Devarim: Something to Notice

“How [‘eikhah] can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden and the bickering!” — Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:12 (JPS translation)

Alter notes the unusual use of “the elongated form ‘eikhah, which often marks the beginning of laments” — instead of the simpler ‘eikh here. Plaut (The Torah: A Modern Commentary) lists two prophecies, in addition to this verse, begin with this elongated form:Continue Reading

Matot: Something to Notice

Eleazar the priest said to the troops who had taken part in the fighting, “This is the ritual law that YHVH has enjoined upon Moses: Gold and silver, copper, iron, tin and lead — any article that can withstand fire — these you shall pass through fire and they shall be pure, except that they must be purified with water of lustration [mei niddah]; and anything that cannot withstand fire you must pass through water.Continue Reading

Shelach: Something to Notice

Bamidbar/Numbers 15:37-41 is found in most prayerbooks at the third paragraph of Torah study after the Shema:

…Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments through the ages; let them attach a chord of blue to the fringe at each corner….”

It is interesting to note that Mishkan T’filah [tent/sanctuary of prayer], the Reform movement’s new (2007) siddur, restores this passage, with the following explanation:

This text was omitted from many Reform prayer books when it was not customary for Reform Jews to don tallitot [prayer shawls, with fringes on the corners] for prayer. Now that many Reform Jews find meaning in this custom, Mishkan T’filah has restored the full paragraph as an optional recitation.

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