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24 votes
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What literally was the mark of Cain?

Here is a sampling of the interpretations offered by the commentators (all taken from commentaries to the verse in question): Rashi God inscribed (part of) His name on Cain's forehead: חקק לו אות ...
Alex's user avatar
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19 votes

What literally was the mark of Cain?

Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 22:12 וַיָּשֶׂם ה' לְקַיִן אוֹת, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אָמַר הִזְרִיחַ לוֹ גַּלְגַּל חַמָּה, אָמַר רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה לְאוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע הָיָה ...
ezra's user avatar
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13 votes
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Hammurabi in the Book of Genesis

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (here): In accordance with the suggestion of the late Professor Eb. Schrader, he is almost universally identified with the AMRAPHEL of ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
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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12 votes
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Esav "kissed" (vayishakheihu) have dots over this word, is there an explanation? Or is it a scribal error?

Thanks for the interesting question: Avos Derabbi Nosson 34:5 cites two possibilities, one is that this kiss was particularly sincere or non-sincere, and the other is that these are markers that ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
10 votes
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When was water created?

Pirkê D'Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 3) states that water was created on the first day: שמונה דברים נבראו ביום ראשון, ואלו הן: .... ורוח ומים, שנאמר ורוח אלהים מרחפת על פני המים Trans.: Eight things were ...
Oliver'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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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
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Who is Rabbi Koryah?

Coincidentally, I happened to research this just last summer. There are two sages that can be identified by this name, one a tanna and the other an amorah: The tanna Rabbi Chelbo of Koreya: This sage ...
Harel13's user avatar
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8 votes

Why was Adam Embarrassed

The OP asks, why did Adam hide in fear because of his nakedness even though he had already made clothing (the fig leaves) for themselves? Note that Rav Hirsch and Art Scroll translate this as aprons, ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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8 votes
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Where, and what, is Elonei Mamre? And who is Mamre?

Ber. 13:18 Abram moved on. He came and settled in the (1)Plains of (2)Mamre, in (3)Hebron, and there he built an altar to God. (1)Plains Eloney Mamre in Hebrew. Others translate it, 'Terebinths ...
Dr. Shmuel's user avatar
8 votes

What literally was the mark of Cain?

No answer is complete without the Kabbalistic interpretation Tikkunei Zohar 118,2: הָכָא תָב בִּתְיוּבְתָּא וְאִתְחַרַט, בְּגִין דָּא וַיָּשֶׂם יהו"ה לְקַיִן אוֹת (שם, טו), הָכָא רָמַז אוֹת בְּרִית ...
user15464's user avatar
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8 votes

Onan son of Judah brother of Er reincarnated in Numbers?

No. They were not reincarnated. Genesis 38- they're being mentioned in the present tense of the story. Numbers 26- after the plague that killed many people in Klal Yisrael (see previous chapter), ...
alicht's user avatar
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8 votes

Were Rivka, Rachel, and Leah monotheists prior to marrying their respective husbands?

Our Sages (Bereishis Rabbah 70:16) tell us that "Leah's eyes were weak" from crying "whilst praying" that she wouldn't have to marry Eisav. In fact, they say that her prayers were ...
Imanonov's user avatar
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7 votes
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What became of Hevel's body?

There are a few Midrashic sources that tell us that the animal kingdom seemed to take care of things: In Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 21 it notes that firstly his sheepdog did 'shmira' over the body, and ...
Dov's user avatar
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7 votes

How did Rashi come to the conclusion that the heavens were created from fire and water?

Chagigah 12a: מַאי שָׁמַיִם אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בַּר חֲנִינָא שֶׁשָּׁם מַיִם בְּמַתְנִיתָא תָּנָא אֵשׁ וּמַיִם מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהֱבִיאָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּטְרָפָן זֶה בָּזֶה וְעָשָׂה מֵהֶן ...
Joel K's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why isn’t Hagar counted as a prophetess?

There are different approaches to this. The Rambam takes the following (MN 2:42): וממה שהקדמנוהו מצורך ההזמנה לנבואה, וממה שזכרנו בשתוף שם ׳מלאך׳ תדע ש׳הגר המצרית׳ אינה נביאה, ולא ׳מנוח ואשתו׳ נביאים ...
Deuteronomy'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

Why did the snake only speak to Chava?

Radak says two reasons. 1 - Since Hashem spoke to Adam directly, therefore the snake communicated with Chava. כי לא היתה מצות האל לאשה אע״פ שאדם אמר לאשה מצות האל 2 - Since the snake felt it ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
6 votes
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Why was Adam Embarrassed

Hizkuni (3:10) Rabbenu Hayyim Paltiel (3:10), Tur (3:10), and Abravanel (Genesis ch. 3) suggest that their loincloths were minimal and they were therefore still embarrassed. Radak (3:8) writes that ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

Who was the first to worship an idol?

Rambam discusses the beginnings of idolatry in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 1:1-2 בימי אנוש טעו בני האדם טעות גדול ונבערה עצת חכמי אותו הדור ואנוש עצמו מן הטועים היה וזו היתה טעותם אמרו הואיל והאלהים ...
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes

What was the ethnicity of Abraham?

This is two questions: 1) How could the Torah describe the city of Ur as being of the Chaldeans if they didn't exist yet? The Torah clearly describes a city in which Avraham and his father resided ...
AKA's user avatar
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6 votes

Why is Shem known by the name Malchai-Tzedek?

Rashbam in his commentary to Genesis 41:10 lists various names of biblical figures that are not actually the person's given name, but the name that all kings of that place are called by: כל פרעה ...
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes

How did Rashi come to the conclusion that the heavens were created from fire and water?

The Midrash (Bereshit Raba 4:7) is the earlier source וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ שָׁמָיִם, רַב אָמַר אֵשׁ וּמָיִם, רַבִּי אַבָּא בַּר כַּהֲנָא אָמַר מִשּׁוּם רַב, נָטַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא ...
mbloch's user avatar
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6 votes

Pru vRvu - is it for all time?

Yes. It does still apply. A good starting point is the first mitzvah detailed in the Sefer HaChinuch: משרשי מצוה זו, כדי שיהיה העולם מישב (גיטין מא, ב במשנה), שהשם ברוך הוא חפץ בישובו, כדכתיב: (...
Dov's user avatar
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5 votes

What does the Hebrew for Genesis 17:1 suggest was being told to Abraham?

R. David Kamchi explains the word choice as follows (I'm taking the first part from here): as rendered by Onkelos, "serve Me" by carrying out what I command you ( in order to become perfect). This ...
rosends's user avatar
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5 votes

Why is eating meat from living animals wrong?

Rambam explains this prohibition as follows: Guide for the Perplexed 3:48 It is prohibited to cut off a limb of a living animal and eat it, because such act would produce cruelty, and develop it:...
Alex's user avatar
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5 votes

Why didn't Adam name the fish and the insects?

Regarding whether or not he named the fish, Rav Saadya Gaon to the verse (viewable here) writes that Adam named the fish along with all the other animals. This is also stated by the Midrash Hasserot ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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5 votes

Why was Yoseph the first of Ya'aqov's sons to die?

This is addressed in Brachos 55a. The reason given is that he conducted himself ברבנות. Seemingly an excessive degree of acting in command. דא״ר חמא בר חנינא מפני מה מת יוסף קודם לאחיו מפני שהנהיג ...
user6591's user avatar
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5 votes

Action of decimation of the city of Shechem admonished in Vayehi?

Rashi (Devarim 1:3) addresses this issue. Rashi points out that Moshe followed the example of Yaakov Avinu and waited to rebuke Bnei Yisroel at the end of his life. Rashi goes on to explain (among ...
Schmerel's user avatar
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