Torah Portion

Behar-Bechukotai

בהר בחוקותי

Leviticus 25:1–27:34
Jeremiah 16:19–17:14

Jeremiah Buys Land in Prison, Symbolizing a Future Redemption

Jeremiah Buys Land in Prison, Symbolizing a Future Redemption

During the Babylonian siege, while Jeremiah was in King Zedekiah’s prison, he redeems his cousin'’s land, upon YHWH’s instruction. The incarcerated prophet thus symbolically enacts the future restoration for the people who will soon be exiled from their land.

Dr.
Anathea Portier-Young
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Balancing Social Responsibility with Market Economics

Balancing Social Responsibility with Market Economics

Leviticus 25 legislates a multi-tiered system of rights and requirements that act as a corrective to a market in which even human beings can be sold. This system preserves the dignified status of Israelite brothers as free persons with their own ancestral agricultural land, ensuring that no Israelites become a permanent lower class.

Noam Zion
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How All Kohanim Became “Sons of Aaron”

How All Kohanim Became “Sons of Aaron”

The Bible knows about many priestly families, including the Levites, the Mushites (descendants of Moses), and the Zadokites. By the time of Ezra and Chronicles, however, only Aaronide priests were legitimate, and other families either merged with them or were demoted.

Prof.
Mark Leuchter
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Does God’s Property Belong to the Priesthood? Hittite Versus Biblical Law

Does God’s Property Belong to the Priesthood? Hittite Versus Biblical Law

Leviticus allows priests and their families to enjoy the donations and sacrifices to YHWH. This differs from Hittite practice of forbidding priests access to holy objects outside of limited ritual contexts. What is the reason for the difference between theses two priestly systems?

Prof.
Ada Taggar-Cohen
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Parents Eating their Children – The Torah's Curse and Its Undertones in Medieval Interpretation

Parents Eating their Children – The Torah's Curse and Its Undertones in Medieval Interpretation

Early rabbinic interpretation connected the curse of child eating (Lev 26:29; Deut 28:53-57) with the description of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in Lamentations (2:20 and 4:10) and the Roman destruction of the Second Temple. In the Middle Ages, however, Jewish commentators de-emphasize this connection. The reason for this may lie in the 12th c. development of Christian Bible commentary.

Dr.
Wendy Love Anderson
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Leviticus as a Literary Tabernacle

Leviticus as a Literary Tabernacle

The late British anthropologist Mary Douglas proposed that Leviticus was designed to reflect the structure of the Tabernacle, which in turn reflects the division of space during the revelation at Mount Sinai. In this reading, the two screens or curtains that divide the Tabernacle are represented by Leviticus’ only two narratives.[1]

Prof.
Gary Rendsburg
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Turning Jeremiah's Land Deed Into an Oracle of Hope

Turning Jeremiah's Land Deed Into an Oracle of Hope

Jeremiah 32 describes the prophet’s redemption of his uncle’s ancestral land. The scribal authors turned this transaction into an oracle. Eventually, the passage was expanded to include a prayer in which Jeremiah invokes the exodus from Egypt and the gift of the land. Taken together, the passage inspires hope for exilic Jews that God will redeem their land as well.

Prof.
Mark Leuchter
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The Treatment of Non-Israelite Slaves: From Moses to Moses

The Treatment of Non-Israelite Slaves: From Moses to Moses

The Bible already expresses ambivalence about Hebrew slavery, the rabbis expand upon it and Maimonides takes the next step, applying the negative evaluation of slavery even to non-Israelites.

Prof.
James A. Diamond
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The Jubilee Law: Ideal Legislation

The Jubilee Law: Ideal Legislation

An attempt to control the disparity between the rich and the poor and create a righteous society

Prof.
Yairah Amit
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The Jubilee Real Estate Law

The Jubilee Real Estate Law

Cities vs. Villages or Houses vs. Farmsteads? A New Insight based on Archaeology  

Prof.
Avraham (Avi) Faust
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Houses Oriented towards God in the East

Houses Oriented towards God in the East

Using archaeology, anthropology, and biblical Hebrew to explain why ancient Israelites overwhelmingly placed their doorways on the eastern side of their homes and avoided placing them on the west.[1]

Prof.
Avraham (Avi) Faust
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Comparing Curses

Comparing Curses

Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are often lumped together, as the two great curses, but their careful comparison reveals some fundamental and surprising differences.

Prof.
Marc Zvi Brettler
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Jeremiah's Teaching of the Trees

Jeremiah's Teaching of the Trees

The verdant tree and the desert shrub: Jeremiah’s wisdom psalm (17:5-8) uses this arboreal simile in poetic parallelism to offer a poignant message: A person who trusts in God will still confront challenges.

Prof. Rabbi
Andrea L. Weiss
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Behar-Bechukotai

בהר בחוקותי

Leviticus 25:1–27:34

וּקְרָאתֶם דְּרוֹר בָּאָרֶץ לְכָל יֹשְׁבֶיהָ יוֹבֵל הִוא תִּהְיֶה לָכֶם

ויקרא כה:י

You shall proclaim release throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you.

Lev 25:10

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