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Take Two (Pesach Sheni)

Preview: Theory: the “impure men” who petitioned for Pesach Sheni may have been the cousins of Nadav and Avihu: Mishael and Elzaphan. Textual observations implied/implicated by this theory include: parallels between the inauguration of the mishkan and the night of korban Pesach; between the deaths of Nadav and Avihu and the plague of the firstborns; and between the ritual reaction of the Pesach Sheni’s “impure men” compared to that of Aharon’s (other) family members following the deaths of Nadav and Avihu.

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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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Home Improvement (Terumah)

Preview: The building of the Tabernacle was the nation’s second major construction project. Their first major construction project was the building of store houses in Egypt. On the uncanny relationship between the two: mishkenot vs. miskenot.

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Out of This World (Nasso)

Preview: The laws of nezirut combine three elements – grapes/wine, hair, corpses – that seem to have little connection to each other. But that combination came up once before – after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. And in fact, if you look carefully, you’ll discover that the laws of nezirut were taught on the same day that Nadav and Avihu died. That can’t be a coincidence!

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Warm Calling (Vayikra)

Preview: There seems to be some clever word-play taking place throughout the book of Vayikra between the words קר, קרא and קרב…

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The Shadow of God (Vayakhel)

Preview: Why was Betzalel chosen as the architect for the mishkan? A short homiletic thought.

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Giving Selflessly (Terumah)

Preview: How can “gifts” be “commanded?” A short homiletic thought.

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