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

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Why build migdal bavel in a valley?

If the point of migdal bavel was to reach the heavens, why not build it on a mountain instead of a valley? וַיְהִי כָל הָאָרֶץ שָׂפָה אֶחָת וּדְבָרִים אֲחָדִים:(ב) וַיְהִי בְּנָסְעָם מִקֶּדֶם ...
8
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557 views

Why can't Ploni Almoni be a real name, in Ruth?

The verse states (Ruth 4:1): וּבֹעַז עָלָה הַשַּׁעַר, וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם, וְהִנֵּה הַגֹּאֵל עֹבֵר אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-בֹּעַז, וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי; וַיָּסַר, וַיֵּשֵׁב Now Boaz ...
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546 views

Why only beginning with the fourth plague is the exemption of the Jews mentioned?

In Moshe's warning to Pharaoh (in Hashem's name) of the fourth plague, arov, he adds (Ex. 8:18-19): וְהִפְלֵיתִי בַיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶת-אֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר עַמִּי עֹמֵד עָלֶיהָ לְבִלְתִּי הֱיוֹת-שָׁם ...
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How did Pharaoh know that Sarai was Avram's wife?

When Avimelech took Sarah, Hashem came to him in a dream and told him to return Avraham's wife (Bereishis 20:3). When Pharaoh took her, no such event is recorded in the Torah. Pharaoh's household ...
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156 views

Referencing Iron before the Iron Age

A guest brought up this question at the shabbos table, and no one had an answer. In D'Varim 8:9 it says "...a land whose stones are iron...". The question this guest asked was: How is it that the ...
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117 views

How did Yaakov hear about Dinah?

Genesis 34 tells about Shechem's rape of Dinah and the events that follow. 34:5 says that Yaakov heard ( שָׁמַע) about this (and didn't act immediately). He didn't hear it from Dinah because she ...
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609 views

Did the Egyptians use whips on the Hebrew slaves? Why do we assume so?

It seems like every image I've ever seen drawn (or acted) of the Jews' slavery in Egypt involves them being whipped by Egyptians. The Torah says that the Jewish foremen were stricken as their ...
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656 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 ...
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79 views

What was the reasoning of the 'scorners of the generation'?

Bereshit 25:19 reads: וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יִצְחָק: And these are the generations of Isaac the son of Abraham; Abraham begot Isaac. Rashi: ...
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287 views

Sarah's treatment of Hagar and Ishmael

How could Sarah's treatment of Hagar and Ishmael be considered righteous? I intend this as a sincere and serious question. While Hagar was pregnant, Sarah "prevent[ed] her intercourse with Abraham, ...
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355 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 ...
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175 views

Pardes… What actually happened?

Verses in the Bible traditionally have four different understandings: Pshat (simple meaning), Remez (derived meaning), Drash (investigative meaning), and Sod (esoteric meaning). It seems at times ...
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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 ...
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242 views

Sefer Milhamot Hashem - from Bamidbar 21:14

Does anyone know of any discussion of the the "sefer Milkhamot Hashem" mentioned in Bamidbar 21:14? Someone had asked me about the content of the book and I had no idea of what to answer him.
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317 views

What are the rules for ain mukdam umeuchar?

Sometimes we say that things in the Torah are not in chronological order. What are the parameters for this? do you need to have a mesorah (particular tradition) for this? Is there a list of all ...
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102 views

“A life for a life”: execution or reparations

The Torah states (Ex. 21:23) that if two people are fighting and accidentally kill an innocent bystander (such as a woman), "you shall give a life for a life." The Gemara (Sanhedrin 79a-b) records a ...
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Please explain the “apparent omission” of not including the women as the ones going into Cana'an after the 40-year wandering in the desert

I saw the explanation of how we know women entered Cana'an as listed in the answer to this question. My question is regarding what seems to be an omission. The original complaint of the people in ...
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217 views

Why does Rashi say דבתם refers to the children of Leah?

Rashi (Bereshis 37:2 sv את דבתם רעה) says: כל רעה שהיה רואה באחיו בני לאה היה מגיד לאביו - Any evil he saw in his brothers, the sons of Leah, he would tell his father However it would seem that ...
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209 views

Song of the 5 Kings?

In Joshua 12:9-24 there is Joshua's famous song of triumph over the 31 Kings of the Land of Canaan which he conquered. The song (and it is a song per the Talmud Megillah 16b) is structured in two ...
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Question on Rashi - Yisro 20:8

On the Posuk "Zochor Es Yom HaShabos L'Kadsho", Rashi says תנו לב לזכור תמיד את יום השבת שאם נזדמן לו חלק יפה יהא מזמינו לשבת (Take heart to remember the Shabbos - if you find something nice ...
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475 views

Chanukah and Miketz

What is the connection between Chanukah and Miketz — as, in most years, Chanukah falls out in this Parsha?
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158 views

Was Potiphor a Eunuch?

I ask because on the one hand he and some of Pharoh's other servants are described in the Hebrew as סריס, but the translations I've seen are usually in the vein of Lord Servant. For instance, my IDF ...
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86 views

Why did the son of the Egyptian and Jew have to convert?

Rashi on Vayikra 24:10 says that the son of the Egyptian man (that Moshe killed) and Shlomit bat Divri converted: בתוך בני ישראל: מלמד שנתגייר: However, since his mother was a Jew, why did he ...
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217 views

Good inclination or evil inclination in the womb?

The Posuk says: ויתרוצצו הבנים בקרבה (בראשית כה, כב)‏ To which Rashi comments: כשהיתה עוברת על פתחי תורה של שם ועבר יעקב רץ ומפרכס לצאת, וכשהיתה עוברת על פתחי עבודה זרה עשיו מפרכס לצאת ...
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106 views

Which commentators commend Yosef for noticing his fellow prisoners' sadness?

Toward the end of Parashat Vayeishev, Yosef is imprisoned along with two of Par'oh's chief servants. Starting in Gen. 40:6, the Torah tells us that he notices that they look sad, asks why, and ...
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Why blessings on Mt. Gerizim and curses on Mt. Ebal?

Devarim 11:29 says: וְהָיָה, כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ--וְנָתַתָּה אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה עַל-הַר גְּרִזִים, וְאֶת-הַקְּלָלָה עַל-הַר עֵיבָל. ...
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844 views

Ten plagues of Egypt: hail and pestilence

According to Moses, the fifth plague of Egypt killed all livestock except that of Israel. If all were killed, then why did Moses warn the Pharaoh to bring his cattle to shelter before the hail? The ...
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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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96 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 ...
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152 views

Why didn't Noach Pray for his generation like Avraham did for Sodom

Why didn't Noach Daven to save his generation like Avraham Davened for Sodom?
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90 views

כְלִי גֶבֶר Versus שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה

Why does the Torah switch the word for men from כְלִי to שִׂמְלַת for women?
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Explanation of the midrash of the Donkey of moshe

In Shmot 4:20, Rashi explains that the donkey which Moshe took on the way to Egypt was the same donkey which Avraham used for the akeda (Binding of Isaac), and this is the donkey of the Mashiach. ...
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75 views

How did Yaakov and his family survive “when they finished eating the grain that they had brought from Egypt”.

It says in Beraishis 43(2), “…when they finished eating the grain that they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, "Go back [and] buy us a little food."” What were they to eat until ...
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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). ...
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334 views

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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350 views

What's the difference between כשב and כבש?

What's the difference between כשב and כבש? Why does the Torah use both?
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235 views

Meggilas Rus - Leket, Shikcha, and Peah

When Rus went out into the field to pick up the Shikcha (dropped or forgotten crops which must be left for the poor), Boaz sees her great piety and tells his servants to drop more on purpose so that ...
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1answer
188 views

Post-Korach altar cover: how was it made and used?

Numbers 17:2-5 describes the covering that was made for the altar from the fire-pans of Korach's rebels: [...] 4 And Eleazar the priest took the brazen fire-pans, which they that were burnt had ...
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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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537 views

Is there a good children's parsha book that's focused on pshat, not midrash?

Is there a good children's parsha book that's focused on pshat, not midrash? Something like a Little Midrash Says, but based on just the psukim (simple verses), not all the medrish?
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194 views

How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Shemot 2:11 says how Moshe went out to see the suffering of his people: וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם וַיִּגְדַּ֤ל מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֵּצֵ֣א אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיַּ֖רְא בְּסִבְלֹתָ֑ם וַיַּרְא֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י ...
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Wasn't Korach the star of the show?

In Parshas Eikev (Devarim 11:6), Moshe recounts the results of the dispute between Korach and Moshe, namely the ground opening its mouth and swallowing them up. There is one significant person ...
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128 views

What is it with the donkeys all over Parashat Mikeitz?

So, we got Bereshit 42, psukim 26, 27 כו וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת-שִׁבְרָם, עַל-חֲמֹרֵיהֶם; וַיֵּלְכוּ, מִשָּׁם. כז וַיִּפְתַּח הָאֶחָד אֶת-שַׂקּוֹ, לָתֵת מִסְפּוֹא לַחֲמֹרוֹ--בַּמָּלוֹן; וַיַּרְא, ...
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82 views

Why couldn't the Jews do Teshuva by the incident of the spies?

After Hashem chastised the Jews for not wanting to go into Eretz Yisrael, and told them that they will have to die in the desert, the Jews seemed to have had a change of heart. A few even were willing ...
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144 views

Why the extra words “who sits on his throne”, “who is behind the millstone”?

In Parshas Bo, 11:5, the Torah says: "Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, to the firstborn of the slave-woman who is behind the ...
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82 views

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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121 views

Why are several Biblical characters called “man of the Lord” (Ish HaElokim), but no one in the Bible is ever “man of God” (Ish Hashem)?

Ramban makes this observation (Deut. 33:1), and says "anyone with a good intellect" can figure out the reason. Okay I'm stumped ... help me out here please?
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104 views

Do we care or do we not care about beauty?

Rashi Breishis 23:1 says that when Sarah was 20 she was beautiful as when she was 7. Mishlei 31:30 says שקר החן והבל היפי אשה יראת ה' היא תתהלל. Why is Rashi saying that Sarah was beautiful if it is ...
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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”?
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108 views

Why is “Kedoshim tihyu” (Lev. 19) interposed between the chapters about illicit relations?

Chapter 18 of Vayikra (Leviticus) mostly deals with various forbidden relationships, but without specifying the individual punishments for transgressing them (just a collective warning to the nation ...