Not long ago, Hugo Schwyzer posted his 2005 top ten list -- his ten favorite blog posts from the (Gregorian calendar) year which will be ending shortly. (He did it in two sets of five.) I thought that was a neat idea, so I'm following suit.
I tried to be at least a little bit balanced: there's some Torah commentary here, some musings sparked by high points in the liturgical year, one retreat report, some lifecycle stuff, some thoughts on belief, some explorations of prayer. A year of Velveteen Rabbi, in a nutshell.
My Top Ten Posts of 2005
On Va'era. "What's interesting to me is that after a few plagues, Pharaoh seems willing to listen. He even acknowledges that God is righteous and he is in the wrong...but Moses knows that the repentance won't stick. And sure enough, it doesn't; in the first lines of next week's portion, God explains that he has hardened Pharaoh's heart. What's up with that? If Pharaoh were willing to let the Israelites go after only seven plagues, why does God harden his heart and require the rest of the story to unfold as it does?"
As God Is Holy. "Holiness is something we both make and find. True in our dwelling-places; true in text study. Is Torah inherently holy? Depends on who you ask. I'd say there's some holiness in Torah, and that further holiness accrues through our study. Holiness is that which aligns us with God. (Here, as always, I'm using "God" as shorthand. I'll try to explain what I mean by "God" another day; "holiness" is proving slippery enough!)"
Story and Truth. "Every few years it seems there's a new controversy about whether or not the Exodus 'really happened."'Is there historical record of Israelite slaves in Egypt? Can we explain the parting of the sea scientifically? How on earth did these nimrods manage to be lost for forty whole years in a desert that's honestly not that big? And, maybe most importantly, what does it mean for our faith if this story turns out not to be historically 'true'? What does it mean for Jewish peoplehood if our creation narrative, the story of how our ancestors became a unified people in covenant with a redeeming God, didn't actually happen?"