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17

The Gemara (Chagigah 12a) records a debate about this. One opinion (R' Elazar and R' Yaakov) is that the light referred to here is an intense light with special powers; G-d afterwards concealed it, realizing that there would be unworthy people who wouldn't deserve to make use of such light, and set it aside as part of the future reward of the righteous. The ...


16

According to the Rambam in the Guide of the Perplexed "Whenever it is possible to interpret the words of an individual in such a manner that they confirm to a being whose existence has been demonstrated, this is the conduct that is more fitting and most suitable for an equitable man of exellent nature." Even though I'm certain this will be controversial, ...


14

Among the classical Torah commentators, there are those that interpret that whole Garden of Eden story as being literal historical fact, while others interpret it allegorically. The main authority who treats it as allegory is Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (Volume 2, Chapter 30), and according to his interpretation, the snake represents a person's "appetitive ...


13

First, it may not be valid to assume that creation was bound by the laws of science as we now understand them. Why should we assume that the very first plants grew by photosynthesis in the same way that plants do now? Or if we do, why not assume that the primordial light created on the first day was enough to produce this effect? But setting all that ...


11

At the core of your question is the assumption that the flood and its fallout was natural, and was subject merely to the laws of nature as we see them today. I do not accept that premise, however I think that one can still reconcile the evidence we see nowadays with the flood in a cogent way that draws upon the natural sciences we accept. I will attempt to ...


10

The answer is, at the heart, there is broad consensus among the Rishonim that when necessary one may depart from the "literal" meaning (apparent intent, peshat) of the Torah text (though even then there are limits). We are left with a few things to work out: How do we define necessary? Does our difficulty rise to the level of "necessary"? Does departing ...


10

No, it doesn't change the meaning. The letter bes that starts that word appears with a dot in it usually, but without one after a word (in the same phrase) that ends in an open syllable. (Usually.) The pronunciation changes between these two forms, but not the meaning. It's not unique to this word, either, but true of all words that start with a bes, gimel, ...


10

The Ibn Ezra (5:29) writes: והשואלים מי היתה אשת קין ושת, מה טעם לשאלה הזאת, כי כתוב באדם ויולד בנים ובנות, וכן כולם` Those who ask who was the wife of Kain and Sheis, what is the cause for such a question - it is written by Adam that he had sons and daughters, and so too all of them. According to the footnotes* on the Ibn Ezra brought in the ...


10

The Gemara in Sanhedrin 38b says that Kayin married his twin sister. The Medrash HaGadol says her name was Kenunoso. (Source: Tamma DeKra from Rav Chaim Kanievski.)


10

The Lubavitcher Rebbe brings this idea in Likkutei Sichos (vol. 36 pg. 75 - free translation): The ultimate purpose in creating the Tree of Knowledge was not merely to serve as a test to Adam HaRishon that he should not eat from it, but rather for man to transform the Tree of Knowledge and elevate it above the concept of death. It is explained in ...


10

The sefer ביאורי אונקלוס here explains that the Targum Onkelos always translates the name Elo-him as Ado-noi so that it is clear to everyone that the posuk is talking about G-d, because the name Elo-him is also used in the Torah to mean judges. The two exceptions to this are: 1) When the posuk says ה' אלוקים - two names of Hashem together, and thus people ...


10

This question really touches on what the purpose of the Tree of Knowledge was. Why would G-d not want them to eat from a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Isn't that the most important knowledge to have? In Moreh Nevuchim 1:1 Rambam develops an approach to understanding this (in which he alludes to your question). As I understand his answer, it is ...


8

The 'catch all' meaning of the word 'yom' is 'time period' The precise meaning of yom in tanach has 4 meanings depending on the context. Either Yom as in daylight (12 hours) Yom as a single day (24 hours) Yom as a year or two (As used in shmuel and Yehoshua) Yom can be an indefinite amount of time, such as the word 'b'yom meaning 'when, or the phrase ...


8

As l' said, the chapter divisions are indeed of Christian origin. This article says that the originator of this division separated Shabbos from the other weekdays for reasons having to do with Christian theology, but doesn't specify how. I seem to recall reading a suggestion that the idea behind it was to downplay our Shabbos in favor of their Sunday.


8

Try this article at Chabad.org, which quotes (in translation) the classic sources on the subject. Briefly, it's the idea that Hashem first created the ten sefiros as the "world of Tohu," as independent entities, where each one is is exclusively "thus and no other way" - i.e., chesed ("kindness") is pure chesed, gevurah ("severity") is pure gevurah, etc.; ...


8

Pesachim 54A says the rainbow was created on the sixth day: Ten things were created on the eve of the Sabbath at twilight. These are they: the well, the manna, the rainbow, the writing and the writing instrument[s], the Tables, the sepulchre of Moses, the cave in which Moses and Elijah stood, the opening of the ass's mouth, and the opening of the earth's ...


7

it's not in plural form, see how the verb is. another example in hebrew is the word maim (water), which has no singular or plural. this may seem plural to you but it actually isn't, simply because god is one. your question is basically on the quality of the translation. one can see (at least as an reflection) the importance each culture (or language) gives ...


7

Short answer: There are different opinions, each with their own proofs and backings. Long answer: Avi's answer explains the different meanings of "yom" quite well. It is my understanding that up until recently, most Rabbis agreed that in regard to creation, it meant a 24 hour period. Once scientists came up with theories about the age of the universe many ...


7

R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (in Tanya, Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah ch. 4) explains that the name Elokim "shields" the name Havayah, and makes it possible for finite and (seemingly) independent creatures to exist in the first place. Thus, Elokim represents (and is the source of) the tzimtzum, the "contraction" of Divine energy that made "room" for the various ...


7

Rashi says it is "the day of the One". Because the angels weren't created until day two, God was the only sentient being on this day. Obviously this reason doesn't apply from day two onwards, per Rashi's words. Kli Yakar prefers to say that the verse is asserting that one God created both light/day, and dark/evening, as the Sages would take care to mention ...


6

Ramban on this verse says that in fact Kayin built the city for his son to live in. (The minimum size of a city, in halachic terminology, is pretty small - six houses are enough.) He also says that Kayin continued building this city for a long time (thus the ongoing form ויהי בנה instead of ויבן), so he may have started small (just a couple of houses, for ...


6

http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14052&st=&pgnum=40 The Torah Temima in Breishis 1:28 #65 says that the Rambam in Ishus Perek 15 Halacha 2 says that the Mitzva begins at 20. Although it says to get married at 18, until 20 you are not disregarding the Mitzva. The Torah Temima also mentions that Peru U'Revu is connected to the same age as ...


6

Satan in Judaism is a very different beast than satan in popular culture (pun intended) The snake in the garden of Eden is identified as the personification of the "Yetzerh Harah" (Bad/evil will/desires/inclination) by the midrashim. The Talmud also states that the Yetzer Harah, Satan, and the angel of death are one. (Some might understand this to mean ...


6

From a scientific point of view, when light was created, it would have been created in all its wavelengths (colours.) It would be interesting to consider the idea that man was colour blind until Noach's generation, and thus they could see the rainbow for the first time.


6

The Rebbe Rashab explains in his Kuntres Eitz Chaim (Chapter 10): Kabbalistically the Tree of Knowledge refers to the Divine attribute of Malchus, and the Tree of Life refers to the attributes of Ze'r Anpin. Malchus is the source of the false feeling the world has that it is an entity which enjoys seemingly self-sufficient existence, as if independent of its ...


6

In the discourse "Bila Hamaves Lanetzach" (printed in Sefer Hamamorim Melukat vol. 2 pg. 277) the Lubavitcher Rebbe presents the following question: Before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge man was supposed to live for ever. It was only as a result of the sin that death was introduced to the world. If so why did G-d banish Adam from the Garden of Eden, "Lest ...


5

I think your question is the word Elohim for G-d, which is used in the Bible to indicate authority -- sometimes G-d (as in the first chapter of Genesis), sometimes idols (as in the Second Commandment), sometimes the court system. Yes, the ending im usually indicates plural. Keep in mind that el or eloha means "a mighty one" or "force." As the pagans of the ...


5

From Pirkei Avos 5:22, 18 is the recommended beginning age for getting married (and hence reproducing). The conditions for having fullfilled the mitzvah of Peru U'Revu (Yevamos 61b) don't mention anything about the age of having done so, only the number of children he has had. So if a man has had children at any age even before the age of 13 (see ...


5

Challenge edited by Cyril Domb and Aryeh Carmell has an extensive (and I think varied) set of articles and source texts on this subject. I'm reading it now, so I can't say more about the book yet, but it's worth a read.


5

Abarbanel (Bereshis 3) makes the connection between the word for "embarrassment" (בושה) and the word for "clothing" (לבוש). Seemingly, like you said, because the clothing is a covering-up of the embarrassment, and also because clothing (or especially lack thereof) has the strong potential to embarrass a person. He writes as follows: שיש שתי תכליות בלבוש. ...



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