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Where the Chips Fall (Nitzavim)

Preview: Rashi identifies the “wood choppers” in this week’s parshah as the Giveonites from sefer Yehoshua. What’s the deeper meaning behind this connection – and how does the law of the accidental murderer, which also features a “wood chopper,” illuminate this connection?

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History’s Best Sermon Hook (Devarim)

Preview: “Hashem told us at Sinai: Enough standing around this mountain!” Read properly, this, in effect, is the first line of Moshe’s valedictory address. What a wild way to begin one’s goodbye – and what a curious way to summarize the experience at Sinai! Why start this way?

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The Rock Song (Yom Kippur/Haazinu)

Preview: The song Moshe leads on the last day of his life, all about “water” and “rocks,” seems to bring us back to an episode from earlier in his life where “rocks” and “water” took center stage…

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Leading from the Front (Re’eh)

Preview: How the story of Micah’s idols, in sefer Shoftim, evokes Moshe’s warnings about national downfall in this week’s parshah – and why the Levi plays such a prominent role in both.

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The Deleted Scene (Vaetchanan)

Preview: Moshe’s prayer to enter the land was private. It was never mentioned in the first four books of the Torah. So why did Moshe divulge it, in sefer Devarim? Perhaps to rebuke the people; perhaps to ask for their prayers; perhaps to emphasize that they should not take for granted the opportunity lying before them; perhaps to teach them that “sometimes, a father says no.” Plus, reflections on the recurring phrase, “רב לך.”

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Bee Line (Devarim)

Preview: “And they chased you like bees” – what’s the meaning of this strange metaphor? “And we were like grasshoppers in their eyes” – what’s the meaning of this strange metaphor? Might the two be connected?

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In His Shoes (Chukkat)

Preview: Miriam dies right before the water crisis at Merivah. The memory of that death is alluded to throughout the story, and helps explain Moshe’s conduct during that ordeal.

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Synthesis and Statehood (Yom Ha’atzmaut)

Preview: A strange pattern: things that happen in “twos” for Moshe happen in “ones” for Yehohua. Also, why does sefer Yehoshua keep repeating the phrase “עד תום כל הגוי?”

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In Man’s Image (Ki Tissa)

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The Bystander Effect (Shemot)

Preview: “He saw there was no man:” Was Moshe just confirming that the coast was clear before jumping to the rescue? Or, did he jump to the rescue only after he realized nobody else would?

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