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

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11
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175 views

Why didn't Yehoshua give a good report immediately?

When the spies returned from scouting the land and gave their report of mighty opponents, 13:30 tells us that Caleb silenced the crowd and argued for going into the land, and then 13:31 says "the men ...
3
votes
1answer
77 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
170 views

Why are the Meraglim in that order?

The meraglim (scouts) and their shevet (tribe) are listed in a strange order in Bemidbar 13: Reuven Shimon Yehuda Yissachar Ephraim Binyamin Zevulun (Of Yosef): Menashe Dan Asher Naftali Gad As ...
6
votes
1answer
118 views

Psalm 145: Which Person?

Psalm 145 makes up the bulk of the oft recited prayer known as Ashrei. It is an alphabetic acrostic (missing the letter nun) about the greatness of God. The verses beginning with Alef, Bet, Dalet, ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Why is Hashem's name attached to only some of His accomplishments in Tehillim 146?

Psalms 146:6ff lists twelve of Hashem's deeds: עֹשֶׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ אֶת הַיָּם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר בָּם הַשֹּׁמֵר אֱמֶת לְעוֹלָם עֹשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט לָעֲשׁוּקִים נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לָרְעֵבִים ה' ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

Why did Aharon request that Hashem declare Miriam pure?

Rashi says that one of the meanings of Aharon's prayer regarding Miriam ("Let her not be like the dead, which comes out of his mother's womb with half his flesh consumed!"; Bamidbar 12:12) was that ...
7
votes
1answer
270 views

Published Ladino version of Meam Lo'ez?

The Me'am Lo'ez (מעם לועז‎), begun by Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1730, is a commentary to Tanakh written in Ladino. It was subsequently translated to Hebrew and translated from the Hebrew to English in a ...
2
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3answers
136 views

Why did Pharaoh try to kill Moshe?

Moshe Rabbeinu was raised in Pharaoh's house. Yet when Dasan and Aviram claimed that Moshe killed an Egyptian taskmaster, Pharaoh tried to kill him (Shemot 2:13-15). Why would an all powerful tyrant ...
8
votes
1answer
211 views

Sarah's treatment of Hagar and Ishmael

How could Sarah's treatment of Hagar and Ishmael be considered righteous? I intend this as a sincere and serious question. While Hagar was pregnant, Sarah "prevent[ed] her intercourse with Abraham, ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

What was the purpose of Nachshon's sin-offering?

Nachshon ben Amminadav, and each of the eleven tribal leaders who followed him, offered "one young he-goat for a sin offering" as part of their gifts for the dedication of the Mishkan (Num. 7:16 ...
10
votes
3answers
256 views

Is the way of the torah pleasant or painful?

In Avot (6:4) we read - כך היא דרכה של תורה, פת במלח תאכל ומים במשורה תשתה ועל הארץ תישן וחיי צער תחיה This is the way of torah... and a life of pain you shall live. contrast this with Mishlei ...
8
votes
1answer
79 views

“There is a son born to Naomi”? But it's a grandson — what's up with that?

In chapter 4 of Rut, after Boaz performs yibum with Rut and she bears a son, it says: וַתִּקְרֶאנָה לוֹ הַשְּׁכֵנוֹת שֵׁם לֵאמֹר, יֻלַּד-בֵּן לְנָעֳמִי; וַתִּקְרֶאנָה שְׁמוֹ עוֹבֵד, הוּא ...
5
votes
0answers
81 views

Was Naaman tamei from tzaraas?

In Melachim Bet 5:10 we read: וַיִּשְׁלַח אֵלָיו אֱלִישָׁע, מַלְאָךְ לֵאמֹר: הָלוֹךְ, וְרָחַצְתָּ שֶׁבַע-פְּעָמִים בַּיַּרְדֵּן, וְיָשֹׁב בְּשָׂרְךָ לְךָ וּטְהָר.‏ And Elisha sent a ...
5
votes
2answers
120 views

Why didn't they call her Mara?

Naomi returns to Israel and tells people to call her Mara cause God has embittered her life (Ruth 1:20). But no one actually ends up calling her Mara. Is a person allowed to change her name for ...
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Prediction of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash - seemingly out of place

On Lev. 26:19, ושברתי את גאון עזכם - "I will break the pride of your strength," Rashi (citing Sifra) explains that this refers to the Beis Hamikdash. But this is still fairly early on in the cycle of ...
6
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2answers
110 views

Non-Trivial Pursuit: וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם

What is the meaning of וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם (Leviticus 26:17)? Literally of course it is simple: "You will flee with no one pursuing you" (Artscroll) But this punishment does not really ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

Why does the Yom Kippur service seem to reenact Abraham's treatment of his sons?

In the Yom Kippur service during Temple times, the Kohen would (Lev 16:7-10ff): And he shall take the two goats, and set them before the LORD at the door of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

Why does Vayikra 25:3 repeat “שש שנים”?

In Vayikra 25:3 it says: שש שנים תזרע שדך ושש שנים תזמור כרמך Why does it say twice שש שנים ?
2
votes
0answers
92 views

Ma Inyan Shmitta Eitzel Har Sinai?

Rashi says What does the subject of Shemittah have with Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments stated from Sinai? However, [this teaches us that] just as with Shemittah, its general principles ...
4
votes
2answers
236 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
205 views

Moshe talking to the Mizbeach?

Here are the last two psukim in parshat nasso: פח וְכֹל בְּקַר זֶבַח הַשְּׁלָמִים, עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה פָּרִים, אֵילִם שִׁשִּׁים עַתֻּדִים שִׁשִּׁים, כְּבָשִׂים בְּנֵי-שָׁנָה שִׁשִּׁים: זֹאת ...
4
votes
1answer
133 views

The meaning of the Hebrew word Pe'as (פאת)

In Vayikra 19:27 the verse says לא תקפו פאת ראשכם ולא תשחית את פאת זקנך and it means both Peyos on the head yet in Vayikra 23:22 the verse says ובקצרכם את קציר ארצכם לא תכלה פאת שדך בקצרך ולקט קצירך ...
6
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2answers
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What is Zimri's sin?

Note: This is Zimri that was speared by Phinehas for sleeping with a foreigner. Wikipedia says that he committed idolatry. However, the Bible only mentions that he slept with a foreign woman. Nothing ...
7
votes
2answers
92 views

Why is “Kedoshim tihyu” (Lev. 19) interposed between the chapters about illicit relations?

Chapter 18 of Vayikra (Leviticus) mostly deals with various forbidden relationships, but without specifying the individual punishments for transgressing them (just a collective warning to the nation ...
4
votes
1answer
105 views

Why does smashing an earthenware vessel resolve the problem of the absorbed material of a cooked offering which has gone beyond its time limit?

Vayikro 6:21 An earthenware vessel in which it is cooked shall be broken, but if it is cooked in a copper vessel, it shall be purged and rinsed with water. Rashi explains, “[An ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
343 views

Why is a “leper” allowed to sit with other “lepers”?

In Parshat Tazria (Vayikra 13:46) we are told: All the days the lesion is upon him, he shall remain unclean. He is unclean; he shall dwell isolated; his dwelling shall be outside the camp As ...
7
votes
1answer
94 views

Connection between the metzora's purification and the Four Species of Sukkos?

In the procedure prescribed for the first stage of a metzora's purification (Lev. 14:1-7), the Torah lists four items to be dipped into a mixture of blood and water: a live bird, a piece of cedar ...
3
votes
2answers
138 views

Clothing and shame, etymologically speaking

I have been unable to find an etymological connection between the root for shame בשש (especially as it turns into the forms of בושה בושת) and the word for "clothe" לבש. Shame was introduced in ...
4
votes
1answer
85 views

How did Shaul consult the Urim and Tumim?

During the events of chapters 27–31 of I Sh'muel (David's stay among the P'lishtim), David had the Urim V'sumim with him, as is clear from 23:2–6 and from 30:7–8. Yet in 28:6, Shaul consults Hashem ...
12
votes
2answers
197 views

Why did Moshe Rabbeinu object to the mirrors, but not the kumaz?

Why did Moshe Rabbeinu balk when the women wanted to donate their mirrors to the construction of the Mishkan (Rashi, Shemot 38:8), but not when the women donated their kumaz (Shemot 35:22), which were ...
10
votes
5answers
183 views

Why not “Vayikra Hashem”

The first pasuk in Vayikra reads: וַיִּקְרָא אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֵלָיו…‏ And He called to Moshe, and God spoke to him… Why is the subject on the second verb? It would ...
8
votes
1answer
172 views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
308 views

Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

What was Moshe's “masveh”?

The Torah relates that Moshe donned a מסוה to hid the luminescence of his face, when addressing the community. What was the nature/appearance of this "masveh"?
8
votes
2answers
414 views

Why can't Ploni Almoni be a real name, in Ruth?

The verse states (Ruth 4:1): וּבֹעַז עָלָה הַשַּׁעַר, וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם, וְהִנֵּה הַגֹּאֵל עֹבֵר אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-בֹּעַז, וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי; וַיָּסַר, וַיֵּשֵׁב Now Boaz ...
10
votes
4answers
221 views

Why didn't Mordechai keep Mitzvos — serious edition

It says in the Megilla "ויאמרו עבדי המלך אשר בשער המלך למרדכי מדוע אתה עובר את מצות המלך" - "The servants of the King (who were in the King's gates) asked Mordechai 'Why do you go against the command ...
11
votes
3answers
146 views

So should be done unto the man

The verse in Esther 6:11 describing Haman's pulling Mordochai on the streets says: כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ So shall it be done unto the man whom the king ...
7
votes
2answers
122 views

Did Esther eat at the first feast she made for the king and Haman?

Esther 5:1,5:4 says that Esther made the first feast on the third day of the fast. Earlier (4:16), Esther tells Mordechai that she will also fast for three days. Did she eat at the feast, or was ...
10
votes
1answer
112 views

Why not “Where is Achashverosh in the Torah”?

In Chullin 139b, the Gemara asks about hints in the Torah for several of the figures in the Megillah, and provides answers: "Where is {Haman, Esther, Mordechai} hinted at in the Torah?" ...
13
votes
3answers
319 views

Why did Achashveirosh take Esther if she was already married?

According to the opinion that Queen Esther was married to Mordechai. Achashveirosh was looking for unmarried girls (Esther 2:2–4). Why did he take a married woman? Especially considering that Queen ...
11
votes
4answers
172 views

Would Esther really have kept silent?

In Esther 7:4 we read וְאִלּוּ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת נִמְכַּרְנוּ, הֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי--כִּי אֵין הַצָּר שֹׁוֶה, בְּנֵזֶק הַמֶּלֶךְ ... ... But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I ...
12
votes
2answers
203 views

The 500 men killed in Shushan, and the 500 Jews who killed Amaleki

Is there a source to connect (mystically, or otherwise) those enemies of the Jews (presumably Amaleki) killed in Megillas Esther 9:12 with the 500 men from the tribe of Shimon who killed out the ...
4
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
145 views

What's up with this pasuk in mishpatim?

The Chumash in Shemot 23:14 begins describing the three regalim: Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, in that order. In Pasuk 17, the Chumash begins again with Pesach and Shavuot. Instead of listing sukkot again ...
8
votes
1answer
96 views

“A life for a life”: execution or reparations

The Torah states (Ex. 21:23) that if two people are fighting and accidentally kill an innocent bystander (such as a woman), "you shall give a life for a life." The Gemara (Sanhedrin 79a-b) records a ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

Commentaries not noting clear issues in the Torah

Stemming from this question about the seeming discrepancy between the number of people and the number of first-borns as counted in the beginning of Numbers: I noticed this problem in my first reading ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

Make a Mikdash but we are making a Mishkan?

The Posuk says (Shemot 25:8): וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם And let them make Me a sanctuary ('Mikdash'), that I may dwell among them. I have two questions: first, this was ...
8
votes
4answers
374 views

What did the 70 elders see?

Parshat Mishpatim says of the 70 elders who went up on Har Sinai with Moshe and Aharon: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, ...
2
votes
2answers
145 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 ...