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

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412 views

Why are none of the Pharaohs in the Torah identified by name?

Throughout the Torah, the various Egyptian Pharaohs are always referred to as simply "Pharaoh" or "the king of Egypt" (or both), but never with any other parts of their official titulary. By ...
17
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5answers
692 views

Halachic Restrictions not in the Torah, and “shall not add”

How can halachic restrictions that are not in the Torah be reconciled with the Deuteronomy 4:2 passage, which says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
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2answers
3k views

All people in world are Jews?

According to the Book of Genesis, Noah saved his family and representatives of every animal from a flood by constructing a boat. So since all of humanity should be descended from Noah, does that mean ...
14
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8answers
608 views

Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom?

In Bereshit 12:11-16, we see that Avraham was willing to receive gifts from Pharoah: 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold ...
14
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7answers
413 views

why half-believe the Torah?

(I'm not sure this is on-topic, and feel free to close it if it's not, of course.) I understand some who study the Bible claim natural reasons for things we recognize as miracles, from the plagues of ...
14
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4answers
211 views

Why did Avraham name his son before the Bris (circumcision)?

Why does the Torah seem to imply that Avraham named his son before the bris? First: וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם אֶת שֶׁם בְּנוֹ הַנּוֹלַד לוֹ אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לּוֹ שָׂרָה יִצְחָק And Abraham called ...
13
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10answers
436 views

Yaakov Marrying Two Sisters

According to those that say the Avos kept the Torah beforehand (here), how was Yaakov allowed to marry two sisters? (Yes, I'm aware that there are many answers)
13
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7answers
311 views

“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". How do we reconcile that with the ...
13
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3answers
321 views

Let there be light! But from where?

According to Genesis 1:3, "And G-d said, Let there be light; and there was light." What light is the Torah referring to if the sun which produces light by day was created only on the 4th day of ...
13
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1answer
295 views

How does Orthodox Judaism view the Book of Jubillees

How is the Book of Jubilees regarded by Orthodox Jewry (I'm not asking if we believe it existed, but if we hold any of the information in it to be accurate). Is it ever quoted by any of the ...
13
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2answers
336 views

Why is a “leper” allowed to sit with other “lepers”?

In Parshat Tazria (Vayikra 13:46) we are told: All the days the lesion is upon him, he shall remain unclean. He is unclean; he shall dwell isolated; his dwelling shall be outside the camp As ...
13
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2answers
172 views

What happened to the Yeshivas Shem v'Aiver?

What happened to the Yeshiva of Shem v'Aiver and all who learnt there?
12
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6answers
657 views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
12
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3answers
507 views

What is the “book of the law” mentioned in Joshua 1?

Specifically, Joshua 1:8: Joshua 1:8 (JPS) 8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do ...
12
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3answers
306 views

Why did Achashveirosh take Esther if she was already married?

According to the opinion that Queen Esther was married to Mordechai. Achashveirosh was looking for unmarried girls (Esther 2:2–4). Why did he take a married woman? Especially considering that Queen ...
12
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2answers
168 views

Why did Moshe Rabbeinu object to the mirrors, but not the kumaz?

Why did Moshe Rabbeinu balk when the women wanted to donate their mirrors to the construction of the Mishkan (Rashi, Shemot 38:8), but not when the women donated their kumaz (Shemot 35:22), which were ...
12
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3answers
164 views

Unusual number of males among the 70 who went to Egypt

B'reshis chapter 46 lists the seventy descendants of Yaakov who went to Egypt. It actually lists sixty-nine: let's assume Yocheved was the seventieth, as Rashi explains. It also lists (in pasuk 12) ...
12
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2answers
167 views

Why did Hashem not tell Avraham to have a Bris earlier?

Avraham Avinu was told to have a Bris at 99 years of age. Why didn't Hashem have him do a Bris earlier?
12
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2answers
201 views

The 500 men killed in Shushan, and the 500 Jews who killed Amaleki

Is there a source to connect (mystically, or otherwise) those enemies of the Jews (presumably Amaleki) killed in Megillas Esther 9:12 with the 500 men from the tribe of Shimon who killed out the ...
11
votes
7answers
648 views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example the last mishna in Kidushin, Rashi Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the many obvious ...
11
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6answers
274 views

Why Didn't Yosef tell Yaakov He was Still Alive?

What do the meforshim say on why Yosef didn't tell Yaakov he was still alive? Do any critique him?
11
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4answers
340 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
11
votes
3answers
160 views

In the Bible, why did robbers bother tunneling into houses to rob them?

Exodus 22:1 speaks about the robber who was found "tunnelling in" to someone's house (vis-a-vis self-defense). Is that just a figure of speech, or did they actually go to that much trouble? (What ...
11
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6answers
156 views

Why do we find two adjacent pesukim stating what seems to be the same?

In Breshit 26:3 Hashem tells Yizhak: "...and to your zera (sons?) I will give all these lands...". In the next passuk, Hasehm says: "...and I will give to your zera all these lands...". Isn't this ...
11
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4answers
168 views

Would Esther really have kept silent?

In Esther 7:4 we read וְאִלּוּ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת נִמְכַּרְנוּ, הֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי--כִּי אֵין הַצָּר שֹׁוֶה, בְּנֵזֶק הַמֶּלֶךְ ... ... But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I ...
11
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2answers
170 views

Why didn't Yehoshua give a good report immediately?

When the spies returned from scouting the land and gave their report of mighty opponents, 13:30 tells us that Caleb silenced the crowd and argued for going into the land, and then 13:31 says "the men ...
11
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3answers
199 views

What does the aramaic “pon” mean?

Once in a while, Onkelos will throw in the word pon (פּוֹן) that doesn't directly translate from the Hebrew. Avimelech to Yitzchak: k'z'eir pon shachiv d'm'yached b'ama (Toldos 26:10) Lavan to ...
11
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3answers
292 views

Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
11
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3answers
143 views

So should be done unto the man

The verse in Esther 6:11 describing Haman's pulling Mordochai on the streets says: כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ So shall it be done unto the man whom the king ...
11
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2answers
338 views

What happened to the bechorim (first-borns)?

In the begining of sefer bamidbar, the males between 20 and 60 are counted and it says that there are over 600,000 of them. Theoretically each, or most, of these people should have had a first-born ...
11
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2answers
145 views

David called “hamelech”, “hamelech David”, and “David”

My son noticed in Ⅱ Sh'muel chapters 5–6 that, although David is generally called "David", there are times he's called "hamelech" (="the king") or "hamelech David" (="the king David"). (I'm ...
11
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1answer
105 views

Were Avraham's tactics in rescuing Lot typical of the time?

Parshat Lech L'cha describes how Lot was captured in the battle of four kings against five kings. When Avraham heard, he mounted a night-time attack to rescue him. This got me wondering: was a ...
11
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1answer
193 views

Are there two things from which kares can cut one off?

In B'midbar 19:13 the Torah says that the punishment for entering the mikdash while impure is spiritual excision, using the words וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. . . . . .that ...
10
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6answers
267 views

20 years for Sin, 7 years for beauty

In the first pasuk of Parshat Chayai Sarah (Genesis 23:1), the Torah says: א. וַיִּהְיוּ חַיֵּי שָׂרָה מֵאָה שָׁנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְשֶׁבַע שָׁנִים שְׁנֵי חַיֵּי שָׂרָה: And the life ...
10
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4answers
218 views

Why didn't Mordechai keep Mitzvos — serious edition

It says in the Megilla "ויאמרו עבדי המלך אשר בשער המלך למרדכי מדוע אתה עובר את מצות המלך" - "The servants of the King (who were in the King's gates) asked Mordechai 'Why do you go against the command ...
10
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5answers
201 views

Why did Yosef tell over the dreams?

In this weeks Parsha (Vayeishev), we learn about how Yosef had his two [prophetic] dreams. We find that in each case, Yosef told his brothers about his dreams: And he said to them, "Listen now to ...
10
votes
2answers
259 views

Did Moshe see Paro's face again after all?

After the ninth plague Paro once again offers to let the people go and then recants. At the end of this conversation Sh'mot 10:28-29 says: 28 And Pharaoh said unto him: 'Get thee from me, take ...
10
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3answers
249 views

Is the way of the torah pleasant or painful?

In Avot (6:4) we read - כך היא דרכה של תורה, פת במלח תאכל ומים במשורה תשתה ועל הארץ תישן וחיי צער תחיה This is the way of torah... and a life of pain you shall live. contrast this with Mishlei ...
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4answers
171 views

Why does Yitzchak's blessing of Yaakov refer to Yaakov's mother's *sons*?

B'reishit 27:29 reads: Let peoples serve thee, and nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and ...
10
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2answers
853 views

If shepherds are taboo to Egyptians, what do we make of them having sheep themselves?

Yosef tells his family to say they're shepherds because that's taboo to Egypt: you must say, 'We and our fathers have dealt in livestock all our lives'. You will then be able to settle in the ...
10
votes
1answer
317 views

Where did the Egyptians get the wealth they brought to the sea?

In Shemot 15:22, Rashi says: Moses led Israel away: lit., made Israel journey. He led them away against their will, for the Egyptians had adorned their steeds with ornaments of gold, silver, and ...
10
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2answers
151 views

Esav was coming with 400 men: why then

Why was Esav going toward Yaakov (Gen. 33:1, 32:7) if he had (27:41) planned to wait to kill him until Yitzchak was dead? (Please cite your source, if any.)
10
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5answers
182 views

Why not “Vayikra Hashem”

The first pasuk in Vayikra reads: וַיִּקְרָא אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֵלָיו…‏ And He called to Moshe, and God spoke to him… Why is the subject on the second verb? It would ...
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2answers
3k views

Do religious Jews generally believe the serpent of Gan Eden was Satan?

Upon reading the recent CNN article, That Actually Isn't In The Bible, one not-really-in-the-Bible misconception they cite is the idea that serpent in the Garden of Eden was the Satan. The article ...
10
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2answers
95 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
226 views

Why do the angels need a ladder?

We know the angels in Yaakov's dream go down and up a ladder but why do they need the ladder? Angels appear on earth and with Hashem throughout the Bible without a ladder.
10
votes
1answer
205 views

2.4 million killed according to Rashi in B'shalach. Why does no one talk about it?

In the begining of Parshat B'shalach, Rashi says that one p'shat for "Vachamushim" means one fifth, because during Makas Choshech, 4 out of 5 were killed out, and it happened during the time it was ...
10
votes
1answer
168 views

Why should the patriarchs have lived to 180?

Rashi to B'reshis 25:30 says that Avraham should have lived to the age of 180 had his life not been cut short. Yitzchak lived to 180. The Daas Z'kenim to B'reshis 47:8 quotes a midrash as saying ...
10
votes
1answer
140 views

How did the fish live through the flood?

If the waters were boiling as the flood continued, how did the fish survive throughout the Mabul?