Avivah Zornberg — Human Becoming, Between Biblical Lines


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You probably know the outline of the Exodus story and its main characters: Moses, the Pharaoh, the burning bush, the plagues, the parting of the sea. And, in another realm of the power of story, the words “let my people go” and the arc of liberation from slavery have inspired people in crisis and catharsis across time and cultures. Call it “myth” if you will — as the Greek Statesman Solon said, myth is not something that never happened. It’s something that happens over and over and over again. Avivah Zornberg walks us through the Exodus story that is relived in the Jewish Passover and resonates through Easter. She is a modern-day master of midrash — the ancient Jewish art of inquiry for discovering the deepest of meaning in and between the biblical lines. What can look simple on the surface, as she reveals, is a cargo of hidden stories that tell the messy, strange, redemptive truth of us as we are and life as it is. Krista and Avivah Zornberg had this lovely, intimate conversation in the early days of this show, in 2005.

Avivah Zornberg is a scholar of the Torah and a modern-day master of midrash. She lives in Israel but grew up in Scotland, the daughter and granddaughter of East European rabbis. And before she taught the Bible, she taught English literature. She is the author of many books, including The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers, and most recently, The Hidden Order of Intimacy: Reflections on the Book of Leviticus.

Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.

This show originally aired in April, 2005.

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