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

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8
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301 views

What is the difference between the words “tzur” and “selah” (which both mean rock)?

Beshalach (Shmot 17:6): ... you shall strike the rock (tzur) and water will come forth from it ... Chukat (Bamidbar 20:8): ... speak to the rock (selah) before their eyes and it shall give ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

מַלְאַךְ ה׳—“the angel of GOD” or “an angel”

In various places the Torah refers to מַלְאַךְ ה׳; e.g., twice in Bereishis 22. Mechon Mamre’s JPS translation renders this as “the angel of the LORD”, but is the definite article implicit in this ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

How many censuses happened in the desert?

Rashi (Bamidbar 1:1), says: The Lord spoke... in the Sinai Desert... on the first of the month : Because they were dear to Him, He counted them often. When they left Egypt, He counted them (Exod. ...
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0answers
68 views

What is the purpose of the genealogy of Genesis 4:17-22?

What is the purpose of the genealogy of Genesis 4:17–22?
2
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4answers
364 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
152 views

What does נְחשֶׁת mean?

In Teruma (25:3), the verse says "וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת". Chabad (as well as Artscroll) translates it as "And this is the offering that you shall take ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

In Genesis 22:8-14, is there a difference between a ram and a lamb?

Having taken a translation from this website, which I am told to have Orthodox Jewish credentials, I am referring to Genesis 22:8-14 'God will see to a lamb for an offering, my son,' replied ...
8
votes
1answer
347 views

What does it mean that God will blot out sinners from his book?

In Parshat Ki Tisa, after the golden calf, Moshe pleads for God to forgive them, saying if not, blot me out of your book. The text then says: 33 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Whosoever hath ...
6
votes
2answers
172 views

Why does the posuk tell us how old Moshe was when he spoke to Pharoh?

In Posuk 5 of Perek 7 in Parshas Va'eira, it says that Moshe was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when they spoke to Pharoh. Why is that important?
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Miswa of Lifne Iwer isn't what the words mean literally?

My fellow Jew (let's call him Bob) and I were discussing the Miswa of "You shall not place a stumbling block in front of a blind person (Wayikra 19)". Bob was saying that that verse was referring to ...
5
votes
3answers
188 views

Who is Tzippor?

Parashat Balaq indirectly references "Tzippor" five times (by introducing Balaq as "ben Tzippor"). I don't believe Rashi brings down any background regarding Tzippor. If the Torah refers to Balaq as ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Who did “וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ” in Num. 20:16?

Chukas 20:16: וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה׳ וַיִּשְׁמַע קֹלֵנוּ וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָךְ וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם…‏ In translation: and we called out to God, and he heard our voice, and he sent ...
5
votes
2answers
91 views

Calling Hoshea 'Yehoshua' before his seeming renaming

Why does the verse (Bamidbar 13:16) mention that Moshe gave Hoshea bin Nun the name Yehoshua, making it seem like this was the first time Hoshea was actually called like that, but instead we see in ...
5
votes
2answers
237 views

Why was Eliyahu Hanavi taken to heaven alive?

Why was Eliyahu chosen to be one of the very few who merited to go to Gan Eden alive? There were prophets greater than him (Moshe, for example). There were people that kept the Torah better than him ...
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0answers
19 views

Were korbanos olah prohibited?

Abarbanel on Joshua 13:14 explains the verse: official translation from chabad.org: Only to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are ...
5
votes
1answer
143 views

Under what circumstances is a false virgin put to death?

Deut 22:13–21 says that if a man marries a virgin, is intimate with her, and then claims that she is not a virgin, and there is no evidence that she is a virgin, that she is stoned. That seems to be ...
11
votes
1answer
282 views

Why is Jacob idolized and not villainised?

I've just read the story of Jacob and Esau (Bereishis ch. 25 and 27), and I fail to understand why Jacob is consistently portrayed and idolized as a protagonist and a hero - based on what I've read, I ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Why do we get “so did they do” for the commandment of expelling tamei people in Parashat Naso?

Parashat Naso, in Numbers 5:1-3, presents a commandment to "send from the camp" anyone who is tamei due to either tzara'at or a zav-type discharage. After that, we have Verse 4, affirming that the ...
3
votes
3answers
542 views

Is Psalm 110 considered messianic

How do Jews interpret Psalm 110? (Christians see it as a messianic reference.) I am specifically interested in verse 1 - "The Lord saith unto my lord." Jesus quotes this in Matthew 22:44, and ...
0
votes
4answers
3k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

What is special about Molech?

What is unique about the worship of Molech that distinguishes it from other avodah zara enough that it deserves discussion and specific prohibition in the Torah? We see it specifically discuessed ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

Eating meat on a regular basis

It says in Vayikra Perek 17 Pasuk 13 (Parshas Achrei-Mos): "וְאִישׁ אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן הַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכָם אֲשֶׁר יָצוּד צֵיד חַיָּה אוֹ עוֹף אֲשֶׁר יֵאָכֵל וְשָׁפַךְ אֶת דָּמוֹ ...
5
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

How old was Avraham when he sired children with Keturah, and was that unusual?

After reporting Sarah's death and burial, B'reishit 25:1 tells us that Avraham had several children by Keturah. Avraham was 137 when Sarah died. Earlier (17:17), Avraham had laughed at the idea of ...
2
votes
6answers
157 views

Seforim with Drashos on the Torah (Recommendation)

What are good Seforim for using to help in developing drashos to say on the weekly Parsha (i.e. to use as a starting point, to quote, to find Medreshim, "nice vertlach", various "p'shatim" in pasukim, ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the interpretation of Zechariah Chapter 3?

In Zechariah 3, there's a vision of Joshua the High Priest. Satan is accusing him, and then Satan is rebuked. Joshua is then found to be standing before the altar in filthy garments, which are then ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Singular and plural language in Vaikra 10:1

In parashat shemini, chapter 10, verse 1 it is written: וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי ...
4
votes
2answers
297 views

Ezekiel 16:4: לֹא הֻמְלַחַתְּ — what practice does this describe?

Ezekiel 16:4 seems to be describing practices performed on an infant or young child. But, what practice does לֹא הֻמְלַחַתְּ refer to? Do any rabbis explain the meaning?
2
votes
0answers
61 views

What happened to Balak?

What ever happened to Balak after the Bil'am affair? Bil'am is referred to often as Bil'am HaRasha' (the wicked), and he is blamed for the entire encounter as well as the Ba'al Pe'or incident. But ...
4
votes
4answers
222 views

Why are the commandments for Rosh Chodesh and Passover in the same paragraph?

The reading for Parashat Hachodesh consists of a single paragraph in the Torah, Exodus 12:1-20, whose main topic is God's commandments related to the Passover offering and holiday observance that ...
-2
votes
1answer
219 views

What are the oldest interpretations of Deuteronomy 33:2?

This verse in Torah sounds highly cryptic and it seems that a message is conveyed in it: And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and ...
5
votes
3answers
148 views

What are some of the old commentaries prior to 1 BCE of the Torah?

I believe that there would be commentaries of the Torah older than 1 BCE and that can shed significant light on what the message of God is in terms of its authoritativeness. Israelites have a glorious ...
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votes
3answers
607 views

Certificate of Divorce by God to Israel

I find the following verse to be very harsh as it gives a pink slip of Divorce to Israel and Judah Jeremiah 3:8: וָאֵרֶא, כִּי עַל-כָּל-אֹדוֹת אֲשֶׁר נִאֲפָה מְשֻׁבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל, שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ, ...
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votes
1answer
127 views

Which nation in this prophecy of Haggai will shake nations and will be given peace(שָׁלוֹם) [closed]

The following verse in the Torah prophesizes about a nation which will be given "peace" and coming of a praised being: and I will shake all nations, and the choicest(חֶמְדַּת ) things of all ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

“Vashti the queen” vs. “Queen Vashti”

Is there a peshat difference between the usual wording, “ושתי המלכה” Vashti the queen (or “אסתר המלכה” Esther the queen), and the wording used twice in Chapter 1 (verses 12 and 15), “המלכה ושתי” the ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

What's bothering Rashi about the messengers delivering the king's decree in Esther 4:3?

Megillath Esther (4:3) states that in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and ...
6
votes
2answers
203 views

Could the destroyer in Egypt discriminate?

In Rashi's comment to Shemos 12:22 we read ואתם לא תצאו וגו': מגיד שמאחר שנתנה רשות למשחית לחבל אינו מבחין בין צדיק לרשע …once permission has been given to the משחית (destroyer) to ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

How did Achashverosh not think that Mordechai would be disturbed by the decree to kill all the Jews?

In the book of Ester (6:1), Achashverosh can't sleep and asks to bring the book of records to him. Rashi says that the reason why is in case he was done a favor by someone and didn't repay it and that ...
5
votes
0answers
74 views

Why is Shimshon buried “in the grave of his father” and not father and mother?

Nearly everywhere in the story of Samson, more than in most stories in Tanakh, both parents are mentioned quite frequently. Leading up to birth, both parents share about equal page-time. After ...
2
votes
1answer
166 views

What is the traditional interpretation of Dt. 18:18?

The Torah contains a prophecy of a future Prophet who will be like Moses: I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

why cure the snake bites with the nehushtan

In Bemidbar 21, How come Gd cured the Israelites snake bites with the nehushtan? Why cure them that way? Why not just send the snakes away (as the people had asked)?
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Why does Yisro tell Moshe that he came with Moshe's wife “and her sons” rather than “your sons”?

At Exodus 18:6, Moshe's father-in-law, Yisro, tells Moshe that he had come with Moshe's wife and "her sons." Why didn't he say to Moshe that she had come with "your sons"?
2
votes
2answers
648 views

What is the interpretation of Genesis 19, 5-8?

5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

Is the tree of the field a man?

Dvarim 20:19 reads: כִּי תָצוּר אֶל עִיר יָמִים רַבִּים לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ לְתָפְשָׂהּ לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ לִנְדֹּחַ עָלָיו גַּרְזֶן כִּי מִמֶּנּוּ תֹאכֵל וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת כִּי הָאָדָם ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Plague of darkness: if he was standing, he was unable to sit?

Rashi on Shemot 10:22 states: ויהי חשך אפלה שלשת ימים וגו': חשך של אופל שלא ראו איש את אחיו אותן שלשת ימים. ועוד שלשת ימים אחרים חשך מוכפל על זה, שלא קמו איש מתחתיו. יושב אין יכול לעמוד, ועומד ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

How can inanimate objects function as “witnesses” in the Tanakh?

How can inanimate objects function as edim and/ or edot in the Tanakh? For example, הַגַּל (Gen. 31:48) הַשִּׁירָה (Deut. 31:19) הַתֹּורָה (Deut. 31:26) הַשָּׁמַיִם והָאָֽרֶץ (Deut. 31:28) הָאֶבֶן ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

מֵאַבְנֵי (Gen. 28:11) and הָאֶבֶן (Gen. 28:18)

Do any commentaries mention a reason for the plural "stones" in Gen. 28:11 and the singular "stone" in Gen. 28:18? In Gen. 28:11, it says that Ya'akov took "of the stones" (מֵאַבְנֵי) and put them ...
8
votes
8answers
246 views

Wording in Torah when Moshe is commanded to appear before pharoh

This shabbos, the parasha, Bo, starts with Moshe being told to "Bo El Paroh", "Come to Pharaoh". I don't understand this wording, should it have said "Lech El Paroh", "go to Pharaoh"? Is there a ...
4
votes
0answers
81 views

Understanding the servants' hard/soft hearts

In Parshas Bo (10:1) we read that God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh's servants - כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֶת לֵב עֲבָדָיו. The Ohr HaChaim explains that this is so that the servants ...