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The Ten Trials of Abraham The Ten Trials of Abraham (first mentioned in Pirkei Avos 5:4 and elucidated in later commentaries) charts the dramatic spiritual and personal journey of the first man to recognize and obey God. His journey begins with the wrenching pain of exile…
Genesis 28:10-22 10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and remained there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows,…
THE SARAH PAINTINGS OF RICHARD MCBEE Traditionally the family has been a narrative institution: It was the past and it had a tale to tell of how things began, including the child himself; and it had counsel to give. Lionel Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (1972), p.…
Written by Laura Kruger The curtains have parted, the orchestra has forewarned us of an impending tragedy; the characters take their places center stage to interact with each other in a story that is well known to the audience. But like a great opera, it…
Written by Richard McBee God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Sarah’s only child. Our forefather gets up early and obeys, not telling Sarah his wife of 47 years. According to Rashi (Genesis 23:2) when she finds out about this, she dies of shock.…
Written by Tom L. Freudenheim Confronting Richard McBee’s series of paintings, Sarah’s Trials, is as much about engaging with the concept of Midrashic narrative and its multi-layered plotlines as it is about appreciating the paintings themselves. The duality of the painter’s deeply-rooted impulses, both reimagining…
Each painting is inspired by the Biblical text in several chapters of the book of Genesis and by midrashim and other rabbinic interpretations of the texts. Most of these midrashim come from a collection called Midrash Rabbah, which dates to the early 5th century CE.
The Stolen Blessing (1) Genesis 27: 1 – 29 1And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said to him, My son; and he…
The Stolen Blessing: Esav's Blessing Genesis 27: 30 – 41, Genesis 27: 1 – 29 1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said…

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