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

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Why was the punishment for the sin of the spies so severe?

Avot Derabbi Natan 9:2, commenting on Bamidbar 14:22, enumerates the 10 times that B'nai Israel tested G-d in the desert. The Mishnah states that G-d did not punish them until they spoke lashon hara ...
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101 views

Calling the name of God

Chapter 3 in Joel: א וְהָיָה אַחֲרֵי-כֵן, אֶשְׁפּוֹךְ אֶת-רוּחִי עַל-כָּל-בָּשָׂר, וְנִבְּאוּ, בְּנֵיכֶם וּבְנוֹתֵיכֶם; זִקְנֵיכֶם, חֲלֹמוֹת יַחֲלֹמוּן--בַּחוּרֵיכֶם, חֶזְיֹנוֹת יִרְאוּ. 1 ב ...
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Why is Aaron's account of the Golden Calf incident different from the narrative account?

Before Moses asks Aaron what he did, the narrative account of the Golden Calf's creation is that Aaron asked for gold, received the gold, "and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten ...
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116 views

Where does the Zohar mention each day's challenges?

The Artscroll Stone Chumash on page 80, note 11, says the following: באים בימים - Coming with [their] days. The Zohar says, "Each day in a person's life carries with it it's own challenge and ...
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Why does the Torah say ואלה תולדת יצחק?

Parashat Toldot starts with the words ואלה תולדת יצחק בן אברהם; אברהם הוליד את יצחק These are the generations of Yitzhak the son of Avraham; Avraham gave birth to Yitzhak. Normally when the ...
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32 views

How can something negative be a blessing?

Ya'akov calls out for his sons to come to him, in order to tell them what would happen in the acharit hayamim. From Bereshit 49 verse 28 we learn that Ya'akov gave the tribes a bracha (blessing). But ...
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Why the use of “King of Egypt” at the beginning of Shemot 14::5?

The beginning of Shemot 14:5 says, "It was told to the King of Egypt...". Why use this term instead of the more common term "Pharoah"?
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60 views

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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Was the Jubilee in mind in Isaiah 49:8-9 and 61:1-2?

Did the prophet Isaiah have the Jubilee in mind in Isaiah 49:8 and 61:1-2? I notice the term "proclaim freedom" appears in Leviticus as well as Isaiah. Is the similarity superficial?
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127 views

Why did Esther have to become queen and be forced into adultery?

Presumably God could save the Jewish people without Esther, a married woman, becoming the wife of Achashverosh. So why did He choose to bring the salvation in this fashion? (although she was ...
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71 views

Human v.s. Animal: spiritual v.s the most fine physical entity kind of soul?

If animals don't have spirits (Does anyone have a proof text that animals *don't* have spirits?), then what is the meaning of nishmat ruach chayim in Bereshit 7:22? And in what way does it differ ...
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How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Shemot 2:11 says how Moshe went out to see the suffering of his people: וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם וַיִּגְדַּ֤ל מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֵּצֵ֣א אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיַּ֖רְא בְּסִבְלֹתָ֑ם וַיַּרְא֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י ...
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No mention of Simcha for Pesach

Devarim (Deut.) ch. 16).. lists the 3 pilgrimage holidays, Pesach, Shavuot and Succot. Of the 3 holidays, Pesach has no explicit mention of "simcha" (joy). Why is that? Is simcha not required on ...
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54 views

Why doesn't Yitzchak chastise Avimelech about the wells the way his father did?

In parshat Toldot, we see a number of situations that occur to Yitzhak that are (almost) identical to those that occurred to his father, Avraham. Examples: There is a famine. Yitzchak seeks to go to ...
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Why does Rashi describe Mahalath as “Another unsuitable wife”?

At the end of Parshat Toldot, Eisav marries the daughter of Yishmael, as he "perceives" that the daughters of Heth have upset his parents. Whilst obviously Eisav had many flaws, this appears to be a ...
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Is G-d near to us in times of trouble?

In Psalm 46:2, it is said that "G-d is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." How is this compatible with Psalm 10:1 which reads "Why standest Thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest ...
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36 views

How did Saul deliver Israel from the Philistines

1 Samuel 9:15 says that Saul was chosen to deliver Israel from the Philistines. How is this compatible with how in 1 Samuel 31:6 and 7 is demonstrates that he killed himself due to a military defeat ...
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51 views

Is G-d chasing out the Cananite nations or does B'nai Yisra'el have to do this?

There appears to be a conflict of ideas regarding who should rid the land of Cana'an from its inhabitants: Exodus 23:28-29 (Sefaria): וְשָׁלַחְתִּ֥י אֶת־הַצִּרְעָ֖ה לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וְגֵרְשָׁ֗ה אֶת־...
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Mi La'Hashem Eilai - Was this an appropriate response?

This question weaves together a couple different sources. The first nekudah comes from 32:32 where we have the phrase: וְאִם-אַיִן--מְחֵנִי נָא, מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ - If you will not [...
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To what degree and under what conditions can the righteous influence God's judgement of a population?

When Noah was told of the flood's coming, he did not pray for mercy on behalf of the world. When God told Abraham that he was about to assess S'dom and Amorrah, Abraham continually questioned God ...
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39 views

Who is “the Desire of all Nations” in Haggai 2:7?

Haggai 2:7 mentions "the Desire of all Nations", according to modern day Judaism, is this a reference to the Messiah or to God Himself?
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Why are the commandments for the holiday of Succot interrupted by commandments regarding sacrifices in general?

Vayikra 23:33-36 discuss the celebration of Succot. Then, verses 37-38 interrupt the discussion by saying a general statement that these are the holidays when you should offer sacrifices. Then, verses ...
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Was Malbim an innovator?

Malbim (Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel) wrote a commentary on most of Tanach. In his introduction (to Yeshayahu) he writes the assumptions with which he operates in his commentary: :עמודי התוך ...
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How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

In Vayikra 21:1 it's stated that one should not defile himself for any (dead) 'nefesh' person... How can a word like Nefesh which seems to be the force that animated the body and gave it it's life, ...
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Was G-d “overcomplaining” in Shemot (Exodus) 16:28?

Exodus 16:4 (Somewhat modified English translation from Sefaria): וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה הִנְנִ֨י מַמְטִ֥יר לָכֶ֛ם לֶ֖חֶם מִן־הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְיָצָ֨א הָעָ֤ם וְלָֽקְטוּ֙ דְּבַר־י֣וֹם ...
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Would Jobs daughters sons have been sons of Job?

In Job's testing, Jobs sons all died. When God restored him, he had seven sons and three daughters. He gave the daughters an inheritance among their brothers. Would Job's grand sons (The daughter's ...
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121 views

What is the Jewish understanding of Micah 5:1

I listened to a debate between a Rabbi and Christian scholar. The Rabbi quoted the end of the verse (2 in the Christian's English Translation) pointing out that Christians often quote this verse to ...
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How did Ya'akov keep his vow regarding tithing?

With permission, I ask this question with honor and respect to a 92 year old man who paid attention to my laining this morning. May he live a long life! Genesis 28:22: וְהָאֶ֣בֶן הַזֹּ֗את אֲשֶׁר־...
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What happened with Nadav and Avihu?

Regarding the death of Nadav and Avihu, the Torah says it happened when they brought a foreign / unauthorized fire into the Mishkan. Concerning their death, Rashi brings up Rabbi Eliezer's opinion ...
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“I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned…” - how do we understand this?

At the end of bentching we say that "I was young, and I also became old, and I never saw a righteous person be abandoned, and his children asking for bread" (Tehillim 37:25). How do we reconcile that ...
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What do the words ויהי כן (Beraishis 1:15) mean? It seems the “making” happens in the next verse?

In Beraishis, the posuk often says ויהי כן. But, for example, regarding Day 4, after Hashem says "there should be luminaries" (verses 14 and 15) then it says ויהי כן (verse 15), and then it says ...
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Magicians' Inability to Interpet Pharaoh's Dreams

The Posuk says (Genesis 41:3): וְהִנֵּה שֶׁבַע פָּרוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת עֹלוֹת אַחֲרֵיהֶן מִן הַיְאֹר רָעוֹת מַרְאֶה וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה אֵצֶל הַפָּרוֹת עַל שְׂפַת הַיְאֹר Translated as: ...
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Were Zimri and Cozbi inside or outside?

Bamidbar 25:6 says: וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא, וַיַּקְרֵב אֶל-אֶחָיו אֶת-הַמִּדְיָנִית, לְעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה, וּלְעֵינֵי כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְהֵמָּה בֹכִים, פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד....
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how to close parsha gap between israel and overseas [duplicate]

for overseas to catch up to Israel why not double up on either acharey mos/kedoshim or behar/bechukoysay? why wait to matos/maasey?
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Why should other nations praise G-d because of His mercy towards us?

The shortest chapter in the book of Psalms is one we recite as part of our prayers on holidays and the New Moon: Psalms 117:1-2 (translation from Sefaria): הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה כָּל־גּוֹיִ֑ם ...
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Bemidbar 9:2 - Why is the word pronounced “Posach”, with a kamatz?

During this morning's (4th day Hol Hamo'ed Pesach outside Israel) I noticed that in Numbers 9:2: וְיַעֲשׂ֧וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶת־הַפָּ֖סַח בְּמוֹעֲדֽוֹ׃ ’Let the children of Israel keep the ...
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(Ki) Ani Hashem Elokeihem

Twenty-seven times (by my count) in Torah and in Ezekiel, we find the phrase אני ה׳ אלקיכם or אני ה׳ אלקיהם at the end of a pasuk (for example, Lev 25:55). In eight of these cases, the phrase is ...
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Pharaoh should have asked for his presents back when he found out that Soroi was Abram's wife?

Pharaoh took Soroi and benefited Abram for her sake 12 (16). He did this on the understanding that Soroi was Abram's sister. He asked 12 (18) “Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?” ...
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Age of Avram (Avraham) when he left for Kena'an out of the Ur Kasdim?

Nechemyah 9:7-8 teaches that it was HaShem who brought (or called?) Avram forth out of the Ur Kasdim Bereshit 11:31 teaches that Terach took his whole household in which included Avram and they went ...
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2answers
46 views

Explain how the last word of Yosef's “oath” got into the verse in Shemot 13:19

In Shemot 13:19, the verse quotes the oath that Yosef made his brothers and descendants swear about carrying his bones when they leave Egypt. Compare these words in this verse with the actual oath ...
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168 views

Where can I get the full set of Shadal's commentary on the Torah?

I'm a big fan of Shadal's commentary on the Torah, but I can't find anyone selling the full set. There's an english translation of Breishis only and the full hebrew version is available online, but I ...
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1answer
63 views

What did Nadav and Avihu do wrong?

Leviticus 10 tells about the death of Aharon's sons: And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire ...
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51 views

Why does Megilas Esther describe Achashveirosh's sleepless night as “on that night”?

What was so special about the night that Achashveirosh couldn't sleep that it was referred to in the Megila (6:1) as "that night", i.e. בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך It could have said something more ...
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1answer
54 views

Why did nachshon jump first?

In sota 37a and michilta beshalach 14,22 and bamidber raba 13,7 it says that nachshon ben aminodov jumped in first in the yam suf and his name is nachshon says the midrash because he jumped into ...
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1answer
205 views

Is there a difference in meaning between קָדֹֽשׁ and קֹֽדֶשׁ?

I am helping my son lain parshat Emor. He's having a hard time seeing the difference between קֹֽדֶשׁ and קָדֹ֥שׁ esp. when they are written the same. Usually, when I train students to lain, I try to ...
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3answers
173 views

Who is “thrusted through” in Zechariah 12:10?

How do Jews generally view/regard this verse? And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me ...
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159 views

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

I noticed a mix of the two forms of the Hebrew objective marker commonly pronounced אֶת. in the Torah. (There is no English translation of this word. It is used only to notify that an object follows ...
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126 views

Why does Yosef bring his sons to Yaakov

Yaakov famously blesses Ephraim and Menashe but who tells Yosef to bring them to their grandfather? It doesn't seem that this would be a natural thing to do as they are not Yaakov's sons. Does ...
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24 views

Info on Levonah

Considering the current parshios mentioning of Levonah (Frankincense, Olibanum), I decided to look into it a bit. According to the wiki entry here there are therapeutic and medicinal properties ...