Torah Portion

Bo

בא

Exodus 10:1-13:16
Jeremiah 46:13–28

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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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
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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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Exodus: The History Behind the Story

Exodus: The History Behind the Story

The Elephantine Stele and the Great Harris Papyrus both describe Pharaoh Setnakhte’s war against the Levantine usurper Irsu in 1186 B.C.E. Reading these accounts together with Manetho’s story of the war against Osarseph offers us a possible historical context for what eventually became the Bible’s story of the exodus of Israel from Egypt.

Prof.
Israel Knohl
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DNA and the Origin of the Jews

DNA and the Origin of the Jews

Is there a genetic marker for cohanim (priests)? Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from Khazars? Why is there such a close genetic connection between Samaritans and Jews, especially cohanim?  A look at what genetic testing can tell us about Jews.

Prof.
Steven Weitzman
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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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The Essence of the Hebrew Calendar

The Essence of the Hebrew Calendar

Celebrating Multiple News Year’s Days to Express Multiple Values: Nature and History, Universal and Particular

Prof.
Aaron Demsky
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"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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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 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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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
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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
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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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