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

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3
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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 ...
10
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6answers
215 views

Justification for Killing all of Shechem

What was the justification for Shimon and Levi's killing all the males of Shechem in parshas Vayishlach? I assume some people there were not in a position to prevent what happened or that their ...
2
votes
3answers
77 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

Where does this midrash (for Vayetze) come from?

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, in his book, Accepting the Yoke of Heaven, quotes a midrash before concluding his parsha analysis: All those things which Jacob wished to refrain from, came upon him. He ...
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5answers
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Halachic Restrictions not in the Torah, and “shall not add”

How can halachic restrictions that are not in the Torah be reconciled with the Deuteronomy 4:2 passage, which says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from ...
3
votes
2answers
103 views

Re-explaining parshanut when the explanation is given

Over Shabbos, I heard the same dvar Torah twice - basically, that which the Talmud says Yaakov went back for his small vessels that he had forgotten (Bereishis 32:25) was because he understood that ...
2
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3answers
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“Lamah zeh tish'al l'shmi” — zeh shmi

Bereishit 32:30 וַיִּשְׁאַל יַעֲקֹב וַיֹּאמֶר הַגִּידָה נָּא שְׁמֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לָמָּה זֶּה תִּשְׁאַל לִשְׁמִי וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ שָׁם is usually translated as: And Jacob asked and said, "Now ...
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0answers
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Who is דישון? Contradiction in 2 verses

Breishit 36:21 list דישון as the son of Se'ir, but verse 25 lists him as the son of Ana, which would make him a grandson of Se'ir. Which is it? Why the contradiction?
3
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1answer
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Meaning of מעשה אבות סימן לבנים

I have heard the phrase מעשה אבות סימן לבנים (Don't recall its source). Does it mean: The actions that our forefathers performed serve as signs for the children's actions (I.e. - we should emulate ...
7
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3answers
89 views

כְלִי גֶבֶר Versus שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה

Why does the Torah switch the word for men from כְלִי to שִׂמְלַת for women?
6
votes
1answer
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Gender in Vayishlach 33:6-7

In Vayishlach (Bereishis 33:6-7), Yaakov's wives and children bow to Esav. With regard to the maidservants and their sons, the verse states וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ - in the feminine, whereas by Leah and ...
-2
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4answers
162 views

Return *his* dress?

After the command to return a lost ox, we find: "You should do likewise for his dress (לשמלתו)." However, two pesukim later, we see וְלֹא-יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה (and a man shouldn't wear ...
4
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2answers
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“And Yisrael heard” — and immediately we start counting sons, without a pasuk break. Why?

Bereishit 35:22 goes straight from Reuven lying with Bilhah and Yisrael hearing about it into the introduction of the list of sons to follow: ‫ וַיְהִי, בִּשְׁכֹּן יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאָרֶץ הַהִוא, ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Why is it repeating something that's already known?

It is stated in Shemos Parshas Beshalach 14:4 the following: "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will be glorified through Pharaoh and through his entire army, and the ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Why is Yaakov calling Esau “Master”?

It is stated in this weeks Parsha, Parshas Vayishlach 32:5: That he commanded them, saying, "This is what you should say to my master to Esau, 'this is what is what your servant Yaakov said, "I ...
4
votes
1answer
34 views

Why is Yaakov later willing to say אלוהי יצחק?

In Bereishit 31:42, Yaakov says אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִי֩ אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם וּפַ֤חַד יִצְחָק֙ Rashi there: ופחד יצחק. לא רצה לומר אלהי יצחק, שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא מיחד שמו על הצדיקים בחייהם, ואף על פי ...
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0answers
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Bereshit 15:13 question

Regarding the foretold 400 years in Bereshit 15:13-14 and Shemot 12:40 i read that the 430 years of exile began when Avraham joined the covenant with HaShem when he made the covenant between the parts ...
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0answers
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How good was Yaakov's trickery?

Yaakov told Rachel that " וַיַּגֵּד יַעֲקֹב לְרָחֵל כִּי אֲחִי אָבִיהָ הוּא וְכִי בֶן רִבְקָה הוּא וַתָּרָץ וַתַּגֵּד לְאָבִיהָ:" And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman and that he ...
0
votes
1answer
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Rashi Shemos 14:4 seems to contradict later experience in the Midbar

Rashi says in Parshas Beshalach Shemos 14:4, sv ויעשו כן: [This is stated] to tell their praise, that they obeyed Moshe and did not say, “How will we draw near to our enemies [by returning in ...
4
votes
4answers
105 views

Where did Yitzchok pull out the blessing for Eisav from?

My paraphrased summary of Bereishit 27:30-39: Eisav comes in to get his blessing. Yitzchok tells him that he already gave the blessing away. Eisav says "bless me too!" Yitzchok says "Sorry, I'm ...
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2answers
48 views

How did Rashi know that Ya’akov initially intended to go straight to Haran?

Rashi comments on the posuk in Bereishis 28:10 - “And Ya’akov went out from Be’er Sheva and went to Haran” - that the phrase “went to Haran” means that he left to go to Haran. Rashi seems to be ...
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vote
2answers
46 views

Doesn't Yaakov have רוח הקודש

In this week's parsha (Bereishit 31:32), Yaakov says that whoever stole Lavan's idols will not live, not knowing that Rochel had taken them. Doesn't Yaakov have רוח הקודש he should have known that it ...
5
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2answers
256 views

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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1answer
79 views

Why is there a parsha break in the middle of a verse?

In this week's parsha, we see a parsha (stumah) "break" in the middle of Devarim 2:8. There are several other places where there is a parsha break in the middle of the verse. Another example occurs ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

Why does the posuk emphasise that Lavan was Ya’akov’s uncle?

It says in Bereishis 29:10: וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה יַעֲקֹב אֶת-רָחֵל, בַּת-לָבָן אֲחִי אִמּוֹ, וְאֶת-צֹאן לָבָן, אֲחִי אִמּוֹ; וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב, וַיָּגֶל אֶת-הָאֶבֶן מֵעַל פִּי הַבְּאֵר, ...
5
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2answers
120 views

Is Ber. 26 in the proper chronological place?

In Bereishit 25 twins are born and they grow up. Though I don't know how old they are by the end of the perek, they are at least 13. Then in perek 26, there is a famine and Yitzchak must go to Gerar. ...
3
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2answers
140 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 ...
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6answers
184 views

Why do we find two adjacent pesukim stating what seems to be the same?

In Bereishit 26:3 Hashem tells Yitzhak: "...and to your descendants I will give all these lands...". In the next pasuk, Hashem says: "...and I will give to your descendants all these lands...". ...
6
votes
2answers
107 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 ...
5
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4answers
100 views

“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 ...
6
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4answers
536 views

Why does Rashi say “I don't know”?

The Posuk says (Genesis 28:5): וַיִּשְׁלַח יִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם אֶל לָבָן בֶּן בְּתוּאֵל הָאֲרַמִּי אֲחִי רִבְקָה אֵם יַעֲקֹב וְעֵשָׂו To which Rashi comments on the ...
7
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1answer
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Since Yitzchok appears to have a doubt about the identity of the person whom he wished to bless, why didn’t he wait and make sure?

From what Yitzchok says in Bereishis 27:22 “the voice is the voice of Ya’akov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav” it seems that he had a doubt as to the identity of the person who had come to ...
5
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1answer
106 views

Zombie Midianites?

In Numbers 31, the Jews wipe out Midyan. I'd think this referred to only those of Midyan who happened to be defending against the Jews' attack, and not the whole nation, except that even women and ...
6
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3answers
127 views

Was Ya’akov really simple?

The posuk Gen. 25:27 says: וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם - Ya’akov was a simple man. Rashi comments on this: מי שאינו חריף לרמות קרוי תם - One who is not astute at deceiving is called תָּם, innocent. ...
2
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1answer
54 views

Why does Eliezer change facts in retelling what happened at the well?

There are 4 times in parshat Chayeii Sarah that the events at the well are related: The first is 24:14 (English from the chabad website) - what Eliezer prays for And it will be, [that] the maiden ...
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0answers
32 views

Sukkot--Object or place name?

Does anyone translate "סֻכּוֹת" in Vayikra 23:43 as a place name rather than an object (see Shmot 12:37 and 13:20, where it's a place name)? Might the Toarah mean "celebrate Sukkot because that's the ...
2
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1answer
58 views

What is the significance of the gifts that Eliezer gave to Rivka?

The verse states (24:22): ויקח האיש נזם זהב בקע משקלו ושני צמידים על ידיה עשרה זהב משקלם the man took a golden nose ring, weighing half [a shekel], and two bracelets for her hands, weighing ...
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3answers
326 views

Why did Rivka consult Shem, and not Avraham or Yitzchok?

The Posuk says (Gen. 25:22) regarding Rivka: וַיִּתְרֹצֲצוּ הַבָּנִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ וַתֹּאמֶר אִם כֵּן לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי וַתֵּלֶךְ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת יְ־הֹוָ־ה Translated as: And the children ...
12
votes
1answer
96 views

Is there a connection between Hagar's distance and Yishmael's profession?

The Torah tells us that Hagar sat an archer's distance away from Yishmael as he lay crying, Genesis 21 verse 16. After he is miraculously saved he lives in the desert and is described as a רובה קשת, ...
10
votes
2answers
152 views

Regarding Avraham's responses to G-d's decisions

Are there any mefarshim who commented on why Avraham chose to advocate on behalf of Sdom when G-d tells him that the city will be destroyed, but chose to remain silent and just accept the decree when ...
5
votes
1answer
33 views

Would Avraham's tefillah have been necessary to save Sedom?

Let's say there actually would have been 50 (or 45, or 40...) righteous people in Sedom. Would Hashem have destroyed the city without Avraham's tefillah but saved it due to his tefillah? Was Avraham ...
6
votes
2answers
77 views

Questions regarding Sarah's denial in Breishit 18:15

Breishit 18:15 says (Mechon Mamre / JPS in English): Then Sarah denied, saying: 'I laughed not'; for she was afraid. And He said: 'Nay; but thou didst laugh. Apparently, Sarah laughed because ...
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vote
3answers
95 views

Kos Shel Bracha but no bread

The angels blesses Sarah and sends a Kos Shel Bracha (Rashi Breshit 18:9 based on Bava Metzia 87a). the question is how was there a Kos Shel Bracha if there was no bread as it says Sarah became a ...
5
votes
2answers
138 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

Why is the information that Malchi-Tzedek was a priest not written earlier in the posuk?

In parshas Lech Lecha, after Avraham had successfully conquered the four kings and rescued his nephew Lot, it says (Bereishis 14,18): וּמַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם, הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן; וְהוּא ...
5
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1answer
67 views

Try to understand the order that Lavan searched Yaakov's tents

In Bereshis 31:33 the pasuk describes Lavan's search for his idols in Yaakov's tents: וַיָּבֹא לָבָן בְּאֹהֶל יַעֲקֹב | וּבְאֹהֶל לֵאָה וּבְאֹהֶל שְׁתֵּי הָאֲמָהֹת וְלֹא מָצָא וַיֵּצֵא מֵאֹהֶל ...
4
votes
6answers
176 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?
6
votes
3answers
115 views

Blatant foreshadowing in the Torah

Genesis 13:10 has the following verse: ויישא-לוט את-עיניו, וירא את-כל-כיכר הירדן, כי כולה, משקה--לפני שחת יהוה, את-סדום ואת-עמורה, כגן-יהוה כארץ מצריים, בואכה צוער Translation of bold: ...
8
votes
1answer
73 views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
66 views

What is the difference between curses that would require changing lashon?

In parshat Lech Lecha, (Bereishit 12:3) Hashem promises Avram that וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר, And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. Why ...