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Leitwort

“Leading word”; Hebrew, מילה מנחה

Israel's Development as a Nation: Form, Storm, Norm, Perform

The Torah often uses the repetition of certain terms and wordplay to underline important themes. Numbers uses the terms נשא (nas’a: “to carry”) and נסע (nas‘a; “to travel”) to highlight the development of Israel from independent clans to a nation in a way that fits well with the model of group formation first suggested by psychologist Bruce Tuckman.

Dr.

Shani Tzoref

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Preparing for Sinai: God and Israel Test Each Other

The opening of the wilderness-wandering story in Exodus uses the Leitwort נ-ס-ה to underline the process of reciprocal testing between Israel and God as preparation for the Sinai event. This testing parallels that of the wilderness-wandering story in Numbers, which uses the Leitworter נ-ס-ע and נ-ש-א to underline the process of preparation Israel goes through before entering the land.

Dr.

Shani Tzoref

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Moses Dies at the Age of 120 — Was It Premature?

The end of Deuteronomy recounts that at an age of one hundred and twenty Moses says he is no longer able/allowed to lead the people’s journey and will therefore not be carrying them on to cross the Jordan (Deut 31:2). According to other places in the Torah, however, Moses dies because of a sin – his or of the people.

Dr.

Gili Kugler

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