Torah Portion

Bo

בא

Exodus 10:1-13:16
Jeremiah 46:13–28

“Not a Dog Shall Snarl” – What Is the Meaning of Exodus 11:7?

“Not a Dog Shall Snarl” – What Is the Meaning of Exodus 11:7?

Village dogs, guard dogs, scavenger dogs, and dog burials—what archaeology and the Bible can tell us about dogs in ancient Egypt and the Levant, and the significance of their silence during the plague of the firstborn.

Prof.
Deirdre Fulton
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Dr.
Paula Wapnish Hesse
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TheGemara.com

Weighing Pharaoh’s Heavy Heart

Weighing Pharaoh’s Heavy Heart

According to ancient Egyptian belief, a person’s heart was weighed after death to determine whether they are righteous or wicked. By referring to Pharaoh’s heart as heavy, the exodus story originally expressed the extent of his guilt.

Rabbi
Daniel M. Zucker
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Erev Rav: A Mixed Multitude of Meanings

Erev Rav: A Mixed Multitude of Meanings

When the Israelites left Egypt, they were accompanied by an ʿerev rav (Exodus 12:38). This obscure term has been interpreted in different ways throughout two millennia of Bible interpretation, both positively and negatively, and modern scholars still debate its exact meaning. The term survives in modern Jewish discourse as a slur against other Jews.

Dr. Rabbi
David J. Zucker
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TheGemara.com
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God Took Us Out of Egypt “Because of This”

God Took Us Out of Egypt “Because of This”

Traditional commentators offer various interpretations of the cryptic phrase בַּעֲבוּר זֶה in Exodus 13:8, generally translated “because of this” or “this is because.” But a well-known midrash from the Passover Haggadah holds the key to an entirely different translation which may indeed be the simple meaning of the text.

Harvey N. Bock
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

What Is the Bible’s Calendar?

What Is the Bible’s Calendar?

The Torah prescribes the observance of festivals on very specific dates, but does not explain how the calendar must be reckoned: Is it lunar? Is it solar? Does it follow some other scheme? And why is the Torah silent on this?

Prof.
Sacha Stern
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Did Israel Celebrate Their Freedom While Owning Slaves?

Did Israel Celebrate Their Freedom While Owning Slaves?

As the Israelites are being freed from slavery in Egypt, God gives Moses and Aaron a law pertaining to Israelite-owned slaves.

Dr. Hacham
Isaac S. D. Sassoon
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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Ancient Mapping: Israelite Versus Egyptian Orientation

Ancient Mapping: Israelite Versus Egyptian Orientation

God uses a qādîm “forward” wind to bring the locusts and blow back the sea – but what direction is qādîm? Did Israel and its neighbors answer this question the same way? Can ancient maps clarify this question?

Dr.
David Ben-Gad HaCohen
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

The Essence of the Hebrew Calendar

The Essence of the Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew calendar marks multiple news year’s days to express different values: nature and history, universal and particular.

Prof.
Aaron Demsky
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

The First Month of the Year

The First Month of the Year

A cornerstone of the Jewish luni-solar calendar or a commandment about the order of months?

Dr.
Jonathan Ben-Dov
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Despoiling the Egyptians: A Concerning Jewish Legacy?

Despoiling the Egyptians: A Concerning Jewish Legacy?

19th century Anglo-Jewish translators defended the Israelites’ behavior against the King James translation’s perceived accusation that the Jews “borrowed” the Egyptians belongings and never returned them.

Prof.
Leonard Greenspoon
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TheGemara.com
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The Origins of Tefillin

The Origins of Tefillin

How a biblical metaphor was reinterpreted in light of a practice of wearing amulets for bodily protection.

Dr.
Yehudah Cohn
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Taking Control of the Story: God Hardens Pharaoh's Heart

Taking Control of the Story: God Hardens Pharaoh's Heart

Exodus narrates three distinct conceptions of God’s relationship to Pharaoh’s stubbornness: God was surprised, God knew beforehand, and God was the direct cause.  The final conception reflects the Priestly redaction of the Torah, whose authors were unwilling to leave the destiny of the plagues up to Pharaoh’s own heart.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
TheGemara.com
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How Many Years Were the Israelites in Egypt?

How Many Years Were the Israelites in Egypt?

Divergent Biblical Perspectives: Exodus 12:40 declares that the Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years. Other biblical contexts suggest a much shorter sojourn in Egypt.

Dr.
David Glatt-Gilad
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Bo

בא

Exodus 10:1-13:16

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל הָעָם זָכוֹר אֶת הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר יְצָאתֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם...

שמות יג:ג

And Moses said to the people, “Remember this day, on which you went free from Egypt..."

Exod 13:3

Exodus

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