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

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What was the effect of Yaakov placing his right hand on Efraim?

Yaakov saw (Beraishis 48 (19)) that Efraim would be greater than Menashe and so insisted that his right hand should rest on Efraim. Did the placing of the hand bring about the greatness and if not why ...
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Why did Binyamin think Yosef was still alive?

Rashi (Bereshit 43:30), quoting the Talmud (Sotah 36B), tells us that Binyamin named each of his 10 sons in honor of Yosef. Many of the names indicate that Binyamin knew that Yosef was alive, in ...
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Why does the pasuk describing idols leave out “speaking?”

In Parshas Vaeschanan the Posuk says: עֲבַדְתֶּם שָׁם אֱ־לֹהִים מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם עֵץ וָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִרְאוּן וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּן וְלֹא יֹאכְלוּן וְלֹא יְרִיחֻן Translated as: And there ...
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Why the Heel of the foot? (Parshas Ekev)

Parshas Ekev starts off וְהָיָה עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים Rashi says on this: אם המצות הקלות שאדם דש בעקביו תשמעון: What is the significance of the so called lite Mitzvos ...
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How does Orthodox Judaism view the Book of Jubillees

How is the Book of Jubilees regarded by Orthodox Jewry (I'm not asking if we believe it existed, but if we hold any of the information in it to be accurate). Is it ever quoted by any of the ...
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Was Lot's Wife transformation into a Salt Pillar a miracle?

We tend to envision Lot's wife becoming a salt pillar as a (lehavdil) medusa-like sudden freezing from a normal human-organic state to a stone-cold hard mineral state. Was this incident a miracle?
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Joseph and Chanukkah

The Parshiot about Joseph always fall right before or during Chanukkah. It their a relationship between the Joseph stories and the Chanukkah stories? It there something to be learned from the fact ...
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Who sold Yosef, and who knew?

I had always understood that Yosef's brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites. We know that they planned to do so, but during this week's torah reading I noticed this for the first time: כח ...
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How did the Parshiyot get their names [duplicate]

and what are the names' significance? Thanks Naomi Duplicate of: Where are the rules for naming parshiyot explained?
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Who was Eliezer's Father?

Who was Eliezer (i.e. servant of Avraham) father?
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What was the composition of Yaakov's two camps?

In Parshat Vayishlach Yaakov divides his group into two camps so that if one is attacked the other might escape. How did he divide people between them? Did Leah go in one and Rachel in the other, ...
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How did 'Eli know HaShem was calling to Shemuel?

In Shemuel I (3:1) the Pasuk tells us that prophecy was a very rare phenomenon. How, then, did 'Eli realize that Shemuel was receiving prophecy and not merely dreaming?
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Were Avraham's tactics in rescuing Lot typical of the time?

Parshat Lech L'cha describes how Lot was captured in the battle of four kings against five kings. When Avraham heard, he mounted a night-time attack to rescue him. This got me wondering: was a ...
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Why Bless Eisav and not Yackov

Why was that Yizhak originally chose to Bless Eisav and not Yackov, at least he should have Blessed both equaly what was his thinking?
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Moses lived 120 years, and tradition says no one can live longer, so why do they?

Genesis 6:3: And the LORD said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.' In Deut. 34:7 the age of Moses upon his ...
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Yitzchok falls for Eisav's tricks?

The Posuk says: ויהי עשיו איש יודע ציד וגו' (בראשית כה, כז)‏ Translated as: ... and Eisav was a man who knew how to hunt ... Rashi comments: יודע ציד, לצוד ולרמות את אביו בפיו ...
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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 the name Beer Sheva

The Posuk says: וַיִּקְרָא אֹתָהּ שִׁבְעָה עַל כֵּן שֵׁם הָעִיר בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה Translated as: And he named it Shibah; therefore, the city is named Beer sheba until this very day ...
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How many factors did Esav need to prompt him to marry Machalas?

At the end of parashas Toldos (28:6-8), the pesukim indicate factors in Esav's decision to add Machalas, who was not a Canaanite, as a spouse: א וַיִּקְרָא יִצְחָק אֶל-יַעֲקֹב, וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ; ...
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Wasn't Yishmael already sent away from Avraham's house?

In Bereshit 22:3, Rashi tells us that when Avraham went to sacrifice Yitzchok, the two lads he took with him were Yishmael and Eliezer. Wasn't Yishmael already gone from Avraham's house? In Bereshit ...
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Why did Eisav say “red” twice?

Genesis 25:30 says: ... הַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה ... ... "Pour into [me] some of this red, red [pottage] ..." Why did Eisav feel the need to say "red" twice?
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Why did he bring wine Yitzchok did not ask for?

In order to give the Brachos Yitzchok requested food from his son: וַיָּבֵא לוֹ יַיִן וַיֵּשְׁתְּ If he asked for food why did Yaakov bring wine?
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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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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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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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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?