Isaiah 27:13

April 23, 2014, by

The tenth bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, Kibbutz Galuyos (the ingathering of exiles), references this verse from Isaiah. The Radak explains the “great shofar” as a metaphor: the Jews will gather as if a great shofar sounded throughout the world, calling them back home.

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Jeremiah 17:14

April 23, 2014, by

The eighth bracha of Shemoneh Esrei, called Refuah (health), cites the words of the prophet Jeremiah, only changing the prophet’s singular pronouns to the plural. It’s clear enough what it means to be healed and to be saved but what does it mean that Hashem is Jeremiah’s praise – or ours, as we say in […]

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Leviticus 21:3

April 23, 2014, by

A kohein may defile himself for an unmarried sister who is “near to him?” What does that mean – they talk on the phone a lot? The ibn Ezra explains that it refers to a whole sister – that is, one who shares both parents with the kohein – as opposed to a half-sister.

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Amos 9:7

April 3, 2014, by

In a bit of a reality check, G-d reminds the Jews that they’re just like everyone else. Rashi explains that we are all descendants of Noah and G-d has redeemed other nations from their enemies as well. The only difference is that He forged a covenant with us.

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Genesis 32:12

April 3, 2014, by

Some people insert the word “na” (please) in the middle of “behold our affliction” in the seventh bracha of Shemoneh Esrei. Some authorities consider this incorrect because David did not say it that way in Psalms, though other authorities approve of the practice because Yaakov said “na” when asking God to redeem him from his […]

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Leviticus 19:2

April 3, 2014, by

The Baal HaTurim points out that the previous parsha ends by telling us to guard ourselves from various abominations. He explains this juxtaposition as follows: if we guard ourselves from sin, then we will become holy.

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Ezekiel 37:1

April 3, 2014, by

The haftarah for Shabbos Chol HaMoed Pesach is the famous prophecy of the “valley of the dry bones” from Ezekiel chapter 37. But was this a prophetic vision or did Ezekiel actually witness a valley of bones being resurrected? In the Talmud (Sanhedrin 92b), Rabbi Eliezer says that the revived dead from this incident actually […]

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Psalms 25:18

April 3, 2014, by

The seventh bracha of Shemoneh Esrei is called “Geulah” (redemption). Its opening words (“behold our affliction”) are a paraphrase of words used by King David in several Psalms, including this one. The ibn Ezra tells us that in this verse, David is not describing a physical struggle but rather his battle with the yetzer hara […]

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II Kings 23:22

April 3, 2014, by

Rashi explains why such a Passover was impossible “all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.” Jeroboam, the first king of the northern kingdom, set up two golden calves and did not allow his people to go to Jerusalem. Now, after the ten Tribes were exiled, Jeremiah brought back representatives […]

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Ezekiel 22:2

March 28, 2014, by

“City of blood?” That’s a pretty harsh thing to call Jerusalem! The Daas Sofrim explains that things weren’t as bad as the name makes it sound. It’s just that Jerusalem is the Holy City, so it is held to a higher standard. Any act of bloodshed, no matter how isolated, is relatively more serious there […]

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