Questions tagged [commentaries]

Questions related to Jewish commentaries, their meaning and their origin.

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622 views

How the idea of “the bread of shame” aligns with free will

Jewish thinkers(Who?) sum up G-d's creation of the world as follows: It was the ultimate act of goodness. G-d is perfect and infinite. He has no need for a universe; He has nothing to gain from ...
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56 views

A sound of distress, while dancing around the golden calf?

After Moshe received the Aseret HaDevarim he came down from the mountain and heard a lot of noise coming from amongst the people that awaited his arrival. The people had just built a golden calf, and ...
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What causes a person to do Avodah Zarah?

In relation to "Definition of Avodah Zarah": I would like to know what drives or causes a person to worship Avodah Zarah in the first place; i.e. what lies at the core of it? Is there a reason why it’...
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122 views

You shall not have any other gods

In Exodus 20:3 the words lo yihyeh ( לֹא יִהְיֶה־לְךָ) are often translated as: 'you shall not have'. The base word is היה (hayah) meaning "to exist." Which reminded me of the Adon Olam phrase: 'V'hu ...
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Adonai Nissi and the hand upon the throne and their connection to what happened.

Exodus/Shemot 17:15 tells us Moshe built an altar and named it "יהוה נִסִּי" often translated as "The L-rd (is) my banner" or "The L-rd (is) my miracle" and maybe it could be also translated as "The L-...
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Who wrote Ikar Siftei Chachamim?

Siftei Chachamim (שפתי חכמים) is a super-commentary on Rashi's commentary on the Torah, written by the 17th-Century CE Polish scholar Shabbethai Bass. It tends to be included in Mikraot Gedolot ...
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53 views

קול ענות אנכי - The sound of selfishness?

When Moshe came down from Mount Sinai with the knowledge that his people corrupted themselves (dealt corruptly) - quickly turned aside the way which HaShem commanded them, making a molten calf, ...
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Change of the heart

In some places (like Mishlei 3:3 and 7:3) our hearts are compared to luchot (tablets) on which one should inscribe the words of HaShem. In another places our hearts should be circumcised: Devarim 10:...
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15 views

Link between rejoice and redemption

Once I found a commentary which made a wordplay, connection or link between rejoicing (גִּיל) and redemption (גָּאַל). I liked the idea that redemption and rejoicing would go hand in hand. Is there ...
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45 views

What's the need for Avraham to become nation

Bereshit 12 (verse 2-3) reads: "I will make of thee a great nation, I will bless thee and make thy name great; be thou a blessing. I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I ...
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26 views

To serve, the biggest command?

Looking at the basis for our covenant with G-d, I noticed G-d said to Avraham (Bereshit 17:1): “Walk before Me”, which is sometimes understood to mean: “Serve Me”. And also (Bereshit 17:9): “You shall ...
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107 views

Looking for Passages of harsh criticism in the Shakh

Notwithstanding the fact that the Shakh includes a passage in the introduction to his Nequdat Kesef, claiming that his objections to other scholars are meant only respectfully, I have heard it said ...
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Three golden calfs

What are the similarities and differences between the story of the egel hazahav (golden calf) (Ki Sisa chapter 32) and the story of the two golden calves made by Jeroboam (I Melachim 12:28)?
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Evil inclination compared to a strange god within man

I've found this article which quoted some interesting thoughts: Our sages said about the verse (Shabbat 105b), “There shall not be a strange god within you, nor will you bow before a strange god.” ...
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31 views

Our I, Our Self leading us to separation and idolatry

Looking at the words: "Anochi HaShem Eloheichem - אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ " (Shemot 20:2 & 20:5, Devarim 5:6 & 5:9)" I noticed that on the one hand HaShem emphasizes that we should serve ...
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Did Ralbag's predecessors help him, or make things more difficult for him?

At the end of his commentary to Parshat Bereishit, Ralbag writes that he had difficulty composing his commentary to this parshah because the earlier commentaries practically pushed him away from ...
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95 views

Ramban and the generations

I heard someone mention the folowing: The Ramban in the writings on sefer koheles make an interesting diyuk. Koheles (1:4) tell us, “A generation goes and a generation comes.” The Ramban tell us that ...
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115 views

Maharal Diskin on Sefer Devarim

I heard someone mention that the Maharal Diskin say the following explanation on this posuk: וּבָאוּוּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל־הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וּרְדָפוּךָ וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ כָּל־הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וּרְדָפוּךָ ...
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Rasji quoting IBN-Saruq on the word 'keri'.

I found this explanation online: Rashi quotes the 10th Century grammarian Menachem (ben IBN-Saruq), who derives keri from a two-letter root k–r, meaning “prevent, refuse, withhold.” Thus, ...
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Clarification on the Mann scattering pattern [duplicate]

Following the question on the Mann miracles I would like to understand one specific miracle: how exactly did Mann fall closer to the righteous for them than for the wicked: Did it have name tags ...
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26 views

English Translations of Major Yechezkel/Ezekiel Commentaries

Shalom! I have been looking for some time and I cannot seem to find any resources in English. Are there any translations (into English) of the Yechezkel/Ezekiel commentaries of the following rabbis? ...
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Will Olam Haba eventually end?

I heard a while back that according to the kabalists, there is a big dispute whether Olam Haba is forever or whether it will eventually end and all the souls will cease to exist as hinted in the verse ...
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What ancient sources discuss the meaning of Psalm 22?

Many Christians believe Psalm 22 refers to Jesus of Nazareth. How have Jews historically understood Psalm 22 and interpreted it?
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Luchot HaBrit; first time receiving Torah passively and a second time actively

Once I read an article which talked about Exodus 31:18 and compared it with Exodus 34:1. In the first verse G-d gave the tablets (His work, His writing, 32:16), the second verse teaches Moshe needed ...
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Can a soul be redeemed, based on Psalm 49?

Psalm 49:8: "אָח לֹא־פָדֹה יִפְדֶּה אִישׁ לֹא־יִתֵּן לֵאלֹהִים כָּפְרוֹ׃ וְיֵקַר פִּדְיוֹן נַפְשָׁם וְחָדַל לְעוֹלָם׃ וִיחִי־עוֹד לָנֶצַח לֹא יִרְאֶה הַשָּׁחַת׃ " teaches that (all the) wealth ...
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Does Rashi's commentary on a quoted mishna reflect the true explanation?

Often the Bavli will quote a mishna from another maseches (tractate) or another part of the same maseches. Does Rashi's commentary on the Bavli's quotation of the mishna reflect his interpretation of ...
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48 views

Different words for “a corner” in Tanach

There appear to be three different words in Tanach that are translated as "a corner": Pinah (shmot 26:2) Kanaf (Shmu'el 1 24:4) Keren (I haven't found one yet, but this site says that its use as "...
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Where in the writings of the Vilna Gaon does he discuss how Rashi & Tosfot each explain a Talmudic “sugiya?”

Two days ago, I asked this question in the name of the Vilna Gaon. I was informed that the answer may be [also] found in the writings of Rav Chaim Volozhin. So, I re-phrased the question. My ...
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23 views

What were the additional 40 plagues? [duplicate]

There's an argument between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer, how many plagues there actually were in Egypt. R. Akiva says 50 and Rabbi Eliezer says 40. Do we actually know what were the additional ...
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Has anyone learned the Sheiltot of R. Achai Gaon with the Netziv's commentary?

Would you recommend it? I really enjoy learning anything with the Netziv and I like the idea of halachic midrashim on the parsha with some ethical messages. It seems like it's a great way to learn ...
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1answer
75 views

Using the name יהוה [duplicate]

HaShem teaches Moshe the following in Shemot 3:15: כֹּה-תֹאמַר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב, שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם; זֶה-שְּׁמִי ...
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Why did the sea travelers in Yonah 1 proselytize instead of becoming righteous gentiles?

We read in Yonah 1 about the men who traveled on a boat with Yonah. When the sea ceased storming we read: "And the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they made sacrifices to the Lord and made vows."...
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The usage of the title HaShem instead of other titles [duplicate]

One doesn’t pronounce יהוה, but with so many titles to be found in the Tenach for referring to יהוה, why would we refer to Him as ‘HaShem’ then? Why not stick with Adonai, Anochi, El Shadai etc. like ...
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People joined the Israelites in Egypt during the night of the Exodus?

I noticed something strange in Shemot 12:43-50. I always assumed the commandments given there were for future generations (like most commentators teach). But then it says in verse 43: "And HaShem ...
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1answer
98 views

List of which Rishonim wrote on each Masechta?

I would like to know if anyone has made a comprehensive list/chart of which Rishonim wrote on each masechta in shas. Such a list would include details such as: Masechtos where Rashi is not rashi, the ...
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48 views

Sources from Tanach for Praying in Minyan

I’ve got a question about people praying together. Hence from were in the Tanach, from which verse(s) or context, did the idea or concept for group/communal/collective prayer developed from? Or is ...
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1answer
104 views

With what and why did Ya’akov struggle?

Many times I came across teachings which stated that Ya’akov Avinu wrestled (struggled) with what could be described as something representative of Esav (I.e. Edom, Adam); of which it is said it was ...
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1answer
84 views

Source Radak psalm 110

In the Koren Tehillim on Psalm 110 there is a footnote stating that: Radak goes as far as to present a 'Christian' interpretation of our psalm, which he persuasively refutes on both linguistic and ...
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אדנים - Singular vs. Plural

I don't know if this is more Hebrew or if it is about biblical explication. In Malachi 1:6, the text reads וְאִם־אֲדוֹנִ֣ים אָנִי֩ which is translated (on Sefaria and cChabad) as "If I am a master" ...
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68 views

Why is the format for referencing books sometimes backwards?

The Rambam is usually reference in the following way: פרק א׳ מהלכות ק״ש הלכה ט׳ - chapter 1 from from hilchos kerias shma, halacha 9. Why is it referenced this way? Why not the way many ...
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3answers
88 views

Angel helping to find a proper wife?

At one point in time Avraham asks his servant Eliezer to go out and search a wife for his son. In Bereshit 24:7 Avraham tells him that HaShem will send His messenger (malach) before him.. Eliezer ...
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2answers
128 views

The meaning of ירך

I’m unclear as to the meaning of the word ירך that appears in Vayishlach, in 32:26. What’s the precise meaning of ירך often translated as hip, thigh, loin, gird etc. Which body part, bone or muscle is ...
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111 views

Is there any brachah for putting on a headscarf?

Is there any Brachah for putting on a טיכל or מטפחת (headscarf) - like when one puts on his tallit or like an act like washing ones hands? Same applies to a כיפה or יארמולקע. And if there are no ...
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1answer
53 views

make atonement - אכפרה

Shemot 32:30 teaches us that Moshe said to the people: “You have sinned a great sin, and now I will go up unto the Lord, peradventure I shall make atonement for you.” Bereshit 32:20 Likewise teaches ...
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157 views

Origin for making giyur?

A friend of mine asked me from when a Non-Jew was allowed to make giyur (conversion); and on which Biblical verses it was based upon. I guess he wanted to know more about it's origin. So that's why I'...
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1answer
59 views

Hang up people to cause the anger of the Lord to turn

Could someone explain to me how the anger of the Lord is turned by hanging people in view for all to watch? Numbers 25:4 (Mechon-mamre translation): "Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them ...
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28 views

Seeing your face has been like?

Ya'akov finally has met Esav after many years, and against all odds Esav hugs and kisses him. Ya'akov words seem to imply that Esav has granted him favor/grace/mercy. And then in Genesis 33:10 he says:...
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122 views

Why did Ralbag's commentary to Leviticus take so much longer than the other books of the Torah?

At the end of each book in his Commentary to the Torah, Ralbag gives us the date he completed it. At the end of the book of Genesis he tells us that it was completed in October of 1329: והנה היתה ...
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2answers
219 views

Which came first the Mishnah Torah or the Pirush HaMishnayos

Which sefer did the Ramabm author first, was it his Mishnah Torah (Yad HaChazaka) or his commentary to Mishnayos?
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131 views

Did Noach have sefarim from previous generations?

I am pretty sure I saw one of the Mefarshim in the Oz Vehadar Mikraos Gedolos (or a Midrash), that said that Noach learned from a sefer/(or sefarim) from previous generation(s). (I think it might ...