Torah Portion

Tetzaveh

תצוה

Exodus 27:20-30:10
Ezekiel 43:10-27

Does God Punish People Who Are Close to Him More Harshly?

Does God Punish People Who Are Close to Him More Harshly?

A midrash on the phrase venikdash bikhevodi, “and it shall be sanctified by my glory” (Exod 29:43) suggests that God is unusually strict when He punishes those who are close to Him. Rashbam strenuously objected to this popular midrash.

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
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How All Kohanim Became “Sons of Aaron”

How All Kohanim Became “Sons of Aaron”

The Bible knows about many priestly families, including the Levites, the Mushites (descendants of Moses), and the Zadokites. By the time of Ezra and Chronicles, however, only Aaronide priests were legitimate, and other families either merged with them or were demoted.

Prof.
Mark Leuchter
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The Obscure Ephod of the High Priest

The Obscure Ephod of the High Priest

The Torah mentions the ephod as something the high priest would wear, but never describes it clearly, and neither do the Talmudic sages. Medieval scholars like Rashi and Rashbam use their creativity and analytical skill to try to tease this out from the biblical text.

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
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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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Why Are There No Israelite Priestesses?

Why Are There No Israelite Priestesses?

Hittite texts show us that in the ancient Near East, women, including the queen, served as priestesses. The biblical authors, in their fervor for YHWH, monotheism, and centralization of worship through one Temple and one priesthood, strongly objected.

Prof.
Ada Taggar-Cohen
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Is Holiness Contagious?

Is Holiness Contagious?

Impurity is transferred through physical contact. Theologically speaking, could the same be true for holiness?

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
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The Zer

The Zer

What exactly is the זֵר (zer), mentioned ten times in the furnishing of the Mishkan: A test case for the importance of archaeology[1] 

Dr.
Raanan Eichler
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Ancient Israelite Divination: Urim ve-Tummim, Ephod, and Prophecy

Ancient Israelite Divination: Urim ve-Tummim, Ephod, and Prophecy

In the Prophets, Israelite leaders such as Joshua, Saul, David, and Ahab use divination to help them make decisions, just as their ancient Near Eastern counterparts did. Why then, does the Torah sidestep the divinatory character of these objects and practices, and instead, emphasize their ritual and religious character?

Dr.
Jonathan Stökl
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The Urim VeTumim

The Urim VeTumim

The Urim veTumim have baffled traditional commentators through the ages and only more recently has modern scholarship shed partial light on what they were.

Yoel S.
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Tetzaveh

תצוה

Exodus 27:20-30:10

וְנָשָׂא אַהֲרֹן אֶת שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּחֹשֶׁן הַמִּשְׁפָּט עַל לִבּוֹ...

שמות כח:כט

Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart...

Exodus 28:29

Exodus

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