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

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82 views

Why does the tribe of Gad have an unusual population count in Bamidbar 1?

When listing the census of the tribes in Bamidbar 1, only the tribe of Gad has the count 45,650 - I.e. - the count is not exactly on the hundreds as it is with all the other tribes. As the count was ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Responding to an army draft before 20

מבן עשרים שנה ומעלה, כל-יוצא צבא בישראל--תפקדו אותם לצבאותם, אתה ואהרון. (במדבר א:ג)‏ Rashi, commenting on Bamidbar 1:3, says that you should not join the army younger than 20. Is it ...
5
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2answers
119 views

Why didn't they call her Mara?

Naomi returns to Israel and tells people to call her Mara cause God has embittered her life (Ruth 1:20). But no one actually ends up calling her Mara. Is a person allowed to change her name for ...
3
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2answers
31 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 ...
6
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53 views

(Ki) Ani Hashem Elokeihem

Twenty-seven times (by my count) in Torah and in Ezekiel, we find the phrase אני ה׳ אלקיכם or אני ה׳ אלקיהם at the end of a pasuk (for example, Lev 25:55). In eight of these cases, the phrase is ...
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0answers
54 views

Is there a pattern to Yonasan Ben Uziel's introduction to mitzvos?

Starting with the dibros, YbU introduces some mitzvos with the words 'Ami bnei Yisrael" and I don't see the pattern as to when he does and when he doesn't. Anyone have an idea which ones deserve this ...
5
votes
1answer
140 views

Why was Eliyahu Hanavi taken to heaven alive?

Why was Eliyahu chosen to be one of the very few who merited to go to Gan Eden alive? There were prophets greater than him (Moshe, for example). There were people that kept the Torah better than him ...
5
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2answers
94 views

Why is Vayikra 20:27 at the end of the chapter?

This verse in Parshat Kedoshim - Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:27, "A man or a woman who has a ghost or a familiar spirit shall be put to death; they shall be pelted with stones—their bloodguilt shall be ...
2
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1answer
60 views

Source of the name Achira - What did עינן have against his brother?

The nasi of Shevet Naftali's name was Achira (אחירע), which translates to "my brother is evil." What did Enan (his father) have against his brother, that he should give his son such a name?
3
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3answers
55 views

How is the land appeased regarding Shemittah?

In Parshas Bechukosai (Vayikra 26:34), the verse states: אָז תִּרְצֶה הָאָרֶץ אֶת שַׁבְּתֹתֶיהָ כֹּל יְמֵי הָשַּׁמָּה וְאַתֶּם בְּאֶרֶץ אֹיְבֵיכֶם אָז תִּשְׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ וְהִרְצָת אֶת ...
2
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1answer
42 views

What was the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal?

Judges 9:57 OJPS and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God requite upon their heads; and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal. My understanding on this book is ...
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0answers
38 views

Is there a commentary on tehillim that maps perakim to episodes in David's life?

Sometimes it's fairly easy to tell when David is writing about a particular event such as לדוד בשנותו את טעמו לפני אבימלך At other times it's less obvious, but you get a 'lightbulb moment' when ...
3
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2answers
175 views

Explanations from חז״ל for Noah's ark?

Today, a very learned friend of mine and I were discussing the difficulty of the literal interpretation of Noah's ark. That is, we could not fathom how multiple samples of every animal on earth could ...
4
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0answers
52 views

Is there a reason for the change in word order in Vayikra 25:10?

In parshat Behar (Vayikra 25:10) is the phrase ושבתם איש אל אחוזתו ואיש אל משפחתו תשובו - "You shall return every man to his inheritance, and every man to his family shall you return." Is there a ...
1
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1answer
50 views

What tree represents Jotham and/or Abimelek?

What tree represents Jotham and/or Abimelek? Or am I completely missing the point of this parable? Help would be appreciated. Judges 9:7-15 OJPS 7 And when they told it to Jotham, he went and ...
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2answers
49 views

1st century Hellenistic Jewish interpretation of Proverbs 8:22( LXX)?

Proverbs 8:22 says that Wisdom is created by God. If so, is God without wisdom before he created wisdom? Other Jewish texts ( though uninspired),also talks about God's wisdom as created by God. I ...
9
votes
1answer
90 views

Where did the converts camp in the desert?

When the Bnai Yisrael left Egypt, many converts left with them. Shmot 12:38: וְגַם עֵרֶב רַב עָלָה אִתָּם וְצֹאן וּבָקָר מִקְנֶה כָּבֵד מְאֹד: And also, a great mixed multitude went up ...
12
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8answers
698 views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example the last mishna in Kidushin, Rashi Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the many obvious ...
5
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4answers
514 views

are homosexual relations forbidden by God? Why?

To my understanding, Bible says that God does not like homosexual relations. But why? Why did God punish and destroy inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? They were not Jewish and were not given the laws ...
5
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1answer
53 views

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why Midian?

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why did he choose Midian? The only slightly helpful references I saw said a) (attributed to a Medrash but I do not see it) that he was ...
13
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4answers
198 views

Unusual number of males among the 70 who went to Egypt

B'reshis chapter 46 lists the seventy descendants of Yaakov who went to Egypt. It actually lists sixty-nine: let's assume Yocheved was the seventieth, as Rashi explains. It also lists (in pasuk 12) ...
5
votes
4answers
465 views

In Judaism, does God have a body?

In the Bible it says [Gen 3:8]: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". It seems God has carnal body (thus he could walk). In Judaism compared with ...
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3answers
128 views

Miswa of Lifne Iwer isn't what the words mean literally?

My fellow Jew (let's call him Bob) and I were discussing the Miswa of "You shall not place a stumbling block in front of a blind person (Wayikra 19)". Bob was saying that that verse was referring to ...
3
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4answers
189 views

Is Absalom considered a “ben sorrer umoreh”?

Is Absalom considered a ben sorrer umoreh (devarim 21:18, bal haturim) for his rebellion? I thought there where never any cases of ben sorrer umoreh.
2
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1answer
70 views

Were Esav, Yishmael, and Nimrod Evildoers?

This question asserts that Ishmael was an evildoer (rasha). However, based on a simple (p'shat) reading of the relevant texts (in Genesis), neither he nor Esau nor Nimrod appear to do anything ...
2
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0answers
36 views

What is the procedure for generating a chiddush?

Sometimes I see cool things in the parasha that just are not mentioned by the meforshim, that is, I generate what could be called chidushim. So far I present them by saying "Is X related to Y because ...
2
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3answers
136 views

Why did Pharaoh try to kill Moshe?

Moshe Rabbeinu was raised in Pharaoh's house. Yet when Dasan and Aviram claimed that Moshe killed an Egyptian taskmaster, Pharaoh tried to kill him (Shemot 2:13-15). Why would an all powerful tyrant ...
6
votes
5answers
376 views

Does Joshua 8:34-35 disprove oral law's existence?

I was reading about Karaite Judaism and it lists a number of reasons, some which I thought were compelling, for rejecting the Oral Law. For example, Joshua 8, 34–8, 35 states: After that, he ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

אמר Divine Speech?

ב"ה I have heard this idea, but I could never find a source for it. The idea is that in certain circumstances when the Torah uses the word ואמר referring to Hashem speaking that it means that the ...
7
votes
8answers
220 views

Wording in Torah when Moshe is commanded to appear before pharoh

This shabbos, the parasha, Bo, starts with Moshe being told to "Bo El Paroh", "Come to Pharaoh". I don't understand this wording, should it have said "Lech El Paroh", "go to Pharaoh"? Is there a ...
7
votes
3answers
98 views

Why isn't נִצָּבָה redundant?

In Bereshis 37:7 we read: וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה - Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and ...
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5answers
204 views

Why did Yosef tell over the dreams?

In this weeks Parsha (Vayeishev), we learn about how Yosef had his two [prophetic] dreams. We find that in each case, Yosef told his brothers about his dreams: And he said to them, "Listen now to ...
2
votes
5answers
184 views

Magicians' Inability to Interpet Pharaoh's Dreams

The Posuk says (Genesis 41:3): וְהִנֵּה שֶׁבַע פָּרוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת עֹלוֹת אַחֲרֵיהֶן מִן הַיְאֹר רָעוֹת מַרְאֶה וְדַקּוֹת בָּשָׂר וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה אֵצֶל הַפָּרוֹת עַל שְׂפַת הַיְאֹר Translated as: ...
3
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0answers
48 views

Two types of forgetting?

Bereishis 41:51 כי נשני אלהים את כל עמלי ואת כל בית אבי God has caused me to forget all my toil and all my father's house Devarim 25:19 תמחה את זכר עמלק מתחת השמים לא תשכח Erase ...
3
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2answers
248 views

Why did David HaMelech tell Shlomo to punish Shimei Ben Geira?

Melachim I 2:8-9 reads And, behold, there is with you Shimei the son of Gera the Benjamite of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim, and he came down ...
4
votes
8answers
103 views

Connection between purity and bris?

The verse in Vayikra 12:2 says דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִשָּׁה כִּי תַזְרִיעַ וְיָלְדָה זָכָר וְטָמְאָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כִּימֵי נִדַּת דְּו‍ֹתָהּ תִּטְמָא If a woman conceives ...
4
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2answers
133 views

Did the Jews in Egypt gain monetary benefit from the miracle of the first plague?

There is a well known Medrash Rabbah that the Jews during the Plague of Blood sold water to the Egyptians for exorbitant amounts of money. The question is how was this allowed as we have a rule that ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
3
votes
1answer
52 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
155 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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2answers
121 views

Did Esther eat at the first feast she made for the king and Haman?

Esther 5:1,5:4 says that Esther made the first feast on the third day of the fast. Earlier (4:16), Esther tells Mordechai that she will also fast for three days. Did she eat at the feast, or was ...
2
votes
6answers
143 views

Seforim with Drashos on the Torah (Recommendation)

What are good Seforim for using to help in developing drashos to say on the weekly Parsha (i.e. to use as a starting point, to quote, to find Medreshim, "nice vertlach", various "p'shatim" in pasukim, ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

In parshas Shemini why were Aharon and his sons not referred to by their title “the Kohanim”?

When the Torah mentions the Kohanim in connection with their priestly service, it usually describes them as 'the Kohanim'. For example, in Vayikra 1:8 it says “and the sons of Aharon the Kohanim shall ...
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2answers
172 views

Why did Hashem not tell Avraham to have a Bris earlier?

Avraham Avinu was told to have a Bris at 99 years of age. Why didn't Hashem have him do a Bris earlier?
4
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2answers
159 views

Why does the Megillah tell us Mordechai was a Jew?

Why are we specifically told that Mordechai was an Ish Yehudi as it says in the pasuk (Ester 2:5): אִישׁ יְהוּדִי, הָיָה בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה; וּשְׁמוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי Would we assume he wasn't a ...
5
votes
2answers
85 views

Why is Aharon ignored in parshas Vayikra?

Sefer Vayikra deals mostly with the various activities that were done in the Mishkan, so it is not surprising that Aharon, the Kohen Gadol, is the one who is primarily mentioned in connection with ...
8
votes
1answer
306 views

What does it mean that God will blot out sinners from his book?

In Parshat Ki Tisa, after the golden calf, Moshe pleads for God to forgive them, saying if not, blot me out of your book. The text then says: 33 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Whosoever hath ...
10
votes
5answers
183 views

Why not “Vayikra Hashem”

The first pasuk in Vayikra reads: וַיִּקְרָא אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֵלָיו…‏ And He called to Moshe, and God spoke to him… Why is the subject on the second verb? It would ...
5
votes
1answer
127 views

Mishkan significance

Why does the Torah feel the Need to tell me the rules for making the Mishkan? First, it is no longer relevant, as, even if we build, we will build a Beis Hamikdash. Plus, the Medrashim say it will be ...
5
votes
3answers
102 views

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר?

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר, or do they both pretty much mean "to say" or "to speak"? Do any sages see the choice of one ...