Torah Portion

Vayikra

ויקרא

Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Isaiah 43:21–44:23
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When Did the Bible Become Monotheistic?

When Did the Bible Become Monotheistic?

It is often said that monotheism is one of Judaism’s greatest contributions to Western culture; however, it is far from clear that the Hebrew Bible is monotheistic. What is monotheism and when did it first develop?

Prof.
Kenneth Seeskin
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Leviticus’ Rhetorical Presentation of the Sin and Guilt Offerings

Leviticus’ Rhetorical Presentation of the Sin and Guilt Offerings

The transition from the chatat (חטאת) sin offering in Leviticus 4 to the asham (אשׁם) guilt offering in Leviticus 5 is sudden, even seeming to collapse them into one offering. The history of these offerings, when and why they were introduced into the Temple service, sheds light on the interpretation and structure of these chapters.

Prof.
James W. Watts
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Is There a Symbolic Meaning to the Awkward Syntax of Leviticus 1:1?

Is There a Symbolic Meaning to the Awkward Syntax of Leviticus 1:1?

“And He called to Moses and YHWH spoke to him” (Lev 1:1). Why is YHWH, the subject of this verse, missing from the opening phrase, and appearing only after the second verb? Traditional and critical scholars struggle to explain this syntactic problem.

Dr.
Elaine Goodfriend
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Moses’ Commandments: The Secret of R. Nissim of Marseilles

Moses’ Commandments: The Secret of R. Nissim of Marseilles

In the 14th century, R. Nissim of Marseilles suggested that God told Moses only the general command for the Mishkan and the laws in the Torah, and Moses himself wrote the details and attributed them to God as a way of glorifying God. A close look at many passages in Deuteronomy suggests that this was an early conception of Moses’ role in commanding the mitzvot.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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"Mitzvah Piety" and the Need for Individual Atonement

"Mitzvah Piety" and the Need for Individual Atonement

In the Priestly texts, observing the divine commandments became an end in itself while the unique meaning or purpose of the particular mitzvah took on less significance. Concomitantly, P asserted the need for personal atonement through a chatat (sin offering) for even unintentionally violating God’s commandments.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Expiating with Blood

Expiating with Blood

Is the book of Leviticus primitive? I believe so, though an analysis of the meaning of the word kipper suggests that these sacrificial laws may be more relevant than we often realize.

Dr.
Yitzhaq Feder
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On the Problem of Sacrifices: Maimonides’ Ladder of Enlightenment

On the Problem of Sacrifices: Maimonides’ Ladder of Enlightenment

Maimonides in his Guide of the Perplexed, portrays sacrifices as a ruse whereby God redirects sacrifices to repudiate idolatrous practices prevalent at the time. In Mishneh Torah, however, Maimonides states that the messiah will rebuild the Temple and restore sacrifices just as they once were. How are Maimonides’ two works reconcilable? 

Dr.
David Gillis
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Vayikra

ויקרא

Leviticus 1:1-5:26

וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ קָרְבָּנוֹ וּשְׁחָטוֹ פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד

ויקרא ג:ב

He shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting

Lev 3:2

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Leviticus

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