interpretation of parts of Tanach by close reading, not derivation (Pronounced "par-sha-noot")

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Bereshit 15:13 question

Regarding the foretold 400 years in Bereshit 15:13-14 and Shemot 12:40 i read that the 430 years of exile began when Avraham joined the covenant with HaShem when he made the covenant between the parts ...
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Where does this midrash (for Vayetze) come from?

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, in his book, Accepting the Yoke of Heaven, quotes a midrash before concluding his parsha analysis: All those things which Jacob wished to refrain from, came upon him. He ...
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How good was Yaakov's trickery?

Yaakov told Rachel that " וַיַּגֵּד יַעֲקֹב לְרָחֵל כִּי אֲחִי אָבִיהָ הוּא וְכִי בֶן רִבְקָה הוּא וַתָּרָץ וַתַּגֵּד לְאָבִיהָ:" And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman and that he ...
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Why all the talk about colored sheep and goats?

In the VaYetze weekly reading (Parasha) there is a long description of the colors of the sheep and goat: Akudim, Nekutim... What is the reason behind all of this descriptions? If the text wanted to ...
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Rashi Shemos 14:4 seems to contradict later experience in the Midbar

Rashi says in Parshas Beshalach Shemos 14:4, sv ויעשו כן: [This is stated] to tell their praise, that they obeyed Moshe and did not say, “How will we draw near to our enemies [by returning in ...
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Why is it repeating something that's already known?

It is stated in Shemos Parshas Beshalach 14:4 the following: "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will be glorified through Pharaoh and through his entire army, and the ...
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Doesn't Yaakov have רוח הקודש

In this week's parsha (Bereishit 31:32), Yaakov says that whoever stole Lavan's idols will not live, not knowing that Rochel had taken them. Doesn't Yaakov have רוח הקודש he should have known that it ...
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When Yaakov said “whoever stole the idols will not live”, was that a curse or vow?

In this week's parsha (Bereishit 31:32), Yaakov says that whoever stole Lavan's idols will not live, not knowing that Rachel had taken them. The question is, was this said as a curse or a neder ...
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Where did Yitzchok pull out the blessing for Eisav from?

My paraphrased summary of Bereishit 27:30-39: Eisav comes in to get his blessing. Yitzchok tells him that he already gave the blessing away. Eisav says "bless me too!" Yitzchok says "Sorry, I'm ...
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Why does the posuk emphasise that Lavan was Ya’akov’s uncle?

It says in Bereishis 29:10: וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה יַעֲקֹב אֶת-רָחֵל, בַּת-לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ, וְאֶת-צֹאן לָבָן, אֲחִי אִמּוֹ; וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב, וַיָּגֶל אֶת-הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר, ...
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How did Rashi know that Ya’akov initially intended to go straight to Haran?

Rashi comments on the posuk in Bereishis 28:10 - “And Ya’akov went out from Be’er Sheva and went to Haran” - that the phrase “went to Haran” means that he left to go to Haran. Rashi seems to be ...
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Is Ber. 26 in the proper chronological place?

In Bereishit 25 twins are born and they grow up. Though I don't know how old they are by the end of the perek, they are at least 13. Then in perek 26, there is a famine and Yitzchak must go to Gerar. ...
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Since Yitzchok appears to have a doubt about the identity of the person whom he wished to bless, why didn’t he wait and make sure?

From what Yitzchok says in Bereishis 27:22 “the voice is the voice of Ya’akov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav” it seems that he had a doubt as to the identity of the person who had come to ...
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Why does Eliezer change facts in retelling what happened at the well?

There are 4 times in parshat Chayeii Sarah that the events at the well are related: The first is 24:14 (English from the chabad website) - what Eliezer prays for And it will be, [that] the maiden ...
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Sukkot--Object or place name?

Does anyone translate "סֻכּוֹת" in Vayikra 23:43 as a place name rather than an object (see Shmot 12:37 and 13:20, where it's a place name)? Might the Toarah mean "celebrate Sukkot because that's the ...
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What is the significance of the gifts that Eliezer gave to Rivka?

The verse states (24:22): ויקח האיש נזם זהב בקע משקלו ושני צמידים על ידיה עשרה זהב משקלם the man took a golden nose ring, weighing half [a shekel], and two bracelets for her hands, weighing ...
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Is there a connection between Hagar's distance and Yishmael's profession?

The Torah tells us that Hagar sat an archer's distance away from Yishmael as he lay crying, Genesis 21 verse 16. After he is miraculously saved he lives in the desert and is described as a רובה קשת, ...
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Regarding Avraham's responses to G-d's decisions

Are there any mefarshim who commented on why Avraham chose to advocate on behalf of Sdom when G-d tells him that the city will be destroyed, but chose to remain silent and just accept the decree when ...
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Would Avraham's tefillah have been necessary to save Sedom?

Let's say there actually would have been 50 (or 45, or 40...) righteous people in Sedom. Would Hashem have destroyed the city without Avraham's tefillah but saved it due to his tefillah? Was Avraham ...
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Questions regarding Sarah's denial in Breishit 18:15

Breishit 18:15 says (Mechon Mamre / JPS in English): Then Sarah denied, saying: 'I laughed not'; for she was afraid. And He said: 'Nay; but thou didst laugh. Apparently, Sarah laughed because ...
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How did Pharaoh know that Sarai was Avram's wife?

When Avimelech took Sarah, Hashem came to him in a dream and told him to return Avraham's wife (Bereishis 20:3). When Pharaoh took her, no such event is recorded in the Torah. Pharaoh's household ...
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Blatant foreshadowing in the Torah

Genesis 13:10 has the following verse: ויישא-לוט את-עיניו, וירא את-כל-כיכר הירדן, כי כולה, משקה--לפני שחת יהוה, את-סדום ואת-עמורה, כגן-יהוה כארץ מצריים, בואכה צוער Translation of bold: ...
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Where was Abraham coming from in Genesis 13:9

When Abraham and Lot separate in Genesis 13, Abraham tells Lot: הֲלֹא כָל-הָאָרֶץ לְפָנֶיךָ, הִפָּרֶד נָא מֵעָלָי: אִם-הַשְּׂמֹאל וְאֵימִנָה, וְאִם-הַיָּמִין וְאַשְׂמְאִילָה. "Is the whole land ...
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Were there more than just 2 or 7 pairs of animals on Noach's ark?

Noach was told to take a pair (male & female) of all non-clean animals, and 7 pairs of clean animals into the ark. However, Breishit 6:21 says: And take thou unto thee of all food that is ...
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The earlier an idea in the Torah is presented, the more primary it is

I remember hearing or reading once that ideas/lessons taught early on in the Torah (she'biksav), say in Be'reishis, are more primary ideas than those that are presented later on. My question is, does ...
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What is the difference between curses that would require changing lashon?

In parshat Lech Lecha, (Bereishit 12:3) Hashem promises Avram that וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר, And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. Why ...
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Why doesn't the king of Belah get a name?

Bereishis 14:2 names the 5 kings who were on Team B in the war between the 4 kings and the 5 kings. Regarding 4 of the 5 kings on Team B, we are told their name and their domain. But by the king of ...
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Why does Hashem allow Noah et al to eat *all* animals?

Reading the parsha today, I noticed for the first time that Bereishit 9:3-4 seems remarkable (JPS translations): .כָּל-רֶמֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר הוּא-חַי, לָכֶם יִהְיֶה לְאָכְלָה: כְּיֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב, נָתַתִּי ...
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Why doesn't Rashi accept that the word הקטן simply means the youngest?

Bereishit 9:24 says: וַיִּ֥יקֶץ נֹ֖חַ מִיֵּינ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֕דַע אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־עָ֥שָׂה־ל֖וֹ בְּנ֥וֹ הַקָּטָֽן׃ Rashi there says: בנו הקטן. הפסול והבזוי... Why does Rashi have to say that קטן ...
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Why didn't Noach look out the window?

After all, a window was clearly part of the Ark's structure, as we see from: Genesis 6:16: צֹ֣הַר׀ תַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה לַתֵּבָ֗ה וְאֶל־אַמָּה֙ תְּכַלֶ֣נָּה מִלְמַ֔עְלָה וּפֶ֥תַח הַתֵּבָ֖ה בְּצִדָּ֣הּ ...
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How does the Rambam understand the end of Shir Hashirim?

The Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, 6:9, states: Every mention of the name "Shelomoh" in the Song of Songs is sacred, except [8:12]: "You, Shelomoh, may have the thousand." (trans. by ...
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Why did the dor hamabul earn a painless death?

There are, apparently, 903 levels of death, and the term vayigva is one of them. According to some, it refers to the simple act of expiration -- the creation of a corpse. Others, like the Rashi ...
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“And it was evening, and it was morning, *one* day”?

Gen. 1:5: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד And it was evening, and it was morning, one day Gen. 1:8: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי and it was evening, and it was ...
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Why did Abraham treat his three visitors in this way?

I am new to this site. I'd like to ask some questions on the interpretation and cultural significance of the events in Genesis 18 in the Bible. First, why does Abraham have Sarah use 3 seahs of ...
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What is the proper translation of Samuel 1:17?

I have seen two translations of Samuel 1:17. Mechon Mamre says: Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of Him The Art Scroll Rosh Hashannah Machzor ...
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How many wings do Chayot have

In the first chapter of Yechezkel, the Chayot are described ambiguously as having four wings. Is this per side, or a total number?
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Can Moshe die at will?

Devarim 32:49-50 עֲלֵה אֶל-הַר הָעֲבָרִים הַזֶּה הַר-נְבוֹ, אֲשֶׁר בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב, אֲשֶׁר, עַל-פְּנֵי יְרֵחוֹ; וּרְאֵה אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַאֲחֻזָּה. נ ...
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Deut. 29:15 — why not “you passed” or “we passed”?

In this week's parsha, Moshe says to Bnei Yisrael (Devarim 29:15): כִּי אַתֶּם יְדַעְתֶּם אֵת אֲשֶׁר יָשַׁבְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בְּקֶרֶב הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר עֲבַרְתֶּם ...
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Why did God send Dovid to Hebron specifically?

In Shmuel Bet 2:1, Dovid asks God which city he should go to and God tells him to go to Hebron. What is the reason he is told to go to that city specifically? I have seen commentaries explain that it ...
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From whence do we learn that the Torah does not mince words? [duplicate]

I have oft heard it stated that "the Torah does not mince words" (example 1, example 2, example 3). While it seems natural/logical that the Creator of the World would use words precisely, from whence ...
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Why the person switches in Shemos 14:2-4?

Shemos 14:2-4: דבר, אל-בני ישראל, וישובו ויחנו לפני פי החירות, בין מגדול ובין הים: לפני בעל צפון, נכחו תחנו על-הים.‏ ואמר פרעה לבני ישראל, נבוכים הם בארץ; סגר עליהם, המדבר.‏ ...
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How was Ya'akov allowed to favor Yosef over Re'uven?

In Devarim 21:16 - 17 it states that the father cannot favor the son of the beloved wife over the older son of a hated wife. If we assume the notion that our forefathers performed all the mitzvot of ...
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klal yisroel, torah and achdus

I heard someone say that the only way klal yisroel was able to accept the Torah was through achdus? Does anyone know the source for this? Does anyone know if it's in Chofetz Chaim Al HaTorah?
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Why did God want a Tabernacle built by Moses? [duplicate]

Why did God want a Tabernacle to live among Israel (Exodus 25:8)? What is the significance of the Tabernacle built by Moses?
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Tree of Life in the midst of the garden?

How should the following phrase be interpreted? וְעֵץ הַחַיִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַגָּן (Genesis 2:9) Does this mean The [Tree of Life] (which is) in the garden or does it mean The Tree of ...
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Ba'al Shem Tov online

Hebrew books does not have Ba'al Shem Tov on the Torah. Does anyone know where I can find the Ba'al Shem Tov on the Torah online?
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What does, 'A wandering Aramean was my father' mean in Dt 26:5?

What does, 'A wandering Aramean was my father' mean in Dt 26:5? Why was this response required to be made before the LORD?
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What's the difference between אניה and ספינה in Jonah?

In יונה‎ 1:2–5, the boat Yona is on is referred to generally as an אניה. But in verse 5, Yona goes down to a side room of the ספינה. The commentaries seem to treat the words as synonymous: ...
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Is there something shocking about the location of Mount Gerizim and Eval?

In Devarim 11:30, after describing the blessings and curses to be delivered on Har Gerizim and Eval, Moshe says the following: הלא המה בעבר הירדן אחרי דרך מבוא השמש בארץ הכנעני הישב בערבה מול ...
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What constitutes an “Enemy of God”?

(I'm not referring here to Tenokim Shenishbu.) Devarim 7: "And he repays his enemies in his lifetime to make him perish, he shall noy delay for his enemy, in his lifetime shall he pay him". Who are ...