Tag Archives: Moses

Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25)

August 5 was Tu B’Av, the 15th day of the month of Av.  This is a little holiday, a pick-me-up after Tisha B’Av (9th of Av – such imaginative holiday names…).  It goes back at least to the Second Temple … Continue reading

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

Tisha B’Av (9th day of the month of Av) has just ended. Like Yom Kippur, it is a fast day.  Otherwise, it is its opposite in tone.  Yom Kippur, the “white fast,” is solemn, marked by long services in packed synagogues, focusing … Continue reading

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Devarim (Deut. 1:1-3:22), Shabbat Chazon

You can take the Israelites out of Egypt, but can you take Egypt out of the Israelites? The last book of the Torah is basically a several-weeks-long speech by Moses. It is in three parts, according to Nachmanides: a reproof-filled … Continue reading

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Mattot-Mase’ei (Numbers 30:2 – 36:13)

(Comments are from 2016 except as noted) Mattot-Mase’ei is a double portion that ends the book of Numbers.  (It largely ties up loose ends. 2020) It is also really the end of the story of the wandering of the Israelites, … Continue reading

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Pinchas (Numbers 25:10 – 30:1)

This week, we consider several types of inheritance/baton passing. Pinchas is awarded the hereditary priesthood.  There is another census of the tribes for allotment of land which will be passed down through the generations, but apparently only through a male … Continue reading

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Chukkat-Balak (Numbers 19:1 – 25:9)

A double portion. Chukkat: purity, death, water, 38 years in 87 verses. Balak: a worried king, a puffed-up sorcerer, a talking ass (literally), and a nasty ending. Comments are based on 2016-Chukkat and 2017-Balak. Chukkat starts with the laws of … Continue reading

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Korach (Numbers 16:1 – 18:32)

What happens when winning is the goal, and truth doesn’t matter? Demagogue: NOUN (Lexico.com) 1 A political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument. ‘a gifted demagogue … Continue reading

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Pesach

I am not going to riff on the 4 Questions. We all know why this night (and the next and the next, etc.) is different from all other nights. Nor the 4 Sons/Children (wise/wicked/simple/doesn’t even know to ask a question). … Continue reading

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Yitro (Exodus 18:1 – 20:23)

My typical mid-February state: over-extended and a bit under the weather. (2017) This week:  The Ten (more or less) Commandments! But first, a lesson in management.  Yitro (Jethro), having heard of the Exodus of the Israelites in Midian, goes out … Continue reading

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Beshalach (Ex. 13:17–17:16), Shabbat Shirah, Tu Bishvat

(2015) When we left the Israelites, they had escaped from Egypt and were digesting their first divine commandments.  Now Pharaoh decides to bring them back by force.  The Israelites find themselves trapped between the Egyptian chariots and the Sea of … Continue reading

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