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Preview: The laws of sefer Devarim seem uniquely focused on procedural issues (the process for resolving disputes), and among the reasons for this may be that it was an inability to resolve disputes which divided the Bible’s first group of people who tried to live together in the Promised Land (Abraham and Lot) — and it was the failure of procedural justice (how the law is administered) even more than substantive justice (what the law says) which ultimately undermined the earliest Biblical societies, too (Noah’s generation and the city of Sodom).
Preview: Who built the Tower of Bavel – and why? Read the story carefully and you might come to a surprising conclusion… (Hint: The story appears in the middle of a particular genealogical account, and describes a particular location where the builders came from).
Preview: The “sibling swap” Rivkah orchestrates against Yitzchak is simply a version of the very same ruse he had orchestrated a chapter earlier, against Avimelech. In fact, all of the major stories from sefer Bereshit through the beginning of sefer Shemot may have their roots in the ruse that the patriarchs pulled on Avimelech/Pharaoh – and the literary links are there to demonstrate it.
Preview: The Torah presents akedat Yitzchak as a test of Avraham’s. But what if Yitzchak refuses to participate – does Avraham fail? Yes, he does – for the ultimate test of spiritual greatness is not whether one is willing to follow Hashem’s will, but rather, whether the way one has led one’s life inspires the next generation to follow after you.
Preview: The idiomatic use of “ekev” – “because;” “on the heels” – is exceedingly rare in the Torah. In fact, it may function as a technical term of sorts, for it appears in the Torah only five times in total, and always in the context of Hashem’s pledge concerning the Promised Land. Small wonder that we find textual parallels between all these texts. What do they mean?
Preview: Almost word-for-word, the blessing Yitzchak receives before moving to Gerar is the blessing his father received following akedat Yitzchak. Some thoughts on how that blessing materialized during Yitzchak’s stay with Avimelech – and how the literary legacy of the akedah illustrates that true sacrifice never really ends.