming his friend/teacher by spreading his cloak over Acher as Boaz did to redeem Ruth, welcoming the other.
Can this same strategy be employed between Jewish communities with apparently intractable differences of practice and belief? A truly welcoming cloak would have to leave room for the other to be other: is there a cloak that big?
How does the apostate Elisha ben Abuyah end up with the biblical Boaz and Ruth, as they spend the night on the threshing floor? (Chapter 3 of the Book of Ruth). Some explorations on the way to Shavuot and reading Ruth….
guest blog from Ivan Sindell
some notes/resources on the planting and reaping of cucumbers (by magic or illusion), “worship of stars,” R. Eliezer, and Christianity. (posted here for Temple Micah’s Hebrew Poetry group and anyone else interested — and to make use of WordPress’ memory, which is better than mine).
some resources for exploring Psalm 30
So far the most thorough and useful commentary I’ve found on-line is still Schechter’s “A New Psalm”. If anyone has a resource to suggest, please share.
A number of commentaries focus on the word “dilitani” — you have drawn me up — in the second verse: it reflects the Bible’s frequent use of wells/water imagery. But the language here connotes a pail pulled up from a well, which has to go down in order to rise in a useful way. And, as R. Benjamin Segal in the Schechter commentary notes, deep contrasts run throughout the psalm.
Joel Hoffman, in My People’s Prayer Book, notes that English has no direct way to translate the famous phrase:
בָּעֶרֶב יָלִין בֶּכִי וְלַבֹּקֶר רִנָּה
b’erev yalin bekhi v’laboker rinah
He suggests “tears abide” or “weeping spends the night” for “yalin bekhi.”
UPDATE April 15: See also Fabrangen’s Omer Blog for more on “full of water.”
Imagery of a pit [bor] appears over the years in the poetry of Yehuda Amichai. Frequently, as in the Joseph story (“the pit was empty, there was no water in it” [Gen. 37:24]), Amichai’s pits are without water. Toward the end of his life, however, he published a poem in which a mikveh – which can be understood as a sort of pit filled with water — plays a prominent role:
Then we came to a ritual bath in ruins….
…Speak O my soul, sing
O my soul to the God who is Himself part of the cycle
of praise and lament, curse and blessing.
Speak O my soul, sing O my soul, Change is God
and death is his prophet.
–Yehuda Amichai, stanza #10, “Jewish Travel: God is Change and Death is His Prophet” in Open Closed Open
Here, for Temple Micah’s study group and anyone else interested, are a few references for exploring this idea.
Now when a man becomes aware that he is falling asleep and begins to nod and he is afraid that a strong, heavy sleep may overcome him, the best advice for him is for him to request his friend to wake him from time to time or that he should go among people where a light shines brightly….the friend should know something of the great loss sleep brings and how necessary it is to awaken the sleeper…
– from R. Aaron Roth‘s “Agitation of the Soul”  IN The Schocken Book of Jewish Mystical Testimonies: A unique and inspiring collection of accounts by people who have encountered God from Biblical times to the present, NY: Schocken, 1997. Louis Jacobs, translation/commentary
Passover seems to me one of the times when Jews are called upon to reflect on past awakenings and to commit to awakening themselves and others.