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

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Why did Pharaoh's officers wait for three whole days before returning to inform him? Rashi Shemos 14 (5)

The Torah tells us Shemos 14 (5) It was reported to Pharaoh that the people had fled; and Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, What is this that we ...
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Does anyone attribute the copper snake to a mythbuster scheme?

We are familiar with the copper snake in chapter 21 of Parshas Chukkas used to remedy the Bnei Yisrael when bitten by the snakes sent to punish them. Recently I was made aware of a Greek mythological ...
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Children of Israel ate Manna for 40 years: Verse inserted later? [duplicate]

From this week's sedra (Shmot 16:35): And the children of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat the manna, until they came unto the borders of ...
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Ibn Ezra at the Yam Suf - Hashem saved them THAT day?

The Torah says in Sh'mos 14:30 . . .וַיּוֹשַׁע ה' בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיַּד מִצְרָיִם That day God saved Yisra'el from the hand of Mitzrayim. . . I wondered why in this context ...
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Why should God punish the firstborn of another nation that was in Egypt?

The Pasuk describes the victims of the plague of the firstborn as follows: It came to pass at midnight, and the Lord smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who ...
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Explain how the last word of Yosef's “oath” got into the verse in Shemot 13:19

In Shemot 13:19, the verse quotes the oath that Yosef made his brothers and descendants swear about carrying his bones when they leave Egypt. Compare these words in this verse with the actual oath ...
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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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Questions on David's order to kill Yoav

When David was dying, he gave a final speech to Shlomo Melachim I 2 . There he tells Shlomo to kill Yoav and Shimi ben Gera. Why are these his final instructions in the first place? I expect a ...
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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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Why did Pharaoh not think Moshe and Aaron were magicians?

BSD In this week's Parsha - Shemot Chapter 8 (וָאֵרָא), Pharaoh stands by as Moshe and Aaron perform all of the rites and 'signs' to Pharaoh. After each miracle, the Torah speaks of how Pharaoh's ...
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Why is every 3rd plague (of the 10 brought on Pharoah) unnanounced?

It seems like every plague was warned by Moshe to Paroah except for the 3rd - lice, 6th - boils and 9th - darkness. Why is that? Is there something special about these plagues?
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Why is Moshe concerned what the Pharaoh's astrologers will think of him in Shemot 11:4?

In Shemot 11:4, Moshe tells Pharaoh that the plague of the 1st born will begin at approximately midnight. Rashi explains that the reason Moshe said "approximately" is that if Moshe said exactly at ...
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Who spoke in Sh'mot 15:26?

After shirat hayam the people grow concerned about water and God instructs Moshe in how to satisfy their needs. Then Shemot 15:26 says: וַיֹּאמֶר אִם שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע לְקוֹל | יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ ...
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Why did Yaakov give the city of Shechem to Yosef?

Yaakov gives Yosef what many commentators assume is the actual city of Shechem as an additional inheritance (see Genesis 48:22, especially according to Rashi's interpretation). Why did Yaakov choose ...
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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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Did Aharon have his own stick, like Moshe?

In a few places, the Torah seems to imply that Aharon had his own stick. Some examples: Shmot 7:9 "Tell Aharon take your stick..." verse 10 "... Aharon cast his stick..." verse 12 ... "Aharon's ...
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Why are crocodiles more deadly than all wild beasts?

Concerning Tzphardea, Rabbi Hirsch 7 27 writes צפרדע can not mean crocodiles, otherwise there would have been no Egyptians left in the land. It is clear that they were only annoying creatures, not ...
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What does Mimenu mean in Bereishis 3:22

Bereishis 3:22 writes: וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ, לָדַעַת, טוֹב וָרָע; וְעַתָּה פֶּן-יִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ, וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים, וְאָכַל, וָחַי לְעֹלָם The ...
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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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What name of G-d was Moshe supposed to relay to B'nai Yisra'el?

View Shmot 3:13-15. In verse 13, Moshe asks G-d what name of G-d should he tell B'nai Yisra'el. In verse 14, G-d first answers I AM THAT I AM, and then says just I AM. Fine, I am aware of Rashi's ...
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Why doesn't the king of Belah get a name?

Bereishis 14:2 names the 5 kings who were on Team B in the war between the 4 kings and the 5 kings. Regarding 4 of the 5 kings on Team B, we are told their name and their domain. But by the king of ...
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Why mention the ger in Lev 19:10, 23:22?

Vayikra 23:22: וּבְקֻצְרְכֶם אֶת קְצִיר אַרְצְכֶם לֹא תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָׂדְךָ בְּקֻצְרֶךָ וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם When you reap the harvest of your ...
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Who is speaking in Ex. 3:17?

Sh'mos 3:15–18 reads: ‏15 וַיֹּאמֶר עוֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה…. 16 לֵךְ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם יהוה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם נִרְאָה אֵלַי… לֵאמֹר פָּקֹד ...
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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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“May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh” — in what way?

Bereishit 48:20: וַיְבָרֲכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמוֹר בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת אֶפְרַיִם לִפְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה So he blessed ...
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Why are the sons of Dishohn listed twice?

Breishit 36:26 and 36:28 list the sons of Dishohn twice. Why is there a break of 1 verse in the middle, instead of including all the children together in one verse?
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When Yaakov said “whoever stole the idols will not live”, was that a curse or vow?

In this week's parsha (Bereishit 31:32), Yaakov says that whoever stole Lavan's idols will not live, not knowing that Rachel had taken them. The question is, was this said as a curse or a neder ...
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Usage of the term Baali

In Hosea 2:18, if G-d was called "Baali," does this allude to the concept that God was perceived as a bull as Baal was portrayed in Ugaritic texts?
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Explain Rashi on Breishit 50:16

Rashi on Breishit 50:16 comments on the beginning of the verse "Our father commanded.." that Ya'akov made no such command, but the brothers said this because of peace and that Yosef was not suspect in ...
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558 views

Is Psalm 110 considered messianic

How do Jews interpret Psalm 110? (Christians see it as a messianic reference.) I am specifically interested in verse 1 - "The Lord saith unto my lord." Jesus quotes this in Matthew 22:44, and ...
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Why חלפות (=malei) and then חלפת (=chaser)?

Bereishit 45:22: לְכֻלָּם נָתַן לָאִישׁ חֲלִפוֹת שְׂמָלֹת וּלְבִנְיָמִן נָתַן שְׁלשׁ מֵאוֹת כֶּסֶף וְחָמֵשׁ חֲלִפֹת שְׂמָלֹת Why is the first occurence of the word "חלפות" written מלא (with ...
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The mishkan and the fencepost problem

Rashi (Shemos 26:6, 26) counts out the number of poles for the chatzer (courtyard of the Tabernacle) on each side in parshas Terumah. He seems to ignore what is called the Fencepost Problem. The same ...
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Why didn't Yaakov and Yosef spend much time together?

It seems that Yaakov and Yosef did not spend much time together in Egypt. After the emotional reunion is there any other mention of them together? Why not?
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Why didn't Yosef's brothers recognize him?

The Posuk says (Genesis 42:8): וַיַּכֵּר יוֹסֵף אֶת אֶחָיו וְהֵם לֹא הִכִּרֻהוּ Translated as: Now Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him The question is: How did ...
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Why Didn't Yosef tell Yaakov He was Still Alive?

What do the meforshim say on why Yosef didn't tell Yaakov he was still alive? Do any critique him?
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How was Ya'akov allowed to favor Yosef over Re'uven?

In Devarim 21:16 - 17 it states that the father cannot favor the son of the beloved wife over the older son of a hated wife. If we assume the notion that our forefathers performed all the mitzvot of ...
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Who is understood to be the “one like a man” referred to in Daniel 7:13?

In Daniel 7, the Ancient of Days is identified. I assume that this is referring to G-d Himself. Then, "one like a man" approaches the Ancient of Days, and to this one is given "a dominion and glory ...
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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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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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Why does the Torah specify only that Lea'h's children were born in Padan Aram?

Breishit 46:15 states that "These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore unto Jacob in Paddan-aram..." What is the significance of the Torah telling us where the children were born, and why does it ...
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Why did Yosef cause so much anguish to his family?

While this question already seems to assume some answer or another (that of a 'deeper purpose'), I thought it strange that nobody has actually asked this question so far: Yosef recognized his ...
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Do any commentaries explain the charade that Yosef put the brothers through as done with bad intention?

It seems that over the last few hundred years all the commentators that have written on the subject, and all the darshanim I hear talking about it, take for granted that the entire episode concerning ...
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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 does G-d say He will destroy the Bnei Yisroel after the episode with the spies?

In Bamidbar (Book of Numbers), after the spies come back with their negative report about Israel, God says: אַכֶּנּוּ בַדֶּבֶר וְאוֹרִשֶׁנּוּ וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתְךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם מִמֶּנּוּ. ...
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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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Did Prof. Rabbi Umberto Cassuto have any insight behind the biblical character Yehudah?

I am the great grandson of Umberto Cassuto, Benyamin Enzo Rocca, and 5 days ago my wife and I were blessed with a son (3rd child). With his upcoming bris in a few days I would like to know if anyone ...
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214 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 ...
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173 views

Why is the wording “הערים האל” used? (Deut 4:42)

Devarim 4:42: לָנֻס שָׁמָּה רוֹצֵחַ אֲשֶׁר יִרְצַח אֶת רֵעֵהוּ בִּבְלִי דַעַת וְהוּא לֹא שֹׂנֵא לוֹ מִתְּמוֹל שִׁלְשׁוֹם וְנָס אֶל אַחַת מִן הֶעָרִים הָאֵל וָחָי so that a murderer might ...
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35 views

Why didn't Rivka summon Yaakov?

Rivka told Yaakov to remain at the home of Lavan until she summoned him (Bereishis 27:45). However, we never find that Rivka sent for him, and Yaakov ended up leaving at Hashem's instruction ...
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Why was Eisav approaching?

Yaakov spends 20 years in the house of Lavan, after which he starts heading home. He sends messengers ahead to check on his brother Eisav (Bereishis 32:4). The messengers return and inform Yaakov ...