Torah Portion

Nitzavim

נצבים

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
Isaiah 61:10–63:9

Does God Have Halakhic Authority?

Does God Have Halakhic Authority?

In the famous story of the Oven of Akhnai, Rabbi Eliezer makes recourse to divine revelation to defend his legal ruling. Rabbi Joshua responds that “the Torah is not in heaven” and God has no say. Elsewhere in the Talmud, however, heavenly voices are considered authoritative, a view which aligns with that of the Qumran sect, which believed God continues to reveal secret details of Torah laws.

Prof.
Andrew D. Gross
TheGemara.com
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Israel, God’s Chosen People?

Israel, God’s Chosen People?

In Deuteronomy, YHWH chooses Israel to be his holy (kadosh) and treasured (segulah) people. What does this mean in its original context, and can it be reconciled with contemporary universalist notions?

Dr. Rabbi
Michael Marmur
TheGemara.com
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Israel’s Wood Choppers and Water Drawers

Israel’s Wood Choppers and Water Drawers

Moses extends the covenant to all of Israel, “from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water” (Deut 29). The midrash connects this group with the Gibeonites of Joshua 9, creating an anachronism which later rabbinic commentators try to resolve.

Dr.
Wendy Love Anderson
TheGemara.com
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Dots on Deuteronomy 29:28: A Polemical Response to Qumran’s Secret Laws

Dots on Deuteronomy 29:28: A Polemical Response to Qumran’s Secret Laws

“The secret things belong unto YHWH our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever”—the verse has eleven dotted letters indicating erasure marks, but why? The answer lies in a controversial interpretation found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Prof.
Albert I. Baumgarten
TheGemara.com
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Is Israel’s Repentance a Foregone Conclusion?

Is Israel’s Repentance a Foregone Conclusion?

Deuteronomy 28 imagines the possibility of Israel disappearing, and eventually assimilating into the nations where it is exiled. Deuteronomy 30:1-10, however, predicts Israel’s future repentance and consequent restoration. Were these texts penned by the same author?

Prof.
Marc Zvi Brettler
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Nitzavim

נצבים

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

...הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה וּבָחַרְתָּ בַּחַיִּים לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה אַתָּה וְזַרְעֶךָ׃

דברים ל:יט

...I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—if you and your offspring would live.

Deut 30:19

Deuteronomy

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