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.

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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...