Perspectives on the Binding of Isaac

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September 1, 2011
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Sarah [PENINA ADELMAN]

Thank You for waking me up again on another day of your creation. Thank You for Your spirit that makes the air fresh. Thank You for lighting up the world with the sun and calling on the insects and the birds to begin their music. You infuse this day with possibility. You breathe and blow into all that is. These old bones give thanks; these sinews and pores give thanks; this skin gives thanks; these eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, and legs give thanks. To You, my awesome Creator, responsible for everything, I bow down. You are the only one.

As I rise from sleep, I remember some vague shimmers. A dream comes back to me. Help me understand it:

Yom Kippur in the afternoon: We are all gathered on the hill above our encampment. Someone has my baby, my little Isaac, in his arms and he’s about to toss him right off the high place, from which he’ll certainly fall to his death on the rocky shelf below. I am beyond shocked — didn’t Avraham and I leave all this behind? Eventually, the certainty that my child will die rises from my gut like a scream and I awake.

Help push aside this foreboding that makes it hard to see or know or do. Take away this paralysis lowering onto me, a poisonous cloud that refuses to lift. Restore the cloud of Your divine presence that usually rests right above me.

I call out “Isaac!” and then, “Avraham!” No answer. I smell breakfast on the fire or its remains. They must have heated up some of the cakes of meal from yesterday. Isaac likes that for breakfast with butter churned from almonds.

I cannot tolerate people not saying good-bye. It reminds me of when Avraham and I left Ur-Kasdim. Though he was in a hurry, I prevailed upon him to let me see my mother and father and say good-bye. Oh, the deep pain in our hearts in that moment of leave-taking. But at least they knew I was going of my own free will with the man I loved. They blessed me.

I rise slowly. My bones are stiff and I move slowly. I breathe deeply. Thank You for each breath. Now, what must I do today? The endless tasks of the tent are waiting: Air out the bedding, wash the clothes, mend the sandals, milk the goats, take them out to graze, prepare the big meal of the day.Tell me, why didn’t they wake me? They know I don’t like being left like that. Where have they gone?

Please, remind me of my strength, like a tree of life, tall and eternal. Pour Your wisdom into me like rain drenching the tree that is parched with waiting. I see that they brought Isaac’s favorite goat, the one with the gray beard that makes him look like an old man. Isaac calls him saba. He never knew his grandfathers.

Penina Adelman is a psychotherapist and spiritual director in Newton, Mass. She is the author of Miriam’s Well: Rituals for Jewish Women Throughout the Year, the co-author of The JGirl’s Guide: The Young Jewish Woman’s Handbook for Coming of Age, and the editor of Praise Her Works: Conversations with Biblical Women.

Abraham [ARTHUR STRIMLING]

Three days. Three days walking to Moriah … God asked; I obeyed. I did not look at the boy once, only at God … The long look … Three days. I thought, “This must be for the good.” I thought, “We will get another baby.” I thought, “Ishmael! It must be Ishmael!” I thought and thought, and when I stopped thinking, God showed me the mountain. And we climbed, Isaac and I, silent and alone.

When Isaac asked that little question: “Where is the lamb?” I looked at him. For the first time, I saw him for him, not as some implement of God’s plan. And after that God disappeared; I never took my eyes off Isaac. I saw him change. I saw the long look come over him …

You don’t know what that is, the long look? I’ll show you. Stretch your left arm out straight in front, and look at your hand. Like this. Do it! … Now, put your other hand close, right in front of your face, fingers spread, so you can see the far hand through them. Like this. That’s it. … Now, look through the front hand to the far one; put all your attention on the far one. See what happens to the near one? It gets all fuzzy, almost disappears. The far hand is God — God’s plan, God’s commands, God’s every wish. The near one is life — your life, your wife, children, food, flocks, friends, health, nature, all of it. All fuzzy, invisible, expendable, so you can keep your focus long, on God.

That look came into Isaac’s eyes just as it left mine. In that moment, on that mountain, I saw that he knew; that he wanted to go ahead with it. He could have stopped me with a word, a gesture. But no, Isaac helped me build the altar; he lit the fire; he climbed on; he demanded that I tie him tight … He had the long look now. He could see only God.

But I could not stop seeing Isaac. For the first time I saw what was closest to me. The God hand went up, but it was not my hand any more. The voice that cried out, “Abraham! Abraham!” was not God’s voice, not an angel. It was the voice of my heart, saying, “Do not touch the boy. Do not lay a hand on him.” I saved him; not God.

Arthur Strimling is the Maggid HaMakom of Congregation Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn, N.Y., and director of the Haym Salomon Division of the Arts of the Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Health and Human Service System, in New York. A fuller version of this piece is available on request from art.strim@verizon.net.

Issac [SHAI HELD]

PeterPitzele_AbrahamI don’t understand my father. He seems to love me so much: Whenever I call him, he says, “Hineni,” here I am. And he’s so protective of me. As we walked toward this place, he had me carry the wood but insisted that he would carry the fire and cleaver himself. He was worried that if I carried them, I might hurt myself.1 And yet here we are on this mountain, and he is about to offer me up on the altar. I can’t actually bring myself to say the words — he is going to sacrifice me — which means that he is going to kill me. Me, his son, his favored son, whom he seems to love. He loves me, but I guess he loves God more. How am I supposed to feel about that? How am I supposed to feel about him? I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to speak to him again.

I don’t understand God. My father has told me 100 times that the covenant God made with him was about our “keeping God’s own way by doing what is just and right,” and yet by what conceivable standard is what God is asking for here just or right? God wants my father to sacrifice me? I guess serving God is more difficult and more complicated than I could ever have imagined. What am I supposed to do — argue? I’ve seen my father do that in other circumstances. Surrender my fate to God? That seems to be what my father thinks we both should do now. Maybe he’s right; he’s older, wiser, and has had many conversations with God. But what if he’s wrong? What if God never speaks to him again either?

What about my mother? Doesn’t God care about how she feels? For so long, my father acted as if the covenant were between him and God — as though she didn’t matter. Now, neither God nor my father ask her about the sacrifice. My mother has gotten an incredibly bad deal here, both from her husband and from God. No wonder she’s so unhappy. I can’t imagine she’ll survive when she finds out what the two of them did to me.2

And what about Hagar? Poor Hagar. My father cast her out — twice, each time abandoning her to her fate (and the second time God encouraged him). But he didn’t just cast her out. No, he cast her out with her little boy — my brother, Ishmael. What if she had died? What if Ishmael had died? I get it now: First he abandoned his first son, and now he’s going to end my life, too. And both times because God told him to. What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with Him? What’s wrong with them?! If somehow I make it out of here alive, I am going to go find Hagar and bring her home.3 I think I know what she must feel like. Maybe we could comfort each other.

Right now, all I know is that I just don’t understand.

Rabbi Shai Held is the co-founder and Rosh Yeshiva of the New York-based Mechon Hadar (www.mechonhadar.org), where he holds the Chair in Jewish Thought. He is one of three recipients of the 2011 Covenant Award of the Covenant Foundation.

1 Cf. Gerhard von Rad’s Commentary on Genesis.
2 Genesis Rabbah 58:5
3 Cf. Genesis Rabbah 60:14 and Rashi to Genesis 24:62

A Son [HUDA ABU ARQOUB]

My strong belief that Allah must have a plan assured me that I should go with my father Ibrahim up to the mountain. Both of us have such a strong feeling in our hearts about our belief in Allah, we wouldn’t question the “vision” that my father had. Prophets have visions — not dreams — but visions in their sleep. Ibrahim saw in his sleep that this was what he was to do. Both he and I willingly agreed to walk toward the mount. I saw my father was anxious and I tried to ease his pain. I wanted to help him affirm his faith in Allah. We knew that our deep strength of aqeeda,1 both in heart and in practice, was crucial for this action. We also knew that the experience was a reflection of our relationship to one another; my father conveyed the message of his vision and I helped him decide to fulfill it.

Where was my mother? Was she not present because she was too vulnerable to be drawn into this decision of life and death? Was she with the women, who were relegated to a different sphere of work and life — one that for centuries kept them apart from engagement with holy texts and decisions about religious matters?

Huda Abu Arqoub is the co-executive director of Abraham’s Vision, a California-based conflict-resolution organization that explores social relations among Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian communities. One of twelve children, she was born in Jerusalem and raised in Hebron. Prior to joining Abraham’s Vision, she worked as an educational consultant for the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Education.

1 The term aqeeda in Arabic means “the strong free-of-doubt tie to a belief system.” This reflects the connection between what we believe strongly in our hearts and our daily practices — from the simplest action to the most complicated. In the Qur’an, there is no naming of the son that Ibrahim (Abraham) takes to the mountain.

The Angel [HANNAH DRESNER]

God, on high, commanded this last test of Abraham: 
“Avraham!” 
“Hineini; Here I am!”
“Aleh! Rise up to me on the flame of the fire-raising you make of your son Isaac!” And then God retreated to the supernal sanctuary. Alone, and frightened, Abraham cried out:
“Ayeh, but where is the sheep for slaughter?”
This was his only external utterance, but I am the articulation of his silence:
“Ayeh? Where is the throne of Your glory?1 Where will I find Your holiness in this terrible act?”
I am the angel. I hear in the world of feeling; my voice flows from Abraham’s agony.2
Abraham had stepped into a void between God who surrounds all worlds, and God who resides deepest within. What could he argue in the face of that emptiness? So he spoke silence, the language of longing and hope, the language of prayer and psychological process.3 Such was his supplication:
“O Fountain of Blessings, how can I raise my son to You and rise on that raising without being burned? How can I transform without being annihilated? How can I cleave to You without losing everything?”4

Hearing this, I was aroused to enliven Abraham’s awareness of God’s still, small voice within him. I had to call him twice, because he was fixated on sacrifice and I was whispering:
“Avraham! Avraham!”
“Hineini; Here I am. (Here I have been, in my fear, feeling so abandoned, and here I am, now, suddenly awed to discover You so close, so much a part of me!)” And the rest we spoke together, for in encountering the voice of God speaking through his own heart, Abraham was, indeed, transformed, and knew what to do to raise Isaac, to raise his tzchok, his joy, in service of the Source of All Life;5 he looked, and saw the ram, and burned it instead of his son.

Then I left him and returned to my Master. From the heavenly court, I blessed Abraham for submitting to the test, for stretching past reason into faith, for sitting in silence with his Creator, and for drawing God’s command through the fire of his soul so as to respond with his own humanly filtered torah.6 I blessed him for engaging in the holy dialogue that raises tzchok, bringing pleasure to God who rejoices in the profundity of humankind.

Hannah Dresner is pursuing ordination in the rabbinic and Hashpa’ah Program in Spiritual Direction at the Philadelphia-based ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Dresner, who holds a master’s degree in fine arts, previously taught in the department of art theory and practice and in the integrated arts program at Northwestern University. She thinks of her rabbinic studies as an extension of her work as an artist.

1 Nahman of Bratzlav, as paraphrased by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg in The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis.
2 Adin Steinsaltz, The Thirteen Petalled Rose, pp. 4-12.
3 Nahman of Bratzlav, Liqqutei Moharan, lesson 64.
4 Gaston Bachelard in Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg’s The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious.
5 Yaakov Yosef of Polnoy
6 Yehudah Leib Alter of Ger, Sfat Emet, Emor, 5634/1874 p.16b.

The Ram [MARC BREGMAN]

‘‘Call me Isaac.” Abraham named me after his son and made me the bellwether of his flock. So I witnessed the whole affair. I’ll spare you the details. But, to tell the truth, the real hero is me: Isaac, the ram!

The whole point of the story is that Abraham should make sacrifice to God, right? So who got sacrificed in the end? Isaac, son of Abraham, or me, Abraham’s most treasured possession? I realize it may be hard for you people to accept that your Bible got it wrong. But your midrash got it right. When the angel told Abraham not to send forth his hand against his son Isaac, who lay bound on the altar ready to be sacrificed, the Holy One, blessed be God, called out from heaven: “Let Isaac for Isaac come.” That was my cue. I rushed toward the altar to be sacrificed. But Satan blocked my way. Trying to do an end-run around Satan, I got caught in a thicket by my horns. Fortunately, I was already close enough to Abraham to stretch out my foreleg and tug at his tallit. He turned around, set me free and offered me up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. If I was sacrificed, how can I now be telling the story? Well, God resurrected me from the ashes of my burnt offering and I’ve been up here in heaven ever since.

Yes, we rams (and ewes, of course) have a paradise. We feast on the freshest, greenest grass imaginable. And we don’t find particularly appetizing the idea of eating Leviathan and Behemoth, like your righteous do in people paradise. But, like you, we have a heavenly yeshiva where we study our version of Torah — including the full story of the Akedah. You can well imagine that we have a rather different take on the pascal sacrifice, the scapegoat on Yom Kippur, and the rest of the sacrificial cult.

By the way, the other members of my chevruta are the sheep that Jacob shepherded for Laban. They’re still a rather spotty bunch, as you can well imagine. But that’s a story for another day.

Marc Bregman serves as the Bernard Distinguished Professor of Jewish studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, where he heads the program in Jewish studies. Bregman has published widely in both scholarly and popular journals, including an introduction and thematic commentary to a novelistic retelling of the famous talmudic legend of The Four Who Entered Paradise (Jason Aronson, 1995). He thanks Prof. David Halperin for helpful stylistic suggestions. A fuller version of this piece, including references to sources used in composing this retelling of the Akedah, is available on request from  HYPERLINK “mailto:marc.bregman@gmail.com” marc.bregman@gmail.com.

Sermon of the Mount [MENACHEM CREDITOR]

At first I was frightened, but then I calmed down.1

When the blood touched me, I trembled, shaken by the unwelcome contact. Even when they first climbed my most tortuous path2 with their ritual instruments, I knew something was wrong. I had felt pounding like this before. Every footstep was too heavy, pressing down new pain into the memories just inches below my surface. Since that very day I have witnessed many burdened lives, but they all remind me of the steps that Abraham and Isaac, along with their servants, took all those years ago. Those footsteps and that blood call out to be heard.3 But no one remembers that part.
All I am is accumulated memory, layer after layer of experience — from earth’s core to surface gravel. Only through stories do people today even think to explore my depths. But even if they do consider my hidden parts, they’ll never feel the roots of the shrub violently torn from my hold, first by the ram and then by the man’s hand. They’ll never feel the altar shatter from trauma, scattering shards and pebbles into the mix of my form. They’ll never know of the silence after the boy died at his father’s hand. No one will hear the boy gasp for his second first breath, or feel the father’s body convulse when his reborn son stared into his eyes.

People don’t know me. You don’t know me. You probably think you can buy, sell, claim, and name me. I have no need for a name. I have been here, and I will always be here. This boy’s was not the last blood spilled upon me, or for me. I have no need for that blood. If you would only rest your head on me, listen to the quiet I’ve always held: There would be no more spilled blood.

Menachem Creditor is rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, Calif., and founder of ShefaNetwork: The Conservative/Masorti Movement Dreaming from Within (shefanetwork.blogspot.com). He blogs at menachemcreditor.org.

1 TB Shabbat 88a
2 TB Shabbat 88b
3 Genesis 4:10

The Ram’s Horn [NAOMI LESS & CHANA ROTHMAN]

somebody do something/anything soon/I know I can’t be the only/whatever I am in the room/so why am I so lonely?/why am I so tired?/I need company/I need backup/I need to be inspired —Ani Difranco “Face Up and Sing”

It’s not that I don’t feel special; I appreciate my heritage. It’s just that, year after year, it’s the same thing. Everyone talks about my sound: “The sound of the shofar reminds us to repent.” “The ram’s horn is a powerful call to wake up.” “The shofar is the defining sound of the High Holy Days.”

It’s kind of isolating. I’m like the Lone Ranger of Jewish fall holidays.

And just so you know, there’s a lot more to the story. I wasn’t always a symbol; I used to be an everyday, run-of-the-mill ram next door.

Ever since that one crazy day so long ago, all anyone sees — or hears, rather — is my horn. They think it’s enough to blow my horn and let me take the blame for their mistakes, year after year. Well, maybe it is enough, but first I’m going to tell you my version of the story. Then you can decide for yourself.

So, here goes. I saw them coming up the mountain. They were huffing and puffing, struggling up the rocky hillside. I do see humans on this mountain from time to time, though mostly we don’t; we just roam freely, basking in the sun and…ahem…procreating. Anyway, there was something different about these two. I couldn’t quite put my hoof on it.

Suddenly, just like that, the larger man tied up the smaller one, laid him down on some kind of altar, covered him with wood, and took out a bright, sharp-edged object. When I’d seen this before, they usually killed a ram or a goat — one of my kind.

I watched from a distance, knowing that something was very wrong. But I didn’t know what to do. There were other animals around, but they just ignored what was happening; they tried to act invisible, to not get caught in the bramble (so to speak).

At that moment, I felt a swelling inside. A forceful voice from inside took my normally soft bleat and blasted it through the air: “STOP!”

The bigger one looked in my direction, then up to the heavens, then back at me, and dropped the sharp object. The rest is history.

Ever since then I have become a symbol for all that is loud, stubborn, outspoken. Some say I’m all ego: headstrong, confident, outgoing, and, yes, sometimes butting in more than my fair share. I hear I’ve even come to represent a moon or sun sign, and people all around the world relate their personalities to me.

I can’t say why I was chosen to speak out. What I can say is that lately, I’ve been thinking that I’m not the only one who can cry out and make a sound when something is wrong. I’m not the only one who can sound the wake-up call. Sure, my voice is powerful, but, in all fairness, you — men and women and children — have voices, too. Maybe if you were in my place on that day on the mountain, you would have sounded your own horn. Or maybe you would have pretended that you didn’t see.

Either way, you now know the whole story. I have never been the same since that day, when a higher force called out through me and changed the course of history. This year, I invite you to make a sound with me. Call out to your neighbor, to the heavens, to yourself. This year, when you hear my voice, I can’t wait to hear yours calling back.

Naomi Less, Jewish chick rocker, musical worship specialist, and educator, uses Jewish values-based edgy-pop rock music to open hearts and souls around the world. Less passionately empowers young and adolescent girls to find their voices, pick up instruments, and express themselves. She can be reached at www.naomiless.com. Hear her sing “HaYom” and “Ptach lanu sha’ar” on shma.com.

Chana Rothman is an activist, song leader, singer/songwriter, and music educator living in Philadelphia. Her approach to music is collaborative and her style fuses folk, reggae, hip hop, and worldbeat for an urban take on ancient teachings. She can be reached at www.chanarothman.com. Hear her sing “One Stone” and “Gates of Justice” on shma.com.

The Wood [MICHAEL GRAETZ]

You would not believe what I have seen. When God created the seraphim, fiery angels, in the heavenly kingdom, He placed them upright above His throne. The trees, created on the third day, were also created upright, their limbs and branches to be used for sacrifices. I am mentioned four times in the Akedah story, for it is a story of sacrifice, and one must have wood for a sacrifice.

I first appear in the story when Abraham splits me. He’s preparing for the sacrifice. Though old, Abraham was strong and able to split wood. God remembered this hard physical work when he was inspired to split the sea for the Israelites when they left Egypt. I got a great kick out of being the model for setting Israel free from the pursuing Egyptians.

On the other hand, I was saddened when Abraham placed me on Isaac’s back. Poor Isaac. He was not the brightest candle in the candelabra. He was 37 years old, and even after trudging up a mountaintop with me piled on his back, he didn’t figure out what was going on. He looked like a man carrying a burden of wood, like the staves that the Romans would make their prisoners bear on the way to their punishment.

I hoped that when Abraham told his servants, “We shall return” he had some notion that Isaac would be spared. For a while, I was happy; I thought Isaac’s burden would merely be carrying me up the mountain and no more. But then, when Abraham placed Isaac above me in the position of the sacrifice, I became very agitated. What a relief to hear the angel’s voice calling out to Abraham to spare Isaac. Tears fell upon me, making it impossible to set me alight. It was ironic that Elijah used that same trick in his confrontation with the prophets of baal; he poured water on the wood stacked in the same way Abraham had stacked me.

Since created on the third day, I have been used to burn many sacrifices. Always, I hope people will want to preserve me — not use me for destruction, even in the name of God.

Rabbi Michael Graetz, one of the founders of the Masorti movement in Israel, served as rabbi of Magen Avraham congregation in Omer until his retirement.

The Knife [JULIE SELTZER]

Though Yaakov is called yechid, the only, I, too, am a yechid. I was fashioned in this incarnation for the unique and sole purpose of playing “knife” in the binding of Isaac. I appear just this once in the entire Torah, in this tenth and final test of Avraham’s faith. My presence heightens the tension: You sense that at some point in the play the knife will be used. Why else would there be a knife onstage?

We all have our roles in life. This was mine. I came into being to play it, and vanished once my job was complete. I am ma’achelet, “knife,” literally the One Who Consumes. When God tells Avraham to take his son, his special one, to a yet unknown place and to sacrifice him, our forefather leaves early the next morning and doesn’t think to take a knife with him. (We might question his faith: Did he really think he’d be slaughtering his son?) I show up three days into the story, and I want to explain how I got there.
I am sourced from a primordial sword, a weapon that is continually reshaped and reformed, morphing into knives, swords, and spears for multiple scenes spanning thousands of years.

In the beginning of time, the Kadosh Baruch Hu, my Maker, formed me and placed me at the entrance to Eden. There I am called cherev, “sword,” and there I have the purpose of guarding the Tree of Life. It’s eternal employment; occasionally, though, I leave my post to carry out other important missions — like accompanying Avraham and Yitzchak on their sojourn. On another diversion, I blocked a prophet and his donkey from cursing Israel. I have also manifested as romach, “spear,” slaying an Israelite man and a Midianite woman, uniting their love for all time.

Here in the Akedah, I do not pierce any skin. When Avraham picked me up, though, I did experience a rush of terror. Yitzchak was tied down, and he seemed so ready, so willing. Father as well as son. I knew how the story was supposed to end, but part of me feared: What if fate changes course? Though I’m sentient, I cannot control my own movements. The ones who hold me hold the power, and then blame me for the violence they bestow. But remember: I am just a prop for other players.

Julie Seltzer is a scribe, educator, and artist. Most recently, she wrote a sefer Torah as part an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. She also creates challah art, which she developed while working as the baker at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut. Seltzer resides in the Bay Area.

God [NAOMI GRAETZ]

Oh my God (oops, that’s me)! What was he thinking? After all the trouble they put me through to conceive this son, I can’t believe Abraham took my pronouncement seriously. Okay, Abraham owed me big for saving him from Nimrod’s fire. Maybe when I said to him, “raise your son for an olah,” he understood the phrase to mean, “to burn up,” as Nimrod had intended to do to him. Did he expect me to save Isaac, once he was up there? It was one thing when he blindly followed my directions to leave home and go to a land that I would show him. I asked him to prove his love for me. I kept asking him to do all sorts of things: circumcise himself and his family; lend Sarah to Pharaoh and Avimelech; send Ishmael away.

To each challenge I set before him, he always heartlessly chose me over his relatives. But I never thought he would go through with the sacrifice. I fully expected him to stand up to me as he once had at Sodom — although I should have realized his weakness when he abruptly stopped arguing with me at the number ten. In fact, I would have thought that he would offer himself up as an olah instead of his son (tahat beno).

Why do I continuously test Abraham? Partly, it hearkens back to my wager with Satan, who always brings out the worst in me. He insinuated that Abraham really didn’t love me enough, and tempted me to test him. I’ve done things like that before: I put temptation in the way of Eve and Adam; I couldn’t resist when Satan was so sure that Job would curse me.

Why would I cause such agony to those who love me? What would I have done if Abraham had not listened to the angel? How would I have kept my promise to create a great nation coming out of his seed? I would have had to intervene, which is something I don’t like to do with my people. I like them to figure things out for themselves. Thank God (that’s me again!), Abraham saw the ram and broke free of his need to please me.

But, as my prophets espouse, I do require sacrifice. I will have to see what the next generation can do. As for Abraham, I’ve stopped talking to him. After all, I’m God. I’m omnipotent; I do bad things when I’m angry. I’m working on anger management and when I figure it out, maybe I’ll stop being so destructive to the people I love.

Naomi Graetz is an author. Her books include S/He Created Them: Feminist Retellings of Biblical Stories; Silence is Deadly: Judaism Confronts Wifebeating; Unlocking the Garden: A Feminist Jewish Look at the Bible, Midrash and God; and a mystery novel, The Rabbi’s Wife Plays at Murder. After 35 years teaching at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, she recently retired.

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