Devarim 5778

July 17, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 15th, 2018

Deut 3:1  We made our way up the road toward Bashan [ונפן ונעל דרך הבשן] …

What does it mean to go UP the road?  Rashi has the answer … or at least AN answer.

This week’s handout:  44 Devarim 5778

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

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Mattot-Masei 5778

July 10, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 8th, 2018

Num. 28:7  The libation with it shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb, to be poured in the sacred precinct as an offering of fermented drink [שכר] to the LORD. 8The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, preparing the same meal offering and libation as in the morning—an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the LORD.

Num. 32:33  Moses assigned to them—to the Gadites, the Reubenites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph—the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of King Og of Bashan.

Wait a minute … how did the half-tribe of Manasseh get in on this deal?

This week’s handout:  42-43 Mattot-Masei 5778

Read Baruch Schwartz’s essay on thetorah.com: http://thetorah.com/when-moses-placed-ephraim-before-manasseh/

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

Pinchas 5778

July 3, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 1st, 2018

Num. 28:7  The libation with it shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb, to be poured in the sacred precinct as an offering of fermented drink [שכר] to the LORD. 8The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, preparing the same meal offering and libation as in the morning—an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the LORD.

But what is שכר?

This week’s handout:  41 Pinchas 5778

Read Elaine Goodfriend’s essay on thetorah.com: http://thetorah.com/shekhar-is-it-wine-or-beer/

Donate: https://www.paypal.me/mcarasik

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

Balak 5778

June 26, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 24th, 2018

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass.  A Tanna taught on the authority of R. Simeon b. Eleazar: אהבה מבטלת שורה של גדולה.  Love disregards the rule of dignified conduct.  [This is deduced] from Abraham, for it is written, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass.”  Hate likewise disregards the rule of dignified conduct: [this is deduced] from Balaam, for it is written, “And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass.” [b. Sanhedrin 105b]

Are the stories of Balaam and of the Binding of Isaac connected?  Yes!

This week’s handout:  40 Balak 5778

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

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Hukkat 5778

June 19, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 17th, 2018

Num. 21:27-30 is a poem in praise of an Amorite king, Sihon — whom Israel has just conquered!  What is this poem doing in the Bible?

This week’s handout: 39 Hukkat 5778

Click here to read Liz Bloch-Smith’s article “When Did ‘Fire Go Forth from Heshbon’?”

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Korah 5778

June 12, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 10th, 2018

Num. 17:25   The LORD said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s staff back before the Pact, to be kept as a lesson to rebels, so that their mutterings against Me may cease, lest they die.” 26 This Moses did; just as the LORD had commanded him, so he did.

But … what happened to it, and to the jar of manna that was supposedly also there?

This week’s handout: 38 Korah 5778

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Shelach Lecha 5778

June 5, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 3rd, 2018

Numbers 14 – The Israelites are told they will die in the desert and only their children will enter the land.

Numbers 16 – The Korah Rebellion

And in between them … a bunch of miscellaneous laws.  What are they doing there?  And why are the laws so carefully integrated into Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy just tossed into Numbers any which way?

This week’s handout: 37 Shelach Lecha 5778

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Beha’alotcha 5778

May 29, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 27th, 2018

Num. 8:2

Moses is told to instruct Aaron, “When you mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand.”

But what does אל-מול פני המנורה really mean?  And where is the one surprising place it’s used outside of priestly literature?

This week’s handout:  36 Beha’alotcha 5778

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Naso 5778

May 22, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 20th, 2018

Num. 5:12 If any man’s wife has gone astray [כי-תשטה אשתו] and broken faith with him …

“Going astray” is a familiar biblical topic — and so is a woman cheating on her husband.  But the verb used for it in this passage about the “sotah” is extremely rare.  Where else does it occur?

This week’s handout:  35 Naso 5778

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Bemidbar 5778

May 15, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 13th, 2018

Num. 3:7 They shall perform duties for him and for the whole community before the Tent of Meeting, doing the work of the Tabernacle.

But how can the Tabernacle and the Tent of Meeting be the same thing when the Tent of Meeting existed — OUTSIDE the camp — before the Tabernacle was created?

This week’s handout:  34 Bemidbar 5778

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