Amalek

Vayikra-Zachor: Remembering Sacrifices

One of the fiercest debates amongst Biblical commentators of the medieval period was to what extent, if at all, parts of the Torah may be seen as allegorical. No less a personage than the Rambam claimed that stories such as the three angels visiting Avraham, or Yaakov’s struggle with an angel, were prophetic visions that did not actually occur. As one can imagine, views such as these—and more radical ones, which allegorized such mitzvot as the “sign on our arm”, i.e., tefillin—met with vociferous opposition.

Vayakhel-Pekudei: What's In a Name?

"Moshe said to the Jewish people: See that G-d called in the name of Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah" (35:30). As is well known, Biblical names are much more than a way to call somebody. We often associate names with particular events: Yakov getting his name because he held on to the eikev, heel, of Eisav; Reuven and Shimon because G-d saw and heard Leah's pain; Moshe because he was drawn from the water (m'sheetuhu).

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