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

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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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Human v.s. Animal: spiritual v.s the most fine physical entitie kind of soul?

If animals don't have spirits (Does anyone have a proof text that animals *don't* have spirits?), than what is the meaning of nishmat ruach chayim in Bereshit 7:22? And in what way does it differ ...
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134 views

Was Vashti Evil?

Is there any basis within the text of the Megillah itself to lend credence to the common Midrashic theme that Vasti was evil?
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Why would Haman “restrain himself”?

In Esther (5:9), when Haman leaves the king's palace after Queen Esther's first party, all happy and feeling on top of the world, gets very upset when he sees Mordechai sitting there, and not bowing ...
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70 views

Connection of Gog and Yavan/Greece

I saw somewhere that "Gog" mentioned in the Torah is Greece. Does anyone know a source for this?
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Adam masculine and feminine?

I've gotten the advice to ask this question apart from another question i asked (Elohim plural singular): so here it is Bereshit 5:1 reads according to my own words: 'In/On the day that Elohim ...
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How did the sons of Haman die? (Chronology of Esther chapter 9)

The 10 sons of Haman were hanged as we read in the Megillah. (Esther 9:14) But it appears they were killed by the sword. Is this a correct chronology of the story / facts? Haman was hanged on or ...
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110 views

Hur in Ki Tisa - You only live twice?

Rashi on sheni in this weeks parsha has two consecutive comments that, taken together, seem rather strange. In 32:5, he says: He saw his sister’s son Hur, who had reproved them [the Israelites], ...
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Ages in Genesis 5 [duplicate]

Are the life spans in Genesis 5 meant to be taken literally? Wasn't the life span of ancient people drastically shorter back then? I have read that the numbers are spiritual numbers that are used to ...
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Why is Aharon the only person in Tanac"h who's death date is specifically mentioned? [duplicate]

AFAIK, Aharon is the only person in Tana"ch whose death date I specifically mentioned. See Bamidbar 33:38, I know that Aharon was a Chashuver Yid, but was makes him so special that only he of all ...
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132 views

What is the relationship between the Tzitz and Tzitzit?

My friend and I were pondering the connections between the kohen gadol's tzitz and the tzitzit fringes of the average Yid. Aside from the obvious linguistic relationship (that we don't understand) ...
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Is an Eishet Yefat Toar beautiful physically or spiritually?

Devarim 21:10-14 explains the law of an Eishet Yefat Toar. The standard commentaries there indicate that she is desirable because of physical beauty. This also seems to be what the pshat is. ...
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Song of the 5 Kings?

In Joshua 12:9-24 there is Joshua's famous song of triumph over the 31 Kings of the Land of Canaan which he conquered. The song (and it is a song per the Talmud Megillah 16b) is structured in two ...
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Was Pharoah Necho telling the truth about being sent from God?

Did God really tell Pharoah Necho to conquer Assyria? Necho tells Josiah that he was commanded to fight Assyria. Was he: Lying? Mistaken? Truthful? 2 Chronicles (Divrei Hayamim II) 35:20-22 ...
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In the Book Of Judges(Shoftim) Why was Judah unable to conquer the inhabitants in the valley?

It says in Judges 1:19: And the Lord was with Judah, and they drove out the inhabitants of the mountains; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, for they had iron chariots. ...
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When the terms “sasson” and “simcha” are mentioned together, is there meaning or reason to the order?

Compare two verses: Yirmiyahu (Jer.) 33:11 - "sasson" is mentioned before "simcha" Esther 8:16-17 - "simcha" is mentioned before "sasson" There are other such verses, as well, that we can compare, ...
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Sefas Emes on Aharon lighting the Menorah

According to this article on Parshas Beha'aloscha on the Aish website, the Sefas Emes says that: Aaron lit the menorah, day in and day out, with the same degree of fresh enthusiasm. The same task ...
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The chachamim on peace

Our chachamim teach that when there is peace and harmony between a man and his wife, the Divine Presence dwells with them. Does anyone know where the chachamim says this?
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What actually happened to Jacob's and Laban's sheeps and goats?

Genesis 30 (JPS): 34 And Laban said: 'Behold, would it might be according to thy word.' 35 And he removed that day the he-goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were ...
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Man and woman bringing out unity in the service of Hashem

In the Artscroll Stone Chumash it says on page 15 the following: לבשר אחד - One flesh. ... The Tur says, “Man and wife are in reality one flesh, as they were at the beginning of Creation." Where ...
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65 views

Was Adam placed in Gan Eden to keep the service of HaShem?

Bereshit 2:15 reads: l'avdah uleshomrah, but it seems that this can't be refering to: 'to work the earth and keep it', because after the chet (the sin) it reads in Bereshit 3:23 that Adam was taken ...
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97 views

Is Leviticus 19:16 a negative commandment?

I heard that the posuk "You shall not stand over the blood of your friend – I am Hashem" (Vayikra 19:16) is a לאו (negative commandment). Is that true? לא תעמד על דם רעך אני יקוק
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Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
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Were the Avos “Regular People”?

Were the Avos in particular and other biblical protagonists (e.g. the Imahos) regular people? That is to say, do we generally ascribe deep holy explanations for their behaviors or just say they erred? ...
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The Ear That Heard “Don't Steal”

Rashi to Exodus (21:6) quotes the Mechilta which connects the drilling of the ear of the slave to hearing "don't steal" at Sinai. The obvious question asked by the Moshav Z'keinim (there) is that ...
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Whats up With Ascending Sinai: Moshe's Refusal

Hashem tells Moshe to descend Har Sinai and warn the Jews not to ascend (Exodus 19:21). He responds (v. 23) that they cant ascend because they have already been prohibited. Did Moshe argue with a ...
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Rashi to Devarim 11 (11). In what way is mountain land superior to the land of the plain?

Rashi on Devarim 11 (11) "But the land, to which you pass to possess, is a land of mountains and valleys and absorbs water from the rains of heaven” says The mountain land is superior to the land ...
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Moshe and Klal Yisroel Separate

כָּל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֱ־לֹהִים לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַמּוֹ Why are they separate? Did something happen to one that did not happen to the other?
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Whats Up With Ascending Sinai: Kohanim

What is the role of the Kohanim in the ascent of Sinai? They are listed second in Exodus (19:22) as being prohibited from ascending, but are listed first in v. 24. Why single them out? why switch ...
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Whats up with Ascending Har Sinai: prohibition

What is the significance of the ascent onto Har Sinai and its prohibition? Why is the prohibition introduced in Exodus (19:12) not with the more traditional expression of "don't" but with the less ...
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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 ...
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Who did Yehoshua weaken with the sword?

The verse says (Shemos 17:13): And Yehoshua weakened Amalek and his nation in accordance with the sword. Who did he weaken exactly - what's the difference between Amalek and his nation? Or is there a ...
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The earlier an idea in the Torah is presented, the more primary it is

I remember hearing or reading once that ideas/lessons taught early on in the Torah (she'biksav), say in Be'reishis, are more primary ideas than those that are presented later on. My question is, does ...
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Why does Rashi say תנין is a snake, not a croc?

Rashi on Shemot 7:10: ‏ "ויהי לתנין" - נחש The pasuk: וַיָּבֹ֨א מֹשֶׁ֤ה וְאַהֲרֹן֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה וַיַּ֣עַשׂוּ כֵ֔ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֑ה וַיַּשְׁלֵ֨ךְ אַהֲרֹ֜ן אֶת־מַטֵּ֗הוּ ...
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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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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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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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73 views

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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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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361 views

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 ...