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Deuteronomy 4:4
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After the kohein is called up to the Torah, this verse is recited by the congregation. Of course, Hashem is not a physical Being Whom one can literally hold. Accordingly, Onkelos renders this verse, “But you who held fast to the fear of Hashem your G-d are all alive today.”
Numbers 31:8
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In Talmud Sanhedrin 106b, a heretic asked Rabbi Chanina how long Balaam lived. Rabbi Chaninah replied, “I haven’t seen anything specific on the matter but since Psalms 55:24 says that bloodthirsty and deceitful people will not live out even half their days, I would guess that he was 33 or 34.” The heretic replied, “That’s […]
Jeremiah: Not a Bullfrog
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Despite what the song may say, Jeremiah was NOT a bullfrog. The prophet Yirmiyahu was one of the three “major prophets” of the Bible, the other two being Yeshayahu (Isaiah) and Yechezkel (Ezekiel). They are “major” because their Books are large, as opposed to the “minor” prophets, whose Books are small. (The “minor” prophets’ books […]
Yirmiya Perek 52
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The final perek of Yirmiya tells of the tragedies of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and our exile to Bavel. As the RiKara (52:12) points out, based on the pesukim and the Gemara, the main parts of the Beis Hamikdash were actually burned on the 10th Av. This explains the statement of Rav Yochanan that […]
Yirmiya Perek 41
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Perhaps the least understandable of all the fast days is Tzom Gedaliah. We fast in remembrance of Gedaliah who was killed during the times of the Churban Bayis Rishon. However, we do not fast for several other leaders or great people who were killed in cold blood. What do we fast for on Tzom Gedaliah? After Nevuchadnetzar invaded Eretz […]
Yirmiya Perakim 34-35
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Among the various themes in the poetic prophecies of Yirmiya, a particularly prevalent theme in Chapters 34—35 is the power of speech and the requirement to fulfill one’s promises. In Chapter 34, Yirmaya tells Bnei Yisrael that they will face the wrath of Hashem for one particular sin; the failure to maintain the vow that […]
Yirmiya Perek 31
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יד. כֹּה | אָמַר ה קוֹל בְּרָמָה נִשְׁמָע נְהִי בְּכִי תַמְרוּרִים רָחֵל מְבַכָּה עַל בָּנֶיהָ מֵאֲנָה לְהִנָּחֵם עַל בָּנֶיהָ כִּי אֵינֶנּוּ: “So said Hashem: A voice is heard on high, extremely bitter weeping; Rachel cries over her children, she refuses to be comforted over her children, for they are not there.” (Yirmiya 31:14) There are two celebrated […]
Yirmiya Perek 26
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Passuk 18 of perek 26 tells us that the Beis Hamikdash Mount will be ploughed over by its conquerors. Indeed, the Mishnah in Ta’anis tells us that one of the five reasons we fast on Tisha B’Av is because the Beis Hamikdash Mount was ploughed over (flattened). Why is this an independent reason to fast; […]
Yirmiya Perek 19
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In perek 19, we come across an oft-used phrase in Tanach. In passuk 4, we are being lambasted for our idol worship of ‘Other Hashems which you did not know about’ (‘asher lo yeda’um’). What does this phrase mean? And why is it worse that we are worshipping idols we are not familiar with; would […]
Yirmiya Perek 17
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In פרק יז, פסוקים ה – ח the נביא compares two different people to trees:  “אָרור הַגֶבֶר אַשֶר יִבְטַח בָאָדָם…וְהָיָה כעַרעָר בָעַרָבָה וְלא יִרְאֶה כִי יָבוא טוב” - “Cursed is the man who has faith in Man…he is like a lone tree in the desert and does not see when good comes.” Conversely, ירמיה describes: “בָרוך הַגֶבֶר אַשֶר יִבְטַח בַה…וְהָיָה כְעֵץ […]