26

Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, director of The Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh has an article on this in his Rationalist Judaism blog, here. The paragraph that probably answers your question is: A system of classification has no independent reality. It is simply a means by which we measure and describes the animal kingdom, depending upon our ...


22

Here is a sampling of the interpretations offered by the commentators (all taken from commentaries to the verse in question): Rashi God inscribed (part of) His name on Cain's forehead: חקק לו אות משמו במצחו Ibn Ezra God gave Cain a horn: ויש אומרים כי האות קרן God gave Cain courage and removed his fear: ואחרים אמרו שנתן חוזק בלבו והסיר פחדו ...


20

When the word stands on its own, with its own trup-mark, it's אֵת, with a tzeireh. When it's attached to the next word with a dash and therefore does not have its own trup-mark, it's אֶת, with a segol. I think I learned this in high school; unfortunately, I don't know a more precise source. I'm not sure what would be the underlying reason behind some ...


20

Shadal himself admits to this in a letter to Shlomo Yehuda Rapaport published in Igrot Shadal Volume II p.246: ואני גם כי אינני מאוהביו כבר קיבלתי פירושו (נגד ההלכה) בפסוק לא תקיפו פאת ראשכם שאינו אלא על מת וקִבלתיו לעצמי למעשה אע"פ שאין אני מורה כן לאחרים כי אין לי עסק בהוראה As for me, though I am not one of [Ibn Ezra's] friends, I have already ...


19

Targum Yonassan followed by Rashi (2:1) explain that she was an inkeeper (that "zona" in this context relates to the word "mazon" for bread). Radak explains that she was actually a prostitute and that even Targum agrees, and that sometimes Targum uses the term for innkeeper to mean harlot. Abarbanel writes that the two explanation arent mutually exclusive ...


19

The Passuk (Vayikra 11,13) uses the phrase ואת אלה תשקצו מן העוף לא יאכלו when describing all birds bats and insects The word עוף essentially means "a being that flies" This is proven from Tehilim where Dovid Hamelech says: ואמר מי יתן לי אבר כיונה אעופה ואשכנה And I said If only I would be given wings like a dove I would fly... So if one classifies ...


19

Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 22:12 וַיָּשֶׂם ה' לְקַיִן אוֹת, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אָמַר הִזְרִיחַ לוֹ גַּלְגַּל חַמָּה, אָמַר רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה לְאוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע הָיָה מַזְרִיחַ לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא גַּלְגַּל חַמָּה, אֶלָּא מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהִזְרִיחַ לוֹ הַצָּרַעַת, הֵיךְ מָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר וְהָיָה אִם לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ לָךְ וְלֹא ...


19

I just discovered that many Rishonim address this question. For example: Tosafos to Taanis 11a s.v. אסור לאדם אסור לאדם לשמש מטתו בשני רעבון - ואם תאמר הרי יוכבד נולדה בין החומות ואותו העת עת רעב היה וע"כ שימשו מטותיהן בשני רעבון ויש לומר דלכ"ע לא הוי אסור אלא למי שרוצה לנהוג עצמו בחסידות ויוסף לא שימש אבל שאר בני אדם שימשו If you ask, Yocheved, ...


17

Rashi doesn't address it, but other commentators do. The Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, Sforno, and Chezkoni all agree on this: Yaakov was "legally blind" to the point that he could not see any details, but was able to see that there was a person there. This is actually similar to personal experience. My mother is nearly like this: she can discern shapes, but no ...


17

The Talmud Bavli (Zevachim 116b, top) states quite plainly that she was a harlot: דאמר מר: אין לך כל שר ונגיד שלא בא על רחב הזונה. אמרו: בת י' שנים היתה כשיצאו ישראל ממצרים, וזנתה [כל] מ' שנה שהיו ישראל במדבר, אחר נ' שנה נתגיירה, אמרה: יהא מחול לי בשכר חבל חלון ופשתים. [A]s a master said, There was no prince or ruler who had not possessed Rahab the ...


17

The Ibn Ezra says - in his initial explanation - to guard it from animals so they don't enter and sully the garden: ולשמרה מכל החיות שלא יכנסו שם ויטנפוהו The Seforno says - if I understand correctly - to guard the fruit/trees? from rotting ולשמרה. שלא תפסד בהתכת הליחות השרשי הנתך בחום הטבעי וזה כי אותם הפירות הנכבדים היו מולידים תמיד תמורת מה שנתך ...


17

As per DanF's comment and the commentary of the Stone Chumash: Ramban cites Radak that Jacob surely loved Leah, but that his greater love for Rachel made her seem unloved -- or even hated -- by comparison.


16

Rabbi Ovadya miBartenura (עמר נקא, בראשית כ"א ט"ז) explains that Hagar moved farther away than would be necessary to merely avoid seeing Yishmael's suffering and death. The reason for the extra distance is that Yishmael was an archer (per verse 20), and Hagar was concerned that Yishmael might become delirious and try to shoot her with his arrows. Therefore, ...


16

Kiddushin 57a כדתניא שמעון העמסוני ואמרי לה נחמיה העמסוני היה דורש כל אתין שבתורה כיון שהגיע לאת ה' אלהיך תירא פירש אמרו לו תלמידיו רבי כל אתין שדרשת מה תהא עליהם אמר להם כשם שקבלתי שכר על הדרישה כך קבלתי על הפרישה עד שבא רבי עקיבא ולימד את ה' אלהיך תירא לרבות תלמידי חכמים As it was taught: Simeon the Imsonite — others state, Nehemiah the Imsonite, ...


15

According to Rav Saadya Gaon (commentary to Genesis 9:13) the rainbow was not a new phenomenon. Rather it was imbued with new meaning as the sign of the covenant. Similarly, Ramban, writes (commentary to Genesis 9:12) that although the simple reading of the verses indicates it was a new phenomenon, we are forced to accept the conclusion of the Greeks that ...


15

The word is אֵת. When the word is "joined" with the next word with a makaf "־" then they become treated as one long word, and there is no longer an accent on that syllable. Unaccented closed syllables (unlike accented closed syllables) take short vowels, so the vowel shifts to its shorter counterpart: tzere -> segol. You can also see this same phenomenon in ...


15

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. Karchah said: to teach that no place is devoid of God's presence, not even a thornbush. R' Eliezer said: just as the thornbush is the lowliest of all trees in ...


15

From: http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2016/02/on-eagles-wings.html One ornithologist writes: "Many ornithologists have thought that the Bible picture of an eagle carrying her young was merely figurative, but in recent years certain reliable observers have actually seen a parent bird let its young rest for a moment on the feathered back - ...


15

Yerushalmi Sota 8b Chapter 1 Halacha 10 says that all the 12 Shevatim were taken to Eretz Yisrael by their Shevet. תלמוד ירושלמי סוטה דף ח' ע"ב, פרק א' הלכה י' – ככתוב בראשית מו אנכי ארד עמך מצרים ואני אעלך גם עלה מה ת"ל גם עלה. אמר אותך אני מעלה ושאר כל השבטים אני מעלה מלמד שכל שבט ושבט העלה עצמות ראש שבטו עמו Regarding where in Israel the individual ...


14

Ibn Ezra said that only the above ground water (such as in the river) turned to blood, but water that was underground before the plague stayed water. "And all of Egypt dug around the river to find water to drink" (7:24) Thus , when the Egyptian magicians needed water to emulate the plague, they dug a new well See Ibn Ezra on Vaeira 7:22 ויש שואלים: ...


14

The "window" was in the top of the Ark. (Ibn Ezra says this explicitly on 6:16, but I think it is generally agreed upon.) Looking up would not have helped much. Sticking his head out of the top would not have been an option, since the opening was 1/6th of a cubit wide (Ibn Ezra there).


14

The Maharal (Chapter 56 of Gevuros Hashem) points out that the plagues follow a pattern, split into units of 3 - the first of each group (plagues 1, 4, and 7) are preceded by a warning to Pharaoh issued by the Nile. The second of each group (2, 5, and 8) are preceded by a warning issued to Pharaoh while sitting on his throne. The third of each group has no ...


14

Rashi on Bereishis 37:33 says חיה רעה אכלתהו - נתנצה בו רוח הקדש (ב"ר) סופו שתתגרה בו אשת פוטיפר ולמה לא גלה לו הקב"ה לפי שהחרימו וקללו את כל מי שיגלה ושתפו להקב"ה עמהם (תנחומא) אבל יצחק היה יודע שהוא חי אמר היאך אגלה והקב"ה אינו רוצה לגלות לו The brothers had sat in court and adjudicated that anyone who would reveal to Yaakov what happened with Yosef ...


14

Commentaries available here: Rashi (verse 16) - Pharaoh's stargazers had told him that a boy who would lead the Jews out of Egypt was being born. Chizkuni (verse 16) - men were generally those involved in warfare, and Pharaoh was worried about the Jews joining in a war against Egypt. Note that in verse 22, he adopts the "Rashi approach", based on the ...


14

Avot 4:13 רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בַּתַּלְמוּד, שֶׁשִּׁגְגַת תַּלְמוּד עוֹלָה זָדוֹן.‏ Rabbi Judah said: be careful in study, for an error in study counts as deliberate sin. Bartenura ad loc: אִם תִּטְעֶה בְּהוֹרָאָה מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁלֹּא דִּקְדַּקְתָּ בְּתַלְמוּדְךָ וְתָבֹא לְהַתִּיר אֶת הָאָסוּר, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַעֲלֶה עַל ...


13

There are a few explanations, all of which (except one) can be found by looking at the following commentaries on the verse cited in the question, Deut. 23:19: Ibn Ezra thought that dogs were simply understood to be disgraceful animals and not to be associated with the purity of sacrifice Ramban writes that dogs are used for hunting and are therefore ...


13

Rashi to Exodus (1:16) quotes a Midrash that the Pharaoh decreed to specifically kill males since his astrologers predicted that a male would save the Jews. This Midrash is pretty old, and is present in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews (2:9:2). Hizkuni (1:16) and Hadar Z'kenim (1:22) suggest that Pharaoh was worried that males in particular would do battle ...


13

Ramban there offers a couple of reasons: Leah's eyes were weak (29:17), so the sun would be harmful to her. Precisely because she was older, so there was more of a concern that the shepherds would take inappropriate liberties with her.


12

I actually saw a dvar torah this week that claimed that the tribe of Gad showed that the others were actually exact by a miracle in Mail Jewish (quoted below). See the quote from Rav Chaim Kanievsky below based on what his father the Steipler Rav told him. Another explanation is that the counts were actually rounded to the nearest fifty or rounded up to the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible