Posts Tagged ‘Rashi’

V’zot ha-Bracha 5781-82

September 21, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of September 19th, 2021

Deut. 33:21 

For there is the portion of the revered chieftain [מְחֹקֵ֖ק סָפ֑וּן],

Where the heads of the people come [וַיֵּתֵא֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם].

What is the meaning of these mysterious lines from the blessing of Gad?

Did the end of line 1 and the beginning of line 2 get switched around?

And … what are we trying to find out when we ask these questions?

This week’s handout: 54 V’zot ha-Bracha 5781-82

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Vayelech 5781-82

September 7, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of September 5th, 2021

Deut. 31:1    Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel. 2  He said to them:

I am now one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer be active. Moreover, the Lord has said to me, “You shall not go across yonder Jordan.” 3 The Lord your God Himself will cross over before you [ה֣וּא ׀ עֹבֵ֣ר לְפָנֶ֗יךָ]; and He Himself will wipe out those nations from your path and you shall dispossess them.—Joshua is the one who shall cross before you [הוּ֚א עֹבֵ֣ר לְפָנֶ֔יךָ], as the Lord has spoken.— 4 The Lord will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, kings

Who exactly is “crossing over” Before the Israelites?  Is Joshua going with the Israelites, or leading them?  And … who is “he” in v.23?

This week’s handout: 52 Vayelech 5781-82

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Nitzavim 5781

August 31, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 29th, 2021

Deut. 29:9

You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God—your tribal heads, your elders and your officials [רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם], all the men of Israel.

Who are the “tribal heads” and how can “your heads and your tribes” mean that — or does it?

This week’s handout:  51 Nitzavim 5781

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Ki Tavo 5781

August 24, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 22nd, 2021

Deut. 28:36    The Lord will drive you, and the king you have set over you, to a nation unknown to you or your fathers, where you shall serve other gods, of wood and stone. 37 You shall be a consternation, a proverb, and a byword [לְשַׁמָּ֔ה לְמָשָׁ֖ל וְלִשְׁנִינָ֑ה] among all the peoples to which the Lord will drive you.

What is a “byword”?  Therein lies a tale — a cautionary tale.

This week’s handout: 50 Ki Tavo 5781

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Shoftim 5781

August 10, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 8th, 2021

Deut. 18:9   When you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 Let no one be found among you who consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur [קֹסֵ֣ם קְסָמִ֔ים], a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer, 11 one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead.

 

Do you believe in magic?  It seems like Deuteronomy does.  Are the people who are dowsing for water today acting against the Bible? + Special Bonus! Was Balaam a magician … or not?

 

This week’s handout: 48 Shoftim 5781

Click here to read about the people who are dowsing for water today.

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Re’eh 5781

August 3, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of August 1st, 2021

Deut. 12:4   Do not worship the Lord your God in like manner, 5 but look only to the site that the Lord your God will choose [מָּק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַ֨רהַ] amidst all your tribes as His habitation, to establish His name there.

Where the site that the Lord your God will choose?  When will He choose it and when will the other sites be destroyed in this way?

According to 2 Kings 21-23, it did not happen until half a millennium later, when a king in Jerusalem read this passage and — perhaps, argues Frederick Greenspahn — misunderstood it.

This week’s handout: 47 Re’eh 5781

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Devarim 5781

July 13, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 11th, 2021

Deut. 1:41   You all girded yourselves with war gear and recklessly started [‏וַתָּהִ֖ינוּ לַעֲלֹ֥ת] for the hill country.

What on God’s green earth does va-tahinu mean?  And why does Numbers describe what the Israelites did with an almost as unusual a verb, va-ta’apilu?

This week’s handout: 44 Devarim 5781

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Mattot-Masei 5781

July 6, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of July 4th, 2021

Num. 34:1    The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Instruct the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you [אֲשֶׁ֨ר תִּפֹּ֤ל לָכֶם֙] as your portion, the land of Canaan with its various boundaries …

Num. 34:13    Moses instructed the Israelites, saying: This is the land you are to receive by lot [אֲשֶׁ֨ר תִּתְנַחֲל֤וּ אֹתָהּ֙ בְּגוֹרָ֔ל] as your hereditary portion, which the Lord has commanded to be given to the nine and a half tribes.

Does your share of the land “fall” to you because the lot “falls” in your favor?  Everyone old and new thinks so, except for one scholar.  And what really happens when the land is finally distributed?

This week’s handout: 42-43 Mattot-Masei 5781

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Pinchas 5781

June 29, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 27th, 2021

Num. 16:32 tells us that the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up all Korah’s people.  But this week, in Num. 26:11, we learn:  “The sons of Korah, however, did not die.”

You may not have a dog in this fight, but according to Itamar Kislev, someone did.

This week’s handout: 41 Pinchas 5781

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Balak 5781

June 22, 2021

This is Torah Talk for the week of June 20th, 2021

Num. 22:39 Balaam went with Balak and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep [בָּקָ֣ר וָצֹ֑אן], and had them served to Balaam and the dignitaries with him.

Why does Balak sacrifice “oxen and sheep” rather than “sheep and oxen”?  Not as pointless a question as it sounds.

This week’s handout: 40 Balak 5781

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