Karet And Ariri

The Torah refers to a punishment that seems identical, or similar to, karet with the word "ariri."

A Coriander Conundrum

Ultimately, when Antoninus pointed out that doing so would totally erase his progeny, Rebbe encouraged the Roman official to have mercy on his deviant daughter.

Smooth Sliding And Glad Gliding

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.

Stealing And Robbing

The gaNav steals at Night [i.e., when nobody is looking] while the gazLan steals in the Light [i.e., out in the open].

Laborious Work And Angelic Creativity

Rabbi Kook warns that sometimes a person can become so involved and devoted to his work that his work controls him instead of the reverse.

Where Are You?

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.

Are You Really ‘With Me’?

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?

Heavy Taxes And Empty Pockets

Another Hebrew word for tax is meches, appearing six times in chapter 31 of Sefer Bamidbar.

Jacob’s Three Names

How do we know that Yeshurun is Yaakov? One place where the equivalence is clear is a passage recited before the morning prayers.

Return To Sender

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.

Blemished Imperfections

Rabbi Dr. Ernest Klein explains that this word originally referred to a dot or speck on an otherwise pristine background and was later expanded to mean any type of blemish or defective imperfection.

A Holiday Of Gathering

The Malbim argues that “asifah” connotes bringing inside what one has gathered, while “kovetz” connotes gathering without necessarily bringing inside.

Boys And Bars

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).

A Real Toss Up

Not all appearances of “hashlachah” carry a negative connotation. Some connote throwing something deliberately to bring about certain results.

Heat With The In-laws

The groom does not join a new family, but rather branches off from his own family, creating a new subdivision of it.

Holy Priests Vs. Unholy Priests

Rabbi Hirsch ties “komer” to the emotional manipulation commonly employed by idolatrous priests.

How Many Foreheads?

The Mishnah and the Talmud do not explain what “padachat” means, so how do we know it means “forehead”?

Names For The Netherworld

Rabbi Pappenheim maintains that “hayaven” is derived from the root yud-nun, which means trickery or deception.

Indulging In Pleasure

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.

Divorce Bills And Other Documents

Rabbi Sofer explains that all legal documents are called “get” because they bring people together (e.g., lenders and borrowers, buyers and sellers, etc.).

The Old Man And The See

“Sav” is related to the Hebrew word “seivah,” and both these words form the basis of “saba,” which means “old man” or “grandfather.”

Sleep Tight

...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.

Running On Willpower

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 Ovine And Caprine Families

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.

Spoils Of War

Rabbi Pappenheim traces the etymology of “baz” and “bizah” to the biliteral root bet-zayin, which refers to something unimportant.

Remembering The Wall (Part I)

Rabbi Pappenheim suggests that “chomah” is related to “milchamah,” as the main purpose of building a city wall is to protect its inhabitants from enemy warfare.

Jumping For Passover

What does “Pesach” mean? Rashi (to Exodus 12:11 and 12:13 and Isaiah 31:5) explains that it is an expression of dilug and kefitzah (types...

All About Hair

In another famous Talmudic passage, the rabbis speak about taming the force of the Evil Inclination for idolatry, which took on the form of a lion made of fire.

On Cloud Nine?

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.

Bovine Words: Cows And Cowboys

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.


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