Friday, March 20, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- pop quiz

This week I’m going to pull a switcheroo. I’m going to give you some verses in the Bible to study for next week. Then I’m going to give you the facts of a case. What I want you to do is combine the Bible verses with the general principles I’ve put together in the last year and a half for you, and see what falls out. I don’t expect you to get the specific answer that Mishnah or halakhah arrived at. I just want you to see if you can figure out which principles apply. Then we’ll explode another urban legend.

The verses are: Exodus 13:2, 12-13, 34:19-20; Leviticus 27:30 and 32; Numbers 18:21-32; Deuteronomy 14:23-29, Deuteronomy 15:19, and Deuteronomy 18:3-4.

Here are the facts of the case. A Jewish farmer had a flock of sheep. Sheep are prone to drop twins. Sheep come under the law of firstborns. The farmer had eight sheep that gave birth in the same spring. Two of the sheep birthed twins. One sheep that dropped twins was a primipara; it was her first birthing, and she birthed the sole male among all four of the twins.

How many of the lambs does the farmer have to give up to the priests and how do you know?

I know you will have questions about more details but the details as given allow for a definitive answer even just on general principles, and the answer is documented in Mishnah.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

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