Wibble Wednesday: Military Intelligence (Numbers 13:1–15:41)

Back again this week, with פָּרָשַׁת שלח לך (“Send yourself” portion), another odd blend of narrative and random grab-bag laws. It’s only 3 chapters but a lot happens in them.

The quick snarky summary: Moses sends scouts out to examine Israel, and their lukewarm praise precipitates a whole new crisis of God being pissy. He works out his aggression by killing most of the Israelites and demanding obedience to a few extra laws.

Why do you ask, when you know you won’t like the answer?

Wibble Wednesday: The beatings will continue until morale improves (Numbers 8:1–12:16)

OK, I’m a full week behind, so tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish off two books of the Torah with a single update. Don’t think I can? Read on, as I work my way through פָּרָשַׁת בהעלתך (“On rising” portion), which some traditions claim includes the end of one book, the entirety of another, and the beginning of a third.

The quick snarky summary: we had a whole damn book of Levite practices, and two chapters worth of packing-up-to-move instructions for the Levites, and we’re still not done with basic day-to-day Tabernacle procedures. The congregation is finally ready to move, and they do. Arrival at a new desert encampment is celebrated with the now-traditional whining at Moses about the lack of creature comforts. Also, Tzippora’s in-laws are total assholes.

Daddy don’t live in that Mount Sinai no more

Tuibble Tuesday: Knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided (Numbers 4:21–7:89)

I wish I could say I’ve been busy, but I’ve just been lame. But if I finish this before Wednesday, Is till have time to get back on schedule, so let’s get to פָּרָשַׁת נשא (“Add up” portion), a kind of eccentric grab-bag of ritual law, civil law, and narrative.

The quick snarky summary: Levites have to take care of the Tabernacle when it moves, and they kick out the unclean. There’s magic dirty water you can use to curse adulteresses, if you shame them sufficiently in public. Also, there’s a way to consecrate one’s body to God. Both of these two previous processes have a surprising focus on hair. Finally, tribal offerings are presented in the most repetitive and dull way possible.

There’s an awful lot in a short space here