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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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“Be Strong and Resolute”

“Be Strong and Resolute”

Parashat Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30)

Chapter:
(p.267) Fifty-Two “Be Strong and Resolute”
Source:
Torah Queeries
Author(s):

Martin Kavka

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.003.0052

This chapter discusses a reading of Parashat Vayelech of Deuteronomy suggesting that the entire people of Israel—regardless of gender—is a covenanted people. However, the text does not address specific classification of the gerim (strangers). The verse's presupposition that the gerim are to follow every commandment of the Torah implies that an individual ger is a convert to Judaism, and a “proselyte” who is legally equal to but socially different from the Israelite. The text indicates that all queer readers of Torah can be considered strangers, gerim, either in communities or in the broader fabric of Judaism. When queer congregants are not taken as equal members of a community but still show up at services and are active in congregational life, they can be considered gerim.

Keywords:   Parashat Vayelech, Deuteronomy, covenanted people, gerim, Judaism, Israelites

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