And He Called: Stop Street Harrassment

(And) he called [va-yikira]… (Lev. 1:1) “I don’t care how she’s dressed, it’s not OK!” “I don’t care how she’s walking, it’s not OK!” “It’s not a compliment…It’s street harassment” “Vayikra” is a singular masculine verb (all action in Hebrew is gendered). These are the first words, and the Hebrew name, of the Bible book […]

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Unintentional Soul-Fail: Pursuing Connections

Leviticus/Vayikra chapter 4 opens with a “soul” involved in an “unintentional” “failure.” Vayikra: Language and Translation offers five translations, with their associated notes and commentaries. For anyone seeking a drash [investigation] point, this could be a good spot to begin: What might it mean for a soul to fail unintentionally? And what, if anything, can […]

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Vayikra: Language and Translation

What does it mean that “a soul unintentionally fails [Nefesh ki-techeta bi-sh’gagah]…”? — Leviticus/Vayikra 4:1-2 Is this an ethical or ritual error? Was the “soul,” in contemporary understanding, alone involved? Here are five translations with associated notes, suggesting (no surprise) no agreement: YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, saying: (Any) […]

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Sacrifice and Womb: Pursuing Connections

One of the reasons I started the “Opening the Book” blog series was my belief that the plethora of dvrei torah (plural of dvar [word] of Torah]) on the internet, as well as in print, doesn’t necessarily help anyone who is trying to prepare a dvar torah of their own, at least at the outset. […]

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Derekh Eretz: Pursuing Connections

Vayikra: A Path to Follow quotes a Talmud passage linking this week’s Torah portion to rules of etiquette and ethics. Specifically, the first verse is linked to “Don’t speak until you’ve first called to the person with which you’re trying to communicate” and to “Don’t repeat what anyone says without express permission.” Either or both […]

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Vayikra: A Path to Follow

And the Lord called unto Moses, and spoke unto him [Leviticus/Vayikra 1:1], why does Scripture mention the call before the speech? — The Torah teaches us good manners: a man should not address his neighbour without having first called him. This supports the view of R. Hanina, for R. Hanina said: No man shall speak […]

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Vayikra: Great Source(s)

By allowing laypersons to make their own sacrifices, under the auspices of the priests, the sacrificial laws gave people a degree of control over their spiritual lives. Inviting people into the sanctuary for the sacrifice, people felt themselves personally invited into God’s earthly home. In essence, the system of sacrifice provided a metaphor, a method, […]

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