Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Symbolism

Shankbone and Egg: How They Became Symbols on the Seder Plate

The Talmud requires having two unspecified cooked dishes to be eaten as part of the Passover meal. How did this requirement develop into the custom of placing two particular symbolic foods, the shankbone and the egg, on the seder plate?

Dr.

Joshua Kulp

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Shema Yisrael: In What Way Is “YHWH One”?

The Shema has many interpretations, philosophical, eschatological, national, etc. A historical-critical way to understand the Shema is to read it (and Deuteronomy more broadly) against the backdrop of Assyrian domination, when Assyria touted their god Ashur as the supreme master of the world.

Rabbi

Daniel M. Zucker

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Why Is the Torah Divided into Five Books?

The division of the Torah into five books is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, yet by the early first millennium C.E., the Torah became known by the Greek name Pentateuch, literally “five scrolls.” When and why was this division created?

Dr.

Elaine Goodfriend

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