32 votes
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Understanding the reasoning of the woman who agreed with King Solomon to "cut the baby in half"

I generally understood the story based on the Malbim: obviously, everyone involved (including "Woman B," as you call her) knew that King Solomon's suggestion would result in the death of the child. ...
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13 votes
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Why did the Davidic dynasty need to come from questionable relations?

See the gemara in Yoma 22b. This was orchestrated in order to ensure the longevity of his kingdom. As Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzadak: One appoints a leader over the ...
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13 votes

Understanding the reasoning of the woman who agreed with King Solomon to "cut the baby in half"

The Meiri asks and answers this question in Yevamos 17b: והוא הענין שנאמר בהגדה על אותן שתים נשים זונות שבאו לדין לפני שלמה שהרי כשצוה שלמה לגזור את הילד החי והשיבה האחת תנו לה את הילוד החי והמת אל ...
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  • 1,113
10 votes
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Why does the haftarah of Vayeira include the miracle of the oil?

The mefarshim on this portion of Navi (Targum, Rashi, Radak, etc.) explain that the man who died was actually Ovadiah (see Melachim Aleph 18). He was the man who kept 100 true prophets alive during ...
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9 votes
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Why does David refuse to kill Shimi b. Gera, but then later tell Shlomo to kill him?

Both Targums on Esther 2:5 identify The Shimei in Mordecai's lineage with Shimei Ben Gera. They state that David saw through a prophetic experience that Mordecai (and Esther according to the first ...
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  • 8,074
8 votes

How did the priests deal with excess blood during the Temple dedication?

The extra blood after each sacrifice was poured at the base of the altar (if it was considered Shirayim, leftover) or the Amah - a channel which led out of the courtyard (if the blood's status is ...
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7 votes
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What tribe was Jehu from?

From Menashe. See Pesikta Rabbati 3 ובמלכים ירבעם בן נבט משל אפרים ואחרי כן יהוא בן (מנשה) [נמשי] משבט מנשה
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7 votes
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The Tyrian Smith's Name

As the Ibn Ezra writes (Bamidbar 21:22) אל תבקש דקדוק בשמות don't expect/ask for grammatical care when it comes to names
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7 votes

Contradiction in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles?

Yes. The commentators in both locations ask this contradiction. The Metzudas Dovid explains here: בן שמונה שנים. ובמ״ב נאמר בן שמנה עשרה שנה ואלו יהויקים אביו המליכו בחייו עשר שנים על כי ראה אשר עם ...
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7 votes
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Should one rend a garment when hearing an important teaching ‘late’?

Radak and Ralbag explain there that when he found the Torah, he saw the part about "God exiling you and your king off to a faraway land", and thus felt this was an ominous sign that the ...
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6 votes

Was the tribe of Shimon part of the Kingdom of Israel or Judah?

Ralbag notes this in his commentary to Melachim 12:23, and he writes that the verse does mention יתר העם in addition the tribes of Yehudah and Binyamin, which is meant to be a reference to Shimon. ...
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6 votes

Aveira Lishma: Is it permissible to make a decision that contradicts Halacha because it is for the greater good?

This topic is dealt with extensively by Rav Asher Weiss on his website. The following is a summary. To begin with, two major authorities have already said that today there is no practical application ...
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6 votes

Why did the Davidic dynasty need to come from questionable relations?

Good question. (1) We each have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and the numbers keep growing exponentially in powers of two. So each one of us has A LOT of ancestors – ...
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6 votes

Understanding the reasoning of the woman who agreed with King Solomon to "cut the baby in half"

She was calling the king's bluff. My understanding of the story goes against the universal one, but fits with the text and answers your question and a lot of others -- Woman A (the one holding the ...
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  • 1,757
5 votes

How Could Jezebel, the Worshipper of Baal, be the Mother of Two Kings of Israel?

This is a complicated issue. You should read these two articles 1 2. Some Rishonim say explicitly that Jezebel did not convert, and that was part of Ahab's sin in marrying her (see, for instance, ...
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5 votes
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Does Jewish tradition hold the book of Jonah to be depicting historical events?

Mikra (the TaNaCh), as opposed to Aggadaic Medrashim and Talmudic passages, are not allegories. Even when the verse is hinting a lesson, we learn that אין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו, the verse does not ...
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5 votes

The Priest-King's name

Rabbi Ahron Marcus in his book Kadmoniyot, pg. 131-142, discusses this subject at length. I'll translate some of the more relevant portions: First of all, he strengthens the question by mentioning ...
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5 votes
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The Tyrian Smith's Lineage

Radak explains that the verse is saying that Hiram was from the Tribe of Naftali, meaning that his father was from Naftali. He is called Tyrian because that was where he lived. So his father was from ...
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  • 8,074
5 votes

Would Chazal intentionally make a joke/pun?

Yes, you are correct, the Talmude here [pesachim 9b] is making a pun. This is mentioned as one of the more famous examples, but there are others. Another example is Kiddushin 25a, Students called Rav ...
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5 votes

Gechazi's accursed descendants

Interesting theory as to the potential translation into psoriasis, but it seems unlikely based on Rav Hirsch's challenges to those who compared tza'raas to leprosy: Tzaraat is not 'leprosy' as we ...
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How much water could the tub Shlomo made hold?

In Eruvin 14b, the gemara asks this, and determines that the 2000 is a wet measurement and 3000 is dry, since dry goods can be heaped above the rim. לא סלקא דעתך דכתיב (מלכים א ז, כו) אלפים בת יכיל ...
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4 votes
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Doors and Doorways in Parshat Vayeira

Firstly, yasher kochacho on a really good observation! Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon makes an interesting analysis here. He notes that there are interesting parallels with the story of Sodom and Pesach which ...
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4 votes

Was the Golden Calf associated with a particular deity?

The Golden Calf icon seems to be associated with Hashem. Aharon, Jeroboam, and Jehu (all of whom create or, in Jehu's case, do not destroy, calf-idols) never mention any other god in connection with ...
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4 votes
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Why were there only two tablets in the ark?

The meforshim explain that it was put "in front of" the ark, not inside the ark. Thus, it was in a separate container. As shown in Yirmiyahu 2:31, it was brought out then to show them. Rav Hirsch says ...
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4 votes

How could Abijam and Asa both have the same mother if Asa was Abijam's son?

Maacah the daughter of Avishalom is the grandmother of Asa, and the text call her his "mother" because the Scripture sometimes call a grandmother a mother (see Radak on Melachim I 15:10).
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4 votes

After Elijah claiming that he was the only zealot remaining that followed g-d a certain prophet tells Ahab that he will win the battle with Ben hadad

Izevel tried to kill them but failed. For example, Ovadiah saved 100 prophets (50 in a cave) and arranged for them them to be fed and hidden from Izevel. The Gemara in tractate Sanhedrin, page 37a,...
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4 votes

When The King Of Assyria Sent a Priest to The New "Inhabitants" of Israel Did the Priest Teach Them Correctly?

Rashi states that this was not a "real" kohein but was a "priest' from Samaria who included the idol worship of Samaria in what he taught them. Similarly, they mixed the worship of Hashem with the ...
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  • 41.9k
4 votes

Why did Elijah the prophet pray for death?

Elijah is fleeing from Jezebel's death threat. Artscroll brings a few explanations as to why he prayed for death Elijah did not feel safe from Jezebel even in the Kingdom of Judah; someone might ...
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  • 43.5k
4 votes
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Who exactly were the youths of the Governors Melachim 1 Chapter 20

Radak writes they were students who had been sent to the capital city to be educated and trained. Rash writes Ahab kept sons of regional leaders in the palace as hostages to assure their parents ...
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4 votes

A holistic explanation of King David's use of Avishag

The fact that he could not be warmed by artificial means (specifically clothes) is explained in Rashi on I Melachim 1:1 But he was not warmed: Our Rabbis concluded and said: “He who disgraces ...
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