Torah MiEtzion: Vayikra (Hrjp) Hardcover – 1 Feb 2014
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Yeshivat Har Etzion is a hesder yeshiva in Israel. A yeshiva is a school dedicated to the study of Judaism. A hesder yeshiva is one that recognizes that its pupils should not only learn but practice Judaism by fulfilling the requirement that every Israeli citizen must serve in the military to defend Israel. Yeshivat Har Etzion is one of the leading institutions of advanced Torah study in the world. It is well-known for its teachers, its commitment to Torah study, love of the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and its ability to engage with and be enriched by the contemporary world.
This Har Etzion book contains forty-four essays by seventeen male rabbis and one female. The authors evaluate the Torah by examining the text, not midrashic interpretations of it, even though Midrashim have sermonic values. The authors’ reasoning is generally logical and based on the belief that the five books of Moses were divine revelations, and it is important to know what the books are saying not sermons based on what is in it.
Among the forty-four essays in this enlightening volume are an analysis of sacrifices and atonement, the mystery of the meal offerings, what actually happened to Aaron’s two sons, the meaning of “impurity,” why white garments were used by the priest on Yom Kippur, why was blood prohibited, why were certain unions prohibited, what is holiness, the laws of the blasphemer, the concluding covenant in Leviticus 26, the value of man, and much more.
In short, while the rabbis of former years chose to ignore biblical problems and ended in ignoring what is in the Torah, the rabbis of Yeshivat Har Etzion see the problems as opportunities to gain deeper and wider understandings of Judaism.