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It’s All Coming Together Now (Tu B’Av)

Preview: Tu B’Av is a little-known holiday that Chazal associate with a bevy of Biblical events—from overcoming liability for the sin of the spies, to the case of Tzlofchad’s daughters, to reuniting with the tribe of Binyamin following civil war. These events are strewn across Tanach, seem to share little in common, and are never dated in Tanach itself to the fifteenth of Av. But careful study shows that they are, indeed, deeply connected—both to each other, and to the particular day to which Chazal date them. In fact, the key to figuring this all out may be to recognize that yet one other event falls out around the fifteenth of Av—one that Chazal never explicitly connect with this date: the war with Sichon, all the way back in sefer Bamidbar

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Taking a Stand (Chukkat)

Preview: There are two water crises in the Torah – the one at Massa U-Merivah and the one at Mei Merivah. Ever notice the spate of similarities between the stories told in each one’s aftermath – that is, between Moshe’s correspondence with the King of Edom and Moshe’s correspondence with the Priest of Midian? What are the connections, and what do they mean?

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The Great Unknown (Bamidbar)

Preview: Our parshah poses a profound paradox. On the one hand, it appears to promote order; on the other hand, its disorganized literary style undermines that order at every turn. What’s going on?

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Outside Opinions (Beha’alotcha)

Preview: Of all the complaints issued by Israel in the desert, not a single one comes when Yitro is with them–in fact, they end right when he arrives and start up again the minute he leaves. And, there are remarkable resonances between the language Moses uses to plead with Yitro to stay, and the description of Israel’s complaints as soon as he departs…

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The Burden Bearers (Bamidbar)

Preview: How come the “chieftains” (נשיאים) that appear in Bamidbar, Nasso (twice) and Behaalotcha, are suddenly replaced with a different group of “chieftains” at the start of Shelach?

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