Parashat Va’etchanan / The Torah as textual homeland
The Torah is depicted in terms of a physical expanse, as a territory surrounded by alternative textual territories. Readers are commanded to walk – that is, to read – within their own territory only.
In the Shema Yisrael (“Hear, O Israel”) passage that appears in Parashat Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11), and which is recited twice daily in prayers, precise instructions are given as to how the biblical text is to be treated. The Torah’s words – that is, “these words” – must be placed “upon thy heart” (Deut. 6:6), and must be...
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