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

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Establishing the relative order of Rashi's commentaries

In learning Masekhet Ketubot, I encountered Rashi's definition of בי שמשי on daf 103a. There, since the passage is clearly referring to twilight on erev shabbat in particular, Rashi explains why so ...
Shimon bM's user avatar
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Judges Chapter 9 and Aesop's Fable

In the book of Judges 9:8-15 we have the following fable: 8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree: Reign thou over us. 9 But the olive-...
Alex's user avatar
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Why isn't midrash rabbah learnt as much as other commentaries

I feel like there's more of a stress to learn other commentaries, and midrash rabbah and tanchuma are just nice things extra if you want to. I see amazing droshos in the midrash, and was wondering why ...
yosefkorn's user avatar
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Why did Rashi choose Hebrew over Aramaic?

Rashi chose a form of Medieval Hebrew to write his commentaries, which facilitates the life of many students, as the Aramaic content in his writing is very low compared to the Gemara or contemporary ...
Kazi bácsi's user avatar
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Comparing the Heart and Luchot

I was reading in Mishlei (3:3, 7:3) the other day and noticed that our hearts are sometimes compared to tablets, and that on it the Words of HaShem should be inscribed. This reminded me of Yirmiyahu ...
Levi's user avatar
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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 ...
Dr. Shmuel's user avatar
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Esav/ Yishmael and Mahalath, and the explanation of the Gra

Rabbi Sorotzkin in his sefer "Keitz HaYamin" (vol. 2, p. 13) writes: עשו וישמעאל הן קין והבל - Eisav and Yishmael are Kayin and Hevel It seems that he got this idea from the Gra on Sifra ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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Why would G-d let angels speak on His behalf?

In regards to this question of mine I would like to ask: In Genesis/Bereshit 18:10 it seems that one of the men/angels visiting Avraham is saying that Sarah will give birth to a son, while in Genesis ...
Levi's user avatar
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What is 1,530 a reference to?

In his commentary to Genesis 7:12, R. Isaiah of Trani (the Elder) writes: וכן במניין ישראל אלף וחמש מאות ושלשים ואי אפשר דבר זה שלא היה אחד מהם יתר או חסר אלא כן דרך המקראות לתפוש מניין שלם ואפי' חסר ...
Alex's user avatar
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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 ...
Marcus's user avatar
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Moving things around "opposite the gap" in an enclosure on Shabbat

On Shabbat there are mitigating structures whose presence can enclose an area physically, constituting a necessary ingredient in allowing movement of objects within that area. There are several ...
WAF's user avatar
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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 ...
Alex's user avatar
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Adam 's sin out of deveikut?

I found this online: In his sefer "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh," R' Itamar Shwartz emphasizes the important point that our existence in this world is for the purpose of being davuk to our Creator; to be ...
Levi's user avatar
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3 votes
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Connection between 5 books of the Torah and the 5 Megillot?

The megillot are read on different occasions in the year: Shir HaShirim on Pesach Rut on Shavuot Eicha on Tisha b'Av Kohelet on Sukkot Esther on Purim Do any mefarshim find a connection between the ...
bondonk's user avatar
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Translation help: powers of the seven great men of the city

I'm struggling with a particular part of the reasoning of the Mahari ben-Lev in responsum 2:72, in which he addresses whether or not the טובי העיר have the power to make a rule banning townsfolk from ...
Zarka's user avatar
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In the third Beis Hamikdash, will the outer gates have tall walls also on the outside?

BH In Yechezkayl 40:6 and some other pesukim it talks about the gates for the outer walls of {the Ezras Nashim of} the third Beis Hamikdash: Then he came to the gate which looks toward the east, and ...
B''H Bi'ezras -- Boruch Hashem's user avatar
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Magen Avraham's sources from the Arizal

When the Magen Avraham (commentary on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim) refers to כתבים, writings, as his source, I take it for granted that he is referring to the writings of the students of the Arizal. ...
Mordechai's user avatar
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How can tumah pass through a cupboard?

Ohalot 4:1 says that where there is a source of tumah beneath a cupboard, everything in the house is tamei. ArtScroll adds that the things in the cupboard remain tahor: “the tumah penetrates into the ...
Zarka's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is there a list of all of Abarbanel’s questions on the Torah?

I was wondering if anyone has this by itself compiled as a tool for learning the Parsha. I want to go over each question and look at the mefarshim.
Richard Franklin's user avatar
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Rav Yosef Karo's Kesef Mishneh: is there online an English translation?

Do you know of online an English translation of Rav Yosef Karo's Kesef Mishneh? Unless I'm mistaken, it is a fundamental work to better understand the Mishneh Torah.
Amos74's user avatar
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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 ...
Yosef Mackler's user avatar
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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."...
Dan Weisberg's user avatar
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Your name shall be 'Yisrael', but what does it mean and why so?

In relation to another question of mine I would like to know what the name Yisrael really means. It literally says Ya'akov is now names Yisrael because he has struggled AND has overcome. I heard ...
Levi's user avatar
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The phase between death and resurrection comparable to sleeping?

Tehillim 13:4 talks about the the sleep of death (אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת), Yeshayahu 26:19 reads something like my dead bodies shall arise--awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust (הָקִיצוּ), Daniel 12:2 ...
Levi's user avatar
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3 votes
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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 Chabad) as "If I am a master&...
rosends's user avatar
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HaSatan how should it be described?

The Babylonian Talmud (Bava Bathra 16a) states that the Evil Inclincation (Yetzer ha-Ra), the Angel of Death and HaSatan are identical. The Talmud seems to distinguish between HaSatan outside man (...
Levi's user avatar
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3 votes
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a non halachic pirush on maseches kelim

I recall once having seen a pirush on maseches kelim from a kabalah - chasidus viewpoint, and i since cant recall the name of the sefer or who wrote it, any ideas?
rabbi's user avatar
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Did the Rambam write in response to the Ibn Ezra?

According to some interpretations (including, it seems, the explanations of Spinoza) the Ibn Ezra's commentary makes allusion to the idea that some of the Torah (beyond the talmudic discussion of the ...
rosends's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
114 views

Sefardim starting to study the Talmud with Rashi and Tosfot

When did the sefardim start to study the Talmud with Rashi and Tosfot? And which books did they use before knowing about Rashi and Tosfot?
far22's user avatar
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Language of Mishneh Brurah - Sefiras HaOmer and counting before Aleinu

Shulchan Aruch 489:1 says that after Maariv of the second night of Pesach we begin to count Sefiras HaOmer. The Mishneh Brurah there in note 2 says that one should count before "Aleinu" because "col ...
Yehoshua's user avatar
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2 votes
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Meaning of Mishlei 14:18?

Shalom. Mishlei 14:18 reads, in Rabbi Eliezer Ginsburg’s English translation, ‘Simpletons have inherited folly, but the shrewd make knowledge a crown.’ I only have Rabbi Ginsburg’s commentary on this ...
Tom W's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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The Ox and The Donkey: Moshiach and Eisav

The Torah tells us in Parshas Vayishlach that Yaakov says: וַֽיְהִי־לִי֙ שׁ֣וֹר וַחֲמ֔וֹר - I have acquired oxen and asses There are some commentaries that connect this very specific posuk to ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Parshas Vayechi: The impurity of Philistim

The Shivlei Pinches (Parshas Vayechi, 5774) shares an incredible idea about the spiritual impurity/kelipah of the Philistim (Hebrew here). The Shivlei Pinches explains, regarding Shimshon HaGibor, ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
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Malchus Yishmael and the connection with clay

I was stuyding the Midrash Rabbah (Bereishis Rabbah 2:4) on the four galuyos and why Malchus Yishmael isn't included. This got me to sefer Daniel 2:31-33. There, we read about a great statue, with a ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
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44 views

What is the source of not to speak dvarim betelim

BH What’s the source and meaning of not speaking dvarim Beteilim purposeless words?
David 's user avatar
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310 views

Avraham going down to Mitzrayim: contradiction between the Satmar Rav and Noam Elimelech

The Noam Elimelech teaches us that Avraham Avinu went down to Mitzrayim to "influence" the wicked in his generation. In order to do this, a tzaddik sometimes needs to "descend to a ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
90 views

The wicked redemption: chiddush of the Rabbeinu Gershom

The Gemara in Tamid 32a writes: He said to them: Who among you is wiser than the others? They said to him: We are all equal in wisdom, as every matter that you say to us, we solve for you unanimously....
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
81 views

Why does the Torah sometimes use riddles, metaphor and misleading words instead of direct explanation?

If the Torah's lessons are critical for all to know, and written by Hashem, why is it sometimes so obtuse? Let's focus this question on 2 places: the 3 sefarim of King Shlomo Shir HaShirim, Kohellet ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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Perplexing section of Moreh Nevuchim

The Rambam writes in Moreh Nevuchim: Prefatory Remarks/Directions for the Study of this Work (numbering mine): (1) ואני משביע באלהי יתברך כל מי שיקרא מאמרי זה שלא יפרש ממנו אפילו דבר אחד, ולא יבאר ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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The oil and Chanukah: what does it come to teach us?

The basic story of what happened when the Hasmonean monarchy overcame the Greeks, and hence we celebrate Chanukah, can be found in the Gemara in Shabbos 21b: When the Greeks entered the Sanctuary ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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Is טיית a language?

Rav Hai Ga'on's commentary to Keilim 14:3 reads: הקנטר של בנאי. פי' כמין מטה ושבט של ברזל שהוא לבנאים לחתור בו הכותל ושמו בטיית בורסין What do the last three words mean? I assume it's a reference to ...
Zarka's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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And he shall rend it by its wings - questions on the burnt offering

Today, my Chavrusa and I were learning Parashas (Vayikra 1:17): And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Cursing the ground because of the imagination of the heart?

In Genesis 3:17 G-d says that the ground shall be cursed because of Adam. Later on in Genesis 8:21 G-d tells Noah that He will never curse the ground again (since the devisings of man’s mind are evil ...
Levi's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
98 views

Pischei Teshuva usually cites Ba'er Heitev

I haven't checked if this is true elsewhere, but I keep noticing in Yoreh Deah that the Pischei Teshuvah +80% of the time cites the Ba'er Heitev in the name of the Shach or the Taz. He could have ...
robev's user avatar
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2 votes
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"Saving up" an explanation on Orlah 3 (Tosafos Yom Tov)

The third chapter of Orlah lists several cases in which some illegal orlah produce needs to be destroyed to prevent it from being consumed or profited from. In the penultimate mishna, the last case ...
WAF's user avatar
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2 votes
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57 views

Where does HaShem stands and in which council?

Psalm 82 teaches that Elohim (אלהים) stands (נצב to position oneself) within the council/congregation (עדת-אל) of El, among/amidst (בקרב) elohiem (אלהים) He judge (ישפט). Someone told me to look at ...
Levi's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Zohar's interpretation of Bereshit 1

The Zohar's interpretation of the words 'Bereshit bara Elohim', usually translated as 'In the beginning G-d created', seems not to understand the word Elohim to be the subject of the verb bara, but ...
Y.Talmid's user avatar
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What does the Malbim in his perush on אשת חיל in Mishlei, base his derech hamuskal on?

The Malbim in his perush on אשת חיל in Mishlei chapter 31,has 2 Perushim and one is called derech hamuskal. He learns that the whole Eishes Chayil is a Mashal. Where is the Malbim coming from, what ...
Art's user avatar
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0 answers
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A question of theodicy

A lot of people are bothered by the fact that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Chazal answers by saying that it all averages out in the World to Come. But I don'...
Maurice Mizrahi's user avatar
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0 answers
70 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, ...
Levi's user avatar
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