A number of commentators explain that “chefetz” is a strong, physical type of desire while “ratzon” is a more subtle desire to do the right thing.
The Land of Israel is often called the desired land: “eretz chefetz” (Malachi 3:12), “eretz chemdah” (Jeremiah 3:19, Zecharia 7:14, Psalms 106:24), and “eretz ha’tzvi” (Daniel 11:16, 11:41).
How do we know that Yeshurun is Yaakov? One place where the equivalence is clear is a passage recited before the morning prayers.
Ibn Janach writes that produce is called “tevuah” because it comes at certain times of the year.
Rabbi Hirsch ties “komer” to the emotional manipulation commonly employed by idolatrous priests.
Not all appearances of “hashlachah” carry a negative connotation. Some connote throwing something deliberately to bring about certain results.
During the evening or at night, the lack of light makes everything appear mixed up and one cannot discern the differences between them. (“Erev” means both night and mixture.)
The Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 26a) points out that "yovel" also means ram, and was borrowed to mean a ram’s horn (Joshua 6:4-5), as well the 50th year – the jubilee, an English word derived from the Hebrew "yovel," when such a horn is blown.
Rabbi Mecklenburg notes that another cognate, “sha,” means “closing one’s eyes” (Isaiah 6:10 and 32:3) since when a person closes his eyes, it appears as though he attaches his upper eyelid to his lower one.
“Sav” is related to the Hebrew word “seivah,” and both these words form the basis of “saba,” which means “old man” or “grandfather.”
Rabbi Wertheimer writes that "ayeh" is used when one has no inkling where something is, while "eifo" is used when one does have a general sense of where it is.
Another word for dust, mentioned above, is “avak.” Rabbi Pappenheim argues that afar is run-of-the-mill dirt while avak is finer dust.
The Vilna Gaon argues that man stopped resembling G-d in the generation of Adam’s grandson Enosh when idol worship began to develop.
The Malbim argues that “asifah” connotes bringing inside what one has gathered, while “kovetz” connotes gathering without necessarily bringing inside.
Righteousness is man’s natural state; sinfulness, in contrast, is considered unnatural. Therefore, a wicked person who repents is viewed as “returning” to his natural state.
Some Jews have a custom to greet others on the first night of Rosh Hashanah with the words “Le’shanah tova tei’katev ve’tei’chatem le’alter le’chaim tovim u’le’shalom.
“Selichah” also refers to a type of liturgical poem, or piyut, characterized by begging for forgiveness.
Rabbi Hirsch writes that “shachach” implies forgetting as a result of focusing on something else while “nashah” is forgetfulness that results from a weakened memory.
It’s possible that this body of water actually does not have its own name and is identified instead by the most prominent city on its banks.
...the Torah is telling us that Og was so big and strong even as a baby that he needed a metal crib to contain him; otherwise he would have broken his bed.
In Hebrew, an egel is a male calf, while an eglah is a female calf. Calves are immature bovines that rely on their mother’s milk to survive and grow.
Another Hebrew word for tax is meches, appearing six times in chapter 31 of Sefer Bamidbar.
If G-d told Balaam not to go with Balak’s men, why did He seemingly “change His mind” and later allow him to go?
Classical writing requires ink and paper, which are technically separable. In engraving, the material being engraved becomes the writing.
Rabbi Pappenheim maintains that “hayaven” is derived from the root yud-nun, which means trickery or deception.
Something that is adin or adinah (see Isaiah 47:8) is sensitive, delicate, or dainty – it is susceptible to being over-stimulated by sensory overload.
In times of surplus (brought on by ample rain), people tend to treat each other more fairly and are at peace with one another versus times of austerity and famine when people compete with each other for limited resources.
When He revealed the Decalogue at Mount Sinai, however, the entire Jewish people were gathered at the mountain, so G-d “raised His voice” and we therefore speak of the “Aseret HaDibrot.”
The Torah refers to a punishment that seems identical, or similar to, karet with the word "ariri."
Rabbi Pappenheim maintains that “bat” (daughter) is also derived from the root bet-nun and should really be spelled “banat” (like it is in other Semitic languages).