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Numbers 25:12
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G-d rewarded Pinchas for his zealousness with a “covenant of peace.” The Targum Yonasan ben Uzziel says that this means immortality, a reference to the Midrash that identifies Pinchas with Eliyahu (the prophet Elijah), who was taken into Heaven alive. (Others do not take the Midrash so literally. For example, ibn Ezra on verse 13 […]
Micah 6:5
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The prophet Micah does not specify: what exactly did Balaam answer Balak? Rashi says that it refers to Numbers 23:8, “How can I be angry if G-d is not angry?” Ibn Ezra says it refers to Numbers 22:18, where Balaam said that he could only say what G-d instructed him to say, which is what […]
Psalms 79:9
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This verse is the last line of the prayer Tachanun. Metzudas David explains “the sake of the glory of Your Name” to mean so that G-d’s Name should not be disgraced. “For Your Name’s sake” means to demonstrate that He is gracious and kind.
2 Chronicles 20:12
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This verse, quoting the words of King Yehoshafat, is cited in Tachanun. Eicha Rabbosi contrasts the ways of four kings. David pursued his enemies and destroyed them; Asa pursued but did not have the strength to destoy; Yehoshafat did not even have the strength to pursue, so he prayed; Chizkiyahu did not even possess that […]
2 Samuel 24:14
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When a Divine punishment was mandated, G-d gave David the choice of a famine, war or pestilence. David told the prophet Gad that he preferred to fall into G-d’s hand than man’s hand. Accordingly, G-d sent the pestilence. We understand how David’s response eliminated the option of war but how did it exclude the famine? […]
Numbers 24:17
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There’s a lot going on in this verse, which most commentators consider a messianic prophecy. Onkelos (who considers it to refer to a king but not necessarily the Moshiach) renders it: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but he is not near; a king will arise from Jacob, and an anointed one […]
Judges 11:3
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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 […]
Psalms 78:61
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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.
Daniel 9:5
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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 […]
Exodus 32:12
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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 […]