Archive for the ‘podcast’ Category

Ekev 5780

August 4, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 2nd, 2020

Deut 8:9 says that Israel is “a land whose rocks are iron and from whose hills you can mine copper” — which leaves me with 2 questions.

(1)  Is it true? (2) Why are they telling us this now?

This week’s handout: 46 Ekev 5780

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• click here for the Haaretz article “How Was Iron Smelted in Ancient Israel? Researchers Build Kilns to Find Out”
• click here for “Mineral Deposits in Israel: A Contemporary View”
• click here for even more about iron mines in Israel

Va-etchanan 5780

July 28, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 26th, 2020

Deut 7:9 says that God “keeps His covenant faithfully to the thousandth generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments” — but “commandments” is spelled as if it were singular.  Is this a misspelling, an old-fashioned spelling, or something more significant?

This week’s handout: 45 Va-etchanan 5780

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For much more than you want to know about this suffix, see “The Morphological Development of the 3 M. Sg. Pronominal Suffix on Plural Nouns in Classical Hebrew,” by Jeremy Hutton et al., in 2 parts, in Hebrew Studies 59 (2018) and 60 (2019).

Devarim 5780

July 21, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 19th, 2020

Deut 2:36 (“not a city”) and 3:4 (“not a town”) both use the word קריה (kiryah) rather than the far more common עיר (ir).  We’ll look at some possible explanations why — with a stop in the New Testament and another in the northern kingdom on the way.

This week’s handout: 44 Devarim 5780

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• click here for Rendsburg’s Comprehensive Guide to Israelian Hebrew
• click here for Part 1 of the Bible Guy’s series on Late Biblical Hebrew
• click here for an essay on a different phrase in Deut 2:36

Mattot-Masei 5780

July 14, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 12th, 2020

Today Torah Talk goes to Tin Pan Alley.

Num 31:21 features a list of six metals, and two of them — iron [ברזל] and tin [בדיל] do NOT have Semitic names. We’ll explore why.

This week’s handout: 42-43 Mattot-Masei 5780

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•  click  here for the Times of Israel article on the discovery and research
•  click  here for the PLoS ONE article
• click here for a link to the abstract of the Intl. Journal of Nautical Archaeology article
• listen here to a June 2020 interview with archaeologist Eric Cline —
     starting at about 15:00 he discusses the lack of tin as the cause of the collapse of the Bronze Age
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  And now for a responsible opposing viewpoint.
  Benjamin J. Noonan, in Non-Semitic Loanwords in the Hebrew Bible, says בדיל originally meant lead, “for tin is not separated from any other metal during its production, whereas lead is a natural by-product of making silver.”  It therefore does (says Noonan) derive from בדל “to separate.”
  One thing we agree on is that tin was not imported from India to ancient Israel.  But in fact it was imported from a place where its name would have derived from Indo-European.

Pinchas 5780

July 7, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 5th, 2020

In Numbers 27, Zelophehad’s daughters bring a complaint to Moses.

Why didn’t Moses know what to do?

This week’s handout: 41 Pinchas 5780

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• click here for more on Ben Sommer’s book Revelation and Authority

Hukkat-Balak 5780

June 30, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 28th, 2020

Balaam was the prophet to the Gentiles, as Moses was the prophet to the Jews (listen to Vayikra 5780).

Numbers 22 hints to us that Balaam was like Abraham (take my Biblical Hebrew course to see how).  

But there is one more biblical character with a connection to Balaam (who it is might surprise you).

This week’s handout: 39-40 Hukkat-Balak

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Korah 5780

June 23, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 21st, 2020

Num 16:17 features 252 firepans [מחתות].  And Numbers 16-17 uses that word almost as much as the rest of the Bible combined.  Here’s why.

This week’s handout: 38 Korah 5780

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Shelach Lecha 5780

June 16, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 14th, 2020

In Num 14:28-29, God literally swears to make the current generation of Israelites “drop dead.”  Why does He add that this is an “oracle of the LORD [נאם-י.הוה]?”

This week’s handout: 37 Shelach Lecha 5780

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Beha’alotcha 5780

June 9, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 7th, 2020

Moses’ questioning of God in Num 11:11-15 is a little sharper than it seems.  Ed Greenstein explains, with help from Moshe Held.

This week’s handout: 36 Beha’alotcha 5780

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Naso 5780

June 2, 2020

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 31st, 2020

Num 6:24-26 is the Priestly Blessing:

The Lord bless you and protect you!

The Lord deal kindly and graciously with you!

The Lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!

But v. 27 may be even more important:

“Thus they shall link My name with the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

This week’s handout: 35 Naso 5780

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• click here to see the Ketef Hinnom amulet on the Israel Museum website
• click here for an article from the New York Times on it by John Noble Wilford
• click here for an article from the Biblical Archaeology Society