Psalms 34:14

May 16, 2014, by

The concluding prayer at the end of Shemoneh Esrei begins with this verse from Psalms. We all know what lashon hara is – gossip and slander – but what is meant by deceit? The Radak explains that deceit refers to the things that two-faced people think. Such people plan to harm others while speaking to […]

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Psalms 19:15

May 16, 2014, by

This verse, recited at the end of Shemoneh Esrei, is a prayer for the acceptance of what had been said previously. The Talmud (Brachos 9b) explains that it was placed here because David said it at the conclusion of the 19th Psalm. It is therefore fitting to recite it at the conclusion of our 19 […]

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Numbers 5:18

May 16, 2014, by

Most of the commentators understand the word m’ar’rim to mean that the bitter waters cause the curse, or perhaps reveal the curse. Yonasan ben Uziel, however, renders it “bitter water of investigation.” Presumably, he feels that m’ar’rim comes from the word “ohr” (light) and the waters “bring the matter to light.”

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Hosea 2:1

May 7, 2014, by

Prophets deliver messages of chastisement and also messages of consolation, but why does Hoshea combine both in a single prophecy? Rashi cites a Midrash that compares the situation to a king who wants to divorce his wife. He sends for a sofer[1] to write a get[2] but before the sofer arrives, the couple reconciles. Once […]

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Psalms 29:11

May 7, 2014, by

The last bracha in Shemoneh Esrei is Shalom (peace) and it references this verse from Psalms. Based on this verse, Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta teaches that peace is the only vessel large enough to hold all the blessings that G-d will bestow upon Israel. (This idea is the very last statement in the very last […]

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Micah 4:11

May 7, 2014, by

The seventeenth bracha of Shemoneh Esrei is Avodah (service) and it expresses a desire to see Jerusalem and the Temple Mount similar to the one in this verse – except this verse refers to the enemies of Israel in the future, at the time of the war of Gog and Magog! The Radak explains that […]

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Jeremiah 23:5

May 7, 2014, by

The fifteenth bracha of Shemoneh Esrei is Malchus Beis David, for the restoration of the Davidic dynasty. The Moshiach (Messiah) will be a descendant of King David and he is referred to as “tzemach David,” “the shoot of David.” (“Shoot” in the botanical sense, like a sprout.) The Radak on our verse explains that a […]

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Numbers 1:9

May 7, 2014, by

In the Torah, the name Cheilon is written what’s called chaseir (lacking) – ches-lamed-nun, without a letter vav to indicate the “O” sound. Onkelos renders the name malei (full) – ches-lamed-vav-nun. The significance of this? Absolutely none. It would appear to be nothing more than a transcription error on the part of copyists.

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Jeremiah 17:1

May 2, 2014, by

The Metzudas David explains that this verse continues from the end of the previous chapter, where it tells us that the nations of the world will abandon idolatry and come to recognize G-d. Nevertheless, the sin of Judah will already have become indelibly imprinted upon the people, as if carved there by the hardest implements […]

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Zechariah 8:3

May 2, 2014, by

The bracha of Binyan Yerushalayim (the rebuilding of Jerusalem) continues by asking G-d to cause His Presence to dwell in Jerusalem as He has said He would do – a reference to this verse. The Radak – based on a parallel prophecy in Zephaniah chapter 3 – clarifies that this promise actually refers to all […]

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