Posts Tagged ‘Gersonides’

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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Aharei Mot 5779

April 30, 2019

Why is the prohibition of offering your children to Molech in a chapter full of sex crimes?

Torah Talk for the week of April 28th, 2019

Lev 18:21         Do not allow any of your offspring to be offered up to Molech [ומזרעך לא-תתן להעביר למולך], and do not profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

This week’s handout: 29 Aharei Mot 5779

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Metzora 5779

April 9, 2019

Why does the priest smear blood on the leper’s ear, thumb, and toe?

Torah Talk for the week of April 7th, 2019

Lev 14:14    The priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the ridge of the right ear of him who is being cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.

This week’s handout: 28 Metzora 5779

Click here for NIH “Anatomy of the Ear” website.

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Shemini 5779

March 26, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of March 24th, 2019

Lev 9:1       On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel. 2 He said to Aaron: “Take a calf of the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and bring them before the Lord. 3 And speak to the Israelites, saying: Take a he-goat for a sin offering; a calf and a lamb, yearlings without blemish, for a burnt offering; 4 and an ox and a ram for an offering of well-being to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meal offering with oil mixed in. For today the LORD will appear [נראה] to you.”

But the Hebrew is more mysterious than the translations make it appear.

This week’s handout: 26 Shemini 5779

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Mishpatim 5779

January 29, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 27th, 2019

Exod. 24:4    Early in the morning, he set up an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars for [ל] the twelve tribes of Israel.  [Apologies; on the recording I say by mistake that this preposition is על.]

Exod. 24:8   Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people …

What were the pillars for, and what was Moses doing with the blood?

This week’s handout:  18 mishpatim 5779

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Shemot 5779

December 25, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 23rd, 2018

Exod. 3:11  But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt?”

How many questions is Moses asking — one or two?

This week’s handout:  13 Shemot 5779

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Vayishlach 5779

November 20, 2018

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

Gen. 32:33  That is why the children of Israel to this day do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the

socket of the hip, since Jacob’s hip socket was wrenched at the thigh muscle.

Is this a commandment, or just a bit of ethnography?

This week’s handout:  08 Vayishlach 5779

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Nitzavim 5778

September 4, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of September 2nd, 2018

Deut. 29:27  “The LORD uprooted them from their soil in anger, fury, and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as is still the case [כיום הזה].”

Why is the ל so big?  What does “as is still the case” mean?  “The LORD uprooted them” points us to an answer

This week’s handout:  51 Nitzavim 5778
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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


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