Yirmiya Perek 1

June 30, 2014, by

We are told that Hashem handpicked Yirmiya from his womb as a future prophet (1:5). This raises an important question. In order to have a doctrine of reward and punishment, one must have bechirah, free will. There is no reward if one is merely an actor in a pre-written bechirah-less script. Yet if Yirmiyau already had […]

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Introduction to Yirmiya

June 30, 2014, by

Compared to Sefer Yeshaya, Yirmiya is considerably more grim and tragic. The Talmud Yerushalmi notes that of all the books of prophecy, Yirmiya is the only one which does not conclude on a positive note. Who was Yirmiya and what is the sefer of his nevuos about? Yirmiya the Prophet Yirmiya was the son of […]

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I Kings 19:9

June 26, 2014, by

Verse 8 tells us that Elijah was brought to Mount Sinai; this verse tells us that he stayed in the cave there. “The cave” (as opposed to “a cave”) suggests that it is one with which we are already familiar. The various commentators (Rashi, Radak, Metzudas David, etc.) all agree that it is the cave […]

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Psalms 34:4

June 26, 2014, by

The Talmud in Brachos (45a) derives two laws from this verse, which is recited by the chazzan upon receiving the Torah. First, a zimmun for bentching (the call for grace after meals) requires a quorum of three because “gadlu” (magnify) is plural (minimum two) and “iti” (with me) is another one. Also, it derives that […]

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Isaiah 2:3

June 26, 2014, by

This verse, cited in part when removing the Torah from the ark, quotes what the nations of the world will say when visiting the Temple. There is a difference of opinion as to whether the second part, “For out of Zion…,” is part of the quote. The Radak feels that this is the prophet Isaiah […]

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Numbers 10:35

June 26, 2014, by

We recite this verse when taking the Torah out of the ark. It and the next verse are flanked by a pair of inverted Hebrew letter nuns, which the Talmud (Shabbos 116a) says designates the section as a book unto itself. Therefore, the Talmud tells us, the Torah consists of seven books: (1) Genesis, (2) […]

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Numbers 25:12

June 26, 2014, by

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 […]

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Micah 6:5

June 20, 2014, by

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 […]

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Psalms 79:9

June 20, 2014, by

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.

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2 Chronicles 20:12

June 20, 2014, by

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 […]

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