Torah Portion

Matot

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Numbers 30:2-32:42
Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

The Settlement of Reuben and Gad: A Rhetorical Case for Transjordan as Part of the Promised Land

The Settlement of Reuben and Gad: A Rhetorical Case for Transjordan as Part of the Promised Land

Moses misunderstands the request of the Gadites and Reubenites to settle in the Transjordan as a result of unwillingness to participate in the conquest of Canaan with the rest of the Israelites. Once he realizes that they do mean to fight, he accepts their request. The author of Numbers 32 creates a rhetorically rich argument that the Transjordan is part of the Promised Land—but not everyone was buying what this author was selling.

Dr.
Angela Roskop Erisman
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Dibon-Gad Between the Torah and the Mesha Stele

Dibon-Gad Between the Torah and the Mesha Stele

In the southern Transjordanian Mishor (plateau), an area that changed hands between Israelites and Moabites, there once lived two neighboring tribes, Gadites and Dibonites…

Dr.
Yigal Levin
TheGemara.com
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Why Can Women's Vows Be Vetoed?

Why Can Women's Vows Be Vetoed?

The vows of maiden daughters and wives are subject to veto by the woman’s father or husband. What does this say about the status of women in ancient Israel?

Dr.
Shawna Dolansky
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The Geopolitical Context Behind the Boundaries in Numbers 34

The Geopolitical Context Behind the Boundaries in Numbers 34

Do the boundaries of the Land of Canaan in the Torah reflect a 13th century Egyptian province or a 7th century conquest by Pharaoh Necho?

Dr.
Yigal Levin
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Can a Husband Annul His Wife's Nazirite Vow?

Can a Husband Annul His Wife's Nazirite Vow?

Numbers 6 allows women to take the nazirite vow, rendering them “holy to YHWH” with a temporary, quasi-priestly status. Numbers 30, however, grants fathers and husbands veto power over vows made by women under their auspices, but without mentioning the nazirite vow. How are we to understand the relationship between these two chapters?  

Prof.
​Francis Landy
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Elazar Speaks Once in the Torah: Why Does He Interrupt Moses?

Elazar Speaks Once in the Torah: Why Does He Interrupt Moses?

Moses tells the soldiers returning from the Midianite war that they must purify themselves from corpse impurity. Elazar then jumps in with a unique law in Moses’ name about the need to purify metal in fire. Critical and traditional scholars alike—including the scribes of the Samaritan Pentateuch—were troubled by why Elazar and not Moses teaches this law.

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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Gad and Reuben Receive Land in the Transjordan: A Documentary Approach

Gad and Reuben Receive Land in the Transjordan: A Documentary Approach

The tribes of Reuben and Gad ask Moses for permission to settle in the Transjordan (Num 32). A look at this lengthy narrative, what exactly they request and what Moses answers, uncovers several contradictions and inconsistencies. Separating the contradictory elements in the story allows for the identification of two parallel accounts.[1]

Dr.
Liane Feldman
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What Were Reuben and Gad's Territories in the Transjordan?

What Were Reuben and Gad's Territories in the Transjordan?

The Bible has three different maps of Gad and Reuben’s territory all set in the conquest period: Num 32, Josh 13, and Josh 21/1 Chron 6. How are we to understand these shifting depictions of Israelite Transjordan?

Dr.
Yigal Levin
TheGemara.com
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Redacting the Relationship to the Transjordanian Tribes

Redacting the Relationship to the Transjordanian Tribes

Numbers 32 combines two versions of how Gad and Reuven receive Moses’ permission to settle the Transjordan. The non-Priestly story emphasizes fraternity and kinship, while the Priestly version emphasizes law and obedience to YHWH. By synthesizing them, the redactor suggests that law can serve as a pillar around which the Israelite community can coalesce.

Dr.
Jacob L. Wright
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Numbers

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