In my latest reading of Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, I noticed similarities between certain Kenyan tribal customs and rules in the Torah: a man marries his brother’s wife when his brother dies, for example. There was also a sort of purity system, for a person in the Luo tribe with a rash or sores was regarded as unclean. But there was a difference: the Luo tribe was against circumcision, whereas the Torah mandated it for Israelites. There are probably sociological and anthropological explanations for these similarities and differences—-a tendency to establish an in/group and an out/group, for instance.
Another theme that came up in my latest reading was that of trying. One person named Yosuf did well in school and got job offers, but he was afraid to try, and so he mostly stayed with Granny and did chores for her. Another person was persistent and knocked on doors, sure that his efforts would pay off at some point.