Parsha Q&A

For the week ending 1 June 2013 / 22 Sivan 5773

Parshat Shlach

The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Questions

  1. Why is the portion about the spies written immediately after the portion about Miriam's tzara'at?
  2. To what was Moshe referring when he asked the spies "Are there trees in the land"?
  3. Who built Hebron?
  4. Which fruits did the meraglim bring back?
  5. How many people carried the grape cluster?
  6. Why did G-d shorten the meraglim's journey?
  7. Why did the meraglim begin by saying the land is "flowing with milk and honey"?
  8. Why did the meraglim list Amalek first among the hostile nations they encountered?
  9. How did Calev quiet the people?
  10. Why did the Land appear to "eat its inhabitants"?
  11. Besides the incident of the meraglim, what other sin led to the decree of 40 years in the desert?
  12. On what day did Bnei Yisrael cry due to the meraglim's report? How did this affect future generations?
  13. "Don't fear the people of the Land...their defense is departed." (14:9) Who was their chief "defender"?
  14. Calev and Yehoshua praised Eretz Canaan and tried to assure the people that they could be victorious. How did the people respond?
  15. "How long shall I bear this evil congregation?" G-d is referring to the 10 meraglim who slandered the Land. What halacha do we learn from this verse?
  16. How is the mitzvah of challa different from other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael?
  17. What is the minimum amount of challa to be given to a kohen according to Torah Law? Rabbinic Law?
  18. Verse 15:22 refers to what sin? How does the text indicate this?
  19. Moshe's doubt regarding the punishment of the mekoshesh etzim (wood-gatherer) was different than his doubt regarding the punishment of the blasphemer. How did it differ?
  20. How do the tzitzit remind us of the 613 commandments?

Answers

All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated

  1. Why is the portion about the spies written immediately after the portion about Miriam's tzara'at?
    13:2 - To show the evil of the meraglim (spies), that they saw Miriam punished for lashon hara (negative speech) yet failed to take a lesson from it.
  2. To what was Moshe referring when he asked the spies "Are there trees in the land"?
    13:20 - Were there any righteous people in the land whose merit would "shade" the Canaanites from attack?
  3. Who built Hebron?
    13:22 - Cham.
  4. Which fruits did the meraglim bring back?
    13:23 - A cluster of grapes, a pomegranate and a fig.
  5. How many people carried the grape cluster?
    13:23 - Eight.
  6. Why did G-d shorten the meraglim's journey?
    13:25 - G-d knew the Jews would sin and be punished with a year's wandering for each day of the spies' mission. So He shortened the journey to soften the decree.
  7. Why did the meraglim begin by saying the land is "flowing with milk and honey"?
    13:27 - Any lie which doesn't start with an element of truth won't be believed. Therefore, they began their false report with a true statement.
  8. Why did the meraglim list Amalek first among the hostile nations they encountered?
    13:29 - To frighten the Jews. The Jewish People were afraid of Amalek because Amalek had once attacked them.
  9. How did Calev quiet the people?
    13:30 - He fooled them by shouting, "Is this all that the son of Amram did to us?" The people quieted themselves to hear what disparaging thing Calev wished to say about the "son of Amram" (Moshe).
  10. Why did the Land appear to "eat its inhabitants"?
    13:32 - G-d caused many deaths among the Canaanites so they would be preoccupied with burying their dead and not notice the meraglim.
  11. Besides the incident of the meraglim, what other sin led to the decree of 40 years in the desert?
    13:33 - The golden calf.
  12. On what day did Bnei Yisrael cry due to the meraglim's report? How did this affect future generations?
    14:1 - The 9th of Av (Tisha B'av). This date therefore became a day of crying for all future generations: Both Temples were destroyed on this date.
  13. "Don't fear the people of the Land...their defense is departed." (14:9) Who was their chief "defender"?
    14:9 - Iyov.
  14. Calev and Yehoshua praised Eretz Canaan and tried to assure the people that they could be victorious. How did the people respond?
    14:10 - They wanted to stone them.
  15. "How long shall I bear this evil congregation?" G-d is referring to the 10 meraglim who slandered the Land. What halacha do we learn from this verse?
    14:27 - That ten men are considered a congregation.
  16. How is the mitzvah of challa different from other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael?
    15:18 - The obligation to observe other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael began only after the possession and division of the Land. The mitzvah of challa was obligatory immediately upon entering the Land.
  17. What is the minimum amount of challa to be given to a kohen according to Torah Law? Rabbinic Law?
    15:20 - No fixed amount is stated by the Torah. Rabbinic Law requires a household to give 1/24 and a baker to give 1/48.
  18. Verse 15:22 refers to what sin? How does the text indicate this?
    15:22 - Idolatry. "All these commandments" means one transgression which is equal to transgressing all the commandments - i.e. idolatry.
  19. Moshe's doubt regarding the punishment of the mekoshesh etzim (wood-gatherer) was different than his doubt regarding the punishment of the blasphemer. How did it differ?
    15:34 - Moshe knew that the mekoshesh etzim was liable for the death penalty, but not which specific means of death. Regarding the blasphemer, Moshe didn't know if he was liable for the death penalty.
  20. How do the tzitzit remind us of the 613 commandments?
    15:39 - The numerical value of the word tzitzit is 600. Tzitzit have eight threads and five knots. Add these numbers and you get 613.

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