Nehemiah 8:15

September 23, 2013, by

Upon returning to Israel after the first exile, the leaders resolved to celebrate a Succos the likes of which hadn’t been seen in generations. The ibn Ezra clarifies that the people were not instructed to gather all these types of branches, just some of them. He gives the example of “the one who curses his […]

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Psalms 36:7

September 18, 2013, by

In this, the final verse of the Shabbos afternoon “Tzidkascha” prayer, Rashi explains the mountain metaphor in both a positive way and a negative way. Sometimes, G-d’s righteousness seems as far away from us as distant mountain peaks. This is because of the deeds of evil people, which cause G-d to distance Himself from us. […]

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Psalms 71:19

September 17, 2013, by

This is the middle verse of the Shabbos afternoon prayer “Tzidkascha.” Why does this verse use “Elokim” – which typically denotes G-d’s attribute of judgment – for the Name of G-d in this verse rather than “Hashem,” which describes His mercy? The Metzudas David explains that the Name used here denotes G-d’s ability to do […]

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Psalms 119:142

September 16, 2013, by

The Shabbos afternoon prayer “Tzidkascha” is so called because it is made up of three verses, each of which starts with the word “tzidkascha” (Your righteousness). The ibn Ezra connects this verse conceptually to the previous verse, in which David says, “I am young and despised yet I have not forgotten Your laws.” The reason […]

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Proverbs 3:1

September 13, 2013, by

Even though the very first verse of this Book tells us that King Solomon wrote Proverbs, do not think that here he is personally addressing his own children. The Metzudas Dovid tells us that Shlomo is speaking “in loco Dei” – as if he were G-d speaking. It is G-d, Who loves the Jewish people […]

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Psalms 3:1

September 12, 2013, by

This Psalm is the first appearance of the familiar introduction “Mizmor l’Dovid” (a song of David). The Talmud in Pesachim (117a) tells us that when a Psalm starts with that phrase, it means that G-d’s “spirit” rested on David, inspiring him to sing the song. The converse introductory phrase, “l’Dovid Mizmor” (of David, a song) […]

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Ezekiel 2:1

September 11, 2013, by

“Ben Adam” (son of man) is a unique form of address used throughout the Book of Ezekiel. Metzudas David tells us that this term was used to keep the prophet Yechezkel (Ezekiel) grounded. Since he was being shown the vision of G-d’s “chariot” and other hidden wonders, he needed to be reminded that he was […]

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Judges 16:28

September 10, 2013, by

If Samson wanted vengeance on the Philistines for the loss of one of his eyes, what did he want as a reward for sacrificing the other? Rashi cites the Talmud Yerushalmi that he wanted to use that merit to be assured of entry to the Next World. At this time, however, he wanted to use […]

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Exodus 40:38

September 9, 2013, by

This is the last verse in the Book of Exodus. In his Aramaic translation, the Targum Onkelos inserts the words “of glory” to describe the cloud since it was G-d’s glory that filled the Mishkan (Tabernacle), not G-d physically Himself (see verses 34-35). Onkelos also clarifies that it was “an appearance” of fire and not […]

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Psalms 81:4

September 4, 2013, by

The word keseh (KSH) is what’s called a hapax legomenon, a Greek phrase for a word that only occurs once in a text. Since this word only occurs once in all of Tanach, its meaning is obscure. The Metzudos explains that it means a time that is designated for a particular holiday, namely Rosh Hashana. […]

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