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Names, Meaning

Abraham’s Migration and Name Change: A Story for the Babylonian Exiles

Abram’s journey from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan, and God’s changing his name to Abraham, “father of a multitude of nations,” presage the struggles and aspirations of his descendants’ return migration from Babylon to Judah. At stake is Isaiah’s vision about the place of Israel among the nations.

Prof.

Hyun Chul Paul Kim

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Jacob’s Struggle at Jabbok: The Limits of Strategy

Jacob makes a series of strategic preparations in anticipation of meeting his estranged brother Esau. Instead of the expected confrontation, we get a totally unexpected, unanticipated, and unprepared for wrestling between Jacob and a mysterious stranger at the ford of Jabbok. By juxtaposing these two accounts, the narrative invites us to think about both the human impulse to control and its limitations.

Prof.

Meira Z. Kensky

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The Cities of Nebo and Baʿal-Meon Were “Musabot Shem”

What does this phrase, found in Numbers 32:38, mean?

Dr.

Mordecai David Rosen

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Why the Sages Add Titles to Biblical Personalities

A rose by any other name

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

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Did Pharaoh’s Daughter Name Moses? In Hebrew?

She named him Moses (מֹשֶׁה) explaining, “I drew him (מְשִׁיתִהוּ) out of the water” (Exod 2:10).

Dr. Rabbi

David J. Zucker

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Her Name Was Tamar – Invasive, Destructive, Redemptive

The character of Tamar draws on a botanical motif—the tamar, the date palm—to evoke a recurring trope of female family members whose beauty and presence have the power to destroy or save the family.

Prof.

Jacqueline Vayntrub

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Hosea: Loving God Erotically

A biblical metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel.

Prof.

Carl S. Ehrlich

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Lot and His Daughters’ Motives for Their Incestuous Union

Genesis Rabbah surprisingly portrays Lot’s daughters and their choices in a decidedly positive light, while exacerbating Lot’s culpability.

Dr.

Shayna Sheinfeld

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Rebecca Ran to Her Mother’s Household - Where Was Her Father?

Betuel, Rebecca’s father, mysteriously appears and disappears in the negotiations over Rebecca’s marriage.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Rabbi

Daniel M. Zucker

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Baby Naming: Biblical Rites and Mother’s Rights

Who gets to name the child? Priestly and non-Priestly texts give two different answers.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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What’s in a Name? The Bible vs. the Middle Ages

Naming practices in the biblical and ancient Near Eastern cultures differed significantly from those of medieval Jews in Fatimid Egypt (7th-12th cent. CE) as evidenced by the genizah findings. Examining these names presents us with important historical and anthropological data.

Prof.

Elinoar Bareket

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