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

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4
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8answers
126 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Commentaries concerning the meaning of Breishit 1:1

What do the Rabbis say about the meaning of the beginning of the Tanach – specifically, do they read the first verse as a kind of overview of creation (since Shamayim and Aretz did not exist before ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Noah's Ark Submarine

Are there any meforshim (commentators) who believe that Noah's ark was a submarine that went under water? I remember seeing a Seforno on this but don't remember more; it could even be on this site ...
8
votes
2answers
142 views

Did Esther eat at the first feast she made for the king and Haman?

Esther 5:1,5:4 says that Esther made the first feast on the third day of the fast. Earlier (4:16), Esther tells Mordechai that she will also fast for three days. Did she eat at the feast, or was ...
2
votes
6answers
160 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
28 views

In parshas Shemini why were Aharon and his sons not referred to by their title “the Kohanim”?

When the Torah mentions the Kohanim in connection with their priestly service, it usually describes them as 'the Kohanim'. For example, in Vayikra 1:8 it says “and the sons of Aharon the Kohanim shall ...
12
votes
2answers
194 views

Why did Hashem not tell Avraham to have a Bris earlier?

Avraham Avinu was told to have a Bris at 99 years of age. Why didn't Hashem have him do a Bris earlier?
4
votes
2answers
179 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
96 views

Why is Aharon ignored in parshas Vayikra?

Sefer Vayikra deals mostly with the various activities that were done in the Mishkan, so it is not surprising that Aharon, the Kohen Gadol, is the one who is primarily mentioned in connection with ...
8
votes
1answer
355 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
147 views

Mishkan significance

Why does the Torah feel the Need to tell me the rules for making the Mishkan? First, it is no longer relevant, as, even if we build, we will build a Beis Hamikdash. Plus, the Medrashim say it will be ...
5
votes
3answers
124 views

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר?

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר, or do they both pretty much mean "to say" or "to speak"? Do any sages see the choice of one ...
6
votes
4answers
266 views

Are any of the pesukim in the Torah not meant to be understood derech p'shat?

There is a concept that pesukim can be understood derech p'shat, remez, drush and sod. I'm not sure if that means that EVERY pasuk contains this 4 ways but I was wondering if any pasuk does not ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Why not give tzeddakah before shmittah?

Devarim 15:7 cautions us not to withhold help to others because of the approach of the shmittah year. However, the help we would expect to give would be charity and thus would not be repaid. If ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

What were Naomi's sins?

According to the commentary at the bottom of the Artscroll TaNa"Ch, in the beginning of the book of Ruth, Na'omi attempted to dissuade her daughters-in-law from following and staying connected to her ...
11
votes
3answers
283 views

Is the way of the torah pleasant or painful?

In Avot (6:4) we read - כך היא דרכה של תורה, פת במלח תאכל ומים במשורה תשתה ועל הארץ תישן וחיי צער תחיה This is the way of torah... and a life of pain you shall live. contrast this with Mishlei ...
3
votes
2answers
92 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
124 views

Why doesn't Yitzchak mention the knife?

Bereishis 22:6 indicates that Avraham placed the wood for the sacrifice on Yitzchak, took something to start the fire, and the מַּאֲכֶלֶת which Rashi translates as knife. However, in the next pasuk ...
11
votes
4answers
185 views

Would Esther really have kept silent?

In Esther 7:4 we read וְאִלּוּ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת נִמְכַּרְנוּ, הֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי--כִּי אֵין הַצָּר שֹׁוֶה, בְּנֵזֶק הַמֶּלֶךְ ... ... But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I ...
5
votes
0answers
120 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

Why does the Torah reading break up Lavan's short speech?

Why does the split between the fourth and fifth readings of Parashat Vayeitzei occur in the middle of Lavan's short piece of dialogue? Genesis 30:25 - 34 describes a dialogue between Ya'akov and ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

Why doesn't the Torah use more efficient ways to say “both” or “each” when describing the Mishkan utensils?

In Parshas Terumah, in the description of many of the utensils of the Temple, the Torah seems to be very repetitive in its description of parts that are meant to be the same. For example, chapter 25 ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Why did God invite Moshe to stand on “*the* rock”?

In Parashat Ki Tisa, during the atonement for the Golden Calf, God says to Moshe (Exodus 33:21): הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי; וְנִצַּבְתָּ, עַל-הַצּוּר Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt ...
9
votes
4answers
426 views

What did the 70 elders see?

Parshat Mishpatim says of the 70 elders who went up on Har Sinai with Moshe and Aharon: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, ...
15
votes
4answers
336 views

Why did Avraham name his son before the Bris (circumcision)?

Why does the Torah seem to imply that Avraham named his son before the bris? First: וַיִּקְרָא אַבְרָהָם אֶת שֶׁם בְּנוֹ הַנּוֹלַד לוֹ אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לּוֹ שָׂרָה יִצְחָק And Abraham called ...
11
votes
3answers
235 views

How did Hevel offer an animal sacrifice, wasn't it forbidden to kill animals?

In Bereshit 4:4, Hevel offers his choicest sheep as a sacrifice to G-d. However, in Bereshit 1:29-30, Adam is told he is only allowed to eat vegetables, and Rashi explains that he was forbidden to ...
5
votes
1answer
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; ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Adom eating from tree of knowledge

Why didn't Adom eat from the tree of life first and then eat from the tree of knowledge so he can live forever? Do any Medorshim discuss this?
2
votes
2answers
107 views

Onkelos on Deut. 4:19

In Devarim 4:19, Onkelos translates ונדחת as ותטעי and והשתחוית as ותסגוד. First, what exactly is he trying to convey with ותטעי? I think of טעות as "whoops", and hopefully there's no serious damage, ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views

What was the underlying problem behind Hashem’s decision to lead the Children of Israel to Eretz Yisrael by a circuitous route?

It says in Shemos (13,17) “And it was that when Pharaoh sent the people, G-d did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines for it was near, because G-d said: Lest the people reconsider when ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
234 views

What does the aramaic “pon” mean?

Once in a while, Onkelos will throw in the word pon (פּוֹן) that doesn't directly translate from the Hebrew. Avimelech to Yitzchak: k'z'eir pon shachiv d'm'yached b'ama (Toldos 26:10) Lavan to ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Why did the angels not go straight to S'dom?

It says in Bereishis 18,16 “and the men arose from there and they looked upon S’dom, and Avraham went with them to escort them”. This is followed by several posukim dealing with the dialogue between ...
3
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2answers
185 views

Black Magic by Pharaoh's Magicians

What are the various opinions regarding the efficacy of the magician's in the Exodus story?
5
votes
2answers
160 views

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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
290 views

Why was Yishmael saved?

In bereshis 21:17 it says And God heard the lad's voice, and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What is troubling you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the lad's ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Who was Shaul ben HaCanaanie?

In Bereshis 46:10 among the sons of Shimon there is listed one וְשָׁאוּל, בֶּן-הַכְּנַעֲנִית. I have seen various explanations for who this person is. He is the son of Shimon and Dina. He is ...
20
votes
2answers
602 views

Why are none of the Pharaohs in the Torah identified by name?

Throughout the Torah, the various Egyptian Pharaohs are always referred to as simply "Pharaoh" or "the king of Egypt" (or both), but never with any other parts of their official titulary. By ...
8
votes
3answers
546 views

Why only beginning with the fourth plague is the exemption of the Jews mentioned?

In Moshe's warning to Pharaoh (in Hashem's name) of the fourth plague, arov, he adds (Ex. 8:18-19): וְהִפְלֵיתִי בַיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶת-אֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר עַמִּי עֹמֵד עָלֶיהָ לְבִלְתִּי הֱיוֹת-שָׁם ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
325 views

why did the angel fight with yaakov?

Why did hashem allow the angel to even fight with yaakov in the first place?
6
votes
2answers
132 views

Promising not to Destroy the World, and “I will Return the World to Water”

After the Mabul (deluge/flood), Hashem promised that he would not destroy the world. Yet we know from Tisha Bav and Yom Kippur's "Asarah Harugay Malchus" (“The Ten Martyrs”) poem that when they were ...
8
votes
2answers
353 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
184 views

Why does Moshe tell Hashem that he is 'heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue' - twice?

Shemot 4:10-15 is a dialogue between Hashem and Moshe where Moshe tells Hashem that he is 'heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue'. In pssukim 14-15 Hashem tells Moshe that he will tell Aharon what to ...
7
votes
1answer
235 views

Meggilas Rus - Leket, Shikcha, and Peah

When Rus went out into the field to pick up the Shikcha (dropped or forgotten crops which must be left for the poor), Boaz sees her great piety and tells his servants to drop more on purpose so that ...
4
votes
2answers
308 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
176 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Why did Samson's parents not see the incident with the lion?

It says in sefer Shoftim (14,5-6) "And Shimshon and his father and mother went down to Timnas, and they came until the vineyards of Timnas, and behold, a young lion roared towards him. And there ...