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

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112 views

Was Ankhmahor really Yosef?

I was reading an article today on circumcision a news website I frequent. It displayed a picture from the tomb of Ankhmahor, a high ranking Egyptian official that was, apparently, responsible for mass ...
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39 views

מחני נא — Moshe's real name isn't mentioned

In Shemot 32:32, Moshe tells Hashem: וְעַתָּה אִם תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ: And now, if You forgive their sin But if not, erase me now from ...
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44 views

Did Prof. Rabbi Umberto Cassuto have any insight behind the biblical character Yehudah?

I am the great grandson of Umberto Cassuto, Benyamin Enzo Rocca, and 5 days ago my wife and I were blessed with a son (3rd child). With his upcoming bris in a few days I would like to know if anyone ...
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64 views

(Ki) Ani Hashem Elokeihem

Twenty-seven times (by my count) in Torah and in Ezekiel, we find the phrase אני ה׳ אלקיכם or אני ה׳ אלקיהם at the end of a pasuk (for example, Lev 25:55). In eight of these cases, the phrase is ...
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114 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 ...
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73 views

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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123 views

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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36 views

Why would Haman “restrain himself”?

In Esther (5:9), when Haman leaves the king's palace after Queen Esther's first party, all happy and feeling on top of the world, gets very upset when he sees Mordechai sitting there, and not bowing ...
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34 views

Who spoke in Sh'mot 15:26?

After shirat hayam the people grow concerned about water and God instructs Moshe in how to satisfy their needs. Then Shemot 15:26 says: וַיֹּאמֶר אִם שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע לְקוֹל | יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ ...
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54 views

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 ...
4
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49 views

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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81 views

Understanding the servants' hard/soft hearts

In Parshas Bo (10:1) we read that God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh's servants - כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֶת לֵב עֲבָדָיו. The Ohr HaChaim explains that this is so that the servants ...
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23 views

Why are so many of the sacrificial procedures discussed twice?

There are two passages in the Torah which detail the laws of a korban chatas (sin offering), one in Parshas Vayikra and the other in Parshas Tzav. These two passages are very close to each other; why ...
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28 views

Trying to understand Targum of סביב

It seems every instance we have the word סביב in the Torah, Targum translates it as סחור סחור, a doubling of the word which I would have assumed would suffice in single format. See for instance ...
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22 views

Whats Up With Ascending Sinai: Kohanim

What is the role of the Kohanim in the ascent of Sinai? They are listed second in Exodus (19:22) as being prohibited from ascending, but are listed first in v. 24. Why single them out? why switch ...
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14 views

Whats up with Ascending Har Sinai: prohibition

What is the significance of the ascent onto Har Sinai and its prohibition? Why is the prohibition introduced in Exodus (19:12) not with the more traditional expression of "don't" but with the less ...
3
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33 views

Why does the Torah specify only that Lea'h's children were born in Padan Aram?

Breishit 46:15 states that "These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore unto Jacob in Paddan-aram..." What is the significance of the Torah telling us where the children were born, and why does it ...
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33 views

How good was Yaakov's trickery?

Yaakov told Rachel that " וַיַּגֵּד יַעֲקֹב לְרָחֵל כִּי אֲחִי אָבִיהָ הוּא וְכִי בֶן רִבְקָה הוּא וַתָּרָץ וַתַּגֵּד לְאָבִיהָ:" And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman and that he ...
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30 views

Sukkot--Object or place name?

Does anyone translate "סֻכּוֹת" in Vayikra 23:43 as a place name rather than an object (see Shmot 12:37 and 13:20, where it's a place name)? Might the Toarah mean "celebrate Sukkot because that's the ...
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61 views

Why did God send Dovid to Hebron specifically?

In Shmuel Bet 2:1, Dovid asks God which city he should go to and God tells him to go to Hebron. What is the reason he is told to go to that city specifically? I have seen commentaries explain that it ...
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22 views

Why the person switches in Shemos 14:2-4?

Shemos 14:2-4: דבר, אל-בני ישראל, וישובו ויחנו לפני פי החירות, בין מגדול ובין הים: לפני בעל צפון, נכחו תחנו על-הים.‏ ואמר פרעה לבני ישראל, נבוכים הם בארץ; סגר עליהם, המדבר.‏ ...
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37 views

Did all the tribes listen to their leaders in the sin of the spies?

Why did the tribes of Ephraim and Yehuda not listen to their respective leaders, Yehoshua bin Nun and Kalev ben Yefuneh in the sin on the spies? (See Numbers 13:2, which says they were leaders.) It ...
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30 views

Timing of the Princes' Appointment

Parshas Bamidbar begins with the apparent appointing of 12 nesiim (princes) who would help Moshe with the counting (and presumably have some other administrative or authoritative role). Parshas Naso ...
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170 views

Saadia Gaon on the Torah Original Arabic

Is the commentary of the Torah (not the translation) of Saadia Gaon in the original Arabic available online?
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75 views

From which tribe were the Mapilim of Num 14:40?

A number of Jews tried to enter eretz yisroel after the incident of the spies (see Bamidbar 14:40-45). I would like to know from which tribe they came. I know that at least one person may have been ...
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53 views

How many languages were used by Shem's descendants?

Parshat Noach, 10:31: These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, after their nations. אֵלֶּה בְנֵי-שֵׁם, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם, ...
3
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36 views

What does Koheles 9:1 have to do with the surrounding verses?

The last part of chapter 8 of קהלת and the first part of chapter 9 discuss the fact that good things happen to bad people and bad things to good people. It notes that this is a shame, since it leads ...
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128 views

Could Yonah's “whale” have been a whale?

Just prior to the start of Yom Kippur this year, a young child corrected me when I mentioned Yonah's whale and said that, "it wasn't a whale; it was a Dag Gadol." I had to admit, this was good ...
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60 views

Are there discussions of the difference in what Lavan says and what Hashem actually did?

I apologize in advance if this is obvious but I simply haven't stumbled on anything which answers this yet. In Bereishit 31, Hashem gives a message directly to Lavan. Apparently (as reported in the ...
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20 views

Why was Aharon not liable for issuing a ruling around his teacher?

The Chumash (Shemini 10:16 and onwards) describe an argument between Moshe and Aharon. Aharon's two sons died by the hands of Hashem and he became an Onen who cannot eat sacrifices. Moshe gave him an ...
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54 views

What technology did King Solomon have?

I'm looking for sourced statements of modern technology possessed by King Solomon. So far I have seen: An answer here quotes the idea that King Solomon had a flying carpet of sorts. The Ben ...
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39 views

Where does the Zohar mention challenges?

The Artscroll Stone Chumash on page 80, note 11, says the following: באים בימים - Coming with [their] days. The Zohar says, "Each day in a person's life carries with it it's own challenge and ...
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55 views

What constitutes an “Enemy of God”?

(I'm not referring here to Tenokim Shenishbu.) Devarim 7: "And he repays his enemies in his lifetime to make him perish, he shall noy delay for his enemy, in his lifetime shall he pay him". Who are ...
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57 views

What did Bnei Yisrael experience at Matan Torah?

I'm having trouble understanding what the Israelites actually experienced at the Revelation at Mt Sinai. Did they all see God? Did they all hear Him? Did they all understand Him? Did they hear all of ...
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17 views

Around what was the boundary set at Har Sinai?

Shemos 19:12 והגבלת את העם סביב לאמר השמרו לכם עלות בהר ונגע בקצהו כל הנגע בהר מות יומת And you shall set boundaries around the nation saying, "be careful not to go up the mountain..." ...
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40 views

What is the procedure for generating a chiddush?

Sometimes I see cool things in the parasha that just are not mentioned by the meforshim, that is, I generate what could be called chidushim. So far I present them by saying "Is X related to Y because ...
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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 ...
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60 views

What happened to Balak?

What ever happened to Balak after the Bil'am affair? Bil'am is referred to often as Bil'am HaRasha' (the wicked), and he is blamed for the entire encounter as well as the Ba'al Pe'or incident. But ...
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116 views

Did Tamar marry a third time, and if so whom?

B'reishit 38:26 says: וַיַּכֵּר יְהוּדָה וַיֹּאמֶר צָדְקָה מִמֶּנִּי כִּי עַל כֵּן לֹא נְתַתִּיהָ לְשֵׁלָה בְנִי וְלֹא יָסַף עוֹד לְדַעְתָּהּ: Then Judah recognized [them], and he said, "She ...
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60 views

Who were the pre-Lekh Likha righteous men?

BS"D In Hilkhoth Avodhah Zarah RaMBaM lists the central figures in the transmission of ethical monotheism, and I was wondering if there were any other figures in our mesora not mentioned. Since the ...
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40 views

Singular and plural language in Deut. 4:25

Why does the Pasuk (Deut. 4:25) switch between singular and plural when building up to the consequences of what "you will [do]"? "When you (sing.) will have children and grandchildren, and you (pl.) ...
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102 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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21 views

What happened to the “notar” (left-over) of the 1st Pesach lamb?

Exodus 12:8: וְאָכְל֥וּ אֶת־הַבָּשָׂ֖ר בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַזֶּ֑ה And they shall eat the flesh in that night. Exodus 12:10: וְלֹא־תוֹתִ֥ירוּ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֑קֶר וְהַנֹּתָ֥ר מִמֶּ֛נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֖קֶר ...
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25 views

What does the word “אש” in Vayikra 1:7 refer to?

אש is generally translated as "fire." However, consider Vayikra 1:7: וְנָתְנוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֵשׁ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְעָרְכוּ עֵצִים עַל הָאֵשׁ The sons of Aharon the Kohen shall ...
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11 views

Which parts of the mishkan design did Ahali'av participate?

Exodus 35:34-35: וּלְהוֹרֹ֖ת נָתַ֣ן בְּלִבּ֑וֹ ה֕וּא וְאָֽהֳלִיאָ֥ב בֶּן־אֲחִיסָמָ֖ךְ לְמַטֵּה־דָֽן׃ מִלֵּ֨א אֹתָ֜ם חָכְמַת־לֵ֗ב לַעֲשׂוֹת֮ כָּל־מְלֶ֣אכֶת חָרָ֣שׁ ׀ וְחֹשֵׁב֒ וְרֹקֵ֞ם ...
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49 views

Why is Sarah the only woman that has her years lived mentioned?

Breishit 23:1 mentions that Sarah was 127 years old when she died. Ohr Hachaim's commentary seems to glance upon some issues regarding why Sarah's age was mentioned, and he seems to focus on the fact ...
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8 views

In the Book Of Judges(Shoftim) Why was Judah unable to conquer the inhabitants in the valley?

It says in Judges 1:19: And the Lord was with Judah, and they drove out the inhabitants of the mountains; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, for they had iron chariots. ...
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65 views

Does anyone attribute the copper snake to a mythbuster scheme?

We are familiar with the copper snake in chapter 21 of Parshas Chukkas used to remedy the Bnei Yisrael when bitten by the snakes sent to punish them. Recently I was made aware of a Greek mythological ...
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13 views

Explain how the last word of Yosef's “oath” got into the verse in Shemot 13:19

In Shemot 13:19, the verse quotes the oath that Yosef made his brothers and descendants swear about carrying his bones when they leave Egypt. Compare these words in this verse with the actual oath ...
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25 views

Questions on Breshit 50:8 - Who went to Ya'akov's funeral?

Breishit 50:8 lists regarding who went to Ya'akov's funeral and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house; only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they ...