Wibble Wednesday: Numerology (Numbers 1:1–4:20)

OK, I’m way behind, but I have just about the best excuse one can have for missing a section of the Book of Numbers (which we are now starting!). I was away at, and then recovering my routine from, a math conference. But now I’m back on track, and all set to discuss פָּרָשַׁת במדבר (“In the desert” portion). Numbers is a kind of fun book, with both narrative and some kinda quirky law, so it’ll be an interesting ride.

The quick snarky summary: It is finally proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that all those references to upwards of half a million Israelites is not a clerical error or a mistranslation. Some details of just how this enormous group camps and moves are shared, conveniently ignoring the logistical impossibilities.

Arithmetic proving that alternative interpretations don’t actually work


Thibble Thursday: Carrots and Sticks (Leviticus 26:3–27:34)

During the breaks I lose track a bit of the days, so Wednesday kind of snuck up on me. Nonetheless, here we are, at long last, at the end of Leviticus! Three books of the Torah down, two to go! Here we’re in פָּרָשַׁת בחקתי (“In My Laws” portion), and back to the old JPS translation.

The quick snarky summary: Obey or die. OBEY OR DIE. OBEY OR DIE. Ahem. What was I saying? Oh yes, there’s a procedure for appraising charitable gifts to God, which the IRS may or may not approve of.

Bad things don’t happen to good people!