1. Preemptive atonement for the golden calf? No, we need not say this was Divine foreknowledge and preemption. Rather, Rashi and Midrash Tanchuma are merely being consistent, that the command to built the Mishkan came after the chet haegel.
1. YU Torah on Ki Sisa.
2. How late was Moshe? The Abarbanel says, contra the midrash and Rashi, that there was no expectation of 40 days on the mountain.
3. 'Obvious' interpretations of pesukim -- as a followup to the above. Even if in hindsight Abarbanel's interpretation were obvious -- A 'famous' midrash is often transformative. It colors how we look at the pesukim. It becomes unclear just what is stated by the pasuk and what is not. While we might consider some overt portion of the midrash to be midrash -- in this instance, the interpretation ofboshesh ("tarried") to be ba shesh, that the sixth hour which he had appointed had arrived -- the other perhaps less overt assumptions of the midrash, that he expected to arrive on this 40th day, approximately, we might not realize are not stated explicitly by a pasuk. After all, Shemot 24:18 mentions the 40 days without extra comment, and 40 is a nice round number. And if we are not absolute bekiim in Torah, given that different parts of the narrative are stated in different places, we might not take careful stock and realize what background assumption is pasuk and what background assumption is midrashic interpretation. And so on.
1. Ki Tisa sources, 2012 edition -- further expanded and improved.
2. The kadma ve'azla on venatenu -- Plus, that it is a palindrome. The Gra connects it to a gemara in Shabbos about the wheel of fortune.
3. The psik in כִּי זֶה | מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ -- The trup symbol psik after the word זה, to allude to the seeing of Moshe in a bier, which the Satan showed them.
4. YU Torah on parashat Ki Sisa.
5. Shadal on ayin hara -- That ayin hara is not real, but that the Torah works with the belief rather than uprooting it because it is founded on actual principles of Divine Providence, and is therefore a positive belief to maintain. And also, together with Abarbanel, that the idea of kofer was notledoros.
6. Many facets of Torah -- What was the miracle of the luchos? That letters were suspended, or that they could be read in any which way?
- Ki Tisa sources -- further improved and expanded. For example, many more meforshei Rashi.
- Was Betzalel a prophet? It might depend on what girsa we have in Onkelos.
- The variant text of וְאֶת כָּל כֵּלָיו -- Considering how the MT differs from LXX and Sam regarding וְאֶת כָּל כֵּלָיו
- YU Torah on Ki Tisa.
- Mor dror as musk -- A discussion of deer musk, according to medieval scientific conceptions, in medieval parshanim.
- Is the Sichfa a special variant of etnachta? Or, is it an etnachta by another name? Considering this theory, because of an instance of the sichfa in parashat Ki Tisa.
- Why should the half-shekel perplex Moshe Rabbenu? Maybe it did not. But why it might have.
- More on Mor Deror -- Considering more sources, namely the Rambam and Raavad, Rabbenu Yona and Rama, and the Tur.
- A Stiff-necked people -- Does the Torah indeed indicate, in Ki Tisa, that physically thick-necked people are stubborn? Ibn Caspi appeals to physiognomy to say yes.
- Five times penalty for the golden calf -- An interesting explanation of a midrash, and of a pasuk in Ki Tisa, according to the Gra. Are there other ways of explaining this midrash pliah?
- Another Ibn Ezra on brain anatomy -- which seems based on contemporary, Galenic science.
- Gra on trup, in Ki Tisa -- an additional derivation that a wealthy person should not spend liberally on charity more than 1/5th.
- Ki Tisa sources -- revamped, with more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftara.
- The hint from the palindrome, venatenu -- Continuing my roundup of interpretations of the Vilna Gaon on trup, on the second pasuk of Ki Sisa, the Gra interprets the kadma v'azla on the palindrome,v'nat'nu.
- Moshe, dying for our sins? While the concept of the righteous of the generation absorbing punishment for the generation is not entirely without precedent or manifestation in Jewish theology, it features quite prominently in Christian doctrine. So it is somewhat surprising that Rambam understands an offer by Moshe Rabbenu in Ki Sisa to be just that, and that Ramban refers to Isaiah 53, the Suffering Servant, as precedent. Especially since Ramban understands that section to refer to the collective, rather than to a specific individual. The answer may well be that Ramban is not arguing for this position, but rather against it.
- Does the midrash whitewash Aharon's role in the cheit ha-Eigel, or does it accentuate the fine nuances of the text? You might guess correctly that I favor the latter interpretation. Prompted by this post at DovBear.
- Playing catch with the luchos -- prompted by the following neo-midrash Junior brought home from school:
Moshe was bringing down the luchos, but because the Jews sinned, theluchos tried to fly back up to shamayim. To prevent this from happening, Moshe threw the luchos down towards earth with all his strength. But nobody caught them, and they shattered on the ground!.
- Calev ben Yefuneh's double identity -- A Midrash Tanchuma and gemara conflates some Biblical characters, and Ibn Ezra opposes. Could a 170 year old father a child, without the pasuk telling us? If the pesukim go out of their way to make a distinction between Calevs, should we conflate them in a closed-canon approach?
- Ti Sisa sources -- by perek and aliyah, plus many meforshim on the parsha and haftarah. Great for preparing Shnayim Mikra. This week I added a new commentator, Ibn Janach.
- Remove Me Na -- and why the word Na does not appear at all in sefer Vayikra. ;)
- How Much Sweet Cinnamon? (from Shadal's Vikuach) -- according to the trup and Yerushalmi, or according to the Bavli. See here and here.
- Is half of it 250, or is it half as much, that is 250? A continuation of the above, but with a trup chart, and in my own words.
- Rapprochement of Brothers - cross-listed from parshat Tetzaveh
- Moshe is commanded to bring his brother near. Does the happen before or after the sin of the Golden Calf? If so, this might be vindication of Aharon's actions. A midrashic analysis to see if we might deduce Aharon's motivations.
- Recommended Post: Ibn Ezra on the Egel
- a peshat based defense of Aharon and the majority of Israelites.
- How Much Is A Shekel?
- As of today, 24 cents. An initial approach.
- Michelangelo's Moses
- and why Moshe has horns.
- Al Tikra: Seeing/Fearing
- Aharon "saw this" and built the altar. How we might read it as "feared," and a midrash that does this in a different context.
- (posted on parshat Vayikra) Extra Ink
- Moshe comes down from Har Sinai with light emanating from his forehead. One midrash says this was from the extra ink. Where did this ink come from? We might say from the small aleph in Vayikra. And a discussion of this phenomenon.
to be continued...