Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Sin

How Much Forgiveness Can We Expect From God?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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A Feminist Literalist Allegorical Reading of Shir Hashirim

Finding Gender equality without compromising God and meaning in a sanctified collection of love poems.

Prof.

Wendy Zierler

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Recasting the Temple Purification Ritual as the Yom Kippur Service

Leviticus 16 – ויקרא טז

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Benei Elohim, the Watchers, and the Origins of Evil

According to the non-biblical book of Enoch, Genesis 6 tells of angels who bring sin to humanity, causing the Flood as well as sin and disease in the present.

Dr.

Miryam Brand

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Yom Ha-kippurim: The Biblical Significance

Prof.

Baruch J. Schwartz

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Punishing Children for the Sins of their Parents

Ezekiel challenges the divine (in)justice of intergenerational punishment, a concept that the Talmud notes appears in the Torah itself.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Teshuva and "Returning to the LORD" - Are They One and the Same?

Dr.

David Lambert

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Cain's (Im)Penitent Response to his Punishment

Eight possible meanings of Cain’s response and what this tells us about his character as presented in the Torah

Dr. Rabbi

Eliezer Finkelman

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Do Not Covet: Is It a Feeling or an Action?

In English, to covet means to desire (someone or something) obsessively, wrongfully, and/or without due regard for the rights/feelings of others. It is a strong emotion, to be avoided. But does “covet” capture the meaning of the Hebrew verb חמד? 

Prof.

Leonard Greenspoon

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A Sin Offering for Birth Anxiety

Following the purification period after birth, a mother must bring a חטאת –“sin offering,” despite her having committed no obvious sin. This offers us a unique glimpse into the prehistory of the Israelite cult, when apotropaic rituals (used to protect against dangerous forces) like those in other ANE cultures, were the norm.

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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Is there a Consensus that a Census Causes a Plague?

Census is a necessary and standard procedure for governing. Indeed, the Bible contains numerous stories of censuses that are mundane and unproblematic. Only two texts suggest otherwise: Exodus 30 and 2 Samuel 24 (=1 Chronicles 21), a census by King David.[1]

Dr.

Shira Golani

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The Red Heifer in Synagogue: Purifying Israel from Sin

Ezekiel 36 uses Priestly “purification” imagery similar to that of the red heifer ritual to describe God’s future reconciliation with Israel, inspiring the rabbis to choose this passage as the haftara for Parashat Parah.

Ethan Schwartz

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