Category Archives: Metaphor

The Temple: Strong Metaphors Don’t Die

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April 1, 2011

Dalia Marx I admit that writing about the Temple is not the most natural topic for me, a vegetarian Reform female rabbi who lives in Jerusalem and has no desire to behold a third Temple on her way to work. But the Temple and how Jews think about it as a repository of the prayers More »

Cherubs and Gender Harmony

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April 1, 2011

Irit Koren I often wonder about the metaphor of the cherubs at the end of the Adam and Eve creation story. This image of the cherubs in Genesis is a key symbol to the understanding of creation. In this essay, I will focus only on the second story of creation. After man is created, God More »

Literary Theology

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April 1, 2011

Howard Wettstein Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel construed religious language as fundamentally poetic. According to his daughter, Susannah, one of his colleagues once bemoaned, “According to you, it’s just poetry.” Heschel’s view was controversial. While the roots of his thinking are ancient, in the hands of the great medieval philosophical theologians — foremost in our tradition, More »

‘The Jew’ as Metaphor: Embracing the Dissimilar

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April 1, 2011

Bryan Cheyette When does metaphor end and reality begin? Can we draw a firm line between metaphor and reality without being driven crazy? The classical definition of metaphor is the “perception of similarity in dissimilars.” But this is a tricky definition. It is not the same as the straightforward embrace of the “other” that is More »

Fire as Symbol: A Brief Overview of a Burning Topic

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April 1, 2011

Admiel Kosman In Hebrew, fire is called “esh.” This word appears not only in Hebrew, but in all Semitic languages (apart from Arabic). The word occurs 380 times in the Bible, and its frequency alone should be proof of its importance as a biblical symbol or metaphor. I will try to show — building on More »

Modern Love: A 12th-Century Liturgical Poem

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April 1, 2011

Channa Pinchasi A small change of context significantly changes the meaning of both metaphor and allegory. “Yedidi, hashachachta?” (“My friend, have you forgotten?”) is a piyut, a liturgical poem, written by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi in the 12th century in Spain, recently set to music and sung by Israeli composer and singer Etti Ankari. Ankari’s deep, More »

Miracles of Birth and Water: Jewish Metaphors through a Feminist Lens

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April 1, 2011

Lori Hope Lefkovitz Language is pervasively, inescapably metaphoric. Whatever we know, we know by analogy, locating meaning where difference is perceived. Metaphor is embedded in etymology, and writ large in allegory, and it functions as cultural currency. But what we see when we look into the tradition — to extend the metaphor of sight — More »