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The Tyranny of Tomorrow (Shemot)

Preview: How Yosef’s lesson to the Egyptians – “worry about what tomorrow will bring” – illuminates all critical details of b’nei Yisrael’s enslavement (from their building of “store cities,” to Egypt’s concern about far-off wars, to the focus on “packing provisions” on the eve of the exodus).

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If the Shoe Fits (Purim)

Preview: Why does the Purim megillah seem to recall the ancient law of yibbum? And why does the yibbum law, in turn, contain so many allusions to the law of Amalek? And how does this all connect to the megillah’s focus on Esther’s identity as an orphan?

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On the Heels (Ekev)

Preview: The idiomatic use of “ekev” – “because;” “on the heels” – is exceedingly rare in the Torah. In fact, it may function as a technical term of sorts, for it appears in the Torah only five times in total, and always in the context of Hashem’s pledge concerning the Promised Land. Small wonder that we find textual parallels between all these texts. What do they mean?

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Sending Signs (Shelach)

Preview: The battle at Kadesh is the second one fought by b’nei Yisrael during their time in the desert. In many ways, it represents a direct reversal of their first one, which they had fought a year earlier, at Rephidim. What are the connections, and what do they mean?

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The Great Unknown (Bamidbar)

Preview: Our parshah poses a profound paradox. On the one hand, it appears to promote order; on the other hand, its disorganized literary style undermines that order at every turn. What’s going on?

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The Prince and the Precedent (Vayishlach)

Preview: Shechem’s assault of Dinah finds eerie precedent in the earlier “abducted sister” stories: Pharaoh’s and Avimelech’s abduction of Sarah, and Avimelech’s near abduction of Rivkah.

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On Second Glance (Chayei Sarah)

Preview: On the parallels between Avraham’s conflict with Avimelech and Avraham’s search for a daughter-in-law.

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It Ain’t Over ‘Till it’s Over (Vezot Habracha/Simchat Torah)

Preview: It’s well-known that Vezot Habracha is the parshah in which Moshe dies – but did you ever notice that there were four earlier parshahs in which Hashem instructed Moshe to die? How’d Moshe delay death so many times?

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Higher Desires (Shoftim)

Preview: The phrase “with all the cravings of your soul” appears only three times in the Torah. How are these three passages connected?

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The Split-Screen Scene (Vaetchanan)

Preview: “And I prayed to God at that time”: when, exactly, did this prayer occur? If you trace the chronology carefully, you’ll come to a startling conclusion: Moshe’s prayer coincided with Bilaam’s! There are indeed some remarkable parallels between their prayers – and a profound message underlying their connection.

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