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

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Description of the Yetzer HaRa in Parshat Bereshit

In Parshat Bereshit, the yetzer hara's relationship to man is described in very similar langauge to the woman's relationship to man. Regarding the woman, it says (Gen. 3:16) וְאֶל-אִישֵׁךְ ...
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Why were Nadav and Avihu punished?

בס"ד "Rabbi Ishmael says: [They died because] they had entered the sanctuary after having drunk wine. The proof is that after their death, [Scripture] admonished the survivors that they may not ...
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Why is Vayikra 20:27 at the end of the chapter?

This verse in Parshat Kedoshim - Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:27, "A man or a woman who has a ghost or a familiar spirit shall be put to death; they shall be pelted with stones—their bloodguilt shall be ...
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Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why Midian?

Shmos 2:15 – Moshe fled from Paroh and dwelt in Midian. Why did he choose Midian? The only slightly helpful references I saw said a) (attributed to a Medrash but I do not see it) that he was ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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“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 ...
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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' ...
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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 ...
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Order of birth of Ya'akov's children

The back of my Feldheim Tanakh has a timeline which gives the birth and death years of various Tanakh characters. The birth years of the sons of Ya'akov are not listed in the order given in Parashat ...
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How did G-d make animals and how did they became living beings?

I read a couple of questions and answers that are related to mine, but I could not find any answer to my specific question. The first human being was formed from the dust of the ground; this became ...
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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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Try to understand the order that Lavan searched Yaakov's tents

In Bereshis 31:33 the pasuk describes Lavan's search for his idols in Yaakov's tents: וַיָּבֹא לָבָן בְּאֹהֶל יַעֲקֹב | וּבְאֹהֶל לֵאָה וּבְאֹהֶל שְׁתֵּי הָאֲמָהֹת וְלֹא מָצָא וַיֵּצֵא מֵאֹהֶל ...
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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 Yakov bless Ephraim and Menashe at the same time?

Why does Yakov bless Ephraim and Menashe at the same time? Why not bless them one after the other?
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the land from which you brought us out = Egypt?

Dvarim 9:28 reads: פֶּן יֹאמְרוּ הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתָנוּ מִשָּׁם מִבְּלִי יְכֹלֶת יְהֹוָה לַהֲבִיאָם אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָהֶם וּמִשִּׂנְאָתוֹ אוֹתָם הוֹצִיאָם לַהֲמִתָם ...
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If Ketura wasn't Hagar, who was she?

The Torah tells us (Bereshit 25:1) that "Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah." The Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904) says that Ketura was from Yafet (english from here): "Abraham married ...
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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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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 ...
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Hazi“v La”kh: what's behind the division?

The Talmud (Rosh Hashana 31a) tells us that the Haazinu song (Devarim 32) was sung weekly in the Temple and divided into six segments, given by the mnemonic HaZIV LaKh הזיו לך (where each letter is ...
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105 views

Why does Scripture in parashat bereishit need to mention the four rivers?

In Bereishit 2:10, scripture mentions the following: 10: And a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it separated and became four heads. 11: The name of one is Pishon; ...
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Why was the letter “Hai” added to Avraham's name?

Avarham Avinu was originally Avram - and Hashem added the letter Hai to his name and changed it to Avraham. Why from all letters was the letter Hai added?
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What's the Meaning of Shiloh in the Last Blessing of Yaakov on his Children?

According to Genesis 49:10, when Yaakov was at his deathbed, he called in his sons and desired to bless them. At Judah's turn, his father said that the scepter should not depart from Judah, nor a ...
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Was Rachav A Harlot (Prostitute)?

It specifically says several times in Yehoshua chapter 2 and chapter 6 that Rachav was a Harlot " וְאֶת רָחָב הַזּוֹנָה" why is it that it is accepted that she wasn't a harlot but an innkeeper and ...
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Pinchas Ben Yair's Donkey

וַיָּבֹא הָאִישׁ הַבַּיְתָה וַיְפַתַּח הַגְּמַלִּים וַיִּתֵּן תֶּבֶן וּמִסְפּוֹא לַגְּמַלִּים וּמַיִם לִרְחֹץ רַגְלָיו וְרַגְלֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ. Breishis 24:32 Rashi on this Posuk ...
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“Moshe cried out” - really?

In Parashat Va-eira, Pharaoh, plagued with frogs, asks Moshe and Aharon to "entreat" God to remove the plague and says that he'll respond by releasing the Israelites. Moshe agrees, and then we have ...
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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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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 ...
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who spoke in Bamidbar 12:1?

In B'ha'alotcha Miriam and Aharon complain against Moshe, and Miriam (alone) is punished with tzara'at. In looking at this passage I found problems with the translations I had available. JPS, the ...
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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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Connection between purity and bris?

The verse in Vayikra 12:2 says דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִשָּׁה כִּי תַזְרִיעַ וְיָלְדָה זָכָר וְטָמְאָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כִּימֵי נִדַּת דְּו‍ֹתָהּ תִּטְמָא If a woman conceives ...
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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 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 ...
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233 views

“Shelach Lecha”: What is “Lecha”?

In the 2nd verse in Shelach, it says שלח לך (Shelach Lecha), which Rashi explains as " לדעתך, אני איני מצוה לך". Why don't we give the same explanation the other places in the Torah it says לך. E.g. ...
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“And it was evening, and it was morning, *one* day”?

Gen. 1:5: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד And it was evening, and it was morning, one day Gen. 1:8: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי and it was evening, and it was ...
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When does a fox have his time?

Rashi on Genesis 47:31 says: וישתחו ישראל: תעלא בעידניה סגיד ליה: and Israel prostrated himself: [Although the lion is king] when it is the time of the fox, bow down to him. — [from Meg. ...
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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 ?
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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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Bais Vov & Kof in Tehilim 25; why are they missing?

In Tehilim ch. 25 it goes through the entire alphabet and skips the letter "Bais" "Vav" & "Kof"; why so?
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If a King can't forgive, how did they ask Yosef, King of Egypt, for forgiveness?

The Posuk says (בראשית פרק נ' י''ז): כֹּה תֹאמְרוּ לְיוֹסֵף אָנָּא שָׂא נָא פֶּשַׁע אַחֶיךָ וְחַטָּאתָם Translated as: "Please, forgive now your brothers' transgression and their sin" The ...
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Riddle: 3 people with the same name [closed]

In the Torah - 3 people with the same name - One is Jewish - One is a Ger - One is a Non-Jew?
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Shimon and Levi and Killing for Immorality?

Shimon and Levi single-handedly Killed out an entire city because of immorality against Dinah their sister illustrating their character of anger, later Pinchas a descendant of Levi followed in his ...
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Did the Jews in Egypt gain monetary benefit from the miracle of the first plague?

There is a well known Medrash Rabbah that the Jews during the Plague of Blood sold water to the Egyptians for exorbitant amounts of money. The question is how was this allowed as we have a rule that ...
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Why did Moses raise the brass serpent in the wilderness?

I would like to know the meaning for God's command to Moses to lift a serpent of brass and set it on a pole in the desert, so that all those who had been bitten by serpents would look at the brass ...
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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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Why does Joshua's command to appoint representatives in the Jordan Crossing seem out of sequence?

In Joshua 3:12, in preparation for bringing the Children of Israel across the Jordan River, Joshua commands the people to select one representative from each tribe. There's no immediate indication of ...
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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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Why is Yaakov later willing to say אלוהי יצחק?

In Bereishit 31:42, Yaakov says אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִי֩ אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם וּפַ֤חַד יִצְחָק֙ Rashi there: ופחד יצחק. לא רצה לומר אלהי יצחק, שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא מיחד שמו על הצדיקים בחייהם, ואף על פי ...
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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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336 views

Why did David HaMelech tell Shlomo to punish Shimei Ben Geira?

Melachim I 2:8-9 reads And, behold, there is with you Shimei the son of Gera the Benjamite of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim, and he came down ...