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Tabernacle

The Place(s) that YHWH will Choose: Ebal, Shiloh, and Jerusalem

Jews have long understood “the place that YHWH will chose” to mean Mount Zion in Jerusalem, while Samaritans have interpreted it as Mount Gerizim near Shechem. Archaeology and redaction criticism converge on a compromise solution: it refers to a series of places, one place at a time.

Zvi Koenigsberg

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Why Does the Torah Devote So Much Text to the Tabernacle?

Two responses—from an academic Bible scholar and from a rabbi.

Prof.

Baruch J. Schwartz

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Rabbi

Herzl Hefter

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Ptolemy II’s Gift to the Temple in the Letter of Aristeas

The Letter of Aristeas embellishes its account of Ptolemy’s gift of a table and bowls to the Jerusalem Temple with what Greek rhetoric calls ekphrasis, a graphic description of a thing or person intended to bring the subject vividly to the eyes of the reader. What is the purpose of this embellishment?

Prof.

Benjamin G. Wright III

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Moses’ Commandments: The Secret of R. Nissim of Marseilles

In the 14th century, R. Nissim of Marseilles suggested that God told Moses only the general command for the Mishkan and the laws in the Torah, and Moses himself wrote the details and attributed them to God as a way of glorifying God. A close look at many passages in Deuteronomy suggests that this was an early conception of Moses’ role in commanding the mitzvot.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Tabernacle: A Post-Exilic Polemic Against Rebuilding the Temple

The Priestly Torah discusses the Tabernacle at extraordinary length, emphasizing its portability. Nothing in P ever says this structure was meant to be temporary. P’s Tabernacle was not foreshadowing the Temple, but was a polemic against Haggai and Zechariah’s agitation to build the Second Temple.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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Yom Ha-kippurim: The Biblical Significance

Prof.

Baruch J. Schwartz

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Leviticus as a Literary Tabernacle

The late British anthropologist Mary Douglas proposed that Leviticus was designed to reflect the structure of the Tabernacle, which in turn reflects the division of space during the revelation at Mount Sinai. In this reading, the two screens or curtains that divide the Tabernacle are represented by Leviticus’ only two narratives.[1]

Prof.

Gary Rendsburg

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The Textual Source for the 39 Melachot of Shabbat

The forms of of work forbidden on Shabbat and whether there is even a fixed number of them is disputed in the Tannaic period. Today, Judaism follows the opinion Rabbi Akiva and his students that the number is 39. But from where did Rabbi Akiva and students derive the number 39 as set in stone?[1] 

Dr. Rabbi

Yoel bin-Nun

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How God Was Sanctified through Nadav and Avihu's Death

After the shocking death of Nadav and Avihu, Moses says to Aaron that this is what God meant when he said, “through those near to me I will sanctify Myself.”  Rashi, Rashbam, and Nahmanides struggle to understand the meaning of Moses’ message.

Prof.

James A. Diamond

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What Kind of Creatures Are the Cherubim?

A tour of the multiple interpretations given over time, including the latest iconographic and archaeological findings.

Dr.

Raanan Eichler

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The Zer

What exactly is the זֵר (zer), mentioned ten times in the furnishing of the Mishkan: A test case for the importance of archaeology[1] 

Dr.

Raanan Eichler

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Repetition and the Tabernacle: Eternity in the Face of Change

Dr.

Amy Cooper Robertson

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The Message of the Non-Chronological Opening of Numbers

Is the focal point of the book the Camp or the Tabernacle?

Prof.

Jonathan Grossman

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The Cherubim: Their Role on the Ark in the Holy of Holies

Tradition has interpreted the Cherubs to represent anything from a child to a man, woman to an angel, from a bird to a Torah scholar. Ancient Near Eastern evidence answers this uncertainty, or at least tells us what the Cherubim originally meant.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Highlighting Juxtaposition in the Torah

The well-known rabbinic principle of אין מוקדם ומאוחר בתורה (there is no chronological order in the Torah) is often understood to be a hermeneutical solution to a textual, peshat problem. The principle, however, should be understood as midrashic, formulated to highlight other reasons for which biblical accounts could have been juxtaposed.

Dr.

Isaac Gottlieb

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In the Presence of God

The Difference between God’s “Name (שם)” and “Presence (כבוד)”

Dr.

Michael Carasik

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What Was the Tachash Covering in the Tabernacle?

Animal, vegetable or mineral? Assyriology and archaeology provide an answer to an ancient question.

Dr. Rabbi

Norman Solomon

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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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The Materiality of a Divine Dwelling

What makes a material suitable for constructing a sacred space, and why, given all of the details and repetitions concerning the mishkan, are none of its manufacturing techniques narrated?

Dr.

Jonathan Ben-Dov

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