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

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How many people died before Pinchas killed Zimri?

In the mass death at the end of Parashas Balak, how many people died before Pinchas killed Zimri?
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1answer
91 views

Og's bed made of iron

Devarim 3:11 desribes Og's bed as being made from iron. What does the the Torah add by describing Og's bed as being made from iron? The Ramban comments that it demonstrates how tall he was, that wood ...
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5answers
233 views

Was the world created with din or with rachamim?

I remember Chazal saying somewhere that the world could not survive, had it been created with din/harsh judgement/strictness. However, in Bereshis, at the very beginning, it says: בְּרֵאשִׁית ...
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1answer
814 views

What are the possible reasonable meanings of “Love thy neighbor”?

What are the original Hebrew words for "love", "thy", "neighbor", "as", "you", "love", "yourself" in "love thy neighbor as you love your self"? What's the transliteration of those words in English ...
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5answers
329 views

Why twins? Why not just Yaakov?

Why did HaShem create twins (Yaakov and Esuv) if he could just create one righteous person who would be Yaakov with the good traits of Esuv? I know Esuv was supposed to support Yaakov, but Yaakov ...
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1answer
108 views
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131 views

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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3answers
176 views

Why does the census “of all who are able to go forth to war” include a few women?

The census in Bamidbar 26 is directed thus: Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' houses, all that are able to go ...
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1answer
84 views

Should Shaul have killed Yonasan?

In Shmuel alef 14 a confusing scenario arises. First Yonasan (and his armor bearer) go out to the camp of the Plishtim. Then Shaul curses anyone who will eat bread that day until evening (pasuk 24). ...
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2answers
182 views

Yisrael or Yaakov?

Does anyone have any sources on a conclusive guide to when the name "Yisrael" is used and when the name "Yaakov" is used in the Torah in reference to Yaakov Avinu, the individual?
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1answer
169 views

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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3answers
606 views

What is the “book of the law” mentioned in Joshua 1?

Specifically, Joshua 1:8: Joshua 1:8 (JPS) 8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do ...
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4answers
222 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 ...
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0answers
49 views

Leaving the King's road?

We say in Bemidbar 20:17 to Edom: Let us now pass through your land: We won't pass through the fields and vineyards and we won't drink well-water; on the road of the king we will go, we won't ...
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1answer
311 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 ...
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1answer
229 views

What are the rules for ain mukdam umeuchar?

Sometimes we say that things in the Torah are not in chronological order. What are the parameters for this? do you need to have a mesorah (particular tradition) for this? Is there a list of all ...
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2answers
115 views

Web sites where I can post divrei Torah

Can anyone suggest a good site where I can post a weekly list of marei mekomos in Ramban on the Parsha?
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1answer
66 views

Why couldn't the Jews do Teshuva by the incident of the spies?

After Hashem chastised the Jews for not wanting to go into Eretz Yisrael, and told them that they will have to die in the desert, the Jews seemed to have had a change of heart. A few even were willing ...
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2answers
171 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 ...
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1answer
120 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, ...
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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' ...
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1answer
115 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 ...
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3answers
259 views

How old were Avraham and Sarah when they got married?

How old were Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu when they got married?
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125 views

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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1answer
122 views

Menashe & Ephraim: Twins?

Were Menashe and Ephraim, sons of Yosef Hatzadik, twins?
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2answers
170 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 ...
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1answer
241 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, ...
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5answers
854 views

Halachic Restrictions not in the Torah, and “shall not add”

How can halachic restrictions that are not in the Torah be reconciled with the Deuteronomy 4:2 passage, which says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from ...
5
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2answers
118 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
233 views

Why the specific commandments in the Aseret haDibrot

What is HKBH trying to teach us by his choice of commandments that make up the Aseret haDibrot
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2answers
204 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 ...
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3answers
186 views
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1answer
124 views

Rashi's apparent internal confusion over יתרו/רְעוּאֵל

Per Bamidbar 10:29 (see below), חֹבָב בֶּן רְעוּאֵל was the father-in-law of מֹשֶׁה. There, רש"י asks why רְעוּאֵל is referred to in Shemoth 2:18 as the "father" of בנות יתרו, and he answers that ...
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2answers
79 views

Balak The King Since when?

In the First Posuk it says: וירא בלק בן ציפור (And Balak the son of Tzippor Saw) no mention of his ...
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2answers
219 views

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 ...
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2answers
167 views

Understanding Rashi's resolution of an ambiguity in Parashat Vayigash

The following is based on a question I wrote in the margin of my chumash about ten years ago. In Yehuda's speech to the Egyptian viceroy (Yosef in disguise) at the beginning of Parashat Vayigash, he ...
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1answer
81 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 ...
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0answers
82 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 ...
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2answers
135 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 ...
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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 ?
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1answer
104 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 ...
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2answers
126 views

Why complain about Graves?

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל מֹשֶׁה הַמִבְּלִי אֵין קְבָרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם (Ex 14:11) About what were the Jews complaining in particular?
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80 views

Shifting subjects and objects in Gen 12:15

There are three statements in Genesis 12:15: וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתָהּ שָׂרֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְהַלְלוּ אֹתָהּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה וַתֻּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה בֵּית פַּרְעֹה And Pharaoh's princes saw her, and they ...
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0answers
97 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 ...
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1answer
141 views

Is there an explanation for the seeming contradiction in Leviticus 27:9-10?

I'm looking at Leviticus 27:9-10, and it contains two commandments that are seemingly contradictory. Here's the text: And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that ...
14
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6answers
781 views
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1answer
99 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 ...
7
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1answer
97 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 ...
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1answer
48 views

Tell Children and you will Know

The Posuk says: וּלְמַעַן תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי בִנְךָ וּבֶן בִּנְךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי בְּמִצְרַיִם וְאֶת אֹתֹתַי אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי בָם וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי אֲנִי ה If your are telling your ...