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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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Between Beast and Angel: The Queer, Fabulous Self

Between Beast and Angel: The Queer, Fabulous Self

Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2–25:10)

(p.212) Forty Between Beast and Angel: The Queer, Fabulous Self
Torah Queeries

Lori Hope Lefkovitz

NYU Press

This chapter provides a queerly interpretation of Parashat Balak of Numbers. The text is replete with boundary crossing and ambiguous identity categories: a beast that talked; an angel that interacted with people; and the protagonist-prophet Balaam who was characterized as both friend and foe—an ambiguous hero. These set up of characters connotes that everyone is a queer who consistently improvises one's self. In The Politics and Poetics of Camp, Moe Meyer claims that “what queer signals is an ontological challenge that displaces bourgeois notions of the Self as unique, abiding, and continuous while substituting instead a concept of the Self as performative, improvisational, discontinuous, and processually constituted by repetitive and stylized acts.”

Keywords:   Parashat Balak, Self, Numbers, Balaam, Moe Meyer, queer

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