Machinations and twisted ambitions

Kahn’s book series is appropriately entitled Echoes of Eden, since the author finds traces of Eden’s evil snake venom or the serpent’s shedded skin in many, if not most, of the biblical episodes from Genesis through Numbers.

Boy looking at snake 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
Boy looking at snake 521
(photo credit: Reuters)
What is it that connects the shoes that Joseph’s brothers bought with the 20 talents they received for selling Joseph into slavery, to the shoes that Moses removed from his feet at the burning bush? And what connects these to the shoes that the Israelites were instructed to strap on as they waited for redemption on the night before they left Egypt, and to the shoes of the ugly halitza ceremony (when a man refuses to marry his deceased brother’s childless wife and carry on the family name)? Rabbi Ari D. Kahn seeks to answer such cryptic questions in his intricately complicated essays on the weekly Torah readings.
His method rests on plumbing mystical glosses and less-well-known kabbalistic commentaries on the Bible alongside traditional commentaries, and pointing out overarching themes that cross chapter boundaries. In doing so, he teaches us that the Bible has recurring, emphatic moral themes.
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