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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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Setting the Stage for Pluralistic Judaism

Setting the Stage for Pluralistic Judaism

Parashat Beha’alotecha (Numbers 8:1–12:16)

(p.197) Thirty-Six Setting the Stage for Pluralistic Judaism
Torah Queeries

Steve Gutow

NYU Press

This chapter discusses a reading of Parashat Beha'alotecha of Numbers showing how Moses assigned some elders political duties. He gathered seventy elders to whom God had granted the spirit of prophecy, and commissioned them to speak for God. Moses' decision was a message of acceptance and inclusion. Moses reached out and included everyone, contrary to the normative voice of the tradition which extols and protects the power of the hierarchy. Considering this context, the parasha indicate that the LGBT people, as well as women have the rights of communal integration and leadership. Hence, one's homosexuality is not a reason to limit access to religious leadership or to sexual intimacy.

Keywords:   Parashat Beha'alotecha, Numbers, Moses, communal integration, religious leadership, sexual intimacy

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