Balak 5781

June 22, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 20th, 2021

Num. 22:39 Balaam went with Balak and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep [בָּקָ֣ר וָצֹ֑אן], and had them served to Balaam and the dignitaries with him.

Why does Balak sacrifice “oxen and sheep” rather than “sheep and oxen”?  Not as pointless a question as it sounds.

This week’s handout: 40 Balak 5781

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Hukkat 5781

June 15, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 13th, 2021

Num. 20:13 Those are the Waters of Meribah—meaning that the Israelites quarrelled with the Lord—through which He affirmed His sanctity [וַיִּקָּדֵ֖שׁ בָּֽם].
This week’s handout: 39 Hukkat 5781

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Korah 5781

June 8, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 6th, 2021

Num. 16:13   Is it not enough that you brought us from a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, that you would also lord it over us?

What do you mean, from a land flowing with milk and honey?  And did you really mean honey?  And did you really even mean milk?  Idan Dershowitz doesn’t think so.

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Shelach Lecha 5781

June 1, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 30th, 2021

Num. 15:39   That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the Lord and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge.

But Ecclesiastes begs to differ.

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Beha’alotcha 5781

May 25, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 23rd, 2021

Num. 11:1   The people took to, like, complaining [וַיְהִי הָעָם כְּמִתְאֹנְנִים] bitterly before the Lord.

As if!  What does this verb really mean, and why were they “like” doing it?

This week’s handout: 36 Beha’alotcha 5781

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Naso 5781

May 18, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 16th, 2021

In Numbers 5, God tells Moses, When a man or woman commits any wrong toward a fellow man, thus breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess the wrong that he has done. He shall make restitution in the principal amount and add one-fifth to it, giving it to him whom he has wronged.

Don Isaac Abarbanel asks, “Since the same passage is also found in Leviticus 5, why is it repeated?

Good question, Don Isaac!

This week’s handout: 35 Naso 5781

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Bemidbar 5781

May 11, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 9th, 2021

• Does Numbers connect to Leviticus … or to Exodus?
 

This week’s handout: 34 Bemidbar 5781

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Behar-Behukkotai 5781

May 4, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 2nd, 2021

Lev. 25:23       But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim [לִצְמִתֻ֔ת], for the land is Mine.

It’s a bis legomenon!!!  But what does it really mean, where did it come from, and how did it get into the Holiness Code?

This week’s handout: 32-33 Behar-Behukkotai 5781

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Emor 5781

April 27, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 25th, 2021

Lev. 23:10    When you enter the land that I am giving to you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest.11 He shall elevate the sheaf before the Lord for acceptance in your behalf; the priest shall elevate it on the day after the sabbath [מִֽמָּחֳרַת֙ הַשַּׁבָּ֔ת]. 

What does this verse mean by the day after the sabbath? That question opens a Pandora’s box of trouble for Jewish history.

Click here and see §41 to find out what Abarbanel thought the explanation was.

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Aharei Mot-Kedoshim 5781

April 20, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 18th, 2021

Lev. 19:4   Do not turn to idols [אַל־תִּפְנוּ֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלִילִ֔ים] or make molten gods for yourselves: I the Lord am your God.

But what exactly is an אֱלִיל?

Click here for Mark Hamilton’s article “What Are Elilim?”

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