Judges 11:3

June 18, 2014, by

Yiftach (Jephthah) was a great military strategist but he was one of the most flawed of our nation’s Judges. The Talmud (Baba Kama 92b) wishes to illustrate the point that “a tree bearing bad fruit travels among barren trees” (i.e., likeminded people gather together). One of its proofs is this verse, in which “empty” people […]

Read more

Psalms 78:61

June 18, 2014, by

This verse is referenced by the long-form Tachanun of Mondays and Thursdays. Rashi explains that the strength and glory of this verse refer to the aron and the luchos (the ark and the tablets), which had been captured by the Philistines.

Read more

Daniel 9:5

June 18, 2014, by

This verse is cited in the long Tachanun on Mondays and Thursdays. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 93a) explains that when Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were saved from the fiery furnace (where they were thrown for refusing to bow to an idol), the Babylonians who witnessed the miracle accosted the Jews. “You have a G-d Who does […]

Read more

Exodus 32:12

June 18, 2014, by

This verse is cited in the long form of Tachanun. Onkelos generally removes human characteristics attributed to G-d from his Aramaic translation in order to keep people from taking them too literally. “Repent” suggests that G-d is capable of regretting His decisions. Accordingly, Onkelos changes it to “Turn from Your fierce wrath and turn away […]

Read more

Numbers 19:2

June 18, 2014, by

If the red heifer is flawless, don’t we know that it has no blemish? Rashi explains that “flawless” refers to the cow’s redness – even two black hairs would disqualify it. “Without blemish” refers to the usual defects that would disqualify a sanctified animal.

Read more

I Samuel 12:2

June 12, 2014, by

The prophet Shmuel chastised the Jews for demanding a king in order to be like the other nations. The Metzudas David explains that before doing so, he pointed out (a) that he was already old and (b) that his own sons were with the people in their support of the king. Therefore, it should be […]

Read more

Joel 2:17

June 12, 2014, by

This verse is referenced in the “long form” of Tachanun on Mondays and Thursdays. In it, the prophet Yoel asks G-d not to let the other nations “limshol” Israel. The Hebrew root MShL can mean two different things. Rashi says that here it means “mashal,” a story – “Please don’t let the nations turn us […]

Read more

Daniel 9:17

June 12, 2014, by

This verse is part of the longer version of Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays. The Talmud in Brachos (7b) explains that Daniel was only saved from the lions’ den because of the merit of Abraham. He did not ask G-d to act “for Your sake,” but “for my Master’s sake.” He was asking for […]

Read more

Malachi 3:4

June 12, 2014, by

This verse is the last line of the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei. When were these “good old days?” The Metzudas David explains that “days of old” refers to the time of Moshe and “ancient years” refers to the reign of King Solomon. There were times when sacrifices were so happily accepted by Hashem that He […]

Read more

Numbers 16:30

June 12, 2014, by

Rashi cites the Talmud in Sanhedrin 110a, that Moshe said, “If G-d created an opening into the earth during the six days of creation, good. If not, let Him create one now.” The Talmud continues beyond Rashi’s citation. Koheles 1:9 says that there’s nothing new under the sun, i.e., G-d doesn’t create new things! The […]

Read more