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

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Bamidbar: What makes Shimon different?

During krias haTorah, I noticed that while during the counting, most tribes were counted like this (taking Yehuda as an example): לבני יהודה תולדתם למשפחתם לבית אבותם במספר שמות מבן עשרים שנה ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Washing feet before coming inside: Avraham vs. Lot

When the angels came to visit Avraham, he asked them (Bereishis 18:4) to "Bathe your feet, and recline under the tree". Rashi explains: He thought that they were Arabs, who prostrate themselves to ...
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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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129 views

Rashi's proof of the timing of Yisro's conversation with Moshe about judges

Rashi (to Ex. 18:13) cites Mechilta that "the next day," when Yisro saw Moshe judging the people and offered his advice about appointing inferior judges, was the day after Yom Kippur. Part of his ...
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“The Romans' Book” in Ramba"n

The commentary of Ramba"n on Vayikra 26:16 explains a large swath of parashas B'chukosai as an allegory to the two batei Mikdash and the corresponding exiles. Included therein, he elaborates on the ...
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תֹּאכַל Versus יֵאָכֵל

Why does the Posuk from one posuk to the Next change the word for eating they could have both said יֵאָכֵל? Also why in one Posuk is it spelled מַצֹּת and the next posuk מַצּוֹת? Posuk Vov: ...
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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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Is שמים (Shamayim) the spiritual world or just the sky?

When the Torah talks about the שמים, does it means the spiritual world or the sky? The most relatable example for my question would be the first Pasuk of the Torah, right at the beginning of Bereshit: ...
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In Devarim 17:6, why does the Torah uses the term שְׁנַ֣יִם עֵדִ֗ים instead of שני עדים?

Deuteronomy 17:6: עַל־פִּ֣י ׀ שְׁנַ֣יִם עֵדִ֗ים א֛וֹ שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה עֵדִ֖ים יוּמַ֣ת הַמֵּ֑ת לֹ֣א יוּמַ֔ת עַל־פִּ֖י עֵ֥ד אֶחָֽד׃ At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall the dead ...
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Ps. 144:1 “Etzbe'otai l'milchama”?

Every motzaei Shabbat before ma'ariv, I have the custom to sing Tehillim 144 and Tehillim 67. However, the first passuk (verse) always confounds me: לְדָוִד: בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה, צוּרִי-- ...
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Why separate verses for the camel, hare, and hyrax?

In vayikra 11, we're given an overview of the kosher and non kosher animals. Among mammals, it singles out four as explicitly non kosher: the pig for only having split hooves, and the camel, hare, and ...
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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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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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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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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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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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What was the purpose of the veil that Moses wore?

Sforno on Exodus 34:33 ויכל משה מדבר אתם אבל בעוד שהיה מדבר אתם היה בלי מסוה, כענין והיו עיניך רואות את מוריך וכאמרם ז''ל (פרק קמא דעירובין) ואי חזיתיה מקמיה, הוינא מחדד טפי (English ...
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How do we know when the word ידע means intercourse or just (brain) knowledge?

I shall cite 3 verses. What I state below in terms of "plain" knowledge vs. intercourse is confirmed by Rash"i and / or other commentaries on each verse: 1 - Genesis 4:1 (excerpt): וְהָ֣אָדָ֔ם ...
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L'David - Psalm 27 - What does “ L'vakair” mean?

in Psalm 27, we say achat sh'alti . . .l'vakair b'haichalo. What is l'vakair?' I know it means 'to visit' as in bikur chilim'. But is there more than that p'shat?
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Was Vashti Evil?

Is there any basis within the text of the Megillah itself to lend credence to the common Midrashic theme that Vasti was evil?
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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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What happened to Balak?

What ever happened to Balak after the Bil'am affair? Bil'am is referred to often as Bil'am HaRasha' (the wicked), and he is blamed for the entire encounter as well as the Ba'al Pe'or incident. But ...
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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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To Fear or not to Fear that is the question

The Posuk (Exodus 20:17) starts off: וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ (And Moses said unto the people: ‘Don't fear' ...) Then it goes on too say: וּבַעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ ...
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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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How many days was B'nei Yisra'el given to prepare for receiving the Torah?

I am trying to resolve what appears to be a conflict in several sources. Avot D'rav Natan 2:3 (excerpt) איזו סייג שעשה משה לדבריו? הרי הוא אומר: (שמות יט) "ויאמר ה' אל משה, לך אל העם וקדשתם ...
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160 views

Where is the source for assigning a pasuk to each year since creation?

I remember having been told that there are those who assign each of the 5845 pesukim in the Torah to each year since creation. This is from memory as I have not found the reference yet. Would anyone ...
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Did Rachel really die from Jacob's curse?

According to my interpretation of Rashi's commentary was that Rachel died because of Jacob's curse. But the Torah text says whomever "You find" as in whomever Laban finds the idols that person will ...
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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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Order of כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר

Mishlei 6:23 says כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר. By the Mitzva it first says Ner and then Mitzva, however by the Torah it first says Torah and then Or. Why is there a change in the order, why not ...
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What is the difference in definition for 3 terms used regarding “leavened” (chametz)?

The Torah uses 3 terms that all appear to mean "leavened food" (from English definitions that I could find): חמץ and שאור are mentioned in Exodus 12:15: שִׁבְעַ֤ת יָמִים֙ מַצּ֣וֹת תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ אַ֚ךְ ...
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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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“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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102 views

Questions on Breshit 50:8 - Who went to Ya'akov's funeral?

Breishit 50:8 lists regarding who went to Ya'akov's funeral and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house; only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they ...
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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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35 views

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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110 views

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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50 views

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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159 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 ...