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Torah Talk

Michael Carasik
25 episodes
a learner's guide by Michael Carasik (incorporating the "Torah Talk" podcast)

Disclaimer: the content and artwork of this podcast are the property of its owner and are not affiliated with nor endorsed by Audiotrails.

Behar-Behukkotai 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of May 2nd, 2021 Lev. 25:23       But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim [לִצְמִתֻ֔ת], for the land is Mine. It’s a bis legomenon!!!  But what does it really mean, where did it come from, and how did it get into the Holiness Code? This week’s handout: […]

Emor 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 25th, 2021 Lev. 23:10    When you enter the land that I am giving to you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest.11 He shall elevate the sheaf before the Lord for acceptance in your behalf; the priest shall ele…

Aharei Mot-Kedoshim 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 18th, 2021 Lev. 19:4   Do not turn to idols [אַל־תִּפְנוּ֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלִילִ֔ים] or make molten gods for yourselves: I the Lord am your God. But what exactly is an אֱלִיל? Click here for Mark Hamilton’s article “What Are Elilim?” Learn Biblical Hebrew! Donate via Paypal! Clic…

Tazria-Metzora 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 11th, 2021 Lev. 12:1   The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to the Israelite people thus: When a woman at childbirth bears a male, she shall be unclean seven days; she shall be unclean as at the time of her menstrual infirmity.— 3 On the eighth day the f…

Shemini 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of April 4th, 2021 Lev. 11:9   These you may eat of all that live in water: anything in water, whether in the seas or in the streams, that has fins and scales—these you may eat. Okay, but … what are their names?  Why doesn’t the Bible have any names for […]

Tzav 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of March 21st, 2021 Lev. 7:34  For I have taken the breast of elevation offering and the thigh of gift offering from the Israelites, from their sacrifices of well-being, and given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due from the Israelites for all […]

Vayikra 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of March 14th, 2021 Lev. 1:1 The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. But in Exod. 40:34-35 that tent in the middle of the camp is also called the Tabernacle.  And in Exod. 33:7, the Tabernacle has not yet been set […]

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of March 7th, 2021 Ex. 35:25 And all the skilled women [חכמת-לב] spun with their own hands, and brought what they had spun [מטוה], in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen. “What they had spun” is a single word in Hebrew — a word that sounds an […]

Ki Tisa 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 28th, 2021 Ex. 34:28    And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread and drank no water; and he wrote down on the tablets the terms of the covenant, the Ten Commandments [עֲשֶׂ֖רֶת הַדְּבָרִֽים]. Wait, what?  Didn’t we […]

Tetzaveh 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 21, 2021 Ex. 28:35 [Aaron must wear a robe hemmed with bells …] so that the sound of it is heard [ונשמע קולו] when he comes into the sanctuary before the LORD and when he goes out—that he may not die. Who hears this sound?  Why must it “be […]

Terumah 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 14, 2021 Ex. 26:31 You shall make a curtain [פָרֹ֗כֶת] of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen; it shall have a design of cherubim worked into it. It seems obvious that פרכת must mean curtain, but as Abraham ibn Ezra tells us, this […]

Mishpatim 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of February 7, 2021 Ex. 21:29  If, however, that ox has been in the habit of goring, and its owner, though warned, has failed to guard it [וְלֹ֣א יִשְׁמְרֶ֔נּוּ], and it kills a man or a woman—the ox shall be stoned and its owner, too, shall be put […]

Yitro 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 31st 2021 Ex. 18:5   Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought Moses’ sons and wife to him in the wilderness, where he was encamped at the mountain of God. But how could Moses be there when the Israelites don’t reach the mountain of God until Exod 19:2? This w…

Beshalach 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 24th 2021 Ex. 14:1   The Lord said to Moses: 2 Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp before Pi‑hahiroth [פִּ֣י הַחִירֹ֔ת], between Migdol [מִגְדֹּ֖ל] and the sea, before Baal-zephon [בַּ֣עַל צְפֹ֔ן]; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. What are these mostly Semitic…

Bo 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 17th 2021 Exod. 10:21       Then the Lord said to Moses, “Hold out your arm toward the sky that there may be darkness upon the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be touched.” 22 Moses held out his arm toward the sky and thick darkness descended […]

Va’era 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 10th, 2021 Ex. 6:2-3   God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them [לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖עְתִּי לָהֶֽם] by My name YHWH.” What does Jewish tradition recognize […]

Shemot 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of January 3rd, 2021 Exod 1:15   The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah. What do these names mean — and why are they mentioned at all, when even the king’s name is not? This week’s handout: […]

Vayehi 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 27th, 2020 Gen. 49:3  “Reuben, you are my first-born …” But was he really?  Reuben is so insignificant in biblical history that scholars invent an important pre-history for him.  Andrew Tobolowsky says there may be a different answer to this puzzle. This …

Vayigash 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 20th, 2020 Gen. 45:10  “You will dwell in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me—you and your children and your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all that is yours.” Where is Goshen?  What does this name mean?  Is there more than one […]

Miketz 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 13th, 2020 Gen. 44:9     Whichever of your servants it is found with shall die; the rest of us, moreover, shall become slaves to my lord.”  10 He replied, “Although what you are proposing is right [גַּם־עַתָּ֥ה כְדִבְרֵיכֶ֖ם כֶּן־ה֑וּא], only the one with whom it is foun…

Vayeshev 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of December 6th, 2020 Gen. 37:21       But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said [וַיֹּ֕אמֶר], “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben went on [וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֣ם ׀ רְאוּבֵן֮], “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch hi…

Vayishlach 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of November 29th, 2020 Gen. 32:20       Jacob set up an altar there and called it El-elohe-yisrael. What does this name mean … and why would you name an altar? This week’s handout: 08 Vayishlach 5781 Learn Biblical Hebrew! Donate via Paypal! Once again, you can click…

Vayetze 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of November 22nd, 2020 Gen. 28:18       Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He named that site Bethel; but previously the name […]

Toledot 5781

Gen. 25:29  Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open, famished [עָיֵֽף]. 30And Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stuff to gulp down, for I am famished”—which is why he was named Edom. Why does the Torah say that Esau is עיף (which usually means “fatigued”) […]

Hayyei Sarah 5781

This is Torah Talk for the week of November 8th, 2020 Gen. 24:19 When she had let him drink his fill, she said, “I will also draw for your camels, until they finish drinking.” Believe it or not, when these camels finish drinking, they will point us to another book in the Bible that’s closely […]