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

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Why did the dor hamabul earn a painless death?

There are, apparently, 903 levels of death, and the term vayigva is one of them. According to some, it refers to the simple act of expiration -- the creation of a corpse. Others, like the Rashi ...
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144 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 ...
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“The drinking was according to doctrine, no forcing.” — Forcing to drink, or forcing to stop drinking?

The party is described at the beginning of the book of Esther as having drinking with "ein oness" -- "there was none forcing." I'd always heard (assumed?) that meant no one would force you to drink ...
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Hitting of the rock (Chukas): why twice?

Why did Moshe hit the rock twice rather than once in Bamidbar 20:11?
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Where did Yitzchok pull out the blessing for Eisav from?

My paraphrased summary of Bereishit 27:30-39: Eisav comes in to get his blessing. Yitzchok tells him that he already gave the blessing away. Eisav says "bless me too!" Yitzchok says "Sorry, I'm ...
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How was Ya'akov allowed to favor Yosef over Re'uven?

In Devarim 21:16 - 17 it states that the father cannot favor the son of the beloved wife over the older son of a hated wife. If we assume the notion that our forefathers performed all the mitzvot of ...
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Why does the Megillah tell us Mordechai was a Jew?

Why are we specifically told that Mordechai was an Ish Yehudi as it says in the pasuk (Ester 2:5): אִישׁ יְהוּדִי, הָיָה בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה; וּשְׁמוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי Would we assume he wasn't a ...
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Zombie Midianites?

In Numbers 31, the Jews wipe out Midyan. I'd think this referred to only those of Midyan who happened to be defending against the Jews' attack, and not the whole nation, except that even women and ...
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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 ...
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How many factors did Esav need to prompt him to marry Machalas?

At the end of parashas Toldos (28:6-8), the pesukim indicate factors in Esav's decision to add Machalas, who was not a Canaanite, as a spouse: א וַיִּקְרָא יִצְחָק אֶל-יַעֲקֹב, וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ; ...
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Was Binyamin aware of Tzofnas Paaneach (aka Yosef)'s true identity?

While Yosef recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. I heard a Rosh Yeshiva suggest that Binyamin, who wasn't so absorbed in the soap opera, was able to recognize Yosef, but played ...
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108 views

Who was the King of Cheshbon (in the Torah)?

Who was the king of Cheshbon, mentioned in Bamidbar?
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Did Hashem command Aharon to strike the water to bring the plague of Blood?

Shemot 7:19 states: The Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch forth your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over ...
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Shalom Zachar and "the rain of your land in its season”

Rashi on Devorim 11 (14), “I will give the rain of your land in its season” says this will be on Shabbos nights when everyone will be found in their houses. How does this fit with the institution of ...
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wine from his country

The g'mara (M'gila 12a) says that the drinking at Achashverosh's party's being described as "no forcing" means that everyone was given wine from his own country (so he'd be accustomed to it, according ...
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Rachav's home in the wall

Rachav's home was built into the wall of Y'richo, with an outward-facing window (Y'hoshua 2:15, M'tzudas David). This window had to be recognizable when the Jews destroyed the city, so they'd know to ...
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Why does Hashem allow Noah et al to eat *all* animals?

Reading the parsha today, I noticed for the first time that Bereishit 9:3-4 seems remarkable (JPS translations): .כָּל-רֶמֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר הוּא-חַי, לָכֶם יִהְיֶה לְאָכְלָה: כְּיֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב, נָתַתִּי ...
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Responding to an army draft before 20

מבן עשרים שנה ומעלה, כל-יוצא צבא בישראל--תפקדו אותם לצבאותם, אתה ואהרון. (במדבר א:ג)‏ Rashi, commenting on Bamidbar 1:3, says that you should not join the army younger than 20. Is it ...
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Why did the waters of the flood have to cover the mountain 15 amos?

The posuk in Bereishis 7,20 says that the waters rose above the mountains 15 amos. But why was this so? It's understandable why the mountains had to be covered with water, but why did the waters have ...
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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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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 ...
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Did Paroh give offerings

In Shemos 10:25, Moshe told that Paroh himself will give offerings to Hashem. Did this really happen?
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The Frogs Plague [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Moshe cried out” - really? For this plague, the posuk says Moshe left and "cried out" (tzoak) to God that the plague should stop. Why did this plague affect ...
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Action in Balak and Reward in Pinchas

Why is it that in Parashas Pinchas we see the reward of Pinchas (Bamidbar 25:7), even though his to-be-rewarded action was in Parashas Balak (Bamidbar 25:12)? Why wait a Parsha to say what reward he ...
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Would Moshe have lived longer if he had delayed fighting Midyan?

Rashi to Bamidbar 31:3 says: וידבר משה וגו': אף על פי ששמע שמיתתו תלויה בדבר עשה בשמחה ולא איחר: Moses spoke: Although he heard that his death depended on the matter, he did it joyfully, ...
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Why does the Torah sometimes refer to Shabbat as a masculine noun and other times as a feminine noun?

There are times when the Torah refers to Shabat in feminine as in Shmot (Ex.) 31:13 "...But you shall observe my Shabbats, for SHE is a sign". Other times the masculine voice is used as in Shmot (Ex.) ...
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The status of Eliezer as a slave

I am going to piece together a variety of bits of information, so please bear with me. Eliezer was in charge of Avraham's house already before Avraham had his name changed (Bereishit 15:2) Eliezer ...
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Famine in Egypt

Question: How can there be a famine in egypt? Parshas Miketz and Vayigash discuss a famine in Egypt and the world. Rashi's comments to Eikev 11:10 imply that the Nile's annual flooding was critical ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why is there a parsha break in the middle of a verse?

In this week's parsha, we see a parsha (stumah) "break" in the middle of Devarim 2:8. There are several other places where there is a parsha break in the middle of the verse. Another example occurs ...
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Where does the Talmud discuss the reason for Onan's death?

Genesis 38 says that instead of impregnating Tamar, Onan let his seed go to waste, and that this angered God, and therefore God killed Onan. I have a vague memory of reading somewhere in the Talmud ...
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Why does revi'i of Vayeira seem to end four verses late?

Why does revi'i - the fourth reading - of Parashat Vayeira end with the first few verses of the story of the birth of Yitzchak (Gen. 21:1-4)? Objections: There's a natural break in narrative before ...
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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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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 ...
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In Devarim 5:5 why does Moshe connect the people's fear with not going up Mt. Sinai?

In Devarim 5:5 Moshe says: "Because you were afraid of the fire and you didn't go up the mountain..." It seems that Moshe is saying that the fear of the fire coming from the mountain was why B'nai ...
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Is there a reason for the change in word order in Vayikra 25:10?

In parshat Behar (Vayikra 25:10) is the phrase ושבתם איש אל אחוזתו ואיש אל משפחתו תשובו - "You shall return every man to his inheritance, and every man to his family shall you return." Is there a ...
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How many approaches to Torah are there?

Our sages tell us that there are שבעים פנים לתורה (Bamidbar Rabbah). Does this mean that every word, or verse, or some unit, has 70 interpretations, and there are theoretically billions of ...
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Yakkov living in Egypt 17 years - connection to 210 years of servitude

Parshas Vayechi starts off that Yaakov lived in Egypt for 17 years. I was thinking that 17 years x 12 months = 204 months. Usually in 17 years there are 6 leap years which would increase the total ...
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Who is understood to be the “one like a man” referred to in Daniel 7:13?

In Daniel 7, the Ancient of Days is identified. I assume that this is referring to G-d Himself. Then, "one like a man" approaches the Ancient of Days, and to this one is given "a dominion and glory ...
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How did the Parshiyot get their names [duplicate]

and what are the names' significance? Thanks Naomi Duplicate of: Where are the rules for naming parshiyot explained?
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What is the problem with dogs?

Deuteronomy 23:19: לֹא תָבִיא אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל נֶדֶר כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ גַּם שְׁנֵיהֶם Why does the Torah have a problem with using the ...
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Why does Rashi say Yisro heard *two* things?

Shemot 18:1: וישמע יתרו: מה שמועה שמע ובא, קריעת ים סוף ומלחמת עמלק Now…Jethro…heard: What news did he hear that [made such an impression that] he came? The splitting of the Red Sea and the ...
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What else was in the Ark (Teiva)?

I heard that there is a Medrash that says that besides Noach, his wife, 3 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, animals, birds, and garbage there were others in the Teiva. What else was in the Teiva?
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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?
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Does God's forgiveness in Bamidbar (Num.) 14:20 contradict the fact that punishment was meted, nonetheless?

In this week's parsha, Shlach, we see in Bamidbar (Num.) 14:20, God says, "I have forgiven ..." Yet, beginning in the next verse and continuing until verse 35, God mentions punishing the people. Is ...
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Why is the test (Nisayon) of Kivshan Haish not mentioned in the Torah?

One of the difficult tests Avraham Avinu faced was when Nimrod threw him into the (Kivshan Haish) fire. It is not mentioned in the Torah at all. Why?