Torah Portion

Shelach

שלח

Numbers 13:1-15:41
Joshua 2:1–24

Rahab the Faithful Harlot

Rahab the Faithful Harlot

The biblical Rahab is a Canaanite prostitute who becomes faithful to the God of Israel, hiding two Israelite spies when the king of Jericho sends men to capture them. The rabbis imagine her as a superhumanly seductive woman who knows the secrets of all the men in Jericho as well as the ultimate example of repentance. The biblical story, however, suggests a more complex character, who worked within the power structures around her.

Dr.
Amy Cooper Robertson
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Solving the Problem of "Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran"

Solving the Problem of "Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran"

Kadesh-barnea is in the Wilderness of Paran, and Kadesh is in the Wilderness of Zin; how are we to explain the Scouts return to “Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran?”

Dr.
David Ben-Gad HaCohen
TheGemara.com
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Were Rahab's Sisters Saved?

Were Rahab's Sisters Saved?

Making sense of small differences between biblical lists: a look at the merit of different reading strategies.

Dr.
Shira Golani
TheGemara.com
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What Was Caleb the Kenizzite's Connection to Hebron?

What Was Caleb the Kenizzite's Connection to Hebron?

Did Caleb receive the Negev or Hebron? Is he a Judahite, a Calebite or a Kenizzite? The redacted account of Caleb in the Bible reflects the developing realities of southern Judah in the First and Second Temple periods.

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
TheGemara.com
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Dr.
Jacob L. Wright
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Punishing Children for the Sins of their Parents

Punishing Children for the Sins of their Parents

Ezekiel challenges the divine (in)justice of intergenerational punishment, a concept that the Talmud notes appears in the Torah itself.

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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The Ancient City of Hebron

The Ancient City of Hebron

Hebron plays a central role in many biblical stories. It was the prominent city in the Judean highlands, with large fortifications in the Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, and Iron Ages. During the Second Temple period, Hebron was occupied by the Idumeans. Recent archaeological excavations have uncovered large mikvaot (ritual baths), indicating that the inhabitants embraced Judaism.

Prof.
David Ben-Shlomo
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Using Deuteronomy to Fill in the Lacunae of Numbers’ Spies Story

Using Deuteronomy to Fill in the Lacunae of Numbers’ Spies Story

Moses refers to the story of the spies in Deuteronomy 1. The details that overlap with Numbers fit only with the (incomplete) J version of the account. How are the two versions connected and what new details can we learn from comparing them?

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

What Do Tzitzit Represent?

What Do Tzitzit Represent?

What is it about tzitzit that “recalls all the commandments of God and makes you observe them” (Num 15:39)? While the rabbis emphasize the importance of tzitzit, academic scholarship sheds light on what such a feature would have meant in an Ancient Near Eastern context.

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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The Backstory of the Spy Account

The Backstory of the Spy Account

Early Judahite authors supplemented ancient Israelite traditions of conquest through the Transjordan with the spy story to explain why Israel entered Canaan from the east rather than from the south.

Dr.
Jacob L. Wright
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Moses' Apotropaic Intercession

Moses' Apotropaic Intercession

Moses’ use of rhetoric to convince YHWH to undo his decree against Israel recasts ANE ritual intercessions such as the namburbu in a prophetic hue.

Dr.
Marian Broida
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Shelach

שלח

Numbers 13:1-15:41

הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בָהּ לָתוּר אֹתָהּ טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ מְאֹד מְאֹד

במדבר יד:ז

The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land.

Num 14:7

Numbers

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