These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Archive: August 2011

דברים

Posted on August 5, 2011 by Barer

From my blog This week we begin the final book of the Torah, Dvarim, which consists mostly of Moshe’s final speech to the Israelites.  In this week’s parsha Moshe recounts the sin of the spies.  Curiously, though, it has a number of inconsistencies with the original telling: Moshe says this week that the people approached Continue Reading »

מסעי

Posted on July 28, 2011 by Barer

This week we wrap up the book of Bamidbar (Numbers), chronicling the journeys the Israelites undertook in the desert.  The final verses bring us back to an episode first encountered a few weeks ago, the daughters of Tzelophchad.  This time, spokesmen approach Moshe and the elders on their behalf.  They worry is that, once the Continue Reading »

פנחס

Posted on July 14, 2011 by Barer

[From my blog] After taking another census of the nation, the first claim for equal rights for women in Jewish history is documented in this week’s parsha when the five daughters of Tzlophchad, a man who left Egypt with the Israelites but has since been killed for sinning, petition Moshe and the entire congregation to Continue Reading »

בלק

Posted on July 7, 2011 by Barer

[Cross-posted from my blog] This week’s parsha documents the continuation of the Israelites interactions with the nations surrounding Cana’an, this time focusing almost entirely with the kingdom of Moav.  Specifically, the king of Moav, Balaq, fears the Israelites and hires a local sorcerer, Bil’am, to curse them.  However, Bil’am is constantly thwarted from doing so, Continue Reading »

חקת

Posted on July 4, 2011 by Barer

[Re-posted from here…a few days late, I know] In this week’s parsha, one of the most famous of all of the happenings of the Israelites’ forty years in the desert occurs when Moshe hits the rock to produce water.  In the absence of his sister Miriam, who has just died, the source of water – Continue Reading »

קרח

Posted on June 24, 2011 by Barer

[Cross-posted from my blog, where you can find a parsha haiku every week] Reading this week’s parsha with Rashi brought up an interesting point for me, one to do with how the early commentators read the text more than with the topic of this week’s parsha specifically (the haiku reflects the theme of the parsha).  Continue Reading »

אמור

Posted on May 5, 2011 by Barer

I would hesitantly posit, without verification, that this week’s parsha is the parsha that is read from the most in a Jewish yearly cycle, due to the inclusion of a summary of the major Jewish holidays in the middle.  However, upon reading through the parsha closely, what struck me was exactly how little the holidays Continue Reading »

אחרי מות

Posted on April 15, 2011 by Barer

Rashi, in his first comment on the parsha (16:1), asks the perennial question: Why, after two parshiyot talking about the details of ritual impurity, does the text remind us so clearly that Aaron has recently lost his two eldest sons?  Rashi quotes the book Torat Kohanim (The Book of Priests, 16:3), the main collection of Continue Reading »

מצורע

Posted on April 8, 2011 by Barer

This weeks parsha largely continues the topic of last weeks: ritual impurity due to the affliction of tzara’at.  This week it extends to the case of tzara’at showing up on a house or clothes, and the resultant procedures of cleansing the clothes, or demolishing the house. A house, or body הוא טמא עד הערב Marked Continue Reading »

תזריע

Posted on March 31, 2011 by Barer

Inspired by Avi’s haiku project, I began writing weekly haiku’s for each parsha, which I will now share here as well as at my own blog: This week’s parsha, and next, talk in detail about the laws surrounding leprosy after briefly explaining the ritual days of impurity and purity a woman goes through immediately following Continue Reading »

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