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

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14
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6answers
723 views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
12
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8answers
698 views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example the last mishna in Kidushin, Rashi Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the many obvious ...
17
votes
5answers
756 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

All people in world are Jews?

According to the Book of Genesis, Noah saved his family and representatives of every animal from a flood by constructing a boat. So since all of humanity should be descended from Noah, does that mean ...
11
votes
4answers
345 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
12
votes
3answers
305 views

Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
10
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4answers
220 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
136 views

How did Rivkah give Yackov Eisav's clothing? Isn't borrowing without permission tantamount to stealing?

How did Rivkah give Yackov Eisav's clothing without asking? וַתִּקַּח רִבְקָה אֶת בִּגְדֵי עֵשָׂו בְּנָהּ הַגָּדֹל הַחֲמֻדֹת אֲשֶׁר אִתָּהּ בַּבָּיִת וַתַּלְבֵּשׁ אֶת יַעֲקֹב בְּנָהּ הַקָּטָן ...
6
votes
2answers
549 views

How were Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai “Sons of Giants”?

In Bamidbar 13:22, the Torah tells us that the spies saw Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Giants. Rashi tells us they were the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, angels who fell from heaven ...
5
votes
1answer
230 views

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 ...
14
votes
8answers
646 views

Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom?

In Bereshit 12:11-16, we see that Avraham was willing to receive gifts from Pharoah: 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold ...
12
votes
3answers
385 views

What happened to the bechorim (first-borns)?

In the begining of sefer bamidbar, the males between 20 and 60 are counted and it says that there are over 600,000 of them. Theoretically each, or most, of these people should have had a first-born ...
6
votes
5answers
474 views

Mordechai - Religious Leader or Political figure?

I'm looking to gather some more background, context, sources and opinions, regarding Mordechai's religiousness, or lack thereof. This was the topic of a recent comment thread on Was Darius ...
5
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
162 views

Donkey Talked and an Angel Appeared - Who Knew?

Why is no mention made of the reaction, of Balak’s officers who were accompanying Bilaam, to the talking donkey or the revelation of the angel?
14
votes
7answers
321 views

“I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned…” - how do we understand this?

At the end of bentching we say that "I was young, and I also became old, and I never saw a righteous person be abandoned, and his children asking for bread". How do we reconcile that with the ...
13
votes
2answers
342 views

Why is a “leper” allowed to sit with other “lepers”?

In Parshat Tazria (Vayikra 13:46) we are told: All the days the lesion is upon him, he shall remain unclean. He is unclean; he shall dwell isolated; his dwelling shall be outside the camp As ...
8
votes
5answers
316 views

Why was Akeidas Yitzchok a bigger test (Nisayon) for Avraham than for Yitzchok?

Akeidas Yitzchok was the hardest test that Hashem gave to Avraham. Yet Yitzchok knew and also agreed to go along with it. Then why is it considered a bigger test for Avraham than for Yitzchok?
14
votes
10answers
447 views

Yaakov Marrying Two Sisters

According to those that say the Avos kept the Torah beforehand (here), how was Yaakov allowed to marry two sisters? (Yes, I'm aware that there are many answers)
11
votes
2answers
175 views

Why didn't Yehoshua give a good report immediately?

When the spies returned from scouting the land and gave their report of mighty opponents, 13:30 tells us that Caleb silenced the crowd and argued for going into the land, and then 13:31 says "the men ...
10
votes
4answers
175 views

Why does Yitzchak's blessing of Yaakov refer to Yaakov's mother's *sons*?

B'reishit 27:29 reads: Let peoples serve thee, and nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and ...
9
votes
3answers
312 views

Did all animals come into the Teiva?

Were there any type of animals that were destroyed completely by the Mabul? (For example - Is there any source that there were dinosaurs or any other type of wildlife and they were destroyed by the ...
9
votes
2answers
135 views

verb + its infinitive

Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and ...
8
votes
3answers
268 views

How is “החודש הזה לכם” the first mitzva?

The following question came up in this week's Parshat Hashavua' Chat: Rashi, at the beginning of his commentary to the Torah: אמר רבי יצחק: לא היה צריך להתחיל [את] התורה אלא (שמות יב ב) מהחודש ...
7
votes
8answers
220 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
244 views

Question about the actions of Pinchas when he killed Zimri

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 82A), while relating the story of Pinchas killing Zimri, tells us the following: "And Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it." (Bamidbar 25:7) Now, ...
6
votes
1answer
82 views

Why does the tribe of Gad have an unusual population count in Bamidbar 1?

When listing the census of the tribes in Bamidbar 1, only the tribe of Gad has the count 45,650 - I.e. - the count is not exactly on the hundreds as it is with all the other tribes. As the count was ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What does adultery mean in the 7th commandment?

Exodus 20:14, the 7th 'commandment' of the Decalogue. Does it mean only having sex with someone else' wife or having sex outside marriage? What is the actual Hebrew word and what possible ...
6
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2answers
735 views

What was the name of Rachel and Leah's mother?

What was the name of Lavan's wife, the mother of Rachel and Leah?
6
votes
5answers
221 views

(Neis) Miracle of Sarah giving birth at 90

We all know how in Parshas Vayeira the miracle of Sarah giving birth @ 90 takes place. In Mitzrayim Yocheved gave birth @ 130 yet there is no mention of this. Was it not a bigger miracle? Then why is ...
5
votes
0answers
81 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

What was the composition of Yaakov's two camps?

In Parshat Vayishlach Yaakov divides his group into two camps so that if one is attacked the other might escape. How did he divide people between them? Did Leah go in one and Rachel in the other, ...
2
votes
3answers
326 views

What does the term “sons of G-d” mean?

The term "sons of G-d" בני האלהים is found 3 times in the Hebrew Bible, once in Genesis (6:2), and twice in Job (1:6 and 2:1). What does it mean? Does it have the same meaning in both instances? What ...
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votes
1answer
27 views

What's the meaning of Daniel 9:26

Daniel 9:26: And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his ...
10
votes
3answers
255 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
431 views

why half-believe the Torah?

(I'm not sure this is on-topic, and feel free to close it if it's not, of course.) I understand some who study the Bible claim natural reasons for things we recognize as miracles, from the plagues of ...
12
votes
2answers
203 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
463 views

In Judaism, does God have a body?

In the Bible it says [Gen 3:8]: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". It seems God has carnal body (thus he could walk). In Judaism compared with ...
14
votes
3answers
335 views

Let there be light! But from where?

According to Genesis 1:3, "And G-d said, Let there be light; and there was light." What light is the Torah referring to if the sun which produces light by day was created only on the 4th day of ...
13
votes
1answer
327 views

How does Orthodox Judaism view the Book of Jubillees

How is the Book of Jubilees regarded by Orthodox Jewry (I'm not asking if we believe it existed, but if we hold any of the information in it to be accurate). Is it ever quoted by any of the ...
12
votes
2answers
172 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?
8
votes
1answer
133 views

Pardes… What actually happened?

Verses in the Bible traditionally have four different understandings: Pshat (simple meaning), Remez (derived meaning), Drash (investigative meaning), and Sod (esoteric meaning). It seems at times ...
8
votes
1answer
79 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

Aharon's and Miriam's Yahrtzeit

The Book of Numbers spans almost the entire 40 year period in the desert, documenting numerous events that occurred to the Jews as they wandered. I count only 5 dates mentioned in the text (listed in ...
5
votes
1answer
117 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
322 views

Why did Noach curse Canaan and not Cham?

After the incident with Cham after the flood, Noach curses Canaan (Genesis 9:25). Why does he not curse Cham, the one who actually wronged him? The explanations I've seen of this incident have Cham ...
5
votes
4answers
514 views

are homosexual relations forbidden by God? Why?

To my understanding, Bible says that God does not like homosexual relations. But why? Why did God punish and destroy inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? They were not Jewish and were not given the laws ...
4
votes
5answers
268 views

“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 ...
21
votes
2answers
438 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
319 views

Why did Achashveirosh take Esther if she was already married?

According to the opinion that Queen Esther was married to Mordechai. Achashveirosh was looking for unmarried girls (Esther 2:2–4). Why did he take a married woman? Especially considering that Queen ...