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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

4
votes
1answer
97 views

How strong was Midian's army?

When Israel took vengeance on Midian they sent 12,000 troops (Numbers 31:4) and prevailed. We aren't told how numerous Midian was, only that the spoils includes 32,000 virgin women (31:35). This ...
1
vote
2answers
216 views

Why did God select Abraham, when it also mentions that Abraham didn't even know God's name

The bit where Abraham asks for God's name sounds like they are still strangers to each other having spent little time discussing things, and yet God selects him. Why is that?
14
votes
3answers
348 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
60 views

Are there discussions of the difference in what Lavan says and what Hashem actually did?

I apologize in advance if this is obvious but I simply haven't stumbled on anything which answers this yet. In Bereishit 31, Hashem gives a message directly to Lavan. Apparently (as reported in the ...
6
votes
2answers
176 views

Why does the posuk tell us how old Moshe was when he spoke to Pharoh?

In Posuk 5 of Perek 7 in Parshas Va'eira, it says that Moshe was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when they spoke to Pharoh. Why is that important?
14
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Parah Adumah and Trefios

In Parshas Chukas it says they took out the Parah Adumah to Schecht(ritually slaughter) the Targum Yonsan says and they checked it for Treifos (illness or wounds that would render the animal ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

What is the traditional interpretation of Dt. 18:18?

The Torah contains a prophecy of a future Prophet who will be like Moses: I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

How many censuses happened in the desert?

Rashi (Bamidbar 1:1), says: The Lord spoke... in the Sinai Desert... on the first of the month : Because they were dear to Him, He counted them often. When they left Egypt, He counted them (Exod. ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views
5
votes
2answers
155 views

What does נְחשֶׁת mean?

In Teruma (25:3), the verse says "וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת". Chabad (as well as Artscroll) translates it as "And this is the offering that you shall take ...
2
votes
4answers
157 views

Interpretations of the Akeidah

Our Torah class in school is studying the Akeidah. What different approaches do the meforshim take in interpreting it (e.g. Rashbam says it was a punishment, lehavdil Kierkegaard says it was about ...
11
votes
1answer
253 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Under what circumstances is a false virgin put to death?

Deut 22:13–21 says that if a man marries a virgin, is intimate with her, and then claims that she is not a virgin, and there is no evidence that she is a virgin, that she is stoned. That seems to be ...
5
votes
1answer
104 views

Aharon's and Miriam's Yahrtzeit

The Book of Numbers spans almost the entire 40 year period in the desert, documenting numerous events that occurred to the Jews as they wandered. I count only 5 dates mentioned in the text (listed in ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Who did “וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ” in Num. 20:16?

Chukas 20:16: וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה׳ וַיִּשְׁמַע קֹלֵנוּ וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָךְ וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם…‏ In translation: and we called out to God, and he heard our voice, and he sent ...
6
votes
2answers
690 views

How were Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai “Sons of Giants”?

In Bamidbar 13:22, the Torah tells us that the spies saw Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Giants. Rashi tells us they were the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, angels who fell from heaven ...
5
votes
2answers
97 views

Calling Hoshea 'Yehoshua' before his seeming renaming

Why does the verse (Bamidbar 13:16) mention that Moshe gave Hoshea bin Nun the name Yehoshua, making it seem like this was the first time Hoshea was actually called like that, but instead we see in ...
13
votes
2answers
186 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

Were korbanos olah prohibited?

Abarbanel on Joshua 13:14 explains the verse: official translation from chabad.org: Only to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are ...
11
votes
1answer
288 views

Why is Jacob idolized and not villainised?

I've just read the story of Jacob and Esau (Bereishis ch. 25 and 27), and I fail to understand why Jacob is consistently portrayed and idolized as a protagonist and a hero - based on what I've read, I ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

צִרְעָה Pshat or definition

וְגַם אֶת הַצִּרְעָה יְשַׁלַּח יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּם עַד אֲבֹד הַנִּשְׁאָרִים וְהַנִּסְתָּרִים מִפָּנֶיךָ (Deuteronomy 7:20) What is the הַצִּרְעָה mean in this posuk?
4
votes
3answers
235 views

who spoke in Bamidbar 12:1?

In B'ha'alotcha Miriam and Aharon complain against Moshe, and Miriam (alone) is punished with tzara'at. In looking at this passage I found problems with the translations I had available. JPS, the ...
8
votes
1answer
232 views

Sefer Milhamot Hashem - from Bamidbar 21:14

Does anyone know of any discussion of the the "sefer Milkhamot Hashem" mentioned in Bamidbar 21:14? Someone had asked me about the content of the book and I had no idea of what to answer him.
6
votes
1answer
147 views

Why does parshat bamidbar repeat census information?

It seems that the 3rd aliyah in Bamidbar needlessly repeats the information given in the 1st and second aliyah First Aliyah: Lists the leaders of each tribe Second Aliyah: gives us the census ...
10
votes
4answers
144 views

Why does the Torah switch around the order of annulling vows in the summary?

In the beginning of Parshas Matos, the Torah first describes the process of a father annulling the oaths of his daughter (30:4-6), and then afterwards the the law of a husband doing so for his wife's ...
6
votes
1answer
175 views

What's up with this pasuk in mishpatim?

The Chumash in Shemot 23:14 begins describing the three regalim: Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, in that order. In Pasuk 17, the Chumash begins again with Pesach and Shavuot. Instead of listing sukkot again ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

What is special about Molech?

What is unique about the worship of Molech that distinguishes it from other avodah zara enough that it deserves discussion and specific prohibition in the Torah? We see it specifically discuessed ...
5
votes
2answers
176 views

If Avraham had a healing stone why did he need an angel to heal him?

The Gemara in Baba Basra, Tes Zayin Amud Beis says Reb Shimon says that Avraham had a stone that he wore around his neck that healed the sick. If so why did he need a angel to come down to heal him ...
6
votes
2answers
117 views

Non-Trivial Pursuit: וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם

What is the meaning of וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם (Leviticus 26:17)? Literally of course it is simple: "You will flee with no one pursuing you" (Artscroll) But this punishment does not really ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

How old was Avraham when he sired children with Keturah, and was that unusual?

After reporting Sarah's death and burial, B'reishit 25:1 tells us that Avraham had several children by Keturah. Avraham was 137 when Sarah died. Earlier (17:17), Avraham had laughed at the idea of ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Singular and plural language in Vaikra 10:1

In parashat shemini, chapter 10, verse 1 it is written: וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

What is the interpretation of Zechariah Chapter 3?

In Zechariah 3, there's a vision of Joshua the High Priest. Satan is accusing him, and then Satan is rebuked. Joshua is then found to be standing before the altar in filthy garments, which are then ...
7
votes
2answers
145 views

Most children in sefer B'reishit are named by women or God; why does Yehudah name Er?

I noticed in B'reishit 38 that Yehudah names his first son Er, but his wife bat Shua names the other two. Yaakov's wives name all of their children (except that Yaakov changes Ben-oni to Binyanim). ...
14
votes
7answers
339 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
115 views

Rashi's unusual phrasing of the four sons

At the end of Parashat Bo (Exodus 13:14), Rashi enumerates the Four Sons of the Passover Seder: דברה תורה כנגד ארבעה בנים, רשע ושאינו יודע לשאול והשואל דרך סתומה והשואל דרך חכמה The Torah ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

What's bothering Rashi about the messengers delivering the king's decree in Esther 4:3?

Megillath Esther (4:3) states that in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and ...
4
votes
4answers
227 views

Why are the commandments for Rosh Chodesh and Passover in the same paragraph?

The reading for Parashat Hachodesh consists of a single paragraph in the Torah, Exodus 12:1-20, whose main topic is God's commandments related to the Passover offering and holiday observance that ...
6
votes
1answer
125 views

Why are there different phrasings of Korban Pesach accompaniments?

In Parshas Bo (Exodus 12:8) it says about the Korban Pesach: וְאָכְלוּ אֶת-הַבָּשָׂר, בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה: צְלִי-אֵשׁ וּמַצּוֹת, עַל-מְרֹרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ. And they shall eat the flesh in that ...
-2
votes
1answer
223 views

What are the oldest interpretations of Deuteronomy 33:2?

This verse in Torah sounds highly cryptic and it seems that a message is conveyed in it: And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and ...
5
votes
3answers
152 views

What are some of the old commentaries prior to 1 BCE of the Torah?

I believe that there would be commentaries of the Torah older than 1 BCE and that can shed significant light on what the message of God is in terms of its authoritativeness. Israelites have a glorious ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

How did Achashverosh not think that Mordechai would be disturbed by the decree to kill all the Jews?

In the book of Ester (6:1), Achashverosh can't sleep and asks to bring the book of records to him. Rashi says that the reason why is in case he was done a favor by someone and didn't repay it and that ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

“Vashti the queen” vs. “Queen Vashti”

Is there a peshat difference between the usual wording, “ושתי המלכה” Vashti the queen (or “אסתר המלכה” Esther the queen), and the wording used twice in Chapter 1 (verses 12 and 15), “המלכה ושתי” the ...
5
votes
0answers
75 views

Why is Shimshon buried “in the grave of his father” and not father and mother?

Nearly everywhere in the story of Samson, more than in most stories in Tanakh, both parents are mentioned quite frequently. Leading up to birth, both parents share about equal page-time. After ...
6
votes
5answers
503 views

Mordechai - Religious Leader or Political figure?

I'm looking to gather some more background, context, sources and opinions, regarding Mordechai's religiousness, or lack thereof. This was the topic of a recent comment thread on Was Darius ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

why cure the snake bites with the nehushtan

In Bemidbar 21, How come Gd cured the Israelites snake bites with the nehushtan? Why cure them that way? Why not just send the snakes away (as the people had asked)?
6
votes
1answer
111 views

Why does Yisro tell Moshe that he came with Moshe's wife “and her sons” rather than “your sons”?

At Exodus 18:6, Moshe's father-in-law, Yisro, tells Moshe that he had come with Moshe's wife and "her sons." Why didn't he say to Moshe that she had come with "your sons"?
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Is the tree of the field a man?

Dvarim 20:19 reads: כִּי תָצוּר אֶל עִיר יָמִים רַבִּים לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ לְתָפְשָׂהּ לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ לִנְדֹּחַ עָלָיו גַּרְזֶן כִּי מִמֶּנּוּ תֹאכֵל וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת כִּי הָאָדָם ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Plague of darkness: if he was standing, he was unable to sit?

Rashi on Shemot 10:22 states: ויהי חשך אפלה שלשת ימים וגו': חשך של אופל שלא ראו איש את אחיו אותן שלשת ימים. ועוד שלשת ימים אחרים חשך מוכפל על זה, שלא קמו איש מתחתיו. יושב אין יכול לעמוד, ועומד ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

How can inanimate objects function as “witnesses” in the Tanakh?

How can inanimate objects function as edim and/ or edot in the Tanakh? For example, הַגַּל (Gen. 31:48) הַשִּׁירָה (Deut. 31:19) הַתֹּורָה (Deut. 31:26) הַשָּׁמַיִם והָאָֽרֶץ (Deut. 31:28) הָאֶבֶן ...