Wisdom Warehouse


Reflections On Reading Bruno Schulz

Years ago, there was a small bookshop on Thayer Street in Providence, Rhode Island, near Brown University’s campus, called College Hill Bookstore. It had late hours – I recall the shop being open until eleven p.m. on weekdays and until midnight on the weekend – and its motto was: Dedicated to the fine art of browsing. The owner of the bookshop also owned (and still operates) a small movie theater a couple of doors down. Neither business could have been especially financially profitable for him.  I spent many hours there in my......

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To Forget And To Remember

There are some dark times that we commemorate in a ceremony with the reading of names. And there are some that result in celebrating with oily foods and candles. And there are some where we were so terrified, and now we are so out of our minds to have averted the decree, that we drink. We drink to forget. We don’t ever want to remember it was so awful. Blot out the memory. Forget the darkness. This is Purim. We tell our story of what we went through, and we are commanded......

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Don't Try To Be the Hero of Your Story 

With two elementary-school-aged kids, we hear a fair amount of sibling fighting, with only some of it unprovoked. When one of them is getting a little too wild, and, say, someone’s limbs smack into someone else’s body, their first reaction is to say, “I didn’t mean to do it!” And while my wife and I do draw a distinction between purposeful versus accidental actions, we try to focus more on the consequences and how to make it right afterward. That’s what’s so striking about this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra. It outlines the......

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Facing Our Past 

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayakheil, the master artisan Bezalel is putting together all the items for Mishkan, the dwelling-place for God. There are a whole host of materials listed – poles and pails, gratings and basins, fire pans, and fleshhooks, and most of them are presented simply as a list. But only one item has a backstory: “He made the laver of copper and its stand of copper, from the mirrors of the women who performed tasks at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.” (Ex. 38:8) Unlike everything else that......

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