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Isaiah 7:14
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This familiar verse is often mistranslated to say that a virgin will give birth and it is taken by non-Jewish sources as a messianic prophecy. It is not; it was a sign given by Isaiah to King Achaz regarding foreign affairs of the time. Rashi clarifies that the woman in question – Isaiah’s own wife […]
2 Samuel 23:16
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The Radak tells us that David did not want to drink the water because his men had risked their lives to obtain it. Drinking it would be like metaphorically drinking their blood because they could have been killed in the attempt. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to G-d, on the ground because […]
Deuteronomy 6:4
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The letter ayin of the word “Shema” (“hear”) is written oversized, as is the letter daled of the word “echad” (“one”). The commentators provide a number of explanations as to why this is. The Midrash in Leviticus Rabbah 19:2 points out that the oversized daled of echad shares a reciprocal relationship with the oversized letter […]
Eicha 3:1
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The book of Eicha was written by the prophet Jeremiah. Rashi explains Jeremiah’s lament in this verse as follows: many prophets foretold the destruction of the Temple, the exile of the people and the desolation of the land. Only Jeremiah, however, was in the unfortunate position of having to foretell these events and then to […]
Psalms 145:15
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The Radak explains that G-d created all of the creatures in the world and He created each of their forms of sustenance. These can vary wildly – some creatures eat grass, others eat seeds, while still others eat one another. Nevertheless, all of them depend upon G-d to survive and they place their hopes in […]
Malachi 3:23
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You may recall that Eliyahu (Elijah) ascended to Heaven alive in 2 Kings chapter 2. But don’t think that he’s still walking around in a physical body! The Radak tells us that upon his ascension, Eliyahu’s soul returned to Heaven and his body returned to the Earth. In order to send Eliyahu to us, G-d […]
I Kings 10:1
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The Talmud in Baba Basra (15b) says that anyone who thinks the Queen of Sheba was a woman is mistaken. The correct translation of the words “malkas Sheva,” they tell us, is “the kingdom of Sheba.” In other words, news of Shlomo’s greatness had reached the land of Sheba, so they sent a delegation to […]
Genesis 23:2
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The letter kaf in the word “v’livkosa” (to cry for her) is written smaller than the other letters. If that letter is ignored, the word would be read “u’lbita” – that Avraham went to mourn for Sarah “and for her daughter,” suggesting that Avraham and Sarah had a daughter, who also died. The Talmud in […]
Koheles 3:5
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Rashi quotes the Midrash from Koheles Rabbah on this verse. When is the time to scatter stones? This refers to when the Jews were scattered following the destruction of the Temple as per Eicha 4:1, “The holy stones are scattered…” The time to gather is when the Jews are retrieved from exile as per Zechariah […]
Psalms 92:2
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This is the start of the “Song for the Sabbath day.” What’s the connection between Shabbos and praising G-d? The Radak explains that Shabbos is the best time to thank G-d because we are freed of our usual worldly distractions. On Shabbos, our souls are unencumbered by the mundane things that typically weigh us down, […]