Questions tagged [parshanut-torah-comment]

interpretation of the Torah the first part of the Tanach

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30
votes
9answers
2k views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example: the last mishna in Kiddushin (4:14), Rashi on Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the ...
23
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7answers
2k views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
22
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5answers
2k views

Halachic Restrictions not in the Torah, and “shall not add”

How can halachic restrictions that are not in the Torah be reconciled with the Deuteronomy 4:2 passage, which says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from ...
17
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2answers
11k views

Do religious Jews generally believe the serpent of Garden of Eden was Satan?

Upon reading the recent CNN article, That Actually Isn't In The Bible, one not-really-in-the-Bible misconception they cite is the idea that serpent in the Garden of Eden was the Satan. The article ...
12
votes
3answers
296 views

verb + its infinitive

Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and ...
15
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2answers
15k views

All people in world are Jews?

According to the Book of Genesis, Noah saved his family and representatives of every animal from a flood by constructing a boat. So since all of humanity should be descended from Noah, does that mean ...
19
votes
11answers
962 views

Yaakov Marrying Two Sisters [duplicate]

According to those that say the Avos kept the Torah beforehand (here), how was Yaakov allowed to marry two sisters? (Yes, I'm aware that there are many answers)
21
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6answers
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Why are women unclean longer after giving birth to a girl?

I read that women are unclean for two weeks after giving birth to a girl and seven days after giving birth to a boy. What does it tell us?
15
votes
2answers
435 views

Understanding of Ps. 137 before the exile

Psalm 137 starts (in my own translation) On Babylon's rivers, there, we sat, also cried, in our remembering Zion. and continues to describe the scene. Ibn Ezra cites some who hold that David ...
11
votes
5answers
745 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
7
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2answers
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How were Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai “Sons of Giants”?

In Bamidbar 13:22, the Torah tells us that the spies saw Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Giants. Rashi tells us they were the descendants of Shamchazai and Azael, angels who fell from heaven ...
15
votes
2answers
299 views

Esav was coming with 400 men: why then

Why was Esav going toward Yaakov (Gen. 33:1, 32:7) if he had (27:41) planned to wait to kill him until Yitzchak was dead? (Please cite your source, if any.)
5
votes
1answer
186 views

Aharon's and Miriam's Yahrtzeit

The Book of Numbers spans almost the entire 40 year period in the desert, documenting numerous events that occurred to the Jews as they wandered. I count only 5 dates mentioned in the text (listed in ...
6
votes
2answers
490 views

If Ketura wasn't Hagar, who was she?

The Torah tells us (Bereshit 25:1) that "Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah." The Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904) says that Ketura was from Yafet (english from here): "Abraham married ...
8
votes
2answers
305 views

Who sold Yosef, and who knew?

I had always understood that Yosef's brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites. We know that they planned to do so, but during this week's torah reading I noticed this for the first time: כח ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Sarah is Abraham's sister?

Genesis 20:12 has Abraham honestly saying that Sarah is indeed his sister when he is talking with Abimelek. Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and ...
23
votes
11answers
628 views

“I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned…” - how do we understand this?

At the end of bentching we say that "I was young, and I also became old, and I never saw a righteous person be abandoned, and his children asking for bread" (Tehillim 37:25). How do we reconcile that ...
13
votes
3answers
567 views

What happened to the bechorim (first-borns)?

In the begining of sefer bamidbar, the males between 20 and 60 are counted and it says that there are over 600,000 of them. Theoretically each, or most, of these people should have had a first-born ...
6
votes
1answer
198 views

Psalm 145: Which Person?

Psalm 145 makes up the bulk of the oft recited prayer known as Ashrei. It is an alphabetic acrostic (missing the letter nun) about the greatness of God. The verses beginning with Alef, Bet, Dalet, ...
6
votes
5answers
645 views

Mordechai - Religious Leader or Political figure?

I'm looking to gather some more background, context, sources and opinions, regarding Mordechai's religiousness, or lack thereof. This was the topic of a recent comment thread on Was Darius Jewish?,...
4
votes
8answers
832 views

What does the term “sons of G-d” mean?

The term "sons of G-d" בני האלהים is found 5 times in the Hebrew Bible, once in Genesis (6:2), three times in Job (1:6, 2:1 and 38:7) and one time in Psalms (29:1). What does it mean? Does it have the ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

After the first plague, where did Paro's magicians get water to turn to blood?

Sh'mot chapter 7 describes the first plague, with the Nile and all other water turning to blood (except the Israelites' water). Paro's magicians then turn water into blood, which convinces Paro that ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

Moses lived 120 years, and tradition says no one can live longer, so why do they?

Genesis 6:3: And the LORD said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.' In Deut. 34:7 the age of Moses upon his ...
9
votes
2answers
380 views

Why does the tribe of Gad have an unusual population count in Bamidbar 1?

When listing the census of the tribes in Bamidbar 1, only the tribe of Gad has the count 45,650 - I.e. - the count is not exactly on the hundreds as it is with all the other tribes. As the count was ...
8
votes
3answers
635 views

Question about the actions of Pinchas when he killed Zimri

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 82A), while relating the story of Pinchas killing Zimri, tells us the following: "And Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it." (Bamidbar 25:7) Now, ...
7
votes
5answers
413 views

(Neis) Miracle of Sarah giving birth at 90

We all know how in Parshas Vayeira the miracle of Sarah giving birth @ 90 takes place. In Mitzrayim Yocheved gave birth @ 130 yet there is no mention of this. Was it not a bigger miracle? Then why is ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Was Adam placed in Gan Eden to keep the service of HaShem?

Bereshit 2:15 reads: לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ, but it seems that this can't be referring to: 'to work the earth and keep it', because after the chet (the sin) it reads in Bereshit 3:23 that Adam was ...
3
votes
2answers
250 views

Why does Rashi describe Mahalath as “Another unsuitable wife”?

At the end of Parshat Toldot, Eisav marries the daughter of Yishmael, as he "perceives" that the daughters of Heth have upset his parents. Whilst obviously Eisav had many flaws, this appears to be a ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Dividing the world for the sons of Noah

Rashi (Gen 12,6) mentions that Noah divided the world between his sons and that Israel was given to Shem and his descendants: והכנעני אז בארץ. הָיָה הוֹלֵךְ וְכוֹבֵשׁ אֶת אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל ...
14
votes
9answers
684 views

Why Didn't Yosef tell Yaakov He was Still Alive?

What do the meforshim say on why Yosef didn't tell Yaakov he was still alive? Do any critique him?
11
votes
2answers
271 views

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

I noticed a mix of the two forms of the Hebrew objective marker commonly pronounced אֶת. in the Torah. (There is no English translation of this word. It is used only to notify that an object follows ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

How can you see words?

Has anyone else noticed the seeming incongruity in Lekh Lekha, Gen 15:1...that Avram is "seeing" the words? The verse states: אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, הָיָה דְבַר-יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, בַּמַּחֲזֶה,...
22
votes
2answers
998 views

Why are none of the Pharaohs in the Torah identified by name?

Throughout the Torah, the various Egyptian Pharaohs are always referred to as simply "Pharaoh" or "the king of Egypt" (or both), but never with any other parts of their official titulary. By contrast,...
12
votes
6answers
663 views

What did the 70 elders see?

Parshat Mishpatim says of the 70 elders who went up on Har Sinai with Moshe and Aharon: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, ...
7
votes
0answers
223 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
220 views

First it says everyone had their own language; but then it says all spoke one before being split

First, in Noach, pasuk Chof perek Yud, it says אֵלֶּה בְנֵי חָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם; then again a few pasukim later, pasuk Lamed Aleph, אֵלֶּה בְנֵי שֵׁם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם. So ...
6
votes
0answers
172 views

Which Rishonim viewed maaseh bereishit as an allegory?

I have often heard that many rishonim were comfortable with the idea that at least the first week of creation could be read allegorically, not literally. What are the specific sources that support ...
3
votes
4answers
139 views

Did Moshe need to do all 3 signs for the Jewish people and if so why?

In Shemos 4:1 Moshe expresses his concern to God that the people will not believe that he was commanded by God to take them out. God then gives him 3 signs (4:2-9) stating that if they won't believe [...
2
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3answers
1k views

How many Kosher animals were in Noach's Ark?

How many animals total of each Kosher species were in the teivah during the flood?
1
vote
2answers
132 views

Why didn't Esav try to kill Ya'akov while Ya'akov was in Lavan's home?

I'm trying to reconcile a verse with the actual event timeline. Genesis 27:41: וַיִּשְׂטֹ֤ם עֵשָׂו֙ אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹ֔ב עַל־הַ֨בְּרָכָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בֵּרֲכ֖וֹ אָבִ֑יו וַיֹּ֨אמֶר עֵשָׂ֜ו בְּלִבּ֗וֹ ...
19
votes
10answers
2k views

Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom?

In Bereshit 12:11-16, we see that Avraham was willing to receive gifts from Pharoah: 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold now,...
13
votes
3answers
381 views

How did Hevel offer an animal sacrifice, wasn't it forbidden to kill animals?

In Bereshit 4:4, Hevel offers his choicest sheep as a sacrifice to G-d. However, in Bereshit 1:29-30, Adam is told he is only allowed to eat vegetables, and Rashi explains that he was forbidden to ...
11
votes
5answers
332 views

“May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh” — in what way?

Bereishit 48:20: וַיְבָרֲכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמוֹר בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת אֶפְרַיִם לִפְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה So he blessed ...
11
votes
9answers
501 views

Wording in Torah when Moshe is commanded to appear before Pharaoh

This shabbos, the Parasha, Bo, starts with Moshe being told to "Bo El Paroh", "Come to Pharaoh". I don't understand this wording, should it have said "Lech El Paroh", "go to Pharaoh"? Is there a ...
8
votes
2answers
240 views

Why did Pharaoh believe Joseph's dream interpretation?

It would take years before Pharaoh could know if any of Joseph's fat-thin cow dream interpretation was accurate. Why then did Pharaoh make Joseph 2nd in command in the country immediately? Were ...
8
votes
3answers
379 views

Why were the Jews punished for 40 years if the spies were the ones who were there for 40 days?

Rashi (Bemidbar 13:25) implies that the Jews were in the Sinai Desert for 40 years in response to the spies being in the Land of Israel for 40 days. While the spies had 40 days worth of planning to ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does Rashi say “I don't know”?

The Posuk says (Genesis 28:5): וַיִּשְׁלַח יִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם אֶל לָבָן בֶּן בְּתוּאֵל הָאֲרַמִּי אֲחִי רִבְקָה אֵם יַעֲקֹב וְעֵשָׂו To which Rashi comments on the fact ...
6
votes
4answers
625 views

Why is the birth of twins a Chidush for Rivka?

Background: In Parshat Toldot, Rivka conceives and is troubled by the discomfort. She goes to ask Hashem and it is explained to her that 2 nations are struggling within her, so she already knows that ...
6
votes
2answers
247 views

Were Esav, Yishmael, and Nimrod Evildoers?

This question asserts that Ishmael was an evildoer (rasha). However, based on a simple (p'shat) reading of the relevant texts (in Genesis), neither he nor Esau nor Nimrod appear to do anything "evil."...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How old were Avraham and Sarah when they got married?

How old were Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu when they got married?