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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

5
votes
2answers
210 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
336 views

What Mikraos Gedolos has the most meforshim?

What sefer (prob Mikraos Gedolos) has the most meforshim in it?
5
votes
3answers
191 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)
4
votes
1answer
39 views

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) ...
4
votes
1answer
154 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
51 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
142 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
341 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

Did Paroh give offerings

In Shemos 10:25, Moshe told that Paroh himself will give offerings to Hashem. Did this really happen?
4
votes
2answers
136 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
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 ...
4
votes
6answers
194 views

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?
3
votes
0answers
47 views

Which Rishonim viewed maaseh bereishit as an allegory?

I have often heard that many rishonim were comfortable with the idea that at least the first week of creation could be read allegorically, not literally. What are the specific sources that support ...
3
votes
1answer
33 views

“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 ...
3
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
65 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
47 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
294 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?
3
votes
3answers
652 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
351 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?
3
votes
1answer
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

“פְּנִיאֵל” and “פְּנוּאֵל”

Is the פְּנִיאֵל of BeReishis 32:31 the same as the פְּנוּאֵל of 32:32? If so, why the change in term used to refer to it? If not, is there a story behind the two places with such similar names?
3
votes
2answers
192 views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
102 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
143 views

Goy Versus Leum

The Posuk Says (Gen. 25,23): שְׁנֵי [גיים] גוֹיִם בְּבִטְנֵךְ וּשְׁנֵי לְאֻמִּים מִמֵּעַיִךְ יִפָּרֵדוּ Translated as: Two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

“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 ...
3
votes
3answers
324 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
20 views

Why are the commandments for the holiday of Succot interrupted by commandments regarding sacrifices in general?

Vayikra 23:33-36 discuss the celebration of Succot. Then, verses 37-38 interrupt the discussion by saying a general statement that these are the holidays when you should offer sacrifices. Then, verses ...
2
votes
1answer
47 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". ...
2
votes
3answers
82 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
108 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?
2
votes
2answers
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
99 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
65 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
23 views

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..." ...
2
votes
4answers
417 views

Why does Rashi cite the Midrash of Pharaoh's daughter stretching out her arm?

There's a famous Midrash cited by Rashi (Shemoth 2:5), that says Pharaoh's daughter stretched out her arm and that it extended beyond its natural length to pull in the basket containing the baby from ...
2
votes
3answers
155 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

What is the traditional interpretation of Dt. 18:18?

The Torah contains a prophecy of a future Prophet who will be like Moses: I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he ...
2
votes
0answers
126 views

Did Tamar marry a third time, and if so whom?

B'reishit 38:26 says: וַיַּכֵּר יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר צָדְקָה מִמֶּנִּי כִּי עַל כֵּן לֹא נְתַתִּיהָ לְשֵׁלָה בְנִי וְלֹא יָסַף עוֹד לְדַעְתָּהּ: Then Judah recognized [them], and he said, "She ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Inconsistency in listing creeping things in Noach's Ark's population

The animal population of Noach's Ark is commanded/listed six times in Parashat Noach: Genesis 6:19-20 (Initial command) Genesis 7:2-3 (Reiteration of command) Genesis 7:8-9 (Entry to the Ark) ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

Where can I get the full set of Shadal's commentary on the Torah?

I'm a big fan of Shadal's commentary on the Torah, but I can't find anyone selling the full set. There's an english translation of Breishis only and the full hebrew version is available online, but I ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

Achashverosh — was he or wasn't he?

I'm looking to gather some more background, context, sources and opinions, regarding Achashverosh's Jewishness, or lack thereof. This was inspired by a recent similar question, and, in fact, much of ...
1
vote
2answers
75 views

For a righteous man can fall seven times and rise - why seven?

Shelomo HaMelekh (King Solomon) famously wrote in Mishle'i 24:16 (Proverbs): כִּי שֶׁבַע יִפּוֹל צַדִּיק וָקָם וּרְשָׁעִים יִכָּשְׁלוּ בְרָעָה For a righteous man can fall seven times and ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

Why did Moses add part of the tribe of Menashe to join Re'uvean and Gad on the east of the Jordan?

In response to Reuven and Gad's request to settle on the east side of Jordan, Moses includes part of the tribe of Menashe to join them, as it says: Numbers 32:33: וַיִּתֵּ֣ן לָהֶ֣ם ׀ מֹשֶׁ֡ה ...