yum failures with missing $releasever

During an upgrade (yum update) on a Fedora VM, something went horribly wrong, and it crashed in the middle of the update. After rebooting, and cleaning up the mess, yum still was very unhappy. Running an update would give me errors like

Could not parse metalink https://mirrors.fedoraproject.org/metalink?repo=fedora-$releasever&arch=x86_64 error was 
No repomd file
Error: Cannot retrieve repository metadata (repomd.xml) for repository: fedora. Please verify its path and try again

Very odd. It turns out, $releasever was not properly set, and I could not figure out why. Poking around, I realized that $reelasever is supposed to come from examining the version number of a particular RPM package, in my case fedora-release. Well, lo and behold, this package was no longer installed on my box, yum must have uninstalled it, but crashed before installing the new update (or something...). I mounted the Fedora Core DVD, and simple reinstalled the missing package, and things are happy joy joy again. Here's the command:

$ sudo rpm -i ./Packages/fedora-release-13-1.noarch.rpm