Parsha Q&A

For the week ending 10 May 2014 / 10 Iyyar 5774

Parshat Behar

The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Questions

  1. Why does the Torah specify that the laws of shemita were taught on Har Sinai?
  2. If one possesses shemita food after it is no longer available in the field, what must he do with it?
  3. The Torah commands, "You shall sanctify the fiftieth year." How is this done?
  4. Which two "returns" are announced by the shofar during yovel?
  5. From where does the yovel year get its name?
  6. What prohibitions are derived from the verse "v'lo tonu ish et amito -- a person shall not afflict his fellow"?
  7. What is the punishment for neglecting the laws of shemita?
  8. If shemita is observed properly, how long is the crop of the sixth year guaranteed to last?
  9. After selling an ancestral field, when can one redeem it?
  10. Under what circumstance may one sell ancestral land?
  11. If a home in a walled city is sold, when can it be redeemed?
  12. What does the word "days" mean in this week's Parsha?
  13. What is considered a walled city?
  14. What is the definition of a "ger toshav"?
  15. To what is one who leaves Eretz Yisrael compared?
  16. Why does Rashi mention the plague of the firstborn in this week's Parsha?
  17. List three prohibitions which demonstrate the dignity with which one must treat a Jewish indentured servant.
  18. Who supports the family of the Jewish indentured servant during his years of servitude?
  19. If a Jew is sold as a servant to a non-Jew, does he go free after six years?
  20. Where is it permitted to prostrate oneself on a stone floor?

Answers

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

  1. Why does the Torah specify that the laws of shemita were taught on Har Sinai?
    25:1 - To teach us that just as shemita was taught in detail on Har Sinai, so too, all the mitzvot were taught in detail on Har Sinai.
  2. If one possesses shemita food after it is no longer available in the field, what must he do with it?
    25:7 - Remove it from his property and declare it ownerless.
  3. The Torah commands, "You shall sanctify the fiftieth year." How is this done?
    25:10 - At the beginning of the year the Beit Din declares, "This year is kadosh (sanctified)."
  4. Which two "returns" are announced by the shofar during yovel?
    25:10 - The return of the land to its original owner, and the "return" (freedom) of the slave from slavery.
  5. From where does the yovel year get its name?
    25:10 - From the sounding of the shofar. A ram's horn is called a yovel.
  6. What prohibitions are derived from the verse "v'lo tonu ish et amito -- a person shall not afflict his fellow"?
    25:17 - One may not intentionally hurt people's feelings, nor give bad advice while secretly intending to reap benefit.
  7. What is the punishment for neglecting the laws of shemita?
    25:18 - Exile.
  8. If shemita is observed properly, how long is the crop of the sixth year guaranteed to last?
    25:21,22 - From Nissan of the sixth year until Sukkot of the ninth year.
  9. After selling an ancestral field, when can one redeem it?
    25:24 - After two years following the sale, until yovel. At the beginning of yovel it returns to the family automatically.
  10. Under what circumstance may one sell ancestral land?
    25:25 - Only if one becomes impoverished.
  11. If a home in a walled city is sold, when can it be redeemed?
    25:29 - Only within the first year after the sale. Afterwards, even in yovel, it does not return.
  12. What does the word "days" mean in this week's Parsha?
    25:29 - The days of an entire year.
  13. What is considered a walled city?
    25:29 - A city that has been surrounded by a wall since the time of Yehoshua.
  14. What is the definition of a "ger toshav"?
    25:35 - A non-Jew who lives in Eretz Yisrael and accepts upon himself not to worship idols.
  15. To what is one who leaves Eretz Yisrael compared?
    25:38 - To one who worships idols.
  16. Why does Rashi mention the plague of the firstborn in this week's Parsha?
    25:38 - The prohibition against taking interest is accompanied by the phrase, "I am the L-rd your G-d who took you out of Egypt." Rashi explains that just as G-d discerned in Egypt between those who were firstborn and those who were not, so too will G-d discern and punish those who lend with interest, pretending they are acting on behalf of others.
  17. List three prohibitions which demonstrate the dignity with which one must treat a Jewish indentured servant.
    25:39-43 -
    1. Do not make him perform humiliating tasks
    2. Do not sell him publicly
    3. Do not make him perform unnecessary jobs
  18. Who supports the family of the Jewish indentured servant during his years of servitude?
    25:41 - His master.
  19. If a Jew is sold as a servant to a non-Jew, does he go free after six years?
    25:54 - No. If he is not redeemed with money, he must wait until the yovel to go free.
  20. Where is it permitted to prostrate oneself on a stone floor?
    26:1 - In the Mikdash.

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