Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Parsha and Manuscript: Vayikra – ‘G-d Calling Moses’

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 05.51.07 pm.png

In the opening of the book of Leviticus, it states:[1] ‘And He called to Moses (Vayikra el Moshe) and the Lord spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying: speak to the children of Israel and say to them: when a man from among you brings a sacrifice to the Lord; from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall bring your sacrifice.’ The question that arises is: why does it state that G-d first called and then spoke to Moses, when it would have been sufficient to have written, as in most statements in the Torah, that G-d spoke to Moses without mentioning that G-d called him first?


First interpretation - Affection


In the printed edition of the commentary of Rashi (1040-1105) it comments - from the Midras…Read More »

Pasha and MS – Tetzave – ‘Pure olive oil crushed’

MS. Canon. Or. 81, Fol. 82 (1396) Tetzaveh.pngIn the portion of Tetzave it discusses the kindling of the Menorah:[1] And you shall command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.’The principle description of the type of oil that should be used for the kindling of the Menorah is that it should be of the most superior quality: ‘pure olive oil, crushed for lighting.’ Similarly, in Leviticus, it states:[2] ‘Command the children of Israel, and they shall take to you olive oil, pure, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually.’


The first oil


The Talmud[3] elaborates regarding the requirement about the quality of the oil with the following: There … Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.