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

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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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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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101 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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115 views

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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63 views

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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92 views

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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4answers
430 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 ...
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1answer
213 views

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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2answers
77 views

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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140 views

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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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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660 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 ...
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Did Aharon have his own stick, like Moshe?

In a few places, the Torah seems to imply that Aharon had his own stick. Some examples: Shmot 7:9 "Tell Aharon take your stick..." verse 10 "... Aharon cast his stick..." verse 12 ... "Aharon's ...
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Why are crocodiles more deadly than all wild beasts?

Concerning Tzphardea, Rabbi Hirsch 7 27 writes צפרדע can not mean crocodiles, otherwise there would have been no Egyptians left in the land. It is clear that they were only annoying creatures, not ...
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What does Mimenu mean in Bereishis 3:22

Bereishis 3:22 writes: וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ, לָדַעַת, טוֹב וָרָע; וְעַתָּה פֶּן-יִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ, וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים, וְאָכַל, וָחַי לְעֹלָם The ...
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Explanation of the midrash of the Donkey of moshe

In Shmot 4:20, Rashi explains that the donkey which Moshe took on the way to Egypt was the same donkey which Avraham used for the akeda (Binding of Isaac), and this is the donkey of the Mashiach. ...
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What name of G-d was Moshe supposed to relay to B'nai Yisra'el?

View Shmot 3:13-15. In verse 13, Moshe asks G-d what name of G-d should he tell B'nai Yisra'el. In verse 14, G-d first answers I AM THAT I AM, and then says just I AM. Fine, I am aware of Rashi's ...
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Why doesn't the king of Belah get a name?

Bereishis 14:2 names the 5 kings who were on Team B in the war between the 4 kings and the 5 kings. Regarding 4 of the 5 kings on Team B, we are told their name and their domain. But by the king of ...
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Why mention the ger in Lev 19:10, 23:22?

Vayikra 23:22: וּבְקֻצְרְכֶם אֶת קְצִיר אַרְצְכֶם לֹא תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָׂדְךָ בְּקֻצְרֶךָ וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִי וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם When you reap the harvest of your ...
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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 ...
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109 views

“May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh” — in what way?

Bereishit 48:20: וַיְבָרֲכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמוֹר בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת אֶפְרַיִם לִפְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה So he blessed ...
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54 views

Why are the sons of Dishohn listed twice?

Breishit 36:26 and 36:28 list the sons of Dishohn twice. Why is there a break of 1 verse in the middle, instead of including all the children together in one verse?
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When Yaakov said “whoever stole the idols will not live”, was that a curse or vow?

In this week's parsha (Bereishit 31:32), Yaakov says that whoever stole Lavan's idols will not live, not knowing that Rachel had taken them. The question is, was this said as a curse or a neder ...
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54 views

Usage of the term Baali

In Hosea 2:18, if G-d was called "Baali," does this allude to the concept that God was perceived as a bull as Baal was portrayed in Ugaritic texts?
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1answer
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Explain Rashi on Breishit 50:16

Rashi on Breishit 50:16 comments on the beginning of the verse "Our father commanded.." that Ya'akov made no such command, but the brothers said this because of peace and that Yosef was not suspect in ...
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3answers
100 views

Why חלפות (=malei) and then חלפת (=chaser)?

Bereishit 45:22: לְכֻלָּם נָתַן לָאִישׁ חֲלִפוֹת שְׂמָלֹת וּלְבִנְיָמִן נָתַן שְׁלשׁ מֵאוֹת כֶּסֶף וְחָמֵשׁ חֲלִפֹת שְׂמָלֹת Why is the first occurence of the word "חלפות" written מלא (with ...
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1answer
152 views

The mishkan and the fencepost problem

Rashi (Shemos 26:6, 26) counts out the number of poles for the chatzer (courtyard of the Tabernacle) on each side in parshas Terumah. He seems to ignore what is called the Fencepost Problem. The same ...
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5answers
153 views

Why didn't Yaakov and Yosef spend much time together?

It seems that Yaakov and Yosef did not spend much time together in Egypt. After the emotional reunion is there any other mention of them together? Why not?
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252 views

Why didn't Yosef's brothers recognize him?

The Posuk says (Genesis 42:8): וַיַּכֵּר יוֹסֵף אֶת אֶחָיו וְהֵם לֹא הִכִּרֻהוּ Translated as: Now Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him The question is: How did ...