15 votes
Accepted

Why a burning bush?

The midrash in Sh'mot Rabbah (2:5) offers some explanations: Why fire? To inspire him with courage so that when he comes to Sinai later he is not afraid of the fire.1 Why a thornbush? R' Yehoshua b....
14 votes
Accepted

Why might we think that Moses did not write Parashat Bil'am?

R. Menachem Mendel Kasher, in Torah Shelaima (vol. 19 pg. 363) quotes several answers: Ein Yaakov (Peirush): this is to tell us that despite not being involved in any of the Bilaam story, Moshe was ...
14 votes
Accepted

Moshe and filicide

R. Avraham Ibn Ezra seems to say that she put him in the river not because that would save him but so that she shouldn't have to witness his death: ויוכבד עשתה זאת כי אמרה אל אראה במות הילד R. ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Who First Knew of the Messiah

The first individual to know of the Messiah was Adam HaRishon. This is stated explicitly in Sanhedrin 38b in the name of Reish Lakish, by Yose ben Chalafta in Seder Olam Rabbah 30 and Rabbi Yehuda bar ...
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12 votes

What's the reason for the gravesite of Moshe Rabbeinu not being Known?

Deuteronomy 34 6: ולא ידע איש את קברתו עד היום הזה. In סוטה י׳ד ע׳א we find רבי חמא בר חנינא giving the reason it was hidden so that the Jews would not be able to go pray at his grave when going into ...
  • 32.4k
12 votes

Why does Hashem make Moshe go look at the Land?

While there are various other answers to this question, I will highlight a few of them: One simple answer is that Moshe wanted to see the land, and this is what Rashi (Devarim 3:27) suggests: וראה ...
12 votes
Accepted

What kind of tree or bush was the "burning bush" of Moses?

Most commentaries render this as some sort of thorny bush (see Rashi, Ibn Ezra). In terms of identifying which exact species it may have been, a great resource is Rabbi Kaplan's Living Torah ...
11 votes

What did Hashem sound like?

See the Medrash Raba on Shemos (Exodus) פרשה ג that states that (at least initially, at the burning bush) Hashem sounded just like Moshe's father Amrom when He spoke to him. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ...
11 votes

Moses' Hebrew name was given to him in Egyptian?

You had a number of very good suggestions. Ibn Ezra to Exodus 2:10 suggests 2 possibilities, namely, that Pharaoh's daughter had learned the Hebrew language, or that she asked someone how to say this ...
10 votes

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

Yalkut Shimoni Shemos 168 does indeed record the story of Moshe being appointed the King of Kush (Kush = modern Ethiopia) and leading them in war, and that he married the Kushite princess. However, ...
10 votes

Moshe and the Egyptian - Justifiable Homicide?

The Midrash Raba 1:28 says it was justifiable: One time, an Egyptian taskmaster went to a Israelite kapo and looked at his wife, who was beautiful without blemish. He got up at cockcrow and removed ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Were there two Arks constructed, one by Bezaleel and one by Moshe?

Rashi in his commentary to Devarim 10:1 writes that there were indeed two; the one made by Moshe was the one that the Bnei Yisrael carried with them when they went into battle. At that time: At the ...
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10 votes

What did Amram and Yocheved do to merit raising leaders of Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam?

Firstly, there is a fascinating philosophical point that relates to this question. Maharal (Gur Aryeh to Shemot 1:15) points out that neither Yocheved, nor Amram's names were mentioned prior to Moshe'...
9 votes

Why is Moshe concerned what the Pharaoh's astrologers will think of him in Shemot 11:4?

Because the Egyptians were looking for any excuse to say that the plagues were not of divine origin. If they were not of divine origin then the Egyptians wouldn't feel the need to let the Jews go. If ...
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9 votes

Is there any tradition of any Jews leaving Mitzrayim before the Exodus

"The tribe of Ephraim miscalculated the time of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, and left the country thirty years before the appointed time. They were met by a hostile host of ...
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9 votes
Accepted

What Egyptian/Greek text was Ibn Ezra consulting for his commentary on the name "Moshe"?

The ibn Ezra is almost certainly referring to the Nabatean Agriculture, a work that was widely cited by many rishonim (medieval authorities), most notably the Rambam. (Ibn Ezra appears to have ...
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9 votes

What did Hashem sound like?

Midrash Tehilim 18:29 (in the name of R. Luliani) says that Hashem spoke with Moshe with the voice of Moshe himself: רבי לוליאני בשם רבי ישמעאל אמר בנוהג שבעולם הרב אומר והתלמיד עונה. אבל הקב"ה ...
9 votes

Is it mentioned in the Talmud that Moses time traveled into the distant future

Masechet Menachos 29b states that Moshe Rabeinu was allowed to sit in the bais medrash of Rabbi Akivah, but could not follow the learning there. They told that when Moses went above to receive the ...
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9 votes

Why does Hashem make Moshe go look at the Land?

Your premise is that God forced Moshe to go up the mountain and look at the land in some torturous fashion, driving home the point that he would never enter it. I believe this is an incorrect premise....
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9 votes
Accepted

Would someone please translate this midrash on the death of Moshe?

Here's the first version (some of the punctuation is based on Eisenstein's edition) (some question marks in-between for words I wasn't sure how to translate): “This is none other than the house of ...
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8 votes

Why is Moshe's family unnamed at first?

According to רמב"ן (Nachmanides) on that verse (2:1), a discussion of the lineage of Moshe and his parents would prolong the narrative unnecessarily; at this point, the Torah would like to just get on ...
  • 18.7k
8 votes

Avuncular marriage in the Torah

Avunculate marriage is marriage between an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew. The latter is Biblically forbidden (Leviticus 18:12-3). The former, however, is not, and the Talmud ...
  • 34.9k
8 votes

Where is exactly is שָֽׁם in the pasuk גַּם־בִּי֙ הִתְאַנַּ֣ף יְהוָ֔ה בִּגְלַלְכֶ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר גַּם־אַתָּ֖ה לֹא־תָבֹ֥א שָֽׁם (Devarim 1:37)

שמה is not the feminine form of שם. Inasmuch as there is a difference in meaning, שמה may mean "to there" (as in מצרימה - "to Egypt" in, e.g., Genesis 12:11) whereas שם just means "there". See also, ...
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8 votes
Accepted

How did Paro's daughter explain suddenly having a child?

2:10 וַיִּגְדַּ֣ל הַיֶּ֗לֶד וַתְּבִאֵ֙הוּ֙ לְבַת־פַּרְעֹ֔ה וַֽיְהִי־לָ֖הּ לְבֵ֑ן וַתִּקְרָ֤א שְׁמוֹ֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַתֹּ֕אמֶר כִּ֥י מִן־הַמַּ֖יִם מְשִׁיתִֽהוּ׃ 2:11 וַיְהִ֣י׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם ...
8 votes

How would the new "Moses" nation be called?

According to the Talmud God's statement to Moses actually came true, so we just have to check what they are actually called. Berachot 7a וא"ר יוחנן משום ר' יוסי כל דבור ודבור שיצא מפי הקב"ה לטובה ...
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7 votes

Why did God choose Moshe?

Nechama Leibowitz has an explanation that (IMHO) beautifully combines peshat and midrash. She notes that, leading up to Moshe's prophecy at the bush, there are three progressive stories recorded about ...
7 votes

Why the hidden mussar?

The Alshich explains that Moshe was "testing the waters" to see how the Jews would react to his rebuke. After he had established that they were accepting his hinted reproach humbly and with love, he ...
  • 18.6k
7 votes

How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Presumably his family told him. In other words, what makes us think it was a secret? The Torah gives us this (paraphrased) timeline: Par'o's daughter finds Moshe, saying "this baby is a Hebrew!" So ...
  • 23.3k
7 votes
Accepted

How did Moshe know he was Jewish?

Four possible ways for Moshe to have known he was Jewish: His mother/family told him. The daughter of Pharaoh told him. He found out by supernatural means. It was just known, generally. (@WAF's ...
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