Torah Portion

Vayechi

ויחי

Genesis 47:28-50:26
First Kings 2:1-12
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Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

In the eighties, archaeologist Adam Zertal excavated the site of El-Burnat on Mt. Ebal, and uncovered an enormous ancient altar from the early twelfth-century B.C.E. This archaeological find sheds light on the account of Joshua’s altar at Mt. Ebal as well as the famous story of Jacob crossing his arms to bless Ephraim over Manasseh with the birthright.

Zvi Koenigsberg
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When Moses Placed Ephraim Before Manasseh

When Moses Placed Ephraim Before Manasseh

R. Judah HeḤasid, in his comment on Jacob’s blessing asserts that the subject of Genesis 48:20b, “he placed Ephraim before Manasseh,” and 48:22, “I have given you [=Joseph] an extra portion…,” is not Jacob but Moses, referring to when Moses put Ephraim before Manasseh in the tribal listings in Num 2:18-21. This further leads him to conclude that Moses could not be the author of v. 20b.[1]

Prof.
Baruch J. Schwartz
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Is the Torah a Pentateuch or Hexateuch?

Is the Torah a Pentateuch or Hexateuch?

Whether the Torah is a Pentateuch or Hexateuch is about much more than the number of books or the status of Joshua, but reflects the nature of this collection: Is it a law-book, or is it a narrative book about a promise fulfilled?

Prof.
Marc Zvi Brettler
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The Color of Judah's Eyes

The Color of Judah's Eyes

חכלילי עינים מיין (Gen 49:12) is an obscure phrase. In contrast to the standard interpretation, Nachmanides’ offered an original interpretation, which finds support in modern linguistic analysis and an archaeological find.

Prof.
Aaron Demsky
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Jacob the Conqueror of Shechem

Jacob the Conqueror of Shechem

Hints in the biblical text suggest that an earlier version of the patriarch stories described them as ancient leaders of Israel, akin to the heroes in the book of Judges.

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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Topics
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Genesis

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