- Lech Lecha sources -- improved and expanded.
- Sodomites and Procrustes -- A parallel between a midrash and a Greek myth, and what this might mean.
- When did the Sodomites turn evil? Major repercussions, depending on whether it was before or after Lot arrived.
- Lech Lecha sources -- by perek and aliyah in a Mikraos Gedolos, plus more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftorah.
- His journey(s) -- when the masorah opposes the Zohar. Ohr Torah has a somewhat dubious resolution (IMHO) in which the Zohar darshens the text as if it was written chaser. I think it is a genuine machlokes.
- How many words are Kedarlaomer? The masorah vs. the gemara. Once again, Ohr Torah has a resolution. And once again, I lean towards thinking that there is a genuine machlokes here.
- Did Rashi darshen a non-existent chaser? Minchas Shai has a pretty strong answer, that this is not the correct girsa of Rashi. Quite plausible, though I am not entirely convinced.
- Did Eliezer, or 318 men, accompany Avraham? It cannot be both! How I would resolve this, and differ from some of Rashi's standard supercommentators.
- Avraham Avinu's kippah -- in which Junior and I disagree over whether Avraham even wore
- Lech Lecha sources -- by perek and aliyah, in an online Mikraos Gedolos.
- The Duplication in Sarah-As-Sister stories -- because this was a standing practice, in many places they went, including a great many that passed without incident.
- Brit Milah as Adopted, Adapted, and Directed Practice Taken from the Egyptians -- Shadal addresses the question that if the Egyptians also practice circumcision, how can it be a sign / covenant for the Israelites? And also deals with a Pheonician myth about Cronus and Uranus, child sacrifice and circumcision, and says this developed from the story about Avraham and Yitzchak.
- As a followup to this 2004 post on vehakenaani az baaretz, this 2008 post about Avraham pursuing as far as Dan, when the area of Dan was not named this until sefer Shofetim. Shadal rejects the idea that this a later addition to chumash; rather, this was another place called Dan. This same concern likely motivates Rashi to say that it was called this via ruach hakodesh.
- What was the name of Lot's wife? And why should we care? First, various answers as to her name. Where does it come from? Is it an extra-Biblical tradition, derived via midrashic methods from the Biblical text, made up in order to convey some message, or to put more focus on a previously minor character? I trace through various sources which discuss her name. Also, whether Lot's wife really turned into a pillar of salt.
This last one really is rooted in Vayera, but Lot's decision to move to Sodom in the first place takes place in Lech Lecha, and comes into play here.
- What Are Avraham's Bowels?
- And how children can come from it. Ibn Ezra's take, and my own take on it.
- How Many People Fought Alongside Avraham?
Eliezer, or 318 people. And how these ideas develop.
- The Perverted Law Code of Nimrod as reference to the code of Hammurabi.
- Avraham's death as proof of the Biblical concept of afterlife, since he did not literally sleep (get buried) with his ancestors.
- How the popular song seems to reference Migdal Bavel, making use of a pasuk from the haftara of Lech Lecha.
- How Shem Lost the Kehuna
- Contrasting Noach's blessing of Shem with Malkitzedek's (=Shem's) blessing of Avraham. We can see in this contrast a possible motivation for Chazal's emphasis on Shem's preceding the blessing of Avraham to the blessing of Hashem, to the effect of Shem's loss of Kehuna.
- Vayavo HaPalit -- A Case Study In Peshat and Derash
- Ibn Ezra vs Rashi. What Rashi surprisingly labels peshat (identifying the palit from the battle as Og), and why it so. And the additional stretch labeling him as a survivor of the flood, as Mishrash. Then Ibn Ezra's take, and why he does not see fit to adopt Chazal's identification of the palit.
- The Avot Keeping Kol HaTorah Kulah -- setam yeinam, pas akum, and lo techanem
- Two divrei Torah giving rather "creative" explanations for how the Avot kept the Torah, despite apparent violations. And these violations are for rather minor things that might have escaped notice. And a discussion as to whether these are meant as creative exercise or seriously.
- How Long After Avraham's Brit did Hashem Appear? How Soon After Sarah Laughed Did She Give Birth to Yitzchak?
- When the season comes around. Is this a full year? Or rather 9 months. Assume the latter, and it resolves an apparent contradiction with an earlier Divine promise for a son. Therefore, a three month interval between the two promises.
- "And I Will Make Your Name Great"
- What is meant by "name?" Explores possibility that it literally means making the name larger by adding the letter heh, and the implications of that interpretation. On a pshat level, it most likely means "renown." Turn to another example, by yibum, where it means "title" to land/inheritance, proved by evidence internal to the text (Rut names her son Oved) and via lexical comparison to a similar phrase by Ephraim and Menashe. Discuss the idea of ain mikra yotzei midei peshuto, and how a gezera shava here uproots the pshat meaning entirely, with an eye to the meaning of the statement in general. Finally, apply this meaning of "name" to a pasuk in Haazinu.
- Avraham's Sacrifice
- Explores when the command to leave his homeland was made, and why the poetic repetition. Compare with the command to bind Yitzchak, and we see Biblical poetry and repetition used to highlight the drama and the difficulty of the request.
- "And the Canaanites were then in the land"
- This statement seems to be looking back from in Eretz Yisrael. How could it have been written by Moshe? Some suggestions.
- Is the Code of Hammurabi the Dina Demalchuta of Avraham?
- Cross-listed for Vayera, this begins in parshat Lech Lecha.
If so, a way in which Avraham kept the Torah, or the Torah of Shem and Ever. Yet the incident in which Sarah offers her maidservant; her insistence of Hagar's demotion back to maidservant despite bearing Avraham a son; and the recognizing of such a child vs. casting out of the house, all have basis in the Code of Hammurabi.
- Avraham's Refusal to the King of Sodom - somewhat political
- Had Avraham taken the gifts, the king of Sodom might have thought he was only in it for the money
- Suggested KedorLaOmer etymology
- as servant of the deity Gomer
- Kings Goofus and Gallant, and the MIGGEN Avraham
- In which Avraham *receives* 10% of the spoils from Malkitzedek, rather than *giving* it to him. If so, we have a contrast to his conduct with the King of Sodom. And an explanation is respective attitudes, a la Goofus and Gallant.
Further, in the aftermath, Hashem is not saying that he will be a shield, but rather a gatherer of wealth. See the post inside.
to be continued...