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On the Heels (Ekev)

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?

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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 Hair Affair (Korach)

Preview: The rebellion of Aaron’s cousin, Korach, seems awfully reminiscent of an earlier episode involving Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu…

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Are We There Yet? (Bo)

Preview: There’s a curious focus on the packing of “provisions” (צדה) that we find when b’nei Yisrael travel between Egypt and Canaan in Yosef’s days; and again, on the eve of the exodus in the book of Shemot; and again during their entry into the land in the days of Yehoshua. What’s its significance, and how is it related to the concept of “tarrying” (להתמהמה) – another concept that crops up a lot in these contexts?

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Waterless Pits (Vayeshev)

Preview: On the theory, noticed by others, that the Korban Pesach recalls the sale of Yosef – and how Zechariah may have alluded to this.

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It’s a Generational Thing (Noah)

Preview: Noach’s parshah begins the same way Yitzchak’s does: אלה תולדות נח vs. אלה תולדות יצחק. But Noach’s parshah is traditionally called “Noach” while Yitzchak’s is traditionally called “Generations.” Why? Exploring the surprising parallels (and “anti-parallels”) between these two may highlight the critical distinction between these two great men.

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