Posts Tagged ‘Nahmanides’

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


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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’?”


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


Aharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778

April 24, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 22nd, 2018

Lev. 18:21 Do not allow any of your offspring to be offered up to Molech, and do not profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.

Jacob Milgrom: “But who is Molech?”

This week’s handout:  29-30 Aharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778


Shemini 5778

March 27, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the weeks of March 25th and April 8th, 2018

Lev. 11:46      These are the instructions concerning animals, birds, all living creatures that move in water, and all creatures that swarm on earth, 47 for distinguishing between the unclean and the clean, between the living things that may be eaten and the living things that may not be eaten.

But why?  The High Priest supposedly explained it all to Aristeas …

This “week’s” handout:  26 Shemini 5778


Click here for Elli Fischer’s article about Azariah de Rossi and the Letter of Aristeas.

Click here for an online translation of the letter (also clickable from Fischer’s article).


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


Beshalach 5778

January 23, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 21st, 2018

Exod. 14:13  But Moses said to the people, “Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance which the

Lord will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today [כי אשר ראיתם את מצרים היום] you will never see again.”

But is that what כי אשר ראיתם את מצרים היום really means?  And why would Moses say such a thing?

This week’s handout:  16 Beshalach 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.


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 Happy New Year to all!