Weekly Torah Reading: Koraḥ June 24, 2017

As Rich as…Who?   This week’s reading centers on Koraḥ, the Levite leader who sought to foment a revolution against Moses and Aaron. Ultimately, Koraḥ went down in defeat—quite literally! The Torah reports that the earth “opened its mouth and …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Shelaḥ Lekha, June 17, 2017

To Be an Ish   Commentators have long noticed a contradiction in the Torah’s account of the tribal leaders who were sent to spy out the land of Canaan. In this week’s reading, the idea of sending them clearly came …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Beha‘alotekha, June 10, 2017

The Good Old Days   In the book of Ecclesiastes, the author advises, “Don’t say, ‘How has it come about that things were better in earlier times than now?’ for you are not asking about this out of wisdom” (7:10). …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Naso, June 3, 2017

Among all the different items covered in this week’s reading is a brief commandment to Aaron and his sons. As is well known, Aaron’s sons will henceforth be the kohanim, the hereditary priests in Israel, and one of their jobs, …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, BeMidbar, May 27, 2017

Don’t Look!   This week’s Torah reading begins with a detailed census of Israel’s tribes. However, the Levites are not included in the census; they are listed separately afterwards.   The Torah says that there were three main clans of …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, BeHar-Behukkotai, May 20, 2017

Unfair Advantage     Ancient Israel was largely a farming economy. This week’s Torah portion stipulates that every seventh year is to be a “sabbatical” for the land: “You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard” (Lev 25:4). …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Emor, May 13, 2017

“Which You Proclaim”   Regular readers will recall that the procedure for determining the beginning of a month in the Hebrew calendar was somewhat involved (at least until the calendar was standardized, as it is today). Two reliable witnesses had …

Read More »

Weekly Torah Reading, Aḥarei Mot-Kedoshim, May 6, 2017

The Tent of Meeting   Bible critic walks into a psychiatrist’s office. “What seems to be the problem?” “Two nights ago I dreamt I was the Ohel Mo‘ed (Tent of Meeting). Last night I dreamt I was the Mishkan, the …

Read More »