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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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How to Construct a Community

How to Construct a Community

Parashat Bemidbar (Numbers 1:1–4:20)

(p.187) Thirty-Four How to Construct a Community
Torah Queeries

David Greenstein

NYU Press

This chapter discusses a reading of the Parashat Bemidbar of Numbers, which shows Israelites' growing sense of community fostered established boundaries. However, these boundaries also make it possible to exclude some people regarded as out of bounds—as “others.” For example, creating a bounded camp made it possible to send lepers outside its borders. The context of this passage may be related to queers who have been rendered outside the community's social norms. As such, the efforts to establish a clearly delineated and bounded community are defeated by other efforts to maintain and promote the very values that the community holds dear—a sacred connection to Divinity and a compassionate connection to one another.

Keywords:   Parashat Bemidbar, Divinity, community, Number

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