"Re’eh. The word means “see”. But what are the people looking at? Two mountains? No. Are we looking at those mountains now? No. You are reading this on a page or on a screen, perhaps looking up at a window or a table. The people are instructed to look at blessings and curses—abstractions, futures. The blessing if the people remember, if we remember. A curse, if we forget. The cursed life lacks a sense of past and future. The blessed life acknowledges past sacrifices so as to avoid redundancy. But it also looks to the future asking what sacrifices it can make so that subsequent generations won’t have to. The blessed life takes the long-view."
"If Hanson is right that sacred writing is a key to relative peace and prosperity, we should ask how we can cultivate an appreciation for sacred writing even in a secular age. We should ask how we can maintain a literary and poetic sensibility in a time dominated by Tiktok, 24 hour news cycles, and a culture that produces cultural goods as if they were consumer goods—cheap to make, cheap to break, cheap to replace. The Torah is given to last. It is a bulwark not just against exile from land, but also exile from attention. Torah anchors us in what would otherwise be a sea of constant content. Ironically, Torah is needed not just to shift us morally from a primitive age to an Axial one, but to protect us from various existential risks that we now face."
“You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
"The Year of Duke Ellington is whimsical and sincere without being trite or corny, amorous without turning limp and doe-eyed in the face of its clear desires, open-hearted but not gullible, and intolerant of dialects that oversimplify our range of motion and emotion and narrow our best ideas into brands."