Posts Tagged ‘Abraham ibn Ezra’

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5778

March 6, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of March 4th, 2018

God is the One who is “Enthroned on the Cherubim” — but not on those calves!  So … what exactly are cherubim?  William Propp says they are “griffins.”

This week’s handout:  22-23 Vayakhel-Pekudei 5778



Tetzaveh 5778

February 20, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 18th, 2018

Ex. 27:20 You shall further instruct the Israelites [ואתה תצוה את בני ישראל] to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.

Why doesn’t God just tell Moses, “Instruct the Israelites [צו את בני ישראל]” as He does elsewhere?

This week’s handout:  20 Tetzaveh 5778

Click here for R. Chaim Brovender’s talk (scroll down to 5774), which you can listen to or download — warning: It’s in Yeshivish.

Click here to go directly to the Hebrew sources R. Brovender provided, which focus on our question.


Mishpatim 5778

February 6, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 4th, 2018

Exod. 21:5  But if the slave declares, “I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free,” 6 his master shall take him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his slave for life.

Why is the slave’s ear pierced, and where did they get such an idea?  Victor Hurowitz (ז”ל) has an answer.

This week’s handout:  18 Mishpatim 5778


Shemot 5778

January 2, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 31st, 2017

Exodus 2:1   A certain man of the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and she saw how beautiful he was [ותרא אותו כי טוב הוא] …

RASHI : How beautiful he was. When he was born, the whole house filled with light.

Where did Rashi get this notion from?  And what does it tell us about the book of Exodus as a whole?

This week’s handout:  13 Shemot 5778

Update from  I haven’t had a chance to read this yet, but I thought I’d better link to it while it was fresh.


Pre-order the Genesis volume of the Commentators’ Bible!

 Happy New Year to all!


V’zot ha-Bracha 5777-78

October 3, 2017

This is Torah Talk for the week of October 1st, 2017 

מימינו אשדת למו

Deut. 33:2

The Lord came from Sinai;

He shone upon them from Seir;

He appeared from Mount Paran,

And approached from Ribeboth-kodesh,

Lightning flashing at them from His right.b

b Meaning of Heb. mimino eshdath uncertain, perhaps a place name.

Masorah:      This is one of 15 cases where the written text has a single word that is to be read out loud as two words.

This week’s handout:  54 V’zot ha-Bracha 5777-78


Ha’azinu 5777-78

September 19, 2017

This is Torah Talk for the week of September 17th, 2017 

Deut. 32:44    Moses came, together with Hosea son of Nun, and recited all the words of this poem in the hearing of the people.

The poem is Ha’azinu … but why is Joshua called Hosea?

Note:  I mistakenly said on the podcast that we would be reading Ha’azinu for a second week — but since Saturday afternoon September 23rd we have been “in” Parshat V’Zot Ha-Bracha.  That podcast, however, remains scheduled for Oct. 3rd, in time for the full reading on Oct. 5th or 6th (depending on which calendar you follow).

This week’s handout:  53 Ha’azinu 5777-78



Ki Tetze 5777

August 29, 2017

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 27th, 2017

The congregation of the Lord (Deut 23:2) served as the national governing body, akin to a popular legislature, that was charged with a broad range of judicial, political, and policy matters (Judg. 20:2). – Bernard Levinson, Jewish Study Bible

This week’s handout:  49 Ki Tetze 5777


Shoftim 5777

August 22, 2017

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 20th, 2017

Our hands did not shed this blood [Deut 21:7]. “Shed” has the appearance of a singular verb, not a plural;H you will find the same grammatical phenomenon in “my steps were nearly led off course” (Ps. 73:2). — Abraham ibn Ezra

Correction:  I say on the audio that the perfect is the equivalent of the Modern Hebrew present tense — no idea what I was thinking.  Of course, it is the equivalent of the Modern Hebrew past tense.  Sorry for the mistake.

This week’s handout:  48 Shoftim 5777


Re’eh 5777

August 15, 2017

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 13th, 2017

Deut. 15:18

When you do set him free, do not feel aggrieved; for in the six years he has given you double the

service of a hired man.

RASHI : Double the service of a hired man. From this verse the Sages derive that a Hebrew

slave may be asked to serve his master both during the day and at night; that is “double” what

one may require of a hired man. What kind of “service” does he do at night? His master provides

him with one of his Canaanite slave women; whatever offspring they produce belong to the


This week’s handout:  47 Re’eh 5777


Devarim 5777

July 25, 2017

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 23rd, 2017

Deut. 1:5 – On the other side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to

expound this Teaching. הואיל משה באר את התורה הזאת

This week’s handout:  44 Devarim 5777