Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Much of this book was written during 2014–15, a year that I blissfully spent as a fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. I thank Mikhail Krutikov and Deborah Dash Moore for extending to me the invitation to the institute, and to the institute’s fellows and staff for creating a wonderfully nurturing and stimulating intellectual environment. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-26

In his novel The Time of Trimming (‘et ha-zamir), Israeli author Haim Be’er describes the emergence of messianic zeal among religious Zionist circles in Israel right before the 1967 war. In one unforgettable scene, the military undertaker Süsser listens with great dismay to Benny Brimmer, an enthusiastic young man talking about the Jewish ...

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1. Missing Persons

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pp. 27-64

In biblical narrative, the practice of sacrifice is almost as old as humankind itself. The very first sacrificial acts in the Bible, those of Cain and Abel, who decided to share portions of their harvest and flocks with God, are described not only as self-initiated (rather than expected or required), but also as intuitive. ...

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2. The Work of Blood

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pp. 65-107

In the previous chapter, I showed that the components of the sacrificial ritual in which the prominent actor is the owner—namely, the components of procession, presentation, and hand laying—receive very little attention in rabbinic legislation, and are emphatically without impact in determining the validity and efficacy of the sacrificial process. ...

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3. Sacrifice as One

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pp. 108-141

The biblical book of Leviticus, which details the desired nature of the priestly sacrificial cult through a highly systematic and comprehensive set of instructions, begins its survey of the different types of sacrifices as follows: ...

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4. Three Hundred Passovers

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pp. 142-182

One of the foundational myths of the rabbinic movement is the story of Hillel the Elder’s appointment as patriarch.1 As the story goes, one time the fourteenth of Nisan, the day on which the Passover sacrifice (henceforth the Passover2) is ritually performed, took place on the Sabbath. ...

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5. Ordinary Miracles

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pp. 183-222

The fifth chapter of tractate ’Avot (“Fathers”) of the Mishnah, a tractate that uniquely contains teachings regarding morals and virtues rather than elaborations of particular legal or ritual topics, commences with six passages whose recurring theme is the number ten.1 These passages highlight the centrality of the number ten in the sacred history of the people of Israel, ...

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Conclusion: The End of Sacrifice, Revisited

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pp. 223-250

“Our slaughter of tame animals for sacrifices is common to us and to all other men,” wrote the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in his polemic work Against Apion, setting out to reject allegations according to which Jews engage in savage and barbarous forms of worship.1 Josephus made this statement toward the end of the first century C.E., ...

Bibliography

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pp. 251-268

Subject Index

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pp. 269-276

Source Index

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pp. 277-288