12 votes
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Why did Chizkiyahu Hide the book of Refuos

Rashi in Pesachim 56a writes that Sefer HaRefuos was hidden because their hearts were not humbled over their illness but were, rather, healed immediately. Rambam in Peirush Hamishna (Pesachim 4:10) ...
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9 votes
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The Ear That Heard "Don't Steal"

Apparently although the Mechilta understood the prohibition to be kidnapping it still recognizes the literal meaning of theft. This is implied by this mechilta and also somewhat implied by this ...
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9 votes

Why does Parshas Mishpatim begin with laws of slaves?

I thought of two possible answers, and am happy to see that they are both supported by Mefarshim here: Because we were just released from being slaves in Egypt: התחיל המשפט הראשון בעבד עברי, מפני ...
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8 votes

Can a man get death penalty for causing a miscarriage?

Indeed, the classic Jewish understanding of this verse is that "Yatza [Yasa] Yeladeha" means the incitement of a miscarriage, which is only liable to a fine, not the death penalty. This is evident ...
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7 votes
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Is there a difference between Simlah and Salmah?

Both Rav Hirsch and the Netziv point out the word change and explain that Salma signifies a more dignified form of clothing. Rav Hirsch connected it to Tzelem as in Tzelem Elokim. Whereas Simla is ...
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7 votes
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Can a parent "victim" forgive a child due the death penalty?

The Sheiltot (R. Achai Gaon, 8th c.) says that although a parent can forgo his honor, he cannot forgo the prohibition against striking and cursing. שאלתות (פ׳ משפטים סוף סא): האב שמחל על כבודו, כבודו ...
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7 votes
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Why did only Nadav and Avihu and not their brothers go up with the 70 elders?

Based on Tanchuma, Rashi claims that by gazing at the throne of Hashem, they sinned, but due to the solemn atmosphere of the covenant, their death sentence was suspended until they brought the alien ...
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  • 6,995
6 votes

Why did Chizkiyahu Hide the book of Refuos

As Rashi explains in ברכות on 10b and in פסחים on 56a: שגנז ספר רפואות לפי שלא היה לבם נכנע על חולים אלא מתרפאין מיד People would not take the illness as a stimulus to do Teshuva, rather they ...
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6 votes
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Why "אִם" used by lending money?

The Malbim explains simply that אם means it's a possiblity and might not happen. Maybe you won't have any money to lend or nobody will need a loan.
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5 votes
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If my ox gores an androgynous, am i liable?

The Mechilta has a special Drasha to include a tumtum and androgen. אין לי אלא בן גמור ובת גמורה טומטום ואנדרוגינוס מניין ת׳ל או בן יגח או בת יגח. The Torah Temimah on the passuk #232 explains that ...
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5 votes
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Why does the torah on injured slaves call out eyes and teeth but not other damages?

Rambam (based on Kiddushin 25a) writes (Avadim 5:4 (English)): כיצד בראשי אברים: המכה את עבדו בכוונה, וחיסרו אחד מעשרים וארבעה אברים שאינן חוזרין--יצא לחירות, וצריך גט שיחרור. אם כן למה לא נאמר ...
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5 votes
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Do I have to help my enemy change his flat tire?

Rambam ends his Laws of the Murderer and Preservation of Life actually saying it's not about the donkey -- it's about this guy might get stuck on the road at night and it would be dangerous for him. ...
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5 votes
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In Moses' time, would freeing a slave be harmful to the slave?

Good question. A freed slave did not go to another master. He obtained the status of a full-fledged Jew. (In fact, many of the laws pertaining to converts in the Talmud are actually phrased as "...
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  • 126k
4 votes

Can a parent "victim" forgive a child due the death penalty?

I am going to point to a different mitzvah - Ben sorer umoreh requires that both parents willingly transport the child to Beis Din for both the initial warning and the final judgement. If either ...
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4 votes
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Understanding G-d's description as a "doctor" or "healer"

As you mentioned, "רפואה" can mean both things: healing an existing disease, or preventing a future one. Rashi himself asks your question. He brings the midrash, which reads the passuk as "I will put ...
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4 votes
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Where was Joshua waiting while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the 1st tablets?

Rashi asks why was Joshua mentioned, if he did not ascend the mountain with Moses. He answers that he accompanied Moses up to the allowed limits, and waited there alone ("נטה שם אהלו") until he came ...
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4 votes

Why "אִם" used by lending money?

The Maharal in Gur Aryeh explains that the use of אם which connotes רשות as explained in Rashi quoted above by the OP, is meant to signify how one is meant to do charity. Meaning that although it is ...
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4 votes
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Why is a slave sold for six years?

1. Why is a slave sold for six years? Because the Torah decided so. Maybe because 6 years is a full cycle - as we see that the agricultural cycle is 6 years and in the 7th year everything stops for a ...
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4 votes

Are there examples of Hebrew Slaves in the Gemmorah?

No, there are not. Yovel had ceased to be operative centuries earlier and the rules of Jewish slaves became inoperative with it (Rambam, Avadim 1:10). The institution of a Hebrew maid-servant and ...
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4 votes

Why for a sorceress does the Torah say "shall not live" instead of "shall be put to death?"

As I answered here: Rather than command us to put witches to death (just like any other death penalty in the Pentateuch) the bible here instructs others (perhaps the courts) to not let any witches ...
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4 votes
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Why do some editions of Sefer HaChinuch split Parashat Mishpatim in two?

Indeed there was such a custom. Traditionally, the Babylonian annual Torah reading cycle with which we are all familiar had four "checkpoints" to keep everyone roughly in sync: Nitzavim before Rosh ...
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3 votes

What is the function of את here?

The word את, according to some midrashic approaches, can serve as a marker of inclusiveness. That is, the word את signifies that more is included in the statement than is explicit. See, for example, ...
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  • 8,620
3 votes

Why does the torah on injured slaves call out eyes and teeth but not other damages?

The Tora is interpreted by hermeneutic rules,one of them is Ribuy Umyut. Here, you have a typical example. See Kiddushin 24b. 13 Midot are not a technical-formal method of lecture, but a way to ...
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  • 22.1k
3 votes

What was the "tzir'a"?

From http://parsha.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-is-tzirah.html: Onkelos translates it as ערעיתא, hornet. Ibn Ezra understands it as a type of sickness of the body, along the lines of צרעת. So ...
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3 votes
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What did the 70 elders see?

I just blogged about this at more length here http://www.aishdas.org/asp/what-did-the-elders-see . The most relevant bits: Rashi says that they saw something like the Ma’aseh HaMerkavah, the chariot ...
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  • 8,660
3 votes

Why "אִם" used by lending money?

R. Alshikh (Exod. 22:24) answers the following: הנה אם זה קיימו וקבלו רבותינו ז"ל שהוא ודאי. ואפשר דאפקי בלשון אם בשום לב אל מלת את שבאומרו את העני שהיא מיותרת, לומר אל תיחל מלהלוות עד תהיה בעל זהב,...
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  • 34.8k
3 votes

Rokeach's remez to ayin tachas ayin meaning mamon

My own admittedly creative theory: עקימת שפתיים הויא מעשה - the moving of the lips is considered an act (Bava Metzia 90b). Therefore, this verse not requiring the moving of the lips is meant to ...
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3 votes

Three things being handed over Tablets, Torah and the Mitzvah?

In the Gemara Brochos 5a Rav Levi explains every word in the Passuk's to mean the entire written and oral Law were given at mount Sinai: וא"ר לוי בר חמא אמר ר' שמעון בן לקיש מאי דכתיב (שמות כד, יב)...
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  • 11.2k
3 votes
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Different phrasing in Mishpatim and Shofetim

The Vilna Gaon, in his comment on Deuteronomy 16:19 in Aderet Eliyahu, says that חֲכָמִים refers to experts in all aspects of Torah, while פִּקְחִים refers to experts in interrogation and ...
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  • 46.7k
3 votes

Why may a master torture his non-Jewish slave?

As @user15464 mentions in the comments, the Rambam defines "porech", or the torture that you quote as being permitted, in Avadim 1:6: ואיזו היא עבודת פרך זו עבודה שאין לה קצבה ועבודה שאינו ...
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