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8 votes
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Why did the last plague target only the firstborn?

A few answers: 1) Shemos Rabbah 15:27 - It underscored the value of firstborns The Torah writes (Shemos 4:22): וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר ה' בְּנִ֥י בְכֹרִ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל Then you shall ...
Dov's user avatar
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8 votes
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Can one lechatchila choose to behead a firstborn donkey?

The Rambam (Hil. Bikkurim 12:1) writes: מצות עשה לפדות כל אדם מישראל פטר חמור בשה ואם לא רצה לפדותו מצות עשה לעורפו שנאמר ופטר חמור תפדה בשה ואם לא תפדה וערפתו ושתי מצות אלו נוהגות בכל מקום ובכל זמן ...
wfb's user avatar
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8 votes

Can one lechatchila choose to behead a firstborn donkey?

Mishna Bekhorot 1:7 מצות פדייה קודמת למצות עריפה, שנאמר "אם לא תפדה וערפתו"‏ The Mitzva of redeeming precedes the Mitzva of [killing], as it says "And if you don't redeem is, [kill] it". So ...
Double AA's user avatar
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7 votes

Why is the word "Makkat" added to 10th plague of Bechorot?

The plague names are all for the substance of the plague. The plague came in the form of blood, frogs, etc. Bechorot would imply an infestation of firstborns.
Heshy's user avatar
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6 votes
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First-born in a case of two wives

Netziv in Ha'amek Davar to Devarim 21:15 points out that we follow the time of birth, not conception, and shows how this is derived from the verses here. He also notes, parenthetically, a contrary ...
Joel K's user avatar
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5 votes

What physical/health factors disqualify an otherwise qualified bechor from pidyon haben?

There is a very interesting 4-volume set of seforim called Nishmas Avraham by Rabbi Dr Avraham-Sofer Avraham which details medical and health based halachos. They are all available on Hebrewbooks.org -...
Dov's user avatar
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5 votes

Petting an unredeemed firstborn donkey ("Peter Chamor")

I attended a pidyon petter chamor in Pittsburgh in 2017. It was organized by the Kollel and attended by many of the local Orthodox rabbis (and lots of other people). Unfortunately the web site they ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
5 votes
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Bas Cohen having relations with a non-Jew Clarification

It depends what relevance of the term "BECHOR" you are asking about: If you mean BECHOR for Pidyon Haben, redemption of the firstborn son, the father does not have to redeem his son, even though the ...
RibbisRabbiAndMore's user avatar
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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Is there a mitzvah to honor the bechor?

The Talmud (Ketubot 103a) states: כבד את אביך ואת אמך את אביך זו אשת אביך ואת אמך זו בעל אמך וי"ו יתירה לרבות את אחיך הגדול Honor your father [et avikha] and your mother [ve’et immekha]. The ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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5 votes
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Is the mitzvah to honor the bechor d'oraisa or d'raban?

The source for this is derasha in the Talmud (Ketubot 103a): כבד את אביך ואת אמך את אביך זו אשת אביך ואת אמך זו בעל אמך וי"ו יתירה לרבות את אחיך הגדול Honor your father [et avikha] and your ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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4 votes

Is Redeeming the Firstborn Son Optional?

The redemption of every first born child is mandatory as we see in the pesukim that I reference. Shmos Bo 13:13 And every firstborn donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, and if you do not redeem [...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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4 votes

Firstborn is sick on erev Pesach

A sick person might be exempt from the fast. R Mansour at dailyhalacha writes Firstborns who are ill or otherwise frail are not required to fast, even if they do not attend a “Se’udat Misva.” R ...
mbloch's user avatar
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4 votes

Why Abel didn't ask Cain to bring his sacrifice?

In Emunot V'Deiot 3:9 R. Saadia Gaon explains that prior to the priesthood of Aaron and his sons, there were always specific people appointed to perform sacrificial services: The third [problem is ...
Alex's user avatar
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4 votes

When a Yavam marries his brother's wife, does he get his brother's double portion if he was a Bechor?

The Maharshal in ים של שלמה in Perek 4, Siman 23 says that the Ramabam, the Ramban, the Rashba and the Tur all hold that he would not get a double portion, however Rashi and the R"I hold that he ...
Chatzkel's user avatar
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3 votes

Why Ishmael never claimed the right of firstborn?

According to the Tosefta (Sotah 6:3), he did attempt to claim his inheritance, and that was what prompted Sarah to kick him out (as opposed to the other opinions there, that Yishmael did the three ...
DonielF's user avatar
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3 votes
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The fast or the rejoicing of the first born erev pesach?

In short: R. Tzvi Hirsh of Zidichov is cited as saying that the true Girsa in Masekhet Soferim should read מתענגים instead of מתענים. This doesn't fit with our version of Masekhet Soferim. There is ...
Tamir Evan's user avatar
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3 votes

Why does a siyum exempt one from taanit bechorot?

Rabbi Elazar Mayer Teitz taught on 7 Nissan in 2008 that all other fast days include both an obligation to fast & an obligation not to eat. This means that even if one has eaten for whatever ...
Ze'ev's user avatar
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3 votes
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Why is the word "Makkat" added to 10th plague of Bechorot?

Another answer is based on a Gemara in Masechta Shabbos 87b - the Gemara there discusses exactly when the tenth plague began. Tosafos brings a Midrash from Shemos Rabbah and notes the following: ...
Dov's user avatar
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3 votes
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Can a woman have a bechor for inheritance?

The laws of bechor for inheritance does not apply to assets of the mother, only the father. This is taught in a Mishna in Bechoros 51B and Bava Basra 122B הבכור נוטל פי שנים בנכסי האב ואינו נוטל פי ...
Chatzkel's user avatar
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2 votes

Did Ishmael receive "שְׁנַיִם, בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יִמָּצֵא, לוֹ" like a firstborn does?

R. Yehuda, expounding on Gen. 25:5, extrapolates from a different verse that Abraham bequeathed the birthright to Isaac (Devarim Rabba, beg. Ch. 11). In Midrash Sekhel Tov (end of Chayei Sara §13) ...
Oliver's user avatar
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2 votes

Why did Yacov suddenly ask for the first-born rights?

The following possibility occurred to me, but I haven't seen it written in any sefer. The Midrash Rabbah in Bamidbar 4:8 states that the right to perform the avodah originated with Adam and was ...
Jay's user avatar
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2 votes
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Why did Yaakov buy the Bechora from Esav?

There are two main approaches to the purchase, found in the Rishonim. That Ya'akov purchased the monetary inheritance right generally held by the firstborn. Suggested by: Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Rabbenu ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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2 votes
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Is there any (relatively) simple way to calculate when/how often the Daf Yomi cycle will finish a tractate on Erev Pesach?

I wrote a program using scripts I wrote for TorahCalc that will calculate when this will happen. Having it end up on the exact date is very rare. Here are the dates for the next 1,000 years where ...
DenverCoder1's user avatar
2 votes

Unusually high ratio of Levites to Firstborn-Levites

I am unaware of any classical commentators who address this question. However, I know of 3 different approaches that have emerged in recent years: Some cite the midrash about each birth in Mitzrayim ...
chessprogrammer's user avatar
2 votes

Who are the Kohanim mentioned in the preparation for the giving of the Torah?

A number of mefarshim explain it as a reference to firstborns - refer to Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Bechor Shor, Rashbam, Shadal The Chizkuni makes an interesting observation: וגם הכהנים וגו׳, “and also the ...
Dov's user avatar
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1 vote

Which peshat Torah or Tanach passage supports the reaction of Joseph when Israel places a right hand of blessing over the head of the younger son?

As stated in my comment, see also the comment of @DoubleAA, the right side is often a reference to 1) strength and judgement, 2) good things. In Koheles, Ecclesiastes, the Torah teaches us that: A ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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1 vote

When a Yavam marries his brother's wife, does he get his brother's double portion if he was a Bechor?

If Reuven dies before his father then the Rambam says that he does not - since the father's inheritance would be "an added-value" after Shimon's death מִי שֶׁיִּבֵּם אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו הוּא ...
Danny Schoemann's user avatar
1 vote

Why did the last plague target only the firstborn?

Or HaChaim on Exodus 11:4 ואומרו כל בכור פירוש לא שתצא הנפש מהגוף לבד אלא שגם בחינת נפש תמות גוף ונפש של קליפת בכור מצרים. ואולי כי בזה לא נתעצם שום גלות עוד כבחינת גלות ושעבוד מצרים כי אבד כח הקליפה ...
code613's user avatar
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