From Venice to Xanadu

When Marco Polo returned to Venice after traveling for twenty-four years he had stories to tell and lessons to teach. While languishing in a Genoese jail, he told his tales to Rustichello, who recorded the Travels for posterity. The Travels exploded the notion of non-Europeans as untutored savages and introduced the court of Kublai Khan, the world’s most feared and powerful leader, to Europe.

Students often ask to hear the crazy stories of my life and travels. I am not Marco Polo, and I do not have a Rustichello, but I do have The Foundation Stone. Writing the columns have extended the reach of my travels to the battlefields of Babylon and Egypt, Israel and Amalek, Israel in the desert, the Offering of the Parah Adumah, and to towns scattered across the map of Jewish history. I feel that I have been privileged to hear Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Hosea and Zachariah warn, rebuke and teach. The far greater privilege has been to hear your voices and responses to the articles and podcasts. They have enriched me far more than Marco Polo gained from the Court of the Khan. Thank you.
I humbly offer more of my travels. Please join me as we sit at Ezekiel’s feet as he teaches us about Holiness and Purity. Sit with me as we listen to The Music of Halacha address The Creativity of Choice. Join me in discussing this week’s Table Talk. Hear the ageless teachings of my Rebbi, Rabbi Yochanan Zweig as he addresses Jealousy in The Profundities of Torah. Pray with me in the Lou Fridkis Column on The Forms of Prayer. Listen in with me to Rav Kook on Prayer, theBNN Breaking News and Special Reports on the Parah Adumah. Visit the Ba’al Shem Tov with Benzion Meltzer in Keter Shem Tov and Ba’al Shem Tov Stories on the Portion of the Week. Learn how to speak from my dear friend and role model,Rabbi Irwin Katsof. Please jump with me from century to century, and country to country as we visit numerous thinkers in the Countdown to Pesach.
I ask another favor of each of you. Please send in at least one short thought on, hopefully, your favorite insight into, the Haggadah. I hope to collect as many of your thoughts as possible so we can post The Foundation Stone Haggadah. Please email your comments to me at

Happy Travels

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg

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