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The Calf and its Other Half (Zachor)

Preview: If you read closely, you’ll notice something most peculiar: as it turns out, the sin of chet ha’egel unfolds in ways eerily reminiscent of the way that the confrontation with Amalek did. What are the connections, and what do they mean?

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They Won’t Trust Me (Shemot)

Preview: A theory: Moshe’s leprosy is directly linked to Miriam’s: only because Moshe doubted himself did others begin to as well. Ironically, his concerns – that others would question his prophetic abilities – became their own self-fulfilling prophecy.

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We All Make Mistakes (Yom Kippur)

Preview: The most significant details of Yom Kippur seem to all be modeled upon the kohen gadol’s historical failures. The date recalls the Golden Calf. The prohibitions recall the people’s attempt to gain atonement. And the Temple rituals are introduced in explicit contrast to the trespass of Nadav and Avihu! What’s going on?

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Interrupting Cow (Chukkat)

Preview: Basically all that the Torah records, between the rebellion of Korach in year two, and the deaths of Aharon and Miriam in year thirty-eight, is the ritual of the parah adumah. So, in some sense, it is through the law of the parah adumah that the Torah “tells the story” of those intervening years.

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