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Exodus 15:11
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One of the reasons the Maccabees adopted that name is because it is an acronym of the first four words of this verse, Mi Kamocha B’eilim Hashem. The Ramban cites Rashi’s opinion, that “the mighty” refers to humans, for which Rashi cites Ezekiel 17:13 and Psalms 22:20 as supports. The Ramban, however, feels that the […]
Psalms 30:1
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This Psalm, which is recited daily before pesukei d’zimra, was composed by King David for the inauguration of the Temple. As Rashi on this verse points out, the Temple wasn’t actually built until the reign of David’s son, King Solomon. Nevertheless, David eagerly anticipated the building of the Temple – an honor he was necessarily […]
Ezekiel 38:23
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Following the preliminary morning service, before pesukei d’zimrah (the verses of praise), kaddish is recited. The opening words, “Yisgadal v’yiskadash” (“Magnified and sanctified…”) are based on this verse from the prophecy of Yechezkel (Ezekiel). Rav Yosef Kara* (Mahari Kara, d. circa 1130) writes that the way in which G-d will magnify and sanctify Himself is […]
Genesis 41:20
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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik points out that cows are normally herbivorous; they’re not carnivorous and they’re certainly not cannibalistic! Similarly, during the years of plenty, the Egyptians would treat one another well and not envy one another’s prosperity. In the years of famine, however, they would turn on one another and metaphorically “eat one another […]
Amos 2:6
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This is the first verse in the Haftarah for parshas Vayeishev. The Radak explains that G-d was willing to overlook three sins of Israel , namely the three cardinal sins of murder, idolatry and immorality. He only sealed the judgment that they should be exiled because of the fourth sin – that they were corrupt […]
Hosea 14:3
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As part of the preliminary morning service, we pray that G-d accept our prayers in lieu of sacrifices, citing this verse from Hoshea. The Radak explains that in order to return to G-d, He doesn’t ask us for gold or silver. All He requires is a sincere expression of remorse for our wrongdoings and an […]
Psalms 32:7
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This verse is recited as part of the preliminary morning service. The Radak explains King David’s words as follows: Previously, David had been surrounded by his enemies. Now that G-d has rescued him from their evil plans, David is encompassed by the songs of praise he offers before G-d in gratitude for his deliverance.
Exodus 30:34
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The preliminary morning service describes the incense used in the Temple. On this verse, Rashi makes an interesting observation: chelb’nah (galbanum), one of the ingredients used to make the incense, actually has an offensive odor. Nevertheless, it is a necessary component, without which the incense would be invalid. Similarly, don’t think that we can exclude […]
Genesis 37:10
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Why did Joseph’s first dream only have eleven sheaves of wheat representing his brothers but his second dream had eleven stars (representing his brothers) plus the sun and the moon (representing his parents)? Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik explains that the dream of wheat reflected Joseph’s future material success. For such a thing his parents would […]
Obadiah 1:16
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The prophet Obadiah was a convert from the nation of Edom, who were descendants of Esau and the spiritual (if not literal) forebears of the Roman empire. Obadiah prophesized regarding their ultimate fate. The Radak explains this verse as follows: the Romans raised their glasses and rejoiced over the destruction of the Temple. Ultimately, they […]