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

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7
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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
230 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
228 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
155 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
76 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
509 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
112 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
113 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

מֵאַבְנֵי (Gen. 28:11) and הָאֶבֶן (Gen. 28:18)

Do any commentaries mention a reason for the plural "stones" in Gen. 28:11 and the singular "stone" in Gen. 28:18? In Gen. 28:11, it says that Ya'akov took "of the stones" (מֵאַבְנֵי) and put them ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Did Hashem command Aharon to strike the water to bring the plague of Blood?

Shemot 7:19 states: The Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch forth your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over ...
2
votes
2answers
122 views

Yosef “stretched his height” to conceal Rachel?

Rashi on Bereshit 33:7 relates that, when Yaakov's family presented themselves to Eisav, the mothers drew near before the sons, but in Rachel’s case, Yosef preceded her . ...He said, “My mother ...
4
votes
0answers
81 views

Understanding the servants' hard/soft hearts

In Parshas Bo (10:1) we read that God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh's servants - כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֶת לֵב עֲבָדָיו. The Ohr HaChaim explains that this is so that the servants ...
4
votes
2answers
215 views

Why does David say that he only sinned against G-d?

In Psalm 51:6 David says that "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Thy sight" (JPS) I wondered why does he think that he sinned only against the Lord? I think he ...
6
votes
3answers
123 views

Ya'akov's brief amnesia

In Parashas Vayechi, Ya'akov calls for his sons to gather so that he can tell them about what shall befall them at the end of days. Gen. 49:1. He never gets to that, however, because, according to ...
9
votes
1answer
165 views

Didn’t the Ishmaelites know they were buying their second cousin?

In studying bereishis I have come up with questions about Joseph and his brothers that have long bothered me. One question is in parsha vayeshev, where we read how Joseph was sold by his brothers to ...
3
votes
1answer
81 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
112 views

How did the trees deviate from God's command?

In Bereshis 1:11 God commands עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ however in the next pasuk where it happens we find וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה-פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ-בוֹ, לְמִינֵהוּ. This discrepancy is explained by ...
4
votes
4answers
437 views

What's the Meaning of Shiloh in the Last Blessing of Yaakov on his Children?

According to Genesis 49:10, when Yaakov was at his deathbed, he called in his sons and desired to bless them. At Judah's turn, his father said that the scepter should not depart from Judah, nor a ...
4
votes
3answers
88 views

When does a fox have his time?

Rashi on Genesis 47:31 says: וישתחו ישראל: תעלא בעידניה סגיד ליה: and Israel prostrated himself: [Although the lion is king] when it is the time of the fox, bow down to him. — [from Meg. ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

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. ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
649 views

What is Rashi proving with words in different languages

There are many places in Rashi's commentary where he uses a foreign language to translate a word used in the Torah. For example, Bereshit 6:14: בכפר: זפת בלשון ארמי. ומצינו בתלמוד כופרא With ...
1
vote
0answers
349 views

What happened to Canaan during the famine after Yaakov et al went down to Egypt?

During the famine Yosef collected all the money in both Egypt and Canaan. In the following year Yosef acquired ownership of all the land in Egypt (except the priests') for Paro, but it says nothing ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

Pharoh's privacy at the Nile

How did Pharaoh prevent people from seeing him use the Bathroom at the Nile? We know he went early morning, but what prevented others from seeing him? A source for this information would be ...
3
votes
2answers
74 views

Yaakov's Stone Pillow

Yaakov placed twelve stones around his head to protect him from animals. Why was he not scared that animals would attack the rest of his body and how would those small stones, which were small enough ...
4
votes
6answers
233 views

“Shelach Lecha”: What is “Lecha”?

In the 2nd verse in Shelach, it says שלח לך (Shelach Lecha), which Rashi explains as " לדעתך, אני איני מצוה לך". Why don't we give the same explanation the other places in the Torah it says לך. E.g. ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Were Shimon and Levi allowed to do what they did?

Shimon and Levi deceive and kill out an entire city, yet Yaakov only curses their hasty anger, not their actions. Were they allowed to do what they did?
3
votes
1answer
89 views

“פְּנִיאֵל” and “פְּנוּאֵל”

Is the פְּנִיאֵל of BeReishis 32:31 the same as the פְּנוּאֵל of 32:32? If so, why the change in term used to refer to it? If not, is there a story behind the two places with such similar names?
10
votes
2answers
182 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.)
2
votes
0answers
118 views

Did Tamar marry a third time, and if so whom?

B'reishit 38:26 says: וַיַּכֵּר יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר צָדְקָה מִמֶּנִּי כִּי עַל כֵּן לֹא נְתַתִּיהָ לְשֵׁלָה בְנִי וְלֹא יָסַף עוֹד לְדַעְתָּהּ: Then Judah recognized [them], and he said, "She ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

Inconsistency in listing creeping things in Noach's Ark's population

The animal population of Noach's Ark is commanded/listed six times in Parashat Noach: Genesis 6:19-20 (Initial command) Genesis 7:2-3 (Reiteration of command) Genesis 7:8-9 (Entry to the Ark) ...
2
votes
4answers
231 views

Why G-d had to confuse people's languages in the land of Shinar?

Why G-d had to confuse people's languages in the land of Shinar and scatter them across the Earth with diverse languages? What moral does Genesis 11:5–8 coveny to mankind execept the fact that "in ...
3
votes
2answers
71 views

What is the significance of “as of this day”?

‏"מכרה כיום את בכורתך לי" (בראשית כה לא)‏ Translated as: Sell me as of this day your birthright What do the words "as of this day" mean?
8
votes
3answers
211 views

Why can't Moshe hit the water?

As a kid I learned that Moshe wasn't allowed to hit the water because it saved him when he was a child and he had to show hakaras hatov (similar answer for why he couldn't hit the sand that saved him ...
7
votes
1answer
134 views

How much contact did Avraham and Yitzchak have after the akeidah?

The akeidah was a traumatic event for both Avraham and Yitzchak. Immediately after they appear to go their separate ways. After Sarah's death Avraham arranges a marriage for his son, which could ...
7
votes
1answer
87 views

(Psalms 69 (14)) How do we understand אלקים ברב חסדך, rather than ה׳ ברב חסדך

I am used to the idea that the name אלקים connotes judgement and ה׳ mercy. So how is it in Psalms 69 (14) , the Psalmist says “אלקים ברב חסדך”?
11
votes
2answers
177 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

Why didn't Eliezer go straight to Avraham's family?

Avraham made Eliezer promise that he would only find a wife for Yitzchak from his family. It seems to follow then, that as soon as Eliezer would arrive in Aram Naharaim he'd go straight to Avraham's ...
2
votes
2answers
607 views

How many Kosher animals were in Noach's Ark?

How many animals total of each Kosher species were in the teivah during the flood?
1
vote
2answers
83 views

Why does Eliezer address his prayer to Hashem, [24(12)], “Hashem, the G-d of my master Avrohom”?

Why does Eliezer address his prayer to Hashem, 24(12), “Hashem, the G-d of my master Avrohom” and repeat this formulation in verses 27 and 42. He himself was after all a believer. In verse 35, he is ...