Posts Tagged ‘Nahum Sarna’

Vayakhel 5779

February 26, 2019

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

Exod 38:8  He made the laver of copper and its stand of copper, from the mirrors of the women who performed tasks [הצבאת] at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

Who exactly are these women … what are they doing … why is the laver made from these mirrors … and how did Moses get them?

This week’s handout: 22 Vayakhel 5779

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Tetzaveh 5779

February 12, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 10th, 2019

Exod. 27:21  Aaron and his sons shall set them up in the Tent of Meeting.

Exod. 28:1   You shall bring forward your brother Aaron, with his sons, from among the Israelites, to serve Me as priests …

Exod. 29:2   … And so they shall have priesthood as their right for all time.  You shall then ordain Aaron and his sons.

Wait … what?  Why was Aaron chosen to found the hereditary priesthood?  And why was he at work before this command?

This week’s handout:  20 Tetzaveh 5779

More links:
James W. Watts, “Scripturalization and the Aaronide Dynasties”
Ryan Bonfiglio, “Priests and Priesthood in the Hebrew Bible”
Mark Leuchter, “Who Were the Levites?”
Learn Biblical Hebrew:

Terumah 5779

February 5, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 3rd, 2019

Exod. 25:16   And deposit in the Ark [the tablets of] the Pact [העדות] which I will give you.

What is an edut [עדות], and why did God want them put in the Ark?

This week’s handout:  19 Terumah 5779

Learn Biblical Hebrew:

Bo 5779

January 8, 2019

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 6th, 2019

Exod. 12:8 They shall eat the flesh that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs … 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the very first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel … 17 You shall observe the [Feast of] Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time … 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.

Where does the word matzah [מצה] come from, and what is the big deal about eating it?

This week’s handout:  15 Bo 5779

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Vayehi 5779

December 18, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 16th, 2018

Gen. 48:21  Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 And now, I assign to you one portion [שכם, shechem] more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”

What is a shechem … when did Jacob “wrest” it … and why the Amorites?

This week’s handout:  12 Vayehi 5779

Learn Biblical Hebrew:

Vayeshev 5779

November 27, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of November 25th, 2018

Gen. 38:1 About that time Judah left his brothers and camped near a certain Adullamite whose

name was Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua …

Is Shua the father’s name or the daughter’s name?

Was he really a Canaanite?

What does Shua mean, anyway?

It all matters because 1 Chr 3:5 calls Solomon’s mother not Bathsheba, but … Bathshua.

This week’s handout:  09 Vayeshev 5779

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Vayetze 5779

November 13, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of November 11th, 2018

Gen. 31:38  “These twenty years I have spent in your service, your ewes and she-goats never

miscarried, nor did I feast on rams from your flock. 39 That which was torn by beasts I never

brought to you; I myself made good the loss; you exacted it of me, whether snatched by day or

snatched by night.

“A fine picture of the ideal shepherd” … or full of allusions to the intricate plot that is leading the Israelites to slavery in Egypt?

This week’s handout: 07 Vayetze 5779

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Vayera 5779

October 23, 2018

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

Gen. 22:9          They arrived at the place of which God had told him. Abraham built an altar there; he laid out the wood; he bound his son Isaac; he laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  10 And Abraham picked up the knife to slay his son.

What’s wrong with this picture? 

This week’s handout:  04 Vayera 5779

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Bereshit 5779

October 2, 2018

This is Torah Talk for the week of September 30th, 2018

Gen. 1:1

  When God began to createa heaven and earth— 2 the earth being תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind fromb God sweeping over the water— 3 God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, a first day.c

What does תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ mean? 

NJPS:              unformed and void

KJV:                without form, and void

NRSV:             a formless void

LXX:              ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος  [“invisible and not properly prepared”]

Everett Fox:    wild and waste

Jack Sasson:    “Hodgepodge” [“Time … to Begin,” in Sha’arei Talmon,188]

This week’s handout:  01 Bereshit 5779
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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