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

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Why does revi'i of Vayeira seem to end four verses late?

Why does revi'i - the fourth reading - of Parashat Vayeira end with the first few verses of the story of the birth of Yitzchak (Gen. 21:1-4)? Objections: There's a natural break in narrative before ...
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256 views

If Ketura wasn't Hagar, who was she?

The Torah tells us (Bereshit 25:1) that "Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah." The Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904) says that Ketura was from Yafet (english from here): "Abraham married ...
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First it says everyone had their own language; but then it says all spoke one before being split

First, in Noach, pasuk Chof perek Yud, it says אֵלֶּה בְנֵי חָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם; then again a few pasukim later, pasuk Lamed Aleph, אֵלֶּה בְנֵי שֵׁם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם. So ...
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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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Noach: why the people's food mentioned first

בראשית ו כא:‎ ואתה קח לך מכל מאכל וכו' והיה לך ולהם לאכלה Why is Noach and his family's food mentioned before the animals' food? The halacha is animals eat before humans.
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Noach and the Birds

Why is it that Noach sent out the Birds to see if the Flood had subsided and when he did find out he just waited for Hashem to tell him to leave.Why send the Birds if you are going to wait for Hashem ...
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What else was in the Ark (Teiva)?

I heard that there is a Medrash that says that besides Noach, his wife, 3 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, animals, birds, and garbage there were others in the Teiva. What else was in the Teiva?
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Where did the Plishtim (Philistines) come from?

Concerning the Plishtim (Philistines), Easton's Bible Dictionary (quoted here) says: They occupied the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, in the south-western corner of ...
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How could Yaakov name his children Gad and Dan?

Shabbos 67b says Gad was the name of an idol of the Amorites, and Dan was an idol of Samaria. If we're not supposed to even say the name of idols, how could Yaakov name his sons after them? (or is it ...
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Was there space in the Aron for two sets of Luchot?

The Holy Ark was 2 1/2 Cubits, by 1 1/2 Cubits, by 1 1/2 Cubits (Shemot 25:10). The Talmud discusses (Baba Basra 14A-B) how much space the Luchot occupied in the Ark. The Talmud says that each tablet ...
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difference between תולעים and רמה

In Beshalach 16:20: וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיּוֹתִרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִמֶּנּוּ עַד בֹּקֶר וַיָּרֻם תּוֹלָעִים וַיִּבְאַשׁ וַיִּקְצֹף עֲלֵהֶם מֹשֶׁה:‏ A few Pesukim later in 16:24: ...
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“Placing” oil, but “placing” frankincense

When discussing the מנחת חוטא (the mincha form of the קרבן עולה ויורד), the Torah (Vayikra 5:11) instructs that לֹא יָשִׂים עָלֶיהָ שֶׁמֶן וְלֹא יִתֵּן עָלֶיהָ לְבֹנָה he will not place on it ...
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Why did Efron have such an extreme change of heart?

When Avram wanted to buy the field that belonged to Efron, Efron said I want to give it to you for free, then after Avram said that I wanted to pay for it Efron charged him a ridiculous price for it. ...
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Selah ~ Does it mean 'forever' 'certainly' 'basket' 'pause', 'yahoo', a kabbalistic meditative device, or none of the above?

Does anyone know a Jewish interpretation of "selah" in the psalms? Literally it seems to mean something about basket or hanging, but I don't know how this works into psalms. Jewish sites say it may ...
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4answers
272 views

Why does there seem to be different standards for future sinners?

In Bereshit (21:17) Rashi tells us that the Angels wanted G-d to kill Yishmael, but G-d said that He wouldn't judge him according to his future deeds, but rather according to his present state: In ...
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On Deuteronomy 28:23, Rashi says copper is “mazi'a”. What does this mean?

I have this question on Rashi every year in Ki Savo. Deuteronomy 28:23 says: "And the heavens above your head will be like copper and the earth that is beneath you, iron." Rashi says that the heavens ...
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What does Rash"i add on B'midbar 2:20?

In describing the layout of B'nei Yisra'el's camp in the wilderness, the Torah records four groups (called d'galim) comprising 3 tribes each, and lists them in order, dictating a diagram of how they ...
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Why is there a “Good” Type of Tzaraas?

I understand there's the type that actually makes a person Tamei, because the person did bad things (e.g. spoke Lashon Hara). But assuming tzaraas stems from a spiritual affliction, what purpose does ...
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Shalom Zachar and "the rain of your land in its season”

Rashi on Devorim 11 (14), “I will give the rain of your land in its season” says this will be on Shabbos nights when everyone will be found in their houses. How does this fit with the institution of ...
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Does “ki” have four meanings or one?

There is a well-known statement by Resh Lakish in Gitin (90) that כי" משמש בד' לשונות: אי, דלמא, אלא, דהא" "ki" expresses four meanings... There has been discussion over the ages as to what ...
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Questions surrounding Bilam's death

In Parshas Matos (Bamidbar 31:8) it says וְאֵת בִּלְעָם בֶּן-בְּעוֹר הָרְגוּ בֶּחָרֶב. Did Bilam do anything to avoid getting killed? What did he do? And who actually killed him?
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Could B'nei M'nashe have been placed with R'uven and Gad as a remedy to their separatism?

Does the following idea have any validity? Is it brought down anywhere? When members of the tribes of R'uven and Gad approached Moshe to unwaveringly request settlement on the east bank of the ...
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Question about the actions of Pinchas when he killed Zimri

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 82A), while relating the story of Pinchas killing Zimri, tells us the following: "And Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it." (Bamidbar 25:7) Now, ...
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why isn't moshe considered a “forefather”

if moshe led us out of egypt, into israel, and is a great man why isn't he considered a forefather.
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Why does Pinchas come to the Bris? [closed]

Why does Pinchas who is Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) come to Brissim and what does it have to do with this Parshas Pinchas?
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Why is the test (Nisayon) of Kivshan Haish not mentioned in the Torah?

One of the difficult tests Avraham Avinu faced was when Nimrod threw him into the (Kivshan Haish) fire. It is not mentioned in the Torah at all. Why?
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5answers
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(Neis) Miracle of Sarah giving birth at 90

We all know how in Parshas Vayeira the miracle of Sarah giving birth @ 90 takes place. In Mitzrayim Yocheved gave birth @ 130 yet there is no mention of this. Was it not a bigger miracle? Then why is ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
118 views

Rachav's home in the wall

Rachav's home was built into the wall of Y'richo, with an outward-facing window (Y'hoshua 2:15, M'tzudas David). This window had to be recognizable when the Jews destroyed the city, so they'd know to ...
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1answer
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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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Egel- Why EILEH is Plural

Why when the Jews made the egel, a single bull, they use the words Eilah Elohecha Yisroel which is plural?
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connection between the mishkan and the egel hazahav

do you guys know of any sources that connect the physical construction of the egal with the construction of the mishkan - both are made of gold and the beginning of parshat terumah starts by talking ...
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riddle about who 2 people in the torah are [closed]

Name 2 figures in the Torah that their mother is their sister, their aunts and uncles are dead, and their father is their grandfather.
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1answer
49 views

Becoming aware of the sight of Holiness

When Avrohom and yitschok came before har hamoriah for the akaida they both recognized that it would take place top of the mount for they saw from afar the divine presence radiating atop thus they ...
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2answers
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What would Avraham have done if Lot didn't choose to go to Sdom?

So Avraham tells Lot, "we need to separate; if you go right I'll go left, and vice-versa." Lot chose to go to Sdom, which was wicked. Had Lot chosen otherwise, would Avraham have gone to Sdom?
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“The drinking was according to doctrine, no forcing.” — Forcing to drink, or forcing to stop drinking?

The party is described at the beginning of the book of Esther as having drinking with "ein oness" -- "there was none forcing." I'd always heard (assumed?) that meant no one would force you to drink ...
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3answers
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In the book of Esther, was Haman plotting to kill/overthrow Ahasueros?

At first reading, Haman is very powerful and wants to use that power to kill the Jews, but he's not actually interested in harming his boss, King Ahasueros ("Achashveirosh" to most of us), in any way. ...
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Science of the Rishonim on “celestial spheres”

In the writings of the Rishonim, it is not uncommon to see explanations of pesukim or of aggadic concepts using the "celestial spheres" model of the universe. The Rambam in particular uses the idea ...
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Ma'ase avos siman l'banim - prescriptive or descriptive?

The concept of the actions of the forebears being an indication of their descendants' actions is referred to by many commentators and midrashim, including the famous Ramba"n on B'reshis 12. What is ...
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Took you out of Egypt and the house of slaves

אָנֹכִי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים Why does it say both מִצְרַיִם then בֵּית עֲבָדִים seems to be the same thing to me?
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400 Years in Egypt (?)

I know that Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-1865) said that we served all 400 years in Egypt as opposed to just 210. Are then any other "famous" commentators that say this?
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Moshe and Klal Yisroel Seprate

כָּל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֱ־לֹהִים לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַמּוֹ Why are they separate did something happen to one that did not happen to the Other?
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Moshe Judges דָּבָר הַגָּדֹל or דָּבָר הַקָּשֶׁה

In the first Posuk it says: וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת הָעָם בְּכָל עֵת וְהָיָה כָּל הַדָּבָר הַגָּדֹל יָבִיאוּ אֵלֶיךָ Then in the later Posuk it says: אֶת הַדָּבָר הַקָּשֶׁה יְבִיאוּן אֶל מֹשֶׁה The ...
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1answer
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Number then Names

וְאֵת שְׁנֵי בָנֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר שֵׁם הָאֶחָד גֵּרְשֹׁם כִּי אָמַר גֵּר הָיִיתִי בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד אֱלִיעֶזֶר כִּי אֱלֹהֵי אָבִי בְּעֶזְרִי וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה Why tell us how ...
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1answer
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To Fear or not to Fear that is the question

The Posuk starts off: וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ Then it goes on too say: וּבַעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ עַל-פְּנֵיכֶם לְבִלְתִּי תֶחֱטָאוּ The question is she we fear or not?
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Daughters First

כֹּה תֹאמַר לְבֵית יַעֲקֹב וְתַגֵּיד לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל Rashi say that בֵית יַעֲקֹב refers to the women He has an answer to this question but I know there are other good ones Why the Women first?
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Why does the Torah repeat the prohibition against touching Har Sinai?

First it says כָּל הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהָר מוֹת יוּמָת Then a Posuk later: אִם בְּהֵמָה אִם אִישׁ לֹא יִחְיֶה Why is there a double death warning?
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Why does the Torah list animals before converts?

אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ Why would the Torah List animal before the Geirim?