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

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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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2answers
76 views

Why does Eliezer address his prayer to Hashem, [24(12)], “Hashem, the G-d of my master Avrohom”?

Why does Eliezer address his prayer to Hashem, 24(12), “Hashem, the G-d of my master Avrohom” and repeat this formulation in verses 27 and 42. He himself was after all a believer. In verse 35, he is ...
5
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2answers
146 views

the land from which you brought us out = Egypt?

Dvarim 9:28 reads: פֶּן יֹאמְרוּ הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָנוּ מִשָּׁם מִבְּלִי יְכֹלֶת יְהֹוָה לַהֲבִיאָם אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָהֶם וּמִשִּׂנְאָתוֹ אוֹתָם הוֹצִיאָם לַהֲמִתָם ...
4
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2answers
90 views

Who was expelled from Avraham's house and married an Egyptian?

Vayera 21:9–21 speaks repeatedly of Hagar's son without once naming him. In no particular order, Rashi (:17), pseudo-Yonasan (:11), the Rav miBartinura (:14), Ramban (:9), Chizkuni (:14), Toldos ...
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2answers
133 views

What was Moshe Rabbeinus argument against the angels?

Breishis 18:8 says that Avraham served the angels milk and meat together. Rashi in the name of the Medrash says that it only seemed like they were eating. Medrash Shocher Tov Tehilim 8 says that one ...
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2answers
128 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 ...
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2answers
72 views

Neither from a thread to a shoe strap [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom? After Avram saved Lot and the people of Sodom from the 4 kings, the king of Sodom offered him the ...
5
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1answer
102 views

How can you see words?

Has anyone else noticed the seeming incongruity in Lekh Lekha, Gen 15:1...that Avram is "seeing" the words? The verse states: אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, הָיָה דְבַר-יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, ...
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2answers
132 views

How was Er considererd to be married to Tamar?

The gemarah (yevamos 34b) indicates that Er slept with Tamar sh'lo k'darka. If this is the case how was Er ever married to Tamar if the injunction of the pasuk וְדָבַק בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ (Bereshis 2:24) is ...
3
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1answer
138 views

Why use an active verb with no subject?

In parshat Noach, perek 7, pasuk 23, The opening word "וַיִּמַח" is presented as an active verb, attested to by the presence of the word אֶת (I am summarizing the discussion of rashi and the ...
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5answers
280 views

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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3answers
187 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 ...
5
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4answers
473 views

In Judaism, does God have a body?

In the Bible it says [Gen 3:8]: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". It seems God has carnal body (thus he could walk). In Judaism compared with ...
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2answers
134 views

Who is “thrusted through” in Zechariah 12:10?

How do Jews generally view/regard this verse? And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me ...
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1answer
97 views

The application of “harm” in Shemot (Exodus) 21:22

Shemot (Exodus) 21:22: And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall ...
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0answers
95 views

Hazi“v La”kh: what's behind the division?

The Talmud (Rosh Hashana 31a) tells us that the Haazinu song (Devarim 32) was sung weekly in the Temple and divided into six segments, given by the mnemonic HaZIV LaKh הזיו לך (where each letter is ...
6
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1answer
119 views

What does מִלְמַעְלָה in Gen 7:20 mean?

Genesis 7:20, describing the flood, says: חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה מִלְמַעְלָה, גָּבְרוּ הַמָּיִם; וַיְכֻסּוּ, הֶהָרִים.‏ Almost everybody translates the first clause as some approximation of ...
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1answer
88 views

The mishkan and the fencepost problem

Rashi (Shemos 26:6,26) counts out the number of poles for the chazer on each side in parshas Terumah. He seems to ignore what is called the Fencepost Problem. The same problem exists for the 20 amah ...
2
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4answers
216 views

Why G-d had to confuse people's languages in the land of Shinar?

Why G-d had to confuse people's languages in the land of Shinar and scatter them across the Earth with diverse languages? What moral does Genesis 11:5–8 coveny to mankind execept the fact that "in ...
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3answers
94 views

Rashi on Bereishis 37:12: Only their sheep, or also their father's?

Bereishis 37:12: וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת צֹאן אֲבִיהֶם בִּשְׁכֶם.‏ Rashi there says (as I understand it) that we cut out the word es (אֶת) because they only went to to feed their own ...
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2answers
180 views

Why does David say that he only sinned against G-d?

In Psalm 51:6 David says that "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Thy sight" (JPS) I wondered why does he think that he sinned only against the Lord? I think he ...
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4answers
147 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 ...
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1answer
144 views

If the Canaanites occupied the land in Moses’ day, why would Moses write that they were in the land then?

What does the Torah imply when it notes 'the Cannannites were then in the land' (Gen. 12:6)? It seems to suggest they were in the land then (when the tale took place) but not now (when the book was ...
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1answer
115 views

What does God's answer to Yona the prophet (4:11) really mean?

Sefer Yona 4:11 reads: וַאֲנִי לֹא אָחוּס עַל נִינְוֵה הָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר יֶשׁ בָּהּ הַרְבֵּה מִשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה רִבּוֹ אָדָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַע בֵּין יְמִינוֹ לִשְׂמֹאלוֹ וּבְהֵמָה רַבָּה ...
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2answers
62 views

Why not give tzeddakah before shmittah?

Devarim 15:7 cautions us not to withhold help to others because of the approach of the shmittah year. However, the help we would expect to give would be charity and thus would not be repaid. If ...
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0answers
54 views

Who were the pre-Lekh Likha righteous men?

BS"D In Hilkhoth Avodhah Zarah RaMBaM lists the central figures in the transmission of ethical monotheism, and I was wondering if there were any other figures in our mesora not mentioned. Since the ...
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2answers
116 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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1answer
144 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 ...
2
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1answer
72 views

Who is the Nasi in Ezekiel?

BS"D I was rereading Yehhezqei'l and was curious about the context of something towards the end. In pereq 46 from 1-18 it talks about a Nasi (prince), for example : "And the prince, when they go ...
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2answers
152 views

David called “hamelech”, “hamelech David”, and “David”

My son noticed in Ⅱ Sh'muel chapters 5–6 that, although David is generally called "David", there are times he's called "hamelech" (="the king") or "hamelech David" (="the king David"). (I'm ...
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1answer
114 views

Universal theory of Biblical eye-raising

Do any of the commentaries or Midrashim offer a universal interpretation (perhaps of the form "any time you see this, it means that") of Biblical idiom of "raising eyes"? Below are some examples that ...
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1answer
106 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 ...
2
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0answers
39 views

Singular and plural language in Deut. 4:25

Why does the Pasuk (Deut. 4:25) switch between singular and plural when building up to the consequences of what "you will [do]"? "When you (sing.) will have children and grandchildren, and you (pl.) ...
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1answer
85 views

ReEh in singular (Deut. 11:26)

The Ba'al HaTurim to Deut. 11:26 cites Bab. Megillah 31b in saying that all the blessings and curses in "Mishneh Torah" (usually this means Sefer Devarim - Deuteronomy) are written in singular, and ...
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2answers
104 views

Onkelos on Deut. 4:19

In Devarim 4:19, Onkelos translates ונדחת as ותטעי and והשתחוית as ותסגוד. First, what exactly is he trying to convey with ותטעי? I think of טעות as "whoops", and hopefully there's no serious damage, ...
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1answer
87 views

Og's bed made of iron

Devarim 3:11 desribes Og's bed as being made from iron. What does the the Torah add by describing Og's bed as being made from iron? The Ramban comments that it demonstrates how tall he was, that wood ...
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1answer
737 views

What are the possible reasonable meanings of “Love thy neighbor”?

What are the original Hebrew words for "love", "thy", "neighbor", "as", "you", "love", "yourself" in "love thy neighbor as you love your self"? What's the transliteration of those words in English ...
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1answer
189 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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4answers
139 views

Why does the Torah switch around the order of annulling vows in the summary?

In the beginning of Parshas Matos, the Torah first describes the process of a father annulling the oaths of his daughter (30:4-6), and then afterwards the the law of a husband doing so for his wife's ...
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1answer
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Aharon's and Miriam's Yahrtzeit

The Book of Numbers spans almost the entire 40 year period in the desert, documenting numerous events that occurred to the Jews as they wandered. I count only 5 dates mentioned in the text (listed in ...
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1answer
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How strong was Midian's army?

When Israel took vengeance on Midian they sent 12,000 troops (Numbers 31:4) and prevailed. We aren't told how numerous Midian was, only that the spoils includes 32,000 virgin women (31:35). This ...
9
votes
1answer
84 views

Should Shaul have killed Yonasan?

In Shmuel alef 14 a confusing scenario arises. First Yonasan (and his armor bearer) go out to the camp of the Plishtim. Then Shaul curses anyone who will eat bread that day until evening (pasuk 24). ...
7
votes
3answers
170 views

Why does the census “of all who are able to go forth to war” include a few women?

The census in Bamidbar 26 is directed thus: Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' houses, all that are able to go ...
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1answer
81 views

What did it mean for Saul to make David's father's house free?

In 1 Samuel 17:25 it says: And the men of Israel said: 'Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to taunt Israel is he come up; and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will ...
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0answers
49 views

Leaving the King's road?

We say in Bemidbar 20:17 to Edom: Let us now pass through your land: We won't pass through the fields and vineyards and we won't drink well-water; on the road of the king we will go, we won't ...
11
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1answer
220 views

Are there two things from which kares can cut one off?

In B'midbar 19:13 the Torah says that the punishment for entering the mikdash while impure is spiritual excision, using the words וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. . . . . .that ...
12
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3answers
556 views

What is the “book of the law” mentioned in Joshua 1?

Specifically, Joshua 1:8: Joshua 1:8 (JPS) 8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do ...
8
votes
1answer
206 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
148 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
516 views

Can someone kindly explain the Malachi 3. 23 -24?

In Malachi 3:23 -24 it says 23. Lo, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord, 24. that he may turn the heart of the fathers back through ...