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15 votes

How long was the period of Oppression

Brief Summary: The commentators almost all agree that the four hundred years was not the time spent in Egypt. Rather, the four hundred years is from an earlier time (with some disagreements as to ...
Alex'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
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“As many as the stars in the sky”- literally or allegorically?

As I wrote in this answer: According to Ralbag (Commentary to Parshas Lech Lecha), the promise was not that Avraham's descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Rather the promise was that they ...
Alex's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why are the Kenites translated as Shalmites?

I realize that this still may not answer the question: Note that this identification is found in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Shevi'it 16a, also in Kiddushin, see below), as well as the Bavli (Bava Basra ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
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Radak comment on Lot

The word is הַשָּׂבָע “hasava”, meaning satiety, rather than הַשֶּׁבַע “hasheva” meaning the seven. Radak is saying that despite there being food in Egypt, Lot was still willing to leave with Avraham.
Joel K's user avatar
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7 votes

Where was Malkitzedek of Jerusalem at the time of the Akedah?

Malkitzedek was no longer Kohen Gadol at the time, as it says in Nedarim 32b: "Rabbi Zekharya said in the name of Rabbi Yishmael: The Holy One, Blessed be He, wanted the priesthood to emerge ...
Harel13's user avatar
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6 votes

How long was the period of Oppression

Before I actually answer your question, I'd just like to make one note. Jochebed, our Sages tell us, was 130 years old when Moses was born (Numbers Rabbah 13:21). She was born as the Israelites ...
DonielF's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why identified by the name Og?

The Munkatcher Rebbe is quoted as asking this question here. He answers that the Arizal is quoted as having said that at the time of matzah baking one should exert oneself and sweat and this will ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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5 votes

'עם' & 'את' based words in the story of Lot and Avram

According to HaKtav v'HaKabala (Genesis 13:14) when Lot was good (as in 12:4), and in that sense similar to Avraham, the term אתו 'ito' is used, indicating that the two things are similar. When Lot ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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Why did Yitzchok use the same subterfuge for his wife that had not worked for Avraham?

The subterfuge was actually successful. Yitzchak was afraid of the people of the country and the trick worked until they had been there for long enough to get careless and get caught. Toldos 26:7 - ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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Were Avraham's tactics in rescuing Lot typical of the time?

I have not found records of night warfare in the Hittite period in question. However, I have found evidence of night warfare from the period of Classical Antiquity, and earlier. For example Yehoshua ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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Why is there a change in the compass directions between Abraham and Jacob?

1) The Baal HaTurim asks your question (Gen. 13:14). He explains that Abraham was told the directions starting with the north in order to acknowledge the merit of Abraham's korbanos, which are to be ...
David Kenner's user avatar
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4 votes

Avraham a father of many

In addition to Yisrael, Avraham's descendants include: Yishmael (Arabs) Eisav (Edom, Amalek) six children of Keturah, who might each count as their own nation (but I have no source for that)
Monica Cellio's user avatar
4 votes
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Understanding an apparent conflict regarding Israel's Biblical eastern boundary

Bereishis Rabbah 44:23 notes that Avraham was promised 10 nations' territory in the succeeding Pesukim in Bereishis 15, but his children only got 7 nations' territory. The Midrash simply identifies ...
DonielF's user avatar
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4 votes

Why is Sarah suddenly referred to in a vague way

Perhaps He is indicating how the Egyptians viewed her, physically and externally, as "the woman" rather than as an individual (with an identity and preexisting relationships).
Loewian's user avatar
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Was Hagar Abraham's second wife or his pilegesh?

The Haamek Davar writes, לאברם אישה לו לאשה. תיבת לו מיותר. וביעקב כתיב ותתן אותה ליעקב לאשה. אלא כדברינו שכך היה התנאי. דלגבי אברם לבד תהא לאשה ולא לשפחה. אבל לגבי שרה תהא לשפחה כמו שהיה וע׳ להלן ...
rosends's user avatar
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4 votes

Why does the Torah mention that Lot went with Avram twice?

Most meforshim focus on the word "ito" in the first instance, and contrast it to "imo" but on 12:5, the Beit Halevi writes that there were 2 different stages -- the first was Lot's decision to go and ...
rosends's user avatar
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4 votes

According to Rashi, how old was Avraham at B'rit Bein HaB'tarim?

See Daas Zikeinim and Chizkuni amongst others who address this issue. They learn that the command Lech Licha when he was 75, was actually a command to leave Charan for the second time. He had already ...
user6591's user avatar
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According to Rashi, how old was Avraham at B'rit Bein HaB'tarim?

Da’as Zekeinim to 12:4 give a novel approach in resolving the contradiction. וקשה שהרי ברית בין הבתרים היה לאחר יציאתו מחרן ובפ' בא אל פרעה קרא דויהי מקץ שלשים שנה וגו' שיש שלשים שנה מברית בין ...
DonielF's user avatar
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4 votes

Why Moses named his son Eliezer "after" Avraham's slave?

Radak writes in his commentary to Genesis 15:2 that Abraham gave his servant the name Eliezer: או אפשר שהיה שמו דמשק כשבא אל אברם והוא קרא אותו אליעזר כי אליעזר לשון עברי הוא Why he specifically ...
Alex's user avatar
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4 votes

Rashi's explanation of why we are told that Avram was 86 at the birth of Yishma'el

R. Judah Loewe in his supercommentary there explains that the explicit verse would only tell us the fact. The implication of 16:16 is to highlight the praiseworthiness of this fact: אף על גב דכבר כתב ...
Alex's user avatar
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4 votes

Parshat Lech Lecha - Hagar having a separate malach

The Maskil Lidavid (there) explains because 1 malach can't do 2 jobs. He there explains what job each malach is doing, each malach had his own unique message to tell Hagar.
Shlomy's user avatar
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3 votes

To bend or graft; did the Rashbam made a mistake?

I don't think this is a mistake! First of all, the Rashbam mentions "מבריך ומרכיב". So the first word indeed sounds like "ונברכו". Second, even the other word "מרכיב" - according to rashbam - comes ...
Bach's user avatar
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3 votes
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In Avraham all to be blessed?

And be thou a blessing Rashi (Genesis 12:2) and R. Hayyim Paltiel (there) explain that it means that Abraham would be a source of blessing. That is, that he was granted the ability to bless others. ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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3 votes
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The darkness that came upon Avraham

Abstract: According to Rambam and Rabbenu Avraham ben Sh'lomo it was just the prophecy itself that scared him, while according to Radak it was a combination of the prophecy and the message. Rambam ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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3 votes

Dividing the world for the sons of Noah

Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 6. Some key quotes: 1. Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they ...
Joel K's user avatar
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3 votes
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How can we say "it would have been enough" when Hashem had already sworn to do it?

(Pseudo-)Malbim in Midrash Haggadah explains that Dayenu means, 'It would have been enough for us to be obligated in thanking Hashem'. Although he doesn't address your specific question here, I think ...
Joel K's user avatar
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3 votes

Why is Sarah faulting Avraham for impregnating Hagar?

R. Saadia Gaon explains that Abraham and Sarah were having a debate about how to treat Hagar, and the verse just left out the debate part. When Sarah said that God should judge between them, she meant ...
Alex's user avatar
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3 votes
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Rashi's explanation of why we are told that Avram was 86 at the birth of Yishma'el

The Riva says that from the second verse, you would only know the age, but from 16:16, you can see that it was not done against Yishma'el's will. חשיב דמהתם נוכל לומר דבעל כרחו נמול לכך למד כאן רש"...
rosends's user avatar
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3 votes

Why translate a vav, "but"?

Rav Hirsch translates (actually his grandson translated into English from the original German) And Melchizedek King of Salem had brought out bread and wine but he was also a priest of the most ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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