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Tag Archives: Moshe

The Calf and its Other Half (Zachor)

Preview: If you read closely, you’ll notice something most peculiar: as it turns out, the sin of chet ha’egel unfolds in ways eerily reminiscent of the way that the confrontation with Amalek did. What are the connections, and what do they mean?

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Book the Date (Simchat Torah)

Preview: Why is Simchat Torah celebrated when it is? Perhaps because that is actually when the world’s very first cycle of Torah study was instituted. In fact, that’s a conclusion we might be able to arrive at using little more than the chronology available to us in the Torah itself.

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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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They Won’t Trust Me (Shemot)

Preview: A theory: Moshe’s leprosy is directly linked to Miriam’s: only because Moshe doubted himself did others begin to as well. Ironically, his concerns – that others would question his prophetic abilities – became their own self-fulfilling prophecy.

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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 Avengers (Masei)

Preview: No less than four times throughout the Torah do we find the tribesmen of Levi taking justice into their own hands, by taking the lives of those deemed deserving of death. In other words, those responsible for running the arei miklat—those tasked with discouraging the practice of vigilante justice—were none other than the nation’s most prominent vigilantes. What’s going on?

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Snake Eyes (Chukkat)

Preview: Snakes. Fire. Cursed bread. Weariness and thorns. Pathway to the good land has become obstructed. All these elements appear during the plague in our parshah – and also in the Garden of Eden…

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Beating Around the Bush (Beha’alotcha)

Preview: Is there any connection between the lighting of the menorah and the fires of Nadav and Avihu? What about the branch of almonds that sprouted following Korach’s rebellion? What about the burning bush?

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Bitter Waters (Nasso)

Preview: It seems the “bitter waters” central to the sotah ritual ought to be understood in light of the “bitter waters” which b’nei Yisrael drank shortly after Moshe and Miriam led them in “shirat ha-yam.” Also relevant in this vein: the deep-running contrast between Miriam and the sotah.

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Reaching Out (Pesach)

Preview: The story of Pesach is the story of three “outstretched arms:” first, the daughter of Pharaoh, when reaching for baby Moshe; second, Hashem, when rescuing b’nei Yisrael; third, b’nei Yisrael, when leaving Egypt, and again during the battle with Amalek.

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