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, ...
8 votes
Accepted

Hur in Ki Tisa - You only live twice?

In fact, there is no contradiction between Midrash Tanchuma and Vayikra Rabba. Both maintain that Chur died on the first day, rather than the second. Tanchuma siman 19 reads: וירא העם כי בושש משה ...
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7 votes

Why are we so concerned about 1/2 of 1% (Golden Calf episode)

The Ramban to Shemos 32:7 explains that there were multiple tiers of sinners in the golden calf episode, all of whom had different intentions of varying degrees of infraction, but that it was the ...
7 votes
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Original Aliyah breaks for Ki Tisa

Indeed the custom you mention is first mentioned in 16th century Safed in the work Tikkun Yissakhar by Yissakhar ben Mordechai, and while he notes with praise the custom to have a Levi read the ...
  • 95.7k
7 votes
Accepted

Who says that keneh bosem is cannabis?

In the book "Entheogens and the Development of Culture: The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience" by John Rush on page 73 he mentions that Sula Benet in her book "Le chanvre dans les ...
6 votes
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Parshat Ki Tisa on Shabbat Shekalim

This question is discussed in the Bavli (Megillah 30a) and while one opinion recommends reading from Shemot 30:17 to the end of the Parsha, and then reading Shekalim at the end, the conclusion is in ...
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6 votes
Accepted

How is כֹּרֵת בְּרִית interpreted as "make" instead of "cut"?

Rashi to Genesis 15:10 explains that it was the custom of those making a covenant to split an animal into pieces, and to then pass between the pieces. Rashi also refers us to Jeremiah 34:18-19 where ...
  • 38.6k
5 votes
Accepted

How was Moses able to speak to G-d "face to face"?

The Rambam explains two very different implications of these two ideas. Regarding Exodus 33:20, in Moreh Nevochim 1:54, the Rambam writes that Moshe had requested to grasp Hashem "as He is" - בקש ...
5 votes
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How is drinking the golden-calf water a sotah-like test?

The Ramban says that Moshe's intention was that the substance used for idolotry should end up vomited or defecated out, further humiliating it. But he also quotes the Talmud's reason as brought in ...
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5 votes
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Why is the torah reading for minor fast days different by just one verse from when that reading occurs in the regular cycle?

R. Eliyahu Katz has a responsum where he was asked precisely (well not precisely) this question! The basic idea is that on fast days we want to read the next verse because it is a consolation, and we ...
  • 48.2k
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 ...
4 votes

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

You have two questions regarding this tale. Is it true? If so, why isn't it mentioned in the Torah? I will answer the second question first. This is indeed mentioned in the Torah. When Moshe names ...
  • 20.1k
4 votes
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Is Aaron's lesson one of nepotism?

Moses prayed for Aaron, but he also prayed for the forgiveness of the entire Children of Israel, both for this sin and for many others (for the golden calf in Exodus 32:11, for the sin of the spies in ...
  • 23.8k
4 votes
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Shemot 30:32 anointing oil NOT to be poured on human flesh?

Sefer Hachinuch שלא יסוך זר בשמן המשחה - שלא למשח בשמן המשחה שעשה משה אלא כהנים לבד. שנאמר (שמות ל לב) על בשר אדם לא ייסך. ונתבאר בכתוב שמי שמשח (שנמשח) בו במזיד, חיב כרת, שנאמר (שם לג) ואשר יתן ממנו ...
3 votes

Hur in Ki Tisa - You only live twice?

I will suggest an original answer only because all the sfarim I checked don't address this. Some of the sfarim (see Nachlas Yaakiv for instance) did however raise the point why Rashi in passuk 6 found ...
  • 32.4k
3 votes

What's significant about starting the parsha at Ki Tisa?

Tetzaveh, which is the preceding parsha, was designated as the parsha without Moshe's name. The first verse of Ki Tissa has Moshe's name! Ergo, Ki Tisa had to start at that verse!
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3 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 8,985
3 votes

Why is there an enlarged Nun in Exodus 34:7?

The Shelah HaKadosh (Maseches Yoma, hilchos teshuva) says that this enlarged nun is an allusion to the nachash that enticed mankind to sin. At the time of egel hazahav the yetzer hara became too ...
3 votes
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Eigel HaZahav: Killing Klal Yisrael

There are two levels of Divine justice that may affect sinners. 1) Punishment for the crime itself. 2) Extra-judicial punishment in the special case called Chillul Hashem. Both of these are ...
  • 10.5k
3 votes

Who was Uri, Betzalel's father?

The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh citing Shemos Rabbah explains that the mention of Uri serves as part of a hint explaining the purpose of the Mishkan. (Source from Sefara.org) (Partial Quote) ראה קראתי בשם. ...
3 votes
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Ki Tissa vs. Vaykhel - Shabbat & Mishkan

Sifsei Chachamim (s.k. 4) indeed seems to answer your question. His question is that perhaps it's the opposite - it wrote it twice to say that it's the Mishkan that overrides Shabbos! He answers ...
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3 votes

Egel Hazahav and idolatry: Ramban vs Rashi

Ramban himself explains why he feels it is acceptable to argue against Chazal (the Sages of the Mishnah and Gemara) when explaining the simple meaning (p'shat) of a verse in the Torah. In his ...
  • 38.6k
3 votes

A sound of distress, while dancing around the golden calf?

Ther are 2 Explanations In the Peirush Tur Haoroch (Rav Yaakov Ben Asher 14th Century) קול ענות אנכי שומע. כ' הרמב"ן לא מפני שידע משה הדבר כי אדרבה לא להגיד לו כי לא רצה לספ' בגנותן של ישרא' אלא ...
  • 11.2k
3 votes

Was every commandment on the Tablets inscribed with a different finger of G-d?

R. Ishmael is quoted in Pirke Rebbi Eliezer (ch. 48) saying (allegorically) that God used His middle finger to inscribe the commandments.
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3 votes

How many people participated in the golden calf?

I'm sure there are many more, but wanted to share 4 approaches as to how many people sinned/ participated in the golden calf. 1) Majority of the nation literally sinned (via their innermost thoughts) ...
  • 11.8k
3 votes
Accepted

Rav Kapach on Rambam's view on the identification of Keneh bosem

There does not appear to be a contradiction. In his commentary to the Mishnah Rambam doesn’t describe the plant; he merely mentions it as one of the ingredients in the anointing oil. (Presumably ...
  • 48.2k
3 votes

Why is it believed that Angels spoke with Moses at Sinai, when he spoke with God 'face to face'?

It sounds like you're asking on Pesikta Rabbasi 21, which you quote as saying that the angels gave the Torah to the Jews, and the question is Hashem spoke to Moshe directly. If we look at the Pesikta ...
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2 votes

God's Pair of Teffilin

R. Hai Gaon explains that this obviously cannot mean that Moses actually saw God wearing tefillin. The verse explicitly states that no man can see God and live, and the Talmud cannot disagree with ...
  • 48.2k
2 votes

Was the Golden Calf associated with a particular deity?

According to Rabbi Deutsch's "Let My Nation Serve Me," one explanation given for why specifically a calf is because it represents Taurus. They previously were in Mitzraim, land of the sheep (Aries). ...
  • 33.5k
2 votes

Their altars...and *his* asheirah?

Archaelogy has seen this textual oddity of yours play out repeteadly in their findings. While there are many different statues, jars, and depictions that are found in ancient Israel, there has been ...
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