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Sacrifices

The Flood Changes God Not Humanity

When YHWH sees the evil ways of humanity, he initially decides to wipe them out, but then determines to save Noah’s family. After the flood and Noah’s sacrifice, YHWH promises that He will never again destroy the earth and all life, even though humanity will continue in its evil ways. Thus, the story chronicles not the moral and emotional advancement of humanity but of YHWH.

Prof.

Ronald Hendel

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Yom Kippur’s Seder Avodah Begins with God’s Creation of the World

Arguably, the highlight of the prayer service on Yom Kippur is the Seder Avodah, a type of piyyut (liturgical hymn) that poetically reenacts in every detail the ritual service performed by the high priest on Yom Kippur in the Jerusalem Temple. But why do these poems begin with the creation story?

Prof. Rabbi

Dalia Marx

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Sukkot's Seventy Bulls

The Torah’s adaptation of a polytheistic ancient West-Semitic custom of sacrificing to seventy gods.[1]

Dr.

Noga Ayali-Darshan

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Which Sacrificial Offerings Require Libations?

A burnt offering (olah), described as “sweet smelling” food for YHWH, always includes grain and wine libation “side-dishes,” constituting a complete meal. A purification offering (chattat), however, is a cleansing ritual. Should it also have an accompanying libation? The Masoretic Text of Numbers 28-29 offers an inconsistent answer that differs from that of the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch.

Dr.

Naphtali Meshel

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"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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Searching for the Meaning of the Passover Sacrifice

The need for medieval exegetes to suggest a plausible alternative to the Christian exegesis of this ritual.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Debates Over Centralizing Sacrificial Worship and Eating Non-Sacrificial Meat

Moses’ first set of laws in Deuteronomy (11:31–12:28) requires the Israelites to destroy Canaanite sites of worship and to centralize sacrifice for Yahweh at the site of His choosing. It also allows them to eat meat without sacrificing the animal, under particular conditions. A close look at the terms of Moses’ speech shows that the text has been supplemented no less than three times.[1]

Dr.

Simeon Chavel

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Meat or Murder? A Vegetarian Start

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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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

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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The Wood Offering Celebration – "As Written in the Torah"

Bringing wood for the altar was an important celebration in Second Temple times. To ground this practice in the Torah, Nehemiah (10:35) describes it as a Torah law, while the Temple Scroll (11Q19) and the Reworked Pentateuch (4Q365) include it in their biblical festival calendar.

Dr.

Alex P. Jassen

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Sacrificing a Lamb in Egypt

When a Temple of Yahu Stood Near a Temple of Khnum

Prof.

Jan Assmann

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Not Signing Off on Sacrifices

The Hidden Message of the Opening Verses of Kedoshim

Rabbi

Uzi Weingarten

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The Discrepancies Between the Sacrifices in Ezekiel and the Torah

The laws of holiday sacrifices in Ezekiel 45–46 contradict the laws in Numbers 28–29. The problems are so significant that some Talmudic sages thought it would be best to withdraw (לגנוז) the book of Ezekiel. This piece lays out the discrepancies in detail, surveys some traditional and modern answers, and ends with my own thoughts about why Ezekiel’s system is so different.[1]

Dr.

Tova Ganzel

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The Tabernacle, the Creation, and the Ideal of an Orderly World

The account of the Tabernacle’s construction echoes the creation story in Genesis 1-2:4a, providing an interpretive key to the ancient understanding of this structure. Ritual theory provides further insight into what Israelite readers may have found meaningful about the Tabernacle as a ritual place.

Dr. Rabbi

Naftali S. Cohn

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Meeting the Challenge of Critical Scholarship with Leviticus

Dr. Rabbi

Irving (Yitz) Greenberg

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Meat or Murder? Leviticus Versus Deuteronomy

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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