SansBlogue  
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
  Beginning right
Somehow I missed the link to the JTS Torah Commentary site when Bob first posted the instruction to Enjoy this commentary actually despite the linguistic form it is more of an expectation "you will [I am sure] enjoy this commentary" than an instruction ;) Either way the commentary he points to on the beginning of the beginning of the first pericope of the Bible Parashah B'reishit was well worth enjoying :)

Written with (almost but not quite?) an excess of humour the post takes up Rashi's remarks that the first word of Scripture 'says nothing other than "explain me"!'

I used Rashi's approach in the sermon I preached on Gen 1:1.1-3 (the first three words of Gen 1:1) for the latest CareyMedia video series on "Gospel" (the new series is not available yet, but you can watch one of the previous series on Blip.tv. So I loved Rabbi Harris' commentary. In particular I was grateful for his opening paragraph to discover a passage and interpretation I had not noticed before:
There is a verse that I love to invoke whenever I teach about "the poetics of biblical narrative," and it doesn't come from this week's portion (but who's keeping score, anyway?). Instead, it is found in the first extended legal section, Parashat Mishpatim (Exod. 21–24). Loosely translated, this is the text: "In all charges of misunderstanding . . . whereof one party alleges, 'This is it!'—the case of both parties shall come before God" (Exod. 22:8); the Hebrew phrase underlying the words "this is it!" is: כי הוא זה (ki hu zeh). The verse seems to be addressing a case in which no one side has a total claim on the truth; in such a case, then, one is bidden to consider both possibilities.
Do read the rest!



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