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Leviticus 26:42
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This verse is recited as part of the prayer that follows the morning recitation of the akeidah. Rashi points out that this is one of five places where the name “Yaakov” (Jacob) is written “malei,” i.e., with the letter vav. (It usually has just the dot needed to make the “O” sound but not the […]
Genesis 22:1
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The akeidah – the story of the binding of Isaac – is read as part of the preliminary morning service. What does it mean that G-d tested Abraham. If G-d is omniscient (which He is), wouldn’t He already know what Abraham would do under given circumstances? The Ramban explains that a test is not for […]
Genesis 25:22
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From this verse, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik explains a lesson about anti-Semitism. Some people claim that it’s based on economic or political motivations, or that it’s a reaction to Zionism. In truth, hatred of Jews is ingrained in some people from the womb, with no rational exterior factor needed to motivate such a sentiment. (From […]
I Kings 1:6
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David did not discipline his son Adoniyahu, with the result that he grew up rebellious. Adoniyahu died as a result of his trying to usurp the throne from King Solomon (in chapter 2). David’s son Avshalom, also mentioned in this verse, was equally rebellious and also met a grisly fate as a consequence of his […]
Isaiah 40:29
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This verse is the basis for the morning benediction that G-d gives strength to the weary. The Targum Yonasan understands this verse to refer to types of strength other than physical. Accordingly, he renders this verse, “He gives wisdom to the righteous who are exhausted from studying Torah, and financial security to those who have […]
Psalms 37:23
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There are a number of words in Hebrew that mean “man.” “Ish” is one; “adam” is another. Our verse uses the term “gever,” which is related to the word “gevurah,” meaning strength. Rashi tells us that its use here refers to one who is strong in that he has proper fear (i.e., awe) of G-d. […]
Psalms 136:6
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This verse is the basis of the bracha praising G-d that He spreads the dry land over the water. Why is that noteworthy? The Metzudas David explains that it is because this action defies “nature.” The nature of water is to overflow and envelop the earth. The fact that we have dry land to walk […]
Genesis 24:17
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Instead of having Rivka handing him a drink, Eliezer apparently wanted her to hold the pitcher while he drank from it. That would be considered odd and kind of rude today and it was no less so in Abraham’s day. We all know that Eliezer was testing Rivka’s attribute of kindness but Rabbi Joseph B. […]
2 Kings 4:1
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Who was this woman’s husband? Rashi quotes the Midrash that he was the prophet Ovadya (Obadiah). Ovadya first came to our attention as the servant of King Ahab in I Kings chapter 18. He hid 100 prophets from the king’s wrath and supported them at his own expense. His prophecy is recorded in the book […]
Psalms 146:8
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This verse is the basis of two of the morning blessings: that Hashem gives sight to the blind and that He straightens those who are bent. The Radak understands these things not only in a physical sense, but also in a spiritual sense: exile is dark and oppressive. G-d brings us the light and He […]