Category Archives: Lessons from the book of Yonah

Discussion Guide: Lessons from the book of Yonah

September 3, 2012

1. We read the book of Yonah each year during minchah on Yom Kippur. What do we learn anew in that yearly accounting of the story?
2. How might we construct a personal practice of gratitude?
How is gratitude connected to the recitation of blessings?
3. What do we learn about the complex role of the prophet from reading Yonah?
4. The story is mythic in proportion and fabulous in imagination. How do we understand it in terms of rational thought, free will, and the capacity to make choices?
5. Is there a cost to withholding forgiveness? And if so, what is it? More »

Encountering the Void

general
September 3, 2012

Tirtzah Bassel The “whale” is the first place where Jonah finds himself entirely alone. Large but finite, Jonah’s fish is a way of marking the borders between inside and outside, separation and submersion, life and death, magic and real. In this womb-like space, Jonah, for the first time, discovers his will to live, and his More »

But I, with Loud Thanksgiving

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September 3, 2012

Jake Marmer, Adeena Karasick, Hank Lazer & Alicia Jo Rabins In this collaborative poem, each poet uses the verse from the book of Yonah 2:10 as inspiration and bases his or her writing on the final line of the previous stanza. “But I, with loud thanksgiving/Will sacrifice to You.”  Yonah: 2:10 my offering: while everyone More »

‘Where Is God in Our Justice System?’

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September 3, 2012

Judith Clark I have served 31 years of a 75-years-to-life prison sentence for my role as a getaway driver in a 1981 robbery in which three men were killed. Six years into my sentence, on the eve of Hanukkah in 1987, I was suddenly whisked out of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in More »

What Jonah Teaches Us about Repentance

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September 3, 2012

Avi Killip Jonah wants strict justice. The instinct is understandable, perhaps even universal. He sees people who have sinned and wants them to pay for their crimes. God, however, has a radically different idea of how to address those who transgress: teshuvah, the insistence that everyone can change, even the worst sinners. This debate between More »

Jonah and the Multiverse

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September 3, 2012

Howard Smith Yom Kippur is about teshuvah — the possibility of repentance and the exercise of free will. Jonah ran from God’s instruction because he believed in teshuvah, and — according to the rabbis — because he did not want the people of Nineveh to repent and thereby embarrass Israel. Unlike events of nature, which More »

Intro

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September 3, 2012

Late in the afternoon of Yom Kippur, deep into our chosen fast, we read the book of Jonah (Yonah in Hebrew). It is a magnificent story whose themes and characters have resonated with writers and artists over the millennia, and whose lines have been mined for nuggets of wisdom about the myriad ways we are More »

Great Fish

general
September 3, 2012

Ruby Namdar Now God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto his God out of the fish’s belly, and God spoke unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. This More »

Jonah’s Death Wish

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September 3, 2012

Ruhama Weiss The prophet Jonah is a silent man who hides from people. All four chapters of the book of Jonah contain only 82 words that are said in his name (if we exclude the prayer whose style, content, and stylistic proximity to Psalms show that they are not the words of the hero). If More »