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Ki Tavo: The Mystery of Goodness
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by David Hazony | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

By David Hazony Nearing the end of his farewell address to the Israelites, Moses describes a peculiar ceremony they are to perform after entering Canaan.
Devarim: Untimely Farewell
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by David Hazony | Jewish Ideas Daily » Weekly Portions

Standing in the desert of Moav, poised to send the Israelites into the Promised Land without his own titanic presence to lead the way, Moses begins his last and greatest speech.
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Editors' Picks
Torah and Telos Jerome Gellman, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. A rational argument for taking one's religious text as divine revelation might have succeeded, were it not for the failure of the author's test-case: his justification for believing in a revealed Torah. (Interview with the book's author here.)      
Amalek and Moral Ambiguity Gil Student, Torah Musings. While halakhically persuasive, a new study of the moral contradiction inherent in the commandment to wipe out the Amalekites is not emotionally sufficient.
Ways and Means Joseph Lowin, Hadassah. The root alef, reshhet, meaning to travel, is used in two important narratives in Genesis and still is encountered in modern Hebrew.  Just don't try to give an orhit to an airport customs agent.      
A Mask for Janus Margalit Fox, New York Times. For a generation of Reform Jews, the commentary of the recently deceased W. Gunther Plaut heralded a return to Hebrew scripture. But it also made new interpretations permissible.
The Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights Mark Osler, Journal of Church and State. In some ways the two decalogues are at loggerheads; in other ways, they work together.
Why Not Covet? Elchanan Samet, Virtual Beit Midrash. Reasons for the tenth commandment (found in this week's Torah portion): practical, psychological, moral, spiritual.
Mincing Words Philologos, Forward. The Yiddish expression makhn ash un blote—"to make ashes and mud" or "to make mincemeat" of someone—exemplifies the influence of biblical idiom on Yiddish phraseology.
How Many Came Out of Egypt? Shlomo Karni, Torah Musings. David Ben-Gurion did the math.
From Haran to Hebron Moshe Gilad, Haaretz. One anthropologist is on a campaign to mark the 1,200 kilometer path traveled by the patriarch Abraham through Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Israel.
In Concert Stuart Low, Democrat and Chronicle. How to characterize the work of composers like Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Mahler, in which Jewish folk tunes and Bible stories are blended with Christian themes?