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Lay Leaders (Toldot/Chag Hasemikhah)

Preview: Rabbinic ordination is referred to in Hebrew as “semicha” – literally, “laying,” or “leaning.” This term derives from sefer Bamidbar, where Moshe laid his hands on Yehoshua when appointing him as his successor. But why is the transfer of Jewish leadership symbolized ritually as an act of “leaning?” We present several approaches, based upon the writings of the mefarshim and upon original analysis of several Biblical texts.

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