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Deuteronomy 21:12
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What does it mean “to make” the captive woman’s nails? The Talmud (Yevamos 48a) offers two opinions. Rabbi Eliezer says that is means to cut her nails. (His reason: it is the same as her hair, which she cuts.) Rabbi Akiva disagrees and says that it means to let her nails grow. (His reason: this […]
Isaiah 51:13
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The Radak explains the references to G-d as Creator. Had the Jews remembered Him as the Maker of both mankind and the universe, they would have realized that He has more than sufficient power to overcome any mortal foe.
Psalms 46:8
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This verse, recited as part of U’va l’Tziyon, contains the word “Selah.” This meaning of this word – which only occurs in the book of Psalms – is the subject of some discussion. The Talmud (Eiruvin 54a) includes it in a list of words that mean “forever” or “never-ending.” Other words that carry this meaning […]
Micha 7:20
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Where did G-d promise that? Rashi says at the Akeidah (the binding of Isaac). There, the Torah recounts, “…’I swear by Myself,’ says Hashem, ‘because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son’…” (Genesis 22:16). This verse is recited as part of U’va l’Tziyon.
Psalms 86:5
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This verse is recited as part of U’va l’Tziyon. At first glance, it appears that G-d is “good, forgiving, and full of mercy” to all those who call upon Him but, actually, those are three separate things. The ibn Ezra clarifies that G-d is (a) “good” – to those who are good, (b) “forgiving” – […]
Deuteronomy 17:18
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This verse recounts the obligation of a Jewish king to write a Torah scroll. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 21b) explains that the king actually wrote two copies of the Torah – one was placed in his treasury and the other remained with him at all times.
Isaiah 40:26
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The Radak explains that, metaphysically, each star has a role it accomplishes here on Earth. G-d ensures that none of them is missing because if one was, its job wouldn’t get done.
Psalms 22:4
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Uva l’Tziyon includes a version of kedusha called “kedusha d’sidrah.” The Talmud in Sotah (49a) says that after the Temple was destroyed, every day was more cursed than the one before. The Talmud asks: if things are always getting worse, what keeps the world going? It answers, the kedusha recited in Uva l’Tziyon and the […]
Isaiah 59:20
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A large number of verses, collectively known as “Uva L’Tziyon” (from this verse) is recited at the end of the morning service. The redeemer is the moshiach (the messiah) and Tziyon (Zion) refers specifically to the Temple mount, or more generally to Jerusalem. Rashi explains that the moshiach will not come when Jerusalem lies in […]
Psalms 20:7
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Psalm 20 is recited after the second Ashrei in the morning service. Rashi explains this verse as follows: King David, the author of Psalms, is saying that since G-d saved him by making his army victorious over the rebellion (in II Samuel 18), David knows that G-d still desires him as king and will continue […]