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

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Was Zerach really the first born?

וַיְהִי בְלִדְתָּהּ וַיִּתֶּן יָד וַתִּקַּח הַמְיַלֶּדֶת וַתִּקְשֹׁר עַל יָדוֹ שָׁנִי לֵאמֹר זֶה יָצָא רִאשֹׁנָה And it came about when she gave birth, that he (the infant) stretched out his ...
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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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Compare Devarim 14:11 and Devarim 14:20- Is there a difference in meaning between “tzipor” and “of”?

The two verses Devarim 14:11 and 14:20 appear to say the same thing except that v 11 uses the word "tzipor" and v 20 uses the word "of". Aren't they the same thing? If yes, what is the second verse ...
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80 views

How did the 2 spies which Yehoshua sent have authority to save Rachav and family

Devarim 20:16 reads: טז. רַק מֵעָרֵי הָעַמִּים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה לֹא תְחַיֶּה כָּל נְשָׁמָה׃ However, of these peoples' cities, which the Lord, your God, ...
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The fulfillment of Yosef's second dream

In Yosef's second dream [Bereshit 37:9-10] the sun,moon and 11 stars bowed down to him. The sun refers to Yaakov, the moon - Bilhah (or Rachel - Gemara Berachot 55a/b) and 11 stars - his 11 brothers. ...
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Gen. 32:23 וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא = that night?

Vayishlach 32:23 has: וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא וַיִּקַּח אֶת שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו וְאֶת שְׁתֵּי שִׁפְחֹתָיו וְאֶת אַחַד עָשָׂר יְלָדָיו וַיַּעֲבֹר אֵת מַעֲבַר יַבֹּק The Chizkuni translates ...
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ReEh in singular (Deut. 11:26)

The Ba'al HaTurim to Deut. 11:26 cites Bab. Megillah 31b in saying that all the blessings and curses in "Mishneh Torah" (usually this means Sefer Devarim - Deuteronomy) are written in singular, and ...
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אוּלַי means we want it to happen

The Posuk says: אוּלַי יְמֻשֵּׁנִי אָבִי Translated as: maybe my father will tap me (and realize, and curse me) The question is accoring to the GRA the word אוּלַי indicates that you want the ...
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Why does the Torah repeat that the nation believed in Moshe?

In Yisro it says: וְגַם בְּךָ יַאֲמִינוּ לְעוֹלָם Earlier it says: ויאמינו בה' ובמשה עבדו Why Both?
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The list of Binyamin's cities

When Y'hoshua 15:21–62 lists the cities of Y'huda, it does so by area/topography. M'tzudas David to 15:37 says that "everywhere it counts some separately and others separately", it does so by area or ...
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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 ...
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60 views

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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What is the plague being referred to in Parshas Korach?

Bamidbar 17:11 ויאמר משה אל אהרן קח את המחתה ותן עליה אש מעל המזבח ושים קטרת והולך מהרה אל העדה וכפר עליהם כי יצא הקצף מלפני יהוה החל הנגף And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Take thy fire-pan, and ...
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Why is the information that Malchi-Tzedek was a priest not written earlier in the posuk?

In parshas Lech Lecha, after Avraham had successfully conquered the four kings and rescued his nephew Lot, it says (Bereishis 14,18): וּמַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם, הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן; וְהוּא ...
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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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180 views

Black Magic by Pharaoh's Magicians

What are the various opinions regarding the efficacy of the magician's in the Exodus story?
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“bechor hashifcha” and “bechor hashvi” — why the change? (Shemos 11:5, 12:29)

During leining today, I noticed that the Torah changes its wording, when describing the breadth of Makkas Bechoros -- when Pharaoh is warned, in Shemot 11:5, we have: וּמֵת כָּל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ ...
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44 views

What didn't Ya'akov believe when his sons told him that Yosef was alive?

Bresihit 45:26 says that when Ya'akov's sons returned from Egypt (the 2nd time) they say, "Yoseph is alive and he is ruling over Egypt"; the end of the verse says that Ya'akov didn't believe them. ...
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51 views

Why is Yaakov calling Esau “Master”?

It is stated in this weeks Parsha, Parshas Vayishlach 32:5: That he commanded them, saying, "This is what you should say to my master to Esau, 'this is what is what your servant Yaakov said, "I ...
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Why is there a paragraph break in the middle of the list of travels?

In (Bamidbar Ch. 33) the Torah lists all the stops the Israelites made in the desert. Between verses 39 and 40, there is a parsha-break, represented by the ס in the linked text, which is the Torah's ...
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When did Moshe warn Bnei Yisrael not to go up Har Sinai?

Shemos 19:23 ויאמר משה אל יהוה לא יוכל העם לעלת אל הר סיני כי אתה העדתה בנו לאמר הגבל את ההר וקדשתו Moshe said "the nation can't come up, because you warned us to set boundaries around the ...
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How to understand the use of גֹאֵל in Rus

I'm really perplexed by what is going on in megillas Rus. In chapter 3 Rus and Boaz keep talking about Boaz being a גֹאֵל, but גֹאֵל of what? Boaz is the uncle of Machlon and Kilyon and as such he ...
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139 views

What were Naomi's sins?

According to the commentary at the bottom of the Artscroll TaNa"Ch, in the beginning of the book of Ruth, Na'omi attempted to dissuade her daughters-in-law from following and staying connected to her ...
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170 views

Noah's Ark Submarine

Are there any meforshim (commentators) who believe that Noah's ark was a submarine that went under water? I remember seeing a Seforno on this but don't remember more; it could even be on this site ...
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Why do we get “so did they do” for the commandment of expelling tamei people in Parashat Naso?

Parashat Naso, in Numbers 5:1-3, presents a commandment to "send from the camp" anyone who is tamei due to either tzara'at or a zav-type discharage. After that, we have Verse 4, affirming that the ...
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134 views

Who is speaking in Ex. 3:17?

Sh'mos 3:15–18 reads: ‏15 וַיֹּאמֶר עוֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה…. 16 לֵךְ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם יהוה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם נִרְאָה אֵלַי… לֵאמֹר פָּקֹד ...
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Why use an active verb with no subject?

In parshat Noach, perek 7, pasuk 23, The opening word "וַיִּמַח" is presented as an active verb, attested to by the presence of the word אֶת (I am summarizing the discussion of rashi and the ...
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35 views

What was Mordechai's excuse for checking on Ester?

When Ester was in the harem, and presumably after she became queen, Mordechai was constantly around to see how she was doing. וּבְכָל־י֣וֹם וָי֔וֹם מָרְדֳּכַי֙ מִתְהַלֵּ֔ךְ לִפְנֵ֖י חֲצַ֣ר ...
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Why are so many of the sacrificial procedures discussed twice?

There are two passages in the Torah which detail the laws of a korban chatas (sin offering), one in Parshas Vayikra and the other in Parshas Tzav. These two passages are very close to each other; why ...
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Trying to understand Targum of סביב

It seems every instance we have the word סביב in the Torah, Targum translates it as סחור סחור, a doubling of the word which I would have assumed would suffice in single format. See for instance ...
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Whats Up With Ascending Sinai: Kohanim

What is the role of the Kohanim in the ascent of Sinai? They are listed second in Exodus (19:22) as being prohibited from ascending, but are listed first in v. 24. Why single them out? why switch ...
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Whats Up With Ascending Sinai: Repeated Warning

Hashem commands Moshe to warn the people not to touch the mountain (Exodus 19:12). Although the Torah doesn't mention it, Moshe's words in v. 23 imply that he indeed warned the people not to touch ...
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Whats up with Ascending Har Sinai: prohibition

What is the significance of the ascent onto Har Sinai and its prohibition? Why is the prohibition introduced in Exodus (19:12) not with the more traditional expression of "don't" but with the less ...
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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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Why does the Torah specify only that Lea'h's children were born in Padan Aram?

Breishit 46:15 states that "These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore unto Jacob in Paddan-aram..." What is the significance of the Torah telling us where the children were born, and why does it ...
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Re-explaining parshanut when the explanation is given

Over Shabbos, I heard the same dvar Torah twice - basically, that which the Talmud says Yaakov went back for his small vessels that he had forgotten (Bereishis 32:25) was because he understood that ...
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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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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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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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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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Did all the tribes listen to their leaders in the sin of the spies?

Why did the tribes of Ephraim and Yehuda not listen to their respective leaders, Yehoshua bin Nun and Kalev ben Yefuneh in the sin on the spies? (See Numbers 13:2, which says they were leaders.) It ...
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Timing of the Princes' Appointment

Parshas Bamidbar begins with the apparent appointing of 12 nesiim (princes) who would help Moshe with the counting (and presumably have some other administrative or authoritative role). Parshas Naso ...
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Numbers in Numbers - always round [duplicate]

Why is it that the numbers in the censuses taken in the desert always contain round numbers? Generally speaking, with the only exception being Gad, all the numbers seem to be rounded to the hundreds, ...
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177 views

Saadia Gaon on the Torah Original Arabic

Is the commentary of the Torah (not the translation) of Saadia Gaon in the original Arabic available online?
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79 views

From which tribe were the Mapilim of Num 14:40?

A number of Jews tried to enter eretz yisroel after the incident of the spies (see Bamidbar 14:40-45). I would like to know from which tribe they came. I know that at least one person may have been ...
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53 views

How many languages were used by Shem's descendants?

Parshat Noach, 10:31: These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, after their nations. אֵלֶּה בְנֵי-שֵׁם, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם, ...
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36 views

What does Koheles 9:1 have to do with the surrounding verses?

The last part of chapter 8 of קהלת and the first part of chapter 9 discuss the fact that good things happen to bad people and bad things to good people. It notes that this is a shame, since it leads ...
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129 views

Could Yonah's “whale” have been a whale?

Just prior to the start of Yom Kippur this year, a young child corrected me when I mentioned Yonah's whale and said that, "it wasn't a whale; it was a Dag Gadol." I had to admit, this was good ...
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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 ...
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Commentaries concerning the meaning of Breishit 1:1

What do the Rabbis say about the meaning of the beginning of the Tanach – specifically, do they read the first verse as a kind of overview of creation (since Shamayim and Aretz did not exist before ...