Walkeshwar Temple, Malabar Hill, Mumbai, 1860. Photographer unknown. Public domain. A few days ago, I was putting away my second set of tefillin, when I dropped the one worn on my arm. It was in its protective case and landed upright undamaged on the floor. A friend picked it up and handed it to me. … Continue reading The Element of the Sacred
"Venice. The city of mirrors, the city of mirages." Photo by Vlad Hilitanu, Unsplash. I own an edition of The Harvard Classics. One of the frustrating things about it is the process I have to follow to locate something I want to read. All the books have the same front cover; the back covers are blank; … Continue reading Books, Covers, and Masks
Jacob’s Ladder, by Jacques Stella, Date: 1650. In the section of the Pentateuch that will be read in synagogue this coming Sabbath [Genesis 28:10 - 32.3], the patriarch Jacob is traveling, on rather short notice, to spend time with his uncle, his mother's brother. His brother, Esau, is angry with Jacob. He wants to kill … Continue reading Keep on Climbing
Shadows. Moonlit Night. Isaac Levitan. Original Title: Тени. Лунная ночь. Date: c.1885 In The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin writes about a “Sacred Tree.” He came upon it while traveling in the valley of the Rio Negro on his way to Bahía Blanca in Argentina in the company of an Englishman, a guide, and … Continue reading Between Hope and Fear
Plate 106 Black Vulture or Carrion Crow, John James Audubon. In Chapter 3 of The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin describes his work identifying the carrion-feeding hawks of South America. He writes the following about two of them—Carranchas and Chimangos. These false eagles most rarely kill any living bird or animal; and their vulture-like, … Continue reading A Token for His Protection
Ophelia, John Everett Millais, 1852. I was eleven years old when my mother enrolled me in the Boy Scouts of America. There was a Troop at my elementary school, and eleven was the minimum age to become a Tenderfoot Scout, the beginning rank in the Scouts at the time I joined. I don’t recall asking … Continue reading The Readiness Is All
Crew at the capstan of the 'Parma', weighing anchor, 1932-33. In chapter 2 of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom gets a group of boys to perform a job that he was supposed to do. At the end of the chapter, he thinks about what he had learned. Tom said to himself that … Continue reading Are You Turning Play into Work?