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Questions tagged [commentaries]

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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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What does “Esav soneh l'Ya'akov” means?

There is this famous statement (B"R 78:9): Esav Soneh l'Ya'akov. Although the Tenach states Esav bore a grudge (Genesis 27:41) in his heart, and showed great animosity in wanting to kill Ya'akov, ...
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What is the Shaḥaf according to Ḥizquni?

The שחף (Shaḥaf) is a bird forbidden by the Torah in both Sefer Wayiqra and Devarim. Ḥizquni (חזקוני, Rabbi Ḥizqiyah ben Manoaḥ), writing in Old French, states (Wayiqra 11:16): אשפמר"א ויש אומרים: ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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מלא יד - full hand, meaning?

I've a question about the combination of words מלא יד as shown in verses like Shemot 29:35, 32:29, Vayikra 8:33, Bamidbar 3:3, 1 Divrei HaYamim 29:5, 2 Divrei HaYamim 6:4, 6:15, 13:9, 29:31 etc... ...
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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 ...
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Erev rav - the people of the children of Israel?

I would like to ask a question before the erev of Pesach begins. I found this article online of the chabad website and in it the claim is being made that Yosef and Ya'akov converted different people ...
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Difference between שֵׁבֶט and מַטֶּה

I wondered if there is a difference between the words שֵׁבֶט (rod, stick, staff) and מַטֶּה (rod, stick, staff) in matter of function, symbolism, and 'spiritual meaning'? A mateh seems almost like a ...
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Moadim a time to witness?

The word Moadim (מועדים), Moadei (מועדי) or singular Mo'ed (מועד) is most often translated as a appointed (fixed) time (or season). From the visual look of it these words seem to have a connection ...
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ידע תדע what kind of knowing is this?

In a couple of verses like Genesis 15:13, 1 Samuel 28:1, 1 Kings 2:37, 2:42 and Proverbs 27:23 we find two verbal repetition: 'ידע תדע' quite literally translated as 'knowing you will know'. I know ...
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Give and take a battle?

http://www.aish.com/jl/p/wayofg-d/17-Created-for-Pleasure.html?mobile=yes According to my own understanding the Ramchal thought that because HaShem is completely, perfectly, totally, absolutly, ...
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Head covering a sign of being a bride of HaShem?

Bnei Yisrael’s relationship with HaShem is often described as a marriage; HaShem is the groom and Bnei Yisrael are His bride. See Shir HaShirim for an extended example. The Prophets frequently ...
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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?
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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?
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Chumash with Rashi and Siftei Chachamim

Does anyone know of a Chumash (not Mikraot Gedolot) with Rashi and Siftei Chachamim Most Chumashim come with Ikar Siftei Chachamim, but that's not the same thing.
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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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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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Any connection between Isaiah 40:3 and the story of Ya'akov's name changed to Yisrael?

Regards the name changing from Ya'akov to Yisrael the Kli Yakar states that the name Yisrael comes from the word Yashar El, to be straight with G-d. This transformation is compared to Yeshayahu 40:4 '...
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Grouping of women in the beginning of Parashat Nitzavim

Parashat Nitzavim starts with the following Psukim (Devarim 29,9), grouping the Jewish Nation into two parts: "אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם לִפְנֵי ה"א רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם זִקְנֵיכֶם ...
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How is Teruah connected to friendship and closeness

I came across this article from which I would like to quote something: The concept of Malchuso b'khal adaso allows Bnei Yisroel to transform the teruah from a destructive sound of war into a sound ...
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Ezekiel 37:27-28 My Mishkan v.s. My Mikdash

Ezekiel 37:27-28 reads something like: My dwelling-place also shall be over them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD that sanctify ...
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What is the most effective way to translate non-Hebrew translations found in Rabbinic literature?

Non-Hebrew translations are often included by our Sages when attempting to clarify words or concepts. There are myriad examples in RaSh"I (Shemot 5:7) and Hizquni (Wayiqra 11:16). For relatively ...
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Looking for an interpretation of Shir Hashirim that follows the parsha breaks

Coming off of some tangential discussion in the comments here, I'm looking for an interpretation of Shir Hashirim that follows the parsha breaks. It doesn't have to explicitly address every one, but ...
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Conversion in Egypt?

I found this quote from Bereshit Rabbah 84:4: Ya'akov, his father, made many converts in Egypt. And another in Shemot Rabbah 18:10 G-d made a joyous occasion for Israel, since He redeemed them - ...
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Different roots applied to the same verse of 2 Samuel 11:24

2 Samuel 11:24 (Westminster Leningrad Codex) reads: [וַיֹּרְאוּ כ] (וַיֹּר֨וּ ק) [הַמֹּורְאִים כ] (הַמֹּורִ֤ים ק) Two of these come from the root (ק) ירה while the other two come from the root (...
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Yoma 45b Ner Tamid - How to light it?

I'm trying to figure out what the text of Yoma 45b is teaching it's reader. There is this part (verse 6) about the 'perpetual fire' of the outer court of the mikdash as in Vayikra 6:6. And from this ...
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A command given before it's actually commanded?

I noticed something strange in the parshe of Tetzaveh regards the verse of Shemot 27:20 in which HaShem commands Moshe saying: "And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee ...
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What are “rashei pispasin”?

In Middot 2:6 and 4:5, it says that רָאשֵׁי פִסְפָּסִין divided between different areas of the Beit haMikdash, specifically between the Ezrat Kohanim and Ezrat Yisrael, and between the areas above the ...
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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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Avraham: Two different groups of people blessed on two different pieces of ground? Or maybe not

In Bereshit 12:3 HaShem tells Avram: וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה - in thee shall all the families/households of the earth be blessed. While in Bereshit 18:18 it says: וְנִבְרְכוּ-...
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Making a great name

HaShem tells Avra(ha)m that He will make his name great (Bereshit 12:2), but in the generations before Avram to make one's own name great doesn't seem to be such a great thing (Bereshit 6:4 and 11:4). ...
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Source for Adam being made with the letter Hey

I know of this gemarah teaching (see also Midrash Rabah 12:2) about Bereshit 2:4 which teaches that the phrase: 'Eileh toldot hashamayim v'ha'aretz b'hibaram' could be read as 'b'Hey baram', that ...
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Teshuvah: How to return or going back to one's true nature?

In the 5th bracha of the Amidah, we request from HaShem "our father" (אבינו), to return us (השיבנו) we mention three kinds of Teshuvah – 1. returning to HaShem, 2.returning to the Torah, and 3. ...
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Mashal and Mishal

When looking at the word משל (proverb, parable or allegory), I found out it's a tribe from Asher (Divrei Hayamim 6:59), but in Yehoshua 21 it reads from the tribe of Asher, משאל (with the meaning ...
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The importance of a name with meaning

What is the importance of a name? I read this on the Aish website:link The naming of a Jewish child is a most profound spiritual moment. The Sages say that naming a baby is a statement of her ...
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Teacher of the Pnei Yehoshua

What was the name of the rav/teacher of HoRav Ya'akov Yehoshua ben Tzvi, author of the Pnei Yehoshua?
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No trust in His servants, and charging His malachim?

Iyov 4:18 Behold, In His (HaShem's) servants 'lo yamin', and in His messengers 'yasim toholah'. Behold, He putteth no trust in His servants, and His angels He chargeth with folly (or error). I ...
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What's the symbolic meaning of stones in the Tenach?

Whether it are stones being erected, building blocks for the Temple, stones being used for the breastshield, the stones that became one etc. Stones seem to represent lots of meanings. So what exactly ...
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Nation, people, kingdom?

What definitions fit the most with these words: לאם/לאום (l'om) עם (am) גוי (goy) ממלכה (mamlachah) They are all refering to Israel and the other people in the world; but how do i understand them ...
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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 (...