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Bread and Curses (Shelach)

Preview: On the relationship between three stories (mann-collecter, wood-gatherer, blasphemer) and three laws (Shabbat, challah, lechem ha-panim) – and how the theme of “redistributive justice” may be the key to understanding their literary connection.

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The Matchmakers (Vayakhel)

Preview: There’s a strange midrash about the nesi’im underestimating how much b’nei Yisrael would donate to the mishkan. To understand it, we must look to the last episode where the nesi’im appeared: in the story of the mann, where they criticized the nation for gathering to excess.

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Sound Investments (Beshalach)

Preview: A short homiletic thought: When the people store mann in their tents, it rots. When Aaron stores it in the mishkan, it does not. There’s a lesson here: investments in material luxury don’t ultimately yield the returns we might have hoped; investments in ethical education do.

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