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14 votes
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Are there any Midrashim where Yitzchak was actually sacrificed by Avraham?

A collection of four medrashim can be seen here along with their translations and an explanation. Pirkay DeRabbi Eliezer, ch. 31. ר' יהודה אמר: כיון שהגיע החרב על צוארו, פרחה ויצאה נשמתו של יצחק. ...
user6591's user avatar
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13 votes
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Who was older, Miriam or Aaron?

Tosafot Bechorot 4a: דלא היה אהרן בכור דמרים גדולה ממנו ג' שנים כדאמר במדרש [ריש פ' שמות] כמו שהיה אהרן גדול ממשה ג' שנים Aharon was not the firstborn, because Miriam was three years older ...
Joel K's user avatar
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12 votes

Sarah is Abraham's sister?

There is a Midrash (Megillah 14a) that Sarah was really the same as Yiskah (from Gen 11:28), which would make her Avraham's niece, which is pretty close to a sister. However, Ibn Ezra (Gen 20:12) ...
Double AA's user avatar
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12 votes
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Rachel Imeinu Deceiving Lavan while pregnant

The Midrash (Megillah 17a) says Yaakov spent 2 years tarrying on his way back from Lavan (18 months in Sukkot and 6 months in Beit-El). So there's no way Rachel was already pregnant when she saw her ...
Double AA's user avatar
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11 votes

Why not send a substitute for Benyamin (sources)?

Chizkuni 44:2 says that actually Yosef was unconvinced it was Binyamin and felt that perhaps it was a stranger from the street. Therefore he hid the goblet by Binyamin to see if the brothers will come ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
10 votes
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Did Jacob ever figure out what the Brothers did to Joseph?

Ramban (Genesis 45:27) writes that according to the peshat, it does not appear that Yaakov ever found out what happened to Yosef: יראה לי על דרך הפשט שלא הוגד ליעקב כל ימיו כי אחיו מכרו את יוסף, ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why did the Torah need to be given if the Avos knew and kept it?

1) Revelation at Har Sinai was necessary to make it mandatory. As Mizrachi explains, the reason Avraham waited, until commanded, to perform circumcision is because there is greater merit in fulfilling ...
josh waxman's user avatar
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10 votes

How was Reuven considered Yaakov's first drop of semen?

One possibility is that the verses in Chapter 29 are not in precise chronological order, and verse 31 actually took place before verse 28. That is to say that God saw that Leah was hated and opened ...
Alex's user avatar
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9 votes

Places in Tanach where Yaakov & Eliyahu are spelled different than usual

Yaakov with a vav: Leviticus (26:42), Jeremiah (30:18), (33:26), (46:27), (51:19). Eliyahu without a vav: II Kings (1:3), (1:4), (1:8), (1:12), Malachi (3:23).
mevaqesh's user avatar
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9 votes
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Who killed Nimrod?

The Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer does indeed state that Esav killed Nimrod (ed. Higger ch. 31). This is also found in Yalkut Shimoni (Parashat Tol'dot 110) and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (Parashat Tol'dot 25:27)...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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9 votes

Dovid got lifespan from Adam and/or the Avos

Yes at first glance they are in conflict. Sefer Yosef Tehilos 42:9 (Chida) reconciles this with the explanation that David did not sleep and this the nights counted towards the 140 years. יומם יצוה ה׳...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
9 votes

Limited procreation of the patriarchs

Sarah having a child a 90 was a miracle. You want to know why another miracle didn't occur? Rivka had her uterus destroyed by Esav as he was born. He did this specifically so she should not have 12 ...
user6591's user avatar
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9 votes

Did early biblical figures like Isaac abstain from intimate relations until marriage?

I don't know the source off the top of my head, but I recall seeing a source (maybe a midrash) that says that when Yaakov conceived Reuvain not only was that his first time ever having intercourse it ...
DavefromBaltimore's user avatar
8 votes
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Name changing and mazal with 2 of our fathers and 1 mother

The Talmud states that changing one's name can tear up the decree against them, and derives this from Sarah who had a child after her name was changed: Rosh Hashana 16b וא"ר יצחק ד' דברים מקרעין ...
Alex's user avatar
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8 votes
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Did early biblical figures like Isaac abstain from intimate relations until marriage?

Keep in mind that the Rambam (Ishus 1:1) states that before the giving of the Torah marriage was simply an act of intimacy with intent to marry. No formal ceremony. So your question is basically, &...
alephbeis's user avatar
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7 votes

How could Yaakov name his children Gad and Dan?

In my newest book, God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry (Mosaica Press, 2018) on pg. 322, I address this question: R. Chaim Palagi (1788–1868) asks why Jacob allowed his son to be called ...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
7 votes
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Do Jews pray to deceased forefathers?

For a long time there have been Jews who have indeed beseeched the dead. However, numerous sources state that this is prohibited. Some state that it is permitted if the request is not directly from ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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7 votes
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How could they call Yaakov by name?

Ohr HaYashar to Hilkhot Mamrim (6:3) points this out, but doesn't seem to answer. Daf Al Hadaf to Pesahim (56a) quotes several answers: the Sefer Merafsin Igra (page 233) is cited as suggesting that ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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7 votes

Why didn't our forefathers team up with Shem and Ever?

Although they didn't 'team up' through marriage, there are quite a few sources that do point to an association with them in religious practises etc. Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishis 80 - Avraham sent for ...
Dov's user avatar
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6 votes

Why doesn't the Chumash record a blessing for Yitzchak?

Rashi to Bereishis 25:11 quotes the Gemara in Sotah 14 that, as Avraham foresaw that Eisav would descend from Yitzchak, he was afraid to give Yitzchak the Brachos, fearing that they would go to Eisav ...
DonielF's user avatar
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6 votes
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Canaanite wives of the Bnei Ya'akov (Sefer HaYashar)

According to Pesahim 50a, the very premise of the question; that Jacob's sons married Canaanite women is wrong. Indeed, the very notion is so inconceivable that that the Talmud interprets Genesis (38:...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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6 votes

The birth of Reuven does not result in Yaakov loving Leah?

First of all, Rav Hirsch points out that the precise language involved Vayeitzei 29:31 וַיַּ֤רְא יְהֹוָה֙ כִּֽי־שְׂנוּאָ֣ה לֵאָ֔ה וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת־רַחְמָ֑הּ וְרָחֵ֖ל עֲקָרָֽה actually means (in ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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6 votes

What was Bilhah and Zilpah's ancestry?

According to Bereishit Rabbah 74:13 Bilhah and Zilpah were also daughters of Lavan. וַיַּעַן לָבָן וַיֹּאמֶר לְיַעֲקֹב הַבָּנוֹת בְּנֹתַי וְהַבָּנִים בָּנַי (בראשית לא, מג), אָמַר רַבִּי אָבִין ...
Joel K's user avatar
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6 votes

What Biblical couple is the standard for happy and healthy marital relationships?

Reminds me of the four unsung heroes of Judaism who never sinned -- they're all supporting roles to the big biblical heroes. If there's no tension or drama, there's not much we can learn from them. I ...
Shalom's user avatar
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6 votes

Why wasn't Yosef's wife counted in the 70 people of Yaakov's family that went down to Egypt?

A¹ according to the Tur on Torah you can say Asnas was the 70th. A² according to chachmei Tzarfas and Chizkuni in parshas Emor by the ger you can say since Asnas father was Shchem therefore she wasn't ...
Shlomy's user avatar
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5 votes
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Did Ishmael receive "שְׁנַיִם, בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יִמָּצֵא, לוֹ" like a firstborn does?

The verses strongly indicate that not only did Avraham not give a double portion to Yishmael, he gave (basically) everything to Yitshak. For example, right before stating that Avraham died, Genesis (...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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5 votes
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Dovid got lifespan from Adam and/or the Avos

Rav Daniel Glatstein last night gave a shiur on Hoshana Rabbah (Ushpizin of Dovid HaMelech), and addressed this question. You can watch it here; it starts at 19:45. He brought three explanations: Ohr ...
robev's user avatar
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5 votes

Why didn't Binyamin die?

Excellent question. Note that R' Yosef Ibn Caspi makes the connection between these two Pesukim as well (although he doesn't mention the same idea as Rashi, nor does he generally subscribe to similar ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
5 votes

Before the Matan Torah, did HaShem issue divorce regulations?

The Maggid Mishne (Rav Vidal of Tolosa, spain 14th century) on the Rambam Hilchot Ishut 1,1 says that before Mattan Torah (giving the Torah to Israel) everyone had a status of a gentile and he cross-...
user15464's user avatar
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5 votes

When did G-d say to Yaakov that he will have 12 sons?

Yefeh Einayim there says that Yaakov deduced it from the way the 12 stones joined together (68:11 according to R' Yehuda), or from having been shown the redivision of Eretz Yisroel described in ...
Meir's user avatar
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