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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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I’m On a Boat (Noah)

Preview: Commentary on assorted observations, including: (1) “Flesh” (בשר) and “spirit”/”wind” (רוח) as twin “leading-words” in the story of Noach; (2) Why did Noach send the raven? Was it perhaps to procure food? Did Noach think he might be here indefinitely? Plus, intertextual links to Eliyahu’s ravens; (3) Subtle literary hints that Noach may have experienced life in the ark as life in “jail;” (4) Speculation on Terach’s motives for leaving Ur Kasdim.

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Problem Finders vs. Problem Fixers (Bechukotai)

Preview: Look carefully and you’ll notice that there’s a pair of closely related key words that appear throughout the parshiyot of Behar and Bechukotai: געל, “to reject,” and גאל, “to redeem.” What’s going on?

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But Who’s Counting? (Pekudei)

Preview: The verb פ.ק.ד has this funny way of cropping up at all critical junctures in the book of Shemot: from the burning bush to the exodus to Sinai to the Golden Calf to the accounting of the mishkan. What does it mean?

 

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