Balak 5779

July 16, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 14th, 2019

Balaam: Saint or Sinner?

This week’s handout: 40 Balak 5779

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Hukkat 5779

July 9, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 7th, 2019

What is “Waheb” … and why does it have the letters את in front of it?  Ed Greenstein and “Signs of Poetry Past” have the answer.

This week’s handout: 39 Hukkat 5779

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Learn Biblical Hebrew:

https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/biblical-hebrew-learning-a-sacred-language.html

 

 

Korah 5779

July 2, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 30th, 2019

Who is the head of the tribe of Levi?  Turns out, it’s … Aaron.  But this time the tribes are “ancestral houses.”

This week’s handout: 38 Korah 5779

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Shelach Lecha 5779

June 25, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 23rd, 2019

Num 15:30  But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly [ביד רמה] reviles the LORD; that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has spurned the word of the LORD and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off [הכרת תכרת] — he bears his guilt.

What does Num 15:30-31 have to do with … impeachment?  According to Prof. David Flatto of the Hebrew University, more than you might think at first glance.

This week’s handout: 37 Shelach Lecha 5779

Click here for David Flatto’s homepage at the Hebrew University.

Click here to see the announcement of his talk at Penn.

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Learn Biblical Hebrew:https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/biblical-hebrew-learning-a-sacred-language.html

Beha’alotcha 5779

June 18, 2019

Take the Levites … please.  What is the big insistence on “taking” the Levites all about?

Torah Talk for the week of June 16th, 2019

Num 8:5  The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 6 Take the Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them.

This week’s handout:  36 Beha’alotcha 5779

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Naso 5779

June 11, 2019

When did the Levites start work?

Torah Talk for the week of June 9th, 2019

Num 4 :30  You shall record them from the age of thirty years up to the age of fifty, all who are subject to service in the performance of the duties for the Tent of Meeting.

Num 8:24  This is the rule for the Levites. From twenty-five years of age up they shall participate in the work force in the service of the Tent of Meeting.

1 Chr 23:24   These are the sons of Levi by clans, with their clan chiefs as they were enrolled, with a list of their names by heads, who did the work of the service of the House of the LORD from the age of twenty and upward.

This week’s handout:  35 Naso 5779

Click here to donate.
Click here for the Commentators’ Bible.
Click here for my Biblical Hebrew course from the Teaching Company.
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Bemidbar 5779

June 4, 2019

How many tribes are there in the book of Numbers — 12 … or 13?

Torah Talk for the week of June 2nd, 2019

Num 3:5  The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 6 Advance the tribe of Levi and place them in attendance upon Aaron the priest to serve him.

This week’s handout: 34 Bemidbar 5779

Click here for 9 more fascinating facts about John Hancock.

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Behukkotai 5779

May 28, 2019

The Israelites are given a promise that goes to only one other person in the Bible — but who?

Torah Talk for the week of May 26th, 2019

Lev 26:9  I will look with favor upon you, and make you fertile [והפריתי אתכם] and multiply you [והרביתי אתכם]; and I will maintain My covenant with you.

This week’s handout: 33 Behukkotai 5779

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Behar 5779

May 21, 2019

What is a hendiadys … what is a toshav … and what do they have to do with each other?

Torah Talk for the week of May 19th, 2019

Lev 25:35    a resident alien [גר ותושב]

Lev 25:40    a hired or bound laborer [תושב ושכיר]

This week’s handout:  32 Behar 5779

And note Joram Mayshar’s article in JBL 2014:

The term תושב (toshav) appears in the Bible fourteen times, mostly in passages associated with the Holiness Code (H). It is typically interpreted as referring to an alien who resides in a foreign country on a long-term basis. I propose, instead, that it had an economic meaning, referring to “a rent-paying (farming) tenant,” that is, someone who cultivates land that he does not own and pays rent to the landlord. In the course of supporting this interpretation, I offer a framework for understanding the social structure envisioned by H and for appreciating H’s innovative social aspirations.

Click here for Zev Farber’s Bible Odyssey column on slavery in the Bible.

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Emor 5779

May 14, 2019

What was “parched grain” and what does it taste like?

Torah Talk for the week of May 12th, 2019

Lev 20:14    Until that very day, until you have brought the offering of your God, you shall eat no bread or parched grain [קלי] or fresh ears; it is a law for all time throughout the ages in all your settlements.

This week’s handout: 31 Emor 5779

Click here for Tova Dickstein’s recipe for kali from the Edx website [you will have to log in].

Click here for Batya Uval’s recipe from the Neot Kedumim website.

Click here for Cynthia Shafer-Elliott’s essay on “Cooking in the Hebrew Bible” from the ASOR website.

Click here to see Millet’s “Harvesters Resting” (which illustrates Ruth 2:14) on the MFA website.

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Learn Biblical Hebrew:

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