pshat

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Fractal Patterns in the Torah

In the Torah portion Emor (Leviticus 21:1–24:23), we are instructed to abstain from work every seventh day on Shabbat. Next week’s Torah portion, Behar, continues this theme and instructs us to abstain from agricultural work every seventh Sabbatical year, Shmita. And the Torah doesn’t stop there. It instructs us to count seven Shmitas and then observe a Jubilee, Yovel. Do you notice a pattern? Every seven days, every seven years, every seven Shmitas… Furthermore, the Midrash states the world will exist for seven thousand years with the seventh millennium being a thousand years of the kingdom of Mashiach (Messiah)—yom shekuloy Shabbat—one long Shabbat. A second-century sage, Rabbi Huniah ben HaKanah, interprets this Midrash to mean that the world will last seven Cosmic Shmitas, i.e., 49 thousand years (which, according to a prominent 13th–14th [...]

Septuagint—Collapsing the Wave-function of the Torah

Today is the eighth day of the month of Tevet. On the 8th of Tevet of the Jewish year 3515 (246 BCE), the Torah was translated into Greek. In the ancient times, this day was commemorated by fast. Seventy sages translated the Torah into Greek for King Ptolemy. That day was as difficult for the people of Israel as the day on which the [Golden] Calf was made; for the Torah could not be fully translated. (Babylonian Talmud, Tr. Sefer Torah, 1:8) Why does the Talmud compare translation of Torah into Greek to the tragedy of Golden Calf that brought terrible retribution the consequence of which we still suffer today? According to Medrash Tanchuma, Moses translated Torah into seventy languages before Jews crossed Jordan river on the way to the Promised land. Moreover, [...]

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