Torah Portion

Re’eh

ראה

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
Isaiah 54:11–55:5

The Place(s) that YHWH will Choose: Ebal, Shiloh, and Jerusalem

The Place(s) that YHWH will Choose: Ebal, Shiloh, and Jerusalem

Jews have long understood “the place that YHWH will chose” to mean Mount Zion in Jerusalem, while Samaritans have interpreted it as Mount Gerizim near Shechem. Archaeology and redaction criticism converge on a compromise solution: it refers to a series of places, one place at a time.

Zvi Koenigsberg
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Aaron’s Flowering Staff: A Priestly Asherah?

Aaron’s Flowering Staff: A Priestly Asherah?

The story of Aaron’s staff reads like an etiological tale, explaining a holy object in the Temple. The description of the object as a stylized tree suggests a connection with the asherah, a ritual object forbidden by Deuteronomy.

Dr.
Raanan Eichler
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What Kinds of Fish Were Eaten in Ancient Jerusalem?

What Kinds of Fish Were Eaten in Ancient Jerusalem?

Fishbone remains discovered in eight different excavations in Jerusalem, from the Iron age to the early Islamic period, give us a sense of what fish the locals ate, and from where they were imported.

Prof.
Omri Lernau, M.D.
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Was There Ever an Ir Hannidahat (Subverted City)?

Was There Ever an Ir Hannidahat (Subverted City)?

The rabbis claim that a “subverted” or “apostate” city, which Deuteronomy (13:13-18) condemns to destruction, “never was and never will be” (t. San. 14:1). Yet the account in Judges 19-21 of the destruction or ḥerem of Gibeah, its inhabitants, animals, and property, suggests that such “internal ḥerem” was an Israelite practice, and that Gibeah is being presented as a subverted city.

Prof.
Aaron Demsky
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Can There Be Another Prophet Like Moses?

Can There Be Another Prophet Like Moses?

Deuteronomy introduces the possibility of future Moses-like prophets who will continue to instruct the Israelites how to follow YHWH’s commandments. At the same time, it makes the existence of such a prophet virtually impossible.

Dr.
Jonathan Stökl
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How the Jerusalem Temple Was "Chosen" as the Only Place of Worship

How the Jerusalem Temple Was "Chosen" as the Only Place of Worship

Deuteronomy commands centralizing worship of YHWH at the Temple once peace is obtained. When was this supposed to occur according to the Deuteronomic History, and when did it happen historically?

Dr.
David Glatt-Gilad
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Can a False Prophet Perform Miracles?

Can a False Prophet Perform Miracles?

Deuteronomy 13 discusses the case of a false prophet who does not have a message from God, but advocates worshiping other gods. Oddly enough, the false prophet can successfully perform miracles, or is able to predict the future.  How is this possible?

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
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Debates Over Centralizing Sacrificial Worship and Eating Non-Sacrificial Meat

Debates Over Centralizing Sacrificial Worship and Eating Non-Sacrificial Meat

Moses’ first set of laws in Deuteronomy (11:31–12:28) requires the Israelites to destroy Canaanite sites of worship and to centralize sacrifice for Yahweh at the site of His choosing. It also allows them to eat meat without sacrificing the animal, under particular conditions. A close look at the terms of Moses’ speech shows that the text has been supplemented no less than three times.[1]

Dr.
Simeon Chavel
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Making Ma'aser Work for the Times

Making Ma'aser Work for the Times

In Leviticus and Numbers, ma’aser (tithing) refers to a Temple tax; in Deuteronomy, however, it refers either to what must be brought and consumed on a pilgrimage festival or to charity. This dichotomy led the rabbis to design the cumbersome system of the first and second tithes (maaser rishon and maaser sheni).

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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The Origins of Sukkot

The Origins of Sukkot

The connection between the Israelite festival of Sukkot in the temple and the Ugaritic new year festival and its dwellings of branches for the gods.  

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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Torah Study Is Essential for Ensuring Observance

Torah Study Is Essential for Ensuring Observance

To uphold the covenant, Deuteronomy requires two forms of torah study: Learning the commandments and learning the reasons for keeping them. But what happens if even that fails?

Dr.
Baruch Alster
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The Mitzvah of Covering the Blood of Wild Animals

The Mitzvah of Covering the Blood of Wild Animals

Leviticus requires covering the blood of undomesticated animals; Deuteronomy requires pouring out the blood of slaughtered domesticated animals onto the ground. How do these laws jibe with each other? The Essenes have one answer, the rabbis another, the academics a third.

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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The Prohibition of Meat and Milk: Its Origins in the Text

The Prohibition of Meat and Milk: Its Origins in the Text

A bold interpretation of the verse “do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk,” from medieval commentator Bekhor Shor (12th cent. CE) leads to an intriguing academic explanation of inner-biblical exegesis charting the development of the mitzvah. 

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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Re’eh

ראה

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17

הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן תַּעֲלֶה עֹלֹתֶיךָ בְּכָל־מָקוֹם אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶה׃ כִּי אִם בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְ־הוָה...

דברים יב:יג, יד

Take care not to sacrifice your burnt offerings in any place you like, but only in the place that YHWH will choose...

Deut 12:13–14

Deuteronomy

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