Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25)

[I will be away next week, so you are getting this a week early.  The comments are from 2014, but the jokes are newly chosen.] In this week’s portion, Eikev, Moses assures the Israelites that they can have a wonderful … Continue reading

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Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11), Shabbat Nachamu

It’s August.  For me, this year, that means TCM’s “Summer Under the Stars,” with each day in August devoted to a single actor (today, Lon Chaney); going away on vacation; reviewing elementary Attic Greek and starting on Mendelsohn’s Elijah in … Continue reading

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Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), Shabbat Chazon, Tisha B’Av

 [Comments partly derived from 2009 TPH]. I love words.  I love their rhythm, their music, how they evolve, how they feel in my mouth.  I occasionally make a point of memorizing bits of text I find particularly vivid, from sources … Continue reading

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Mattot-Mase’ei (Numbers 30:2 – 36:13)

First, the answers to last week’s bonus questions: What verses in this (i.e., last week’s) haftarah from Jeremiah appear in the liturgy, and where do they appear? Jeremiah 2:2 has become part of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy, one of the … Continue reading

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Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Not feeling adequately up to par today to think, so the comments are from 2013, lightly edited.   We are basically in tying up loose ends mode.  The latest plague is stayed, the Israelites are saved, and Pinchas is explicitly rewarded … Continue reading

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Balak (Numbers 22:2 – 25:9)

This is a very odd Torah portion.  It’s one of a handful named for a non-Israelite and its featured character is another non-Israelite.  The Israelites do not appear until the last nine verses, (spoiler alert) which relate an episode of … Continue reading

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Chukkat (Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)

Compared with the sturm und drang of the last few readings, this week’s portion is relatively subdued and is partly tying up loose ends.  What follows below are mainly comments from 2013.  Two additional thoughts: 1.)  According to Rashi, everything … Continue reading

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