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Grave Mistake (Beshalach)

Preview: “Was it for lack of graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” Some see this as the first recorded example of Jewish self-deprecating humor. But maybe the suggestion wasn’t meant sarcastically. Maybe the people meant it seriously. Indeed, they might have had good reason to. To realize why, just think back to Yaakov and Yosef’s deathbed requests…

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Blessings in Disguise (Vezot Habracha)

Preview: Why are there so many veiled allusions to Esav in Moshe’s parting blessing to b’nei Yisrael? A very quick idea on this week’s parshah, along with an accompanying source sheet.

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The Sound of Music (Beshalach)

Preview: There are dozens of phonetic word-plays hidden within the lyrics of the Song of the Sea and the water crisis at Marah, which combine to communicate a deep irony of these stories which we often miss.

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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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Temple Run (Terumah)

Preview: The mishkan is introduced in this week’s parshah, yet several of its laws appeared as early as two weeks ago. Why were those laws introduced “early?”

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