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

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Questions about the destruction of Sodom and the vicinity

I am having a hard time making heads or tails of the story of the destruction of Sodom and the vicinity. All questions below are questions about the narrative of the story based on the interpretation ...
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Why was Yaakov punished for not honoring his parents?

Bereshit 37:34 (translation by machon-mamre): וַיִּקְרַע יַעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו, וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו; וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל-בְּנוֹ, יָמִים רַבִּים And Jacob rent his garments, and put ...
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224 views

Why does Yakov bless Ephraim and Menashe at the same time?

Why does Yakov bless Ephraim and Menashe at the same time? Why not bless them one after the other?
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80 views

Why didn't Eliezer go straight to Avraham's family?

Avraham made Eliezer promise that he would only find a wife for Yitzchak from his family. It seems to follow then, that as soon as Eliezer would arrive in Aram Naharaim he'd go straight to Avraham's ...
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Yumatu and the plural in Dev 24

Devarim 24:16 makes a statement which is central to Jewish theology. The posuk makes clear that a father will not be put to death for the sins of his son and that a son will not be put to death for ...
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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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“The days of mourning for my father” - why wait?

The Posuk says(27,41): יִקְרְבוּ יְמֵי אֵבֶל אָבִי וְאַהַרְגָה אֶת יַעֲקֹב אָחִי: Translated as:"Let the days of mourning for my father draw near, I will then kill my brother Jacob. " The ...
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156 views

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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How could Yackov Lie

How could Yackov Lie it is גניבת דעת to say אָנֹכִי עֵשָׂו בְּכֹרֶךָ How was he allowed to make this statement?
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Shifting subjects and objects in Gen 12:15

There are three statements in Genesis 12:15: וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתָהּ שָׂרֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְהַלְלוּ אֹתָהּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה וַתֻּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה בֵּית פַּרְעֹה And Pharaoh's princes saw her, and they ...
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359 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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arachin: dependance on age and sex

Why is the erech (Vayikra 27:1–8) of a woman less than that of a man? And why does erech depend on age? Sources, please.
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211 views

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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Was Binyamin aware of Tzofnas Paaneach (aka Yosef)'s true identity?

While Yosef recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. I heard a Rosh Yeshiva suggest that Binyamin, who wasn't so absorbed in the soap opera, was able to recognize Yosef, but played ...
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341 views

What Mikraos Gedolos has the most meforshim?

What sefer (prob Mikraos Gedolos) has the most meforshim in it?
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194 views

Why make a Copper Snake?

Why did Moshe have to make a Copper snake. Wouldn't it be simpler if the snakes went away? (or acted as they were before the plague)
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In the story about Eliezer searching for a wife for Yitzchak, why does the Torah alternate terminology about him between “slave” and “man”?

In viewing the story in Breishit 24, regarding Eliezer searching for a wife for Yitzchak, we see that the Torah first calls him עבד - slave (starting from the point that Eliezer leaves Avraham's home) ...
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165 views

“Praiseworthy is he who will clutch and dash your infants against the rock”?

I do not understand the last lines of psalm 137 ("By the rivers of Babylon"/"Al naharos bovel," the psalm recited before Birkat Ha-Mazon on weekdays. [It includes the famous lines "Im eshkachech ...
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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 ...
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Yakkov living in Egypt 17 years - connection to 210 years of servitude

Parshas Vayechi starts off that Yaakov lived in Egypt for 17 years. I was thinking that 17 years x 12 months = 204 months. Usually in 17 years there are 6 leap years which would increase the total ...
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702 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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150 views

Why did Noach plant a vineyard?

The first mention the torah makes of wine and vineyards is in Gen 9:20-21, when Noach plants a vineyard and then gets drunk on wine after the flood. What prompted him to plant a vineyard as, ...
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347 views

HaMalach HaGoel Osi

Why does Yakov ask the malach (angel) (actually it sounds more like a statement of fact - "he will...") who protected him from evil to bless Ephraim and Menashe? Also, do we find that this actually ...
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118 views

Where does Rashi say “Complaint” in his commentary on the Torah?

When I was in 4th grade, my rebbi taught us a Rashi in which he explains a Pasuk by simply saying "Complaint" (קומפליינט or some similar transliteration), meaning the voice in the Pasuk was ...
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48 views

Did Paroh give offerings

In Shemos 10:25, Moshe told that Paroh himself will give offerings to Hashem. Did this really happen?
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139 views

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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71 views

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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Why was the letter “Hai” added to Avraham's name?

Avarham Avinu was originally Avram - and Hashem added the letter Hai to his name and changed it to Avraham. Why from all letters was the letter Hai added?
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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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70 views

Was Zerach really the first born?

וַיְהִי בְלִדְתָּהּ וַיִּתֶּן יָד וַתִּקַּח הַמְיַלֶּדֶת וַתִּקְשֹׁר עַל יָדוֹ שָׁנִי לֵאמֹר זֶה יָצָא רִאשֹׁנָה And it came about when she gave birth, that he (the infant) stretched out his ...
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What is the plague being referred to in Parshas Korach?

Bamidbar 17:11 ויאמר משה אל אהרן קח את המחתה ותן עליה אש מעל המזבח ושים קטרת והולך מהרה אל העדה וכפר עליהם כי יצא הקצף מלפני יהוה החל הנגף And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Take thy fire-pan, and ...
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When did Moshe warn Bnei Yisrael not to go up Har Sinai?

Shemos 19:23 ויאמר משה אל יהוה לא יוכל העם לעלת אל הר סיני כי אתה העדתה בנו לאמר הגבל את ההר וקדשתו Moshe said "the nation can't come up, because you warned us to set boundaries around the ...
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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 ...
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352 views

Saadia Gaon on the Torah Original Arabic

Is the commentary of the Torah (not the translation) of Saadia Gaon in the original Arabic available online?
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372 views

Ezekiel 16:4: לֹא הֻמְלַחַתְּ — what practice does this describe?

Ezekiel 16:4 seems to be describing practices performed on an infant or young child. But, what practice does לֹא הֻמְלַחַתְּ refer to? Do any rabbis explain the meaning?
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135 views

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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Washing feet before coming inside: Avraham vs. Lot

When the angels came to visit Avraham, he asked them (Bereishis 18:4) to "Bathe your feet, and recline under the tree". Rashi explains: He thought that they were Arabs, who prostrate themselves to ...
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Who killed Shaul?

Ⅰ Sh'muel 31:3–5: וַתִּכְבַּד הַמִּלְחָמָה אֶל שָׁאוּל…. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל לְנֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו שְׁלֹף חַרְבְּךָ וְדָקְרֵנִי בָהּ… וְלֹא אָבָה נֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו כִּי יָרֵא מְאֹד וַיִּקַּח שָׁאוּל אֶת ...
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Rashi's proof of the timing of Yisro's conversation with Moshe about judges

Rashi (to Ex. 18:13) cites Mechilta that "the next day," when Yisro saw Moshe judging the people and offered his advice about appointing inferior judges, was the day after Yom Kippur. Part of his ...
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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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329 views

Why is Parshas Beshalach called Shabbos Shira?

Most people know that we read Az Yashir on Shabbos Shira and we put out bread for the birds. However this is the only Shabbos that has a special name simply because of what we read in the Parsha. ...
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How is it that no one spots Potiphar's wife's lie?

There appears to be something strange about Potiphar telling people in her home that she called out in a loud voice. Genesis 39:14: וַתִּקְרָ֞א לְאַנְשֵׁ֣י בֵיתָ֗הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר ...
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161 views

Inner being: Soul or Spirit?

Bereshit (Genesis) 2:7 reads: 'vayipach beapav nishmat chayim vayehi ha'adam lenefesh chayah' Is my inner being a 'soul' or a 'spirit', or am I a 'soul' or am I a 'spirit'? Let me make myself clear: ...
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49 views

What is “חכמת לב”?

In this week's Torah portion (Vayakhel) we read about the Jews helping out in the building of the Tabernacle. When referring to the talent (or mastery) in doing so, the Torah uses the term "חכמת לב". ...
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83 views

What was the main job duty of Sar Hatabahim?

The word Tabah means to cook. In modern Hebrew, a Mitbah is a kitchen. In Arabic, Tabaha means "he cooked". And yet, from what I can find, nearly all Biblical commentators, Jewish and gentile, by the ...
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120 views

Why did God want a Tabernacle built by Moses? [duplicate]

Why did God want a Tabernacle to live among Israel (Exodus 25:8)? What is the significance of the Tabernacle built by Moses?
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55 views

The Tyrian Smith's Name

Kings I ch. 7 tells of Solomon enlisting a Tyrian smith named חירם, Hiram to fashion many implements that were used in the Temple. Chronicles II ch. 2 speaks of the King of Tyre sending a smith named ...
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101 views

What is the difference in meaning between לתור and לחפר with regards to spying the land?

I am combining concepts from this week's Torah and Haftarah: In the Torah portion, it says with the spies that they went לתור את הארץ (Bamidbar 13:16). With Yehoshu'a it says לחפר את הארץ (Yehoshu'a ...
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68 views

What did Bnei Yisrael experience at Matan Torah?

I'm having trouble understanding what the Israelites actually experienced at the Revelation at Mt Sinai. Did they all see God? Did they all hear Him? Did they all understand Him? Did they hear all of ...
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Around what was the boundary set at Har Sinai?

Shemos 19:12 והגבלת את העם סביב לאמר השמרו לכם עלות בהר ונגע בקצהו כל הנגע בהר מות יומת And you shall set boundaries around the nation saying, "be careful not to go up the mountain..." ...