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Numbers 13:11
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Two Tribes were descended from Joseph: Ephraim and Menashe. And yet, when naming the 12 spies, the Torah mentions Joseph when naming the spy from Menashe, and not when naming the spy from Ephraim. The Daas Zekeinim explains that Joseph got in trouble for speaking lashon hara against his brothers. His descendant from Menashe, Gadi […]
Zechariah 3:1
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Clearly Joshua the High Priest wasn’t doing something right, but what exactly was the complaint against him? Rashi cites the Talmud in Sanhedrin (93a) that Joshua’s own sons married idolatrous women from foreign lands, a fact that is revealed to us in the tenth chapter of the Book of Ezra.
Deuteronomy 16:11
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This verse is discussing the obligation to rejoice on Shavous. Rashi points out that the verse names the four members of a person’s household – his son, daughter, and male and female servants. It then names the members of G-d’s “household” – Levites, converts, orphans and widows. In effect, G-d is telling us, “If you […]
Numbers 11:12
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Because Moshe was a man and not a woman, Onkelos changes the metaphors in his speech to reflect that reality. In his Aramaic translation, he renders this verse, “Am I the father of this entire nation? Are they my children so that You should say to me, ‘Carry them with your strength as a nurse […]
Judges 13:24
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Samson’s name in Hebrew is Shimshon. The Talmud (Sotah 10a) explains that the root of this name is the word shemesh, the sun. This is an allusion to G-d, Who is compared to the sun in Psalms 84:12, “Because Hashem G-d is a sun and a shield…”
Psalms 60:7
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This verse is recited at the end of the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei. The word y’mincha (“Your right hand”) is missing the prefix letter beis, which would indicate “with,” so the verse technically says, “Save Your right hand.” The Radak explains that this is because G-d’s “right hand” is a metaphor for His power. When […]
Psalms 34:14
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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 […]
Psalms 19:15
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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 […]
Numbers 5:18
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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.”
Hosea 2:1
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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 […]