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A Purpose of the Mishkan
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We often look at the Mishkan from the perspective of Sefer Vayikra (korbanot). Yet there has been no mention of korbanot yet! Thus far in the Torah it would seem that the purpose of the Mishkan is to store the Luchot (Aron) and a place for the Shechina to rest (kaporet). What is the relationship […]
Chariots of Fire
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The beginning of Terumah seems totally disconnected from the end of Mishpatim. Is there a logical progression? The description of the vision Bnei Yisrael had is very similar to the מעשה מרכבה. At the end of Mishpatim Moshe ascends to Har Sinai for forty days and forty nights. Where is Moshe supposed to put the […]
Sights and Sounds
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“וכל העם רואים את הקולות ואת הלפידים”: The Mechilta discusses whether they saw the sound (R’ Akiva) or they just “saw” a “sound and light show” (R’ Yishmael).  There are two elements of Ma’amad Har Sinai – form and content. Is the emphasis on the Divine Revelation or the content? Download the Mekorot Delivered at […]
Fixing the Throne
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The Torah records that the reason Hashem didn’t take Bnei Yisrael via Derech Eretz Plishtim is because of war. But Hashem specifically told Moshe that they had to stop at Har Sinai first to serve God (תעבדון את האלוקים על ההר הזה). Hashem prevents war by taking Bnei Yisrael on a circuitous route and by […]
Left in the Dark
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Regarding some of the makkot the Torah specifically says the Jews will be spared, the Torah itself doesn’t say anything about the Jews being spared of the other plagues. The Emet L’Yaakov says that some Jews refused to leave because it wasn’t time to be redeemed yet (it hadn’t been 400 years of servitude yet) […]
Signs, Wonders, and Punishment
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What do the three phrases יד חזקה וזרוע נטויה ושפטים גדולים mean? What is the difference between אות and מופת? Why does Hashem harden Pharaoh’s heart? According to the Rambam Hashem removes his freewill in order to facilitate punishment. What would have happened if Pharaoh gave in earlier? According to the Seforno the plagues served […]
A Loving Sister
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Not all exiles are the same; the threat is not always the same. On a practical level, what does it mean that more than Israel kept the Shabbat, Shabbat kept Bnei Yisrael? Pharaoh’s decree to kill all the male newborns echos two scenes in Bereshit: The pre-flood story in which the powerful men took whatever […]
The Glorious Victory of Yehuda
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Reuven loses the status of firstborn. Do Levi, Yehuda, and Yosef receive the Kehuna, Kingship, and double portion of the bechor because of something that happened or something that will happen. To what extent is Reuven still the firstborn (in some listings in Sefer Bamidbar he is listed first). The end of Vayishlach list of […]
Isolation or Integration?
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The decision to settle in Goshen seems to indicate a desire for an isolationist approach. When Yosef describes his family as אנשי מקנה does it mean shepherds or people who are strong…or is he deliberately ambiguous? Is Pharaoh asking the brothers to be royal shepherds or generals in the army? Why would Pharaoh need strong people […]