Parsha Q&A - Vaera

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Vaera

Mazel Tovs to:
Contributing Editor Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair and family on the birth of his son
Production Designer Lev Seltzer and his wife Ella on the birth of their "Bachor" (First Born Son)

For the week ending 28 Teves 5756; 19 & 20 January 1996

  • Parsha Questions
  • Bonus Question
  • I Did Not Know That!
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Answers to Parsha Questions
  • Answer to Bonus Question
  • Subscription Information
  • Ohr Somayach Home Page

  • Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents
    1. What does the Torah mean when it states that the name "Hashem" was not known to the Avos (Patriarchs)?
    2. In what capacity did Aaron assist Moshe?
    3. How did Hashem command Moshe to conduct himself with the Jewish People?
    4. How did Hashem command Moshe to conduct himself with Pharaoh?
    5. In Verses 6:14-19, why does the Torah list the genealogies of the tribes of Reuven, Shimon and Levi?
    6. Who among Yaakov's sons outlived all the others?
    7. When did the period of slavery in Egypt begin?
    8. In Bereshis 15:13, Hashem tells Avraham that his descendants will live as strangers for 400 years. When did this period begin?
    9. When a man is considering a prospective bride, which of her family members should he scrutinize most closely?
    10. Name two ancestors of the wife of Elazar ben Aaron?
    11. Why did the Egyptians worship the Nile?
    12. Why wasn't Moshe the one to strike the Nile River to initiate the plagues of blood and frogs?
    13. How long did the plague of blood last?
    14. Why did the plague of tzfardea (frogs) affect Pharaoh's house first?
    15. How many frogs were there in the beginning of the plague of tzfardea?
    16. Why wasn't Moshe the one who struck the dust to initiate the plague of kinim (lice)?
    17. Why did Hashem remove the arov (mixture of wild animals) at the end of the plague and not let them die the way the tzfardea died?
    18. The Torah states that as a result of the plague of dever (pestilence), "all the cattle of Egypt died" (9:6). In verse 9:10, the Torah states that the plague of shechin (boils) affected the Egyptians' cattle. Resolve this contradiction.
    19. Why did Moshe pray to Hashem only after he left the city?
    20. Why did the wheat and spelt survive the plague of barad (hail)?

    Bonus Question
    Aaron was commanded to smite the Nile and then all the water in Egypt would turn into blood:
    "their river...their streams...their pools...their ponds...(and the water in the vessels) of wood and of stone." (7.19)
    Aaron did so and "the blood was throughout all the land of Egypt." (7:21)
    The next verse teaches "and the magicians of Egypt did in a like manner with their secret arts." (7:22)
    If all the water in Egypt had already tuned into blood, where did Pharaoh's magicians get the water?

    I Did Not Know That!

    "And the frogs covered the land of Egypt." (8:2)
    They went even into the hot ovens of the Egyptians.

    Chananya, Mishael, and Azariah learned from the example of the frogs that to sanctify Hashem's Name, one must even be willing to throw oneself into an oven. Therefore they chose to be cast into the furnace rather than bow down to the idol of Nebuchadnezzar.
    Pesachim 53b

    Recommended Reading List

    Subtle and Sensational Miracles
    Four Dimensions of Redemption
    Why Moshe was Ignored
    The Meaning of "Le'mor"
    The Free Will of Pharaoh (also see Sifsei Chachamim on Rashi)
    Why Pharaoh said "Tomorrow"
    Uniqueness of Fourth Plague
    The Cattle in the Field

    Pharaoh's Hard Heart
    Structure of the Plagues.
    Effects of the Plagues

    Kli Yakar
    Aaron and Moshe
    Three Sets of Plagues
    "Mesiras Nefesh" of the Frogs

    Answers to this Week's Questions

    Questions | Contents

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

    1. 6:3 - The name "Hashem" denotes faithfulness to fulfill promises. The promises made to the Avos were not fulfilled during their lifetime.
    2. 6:13 - He acted as Moshe's spokesman.
    3. 6:13 - To deal with them in a gentle and patient manner.
    4. 6:13 - To show him respect.
    5. 6:14 - Since Reuven, Shimon, and Levi were reproached by Yaakov prior to his death, the Torah stresses their genealogies in order to show that they were indeed men of worth.
    6. 6:16 - Levi.
    7. 6:16 - After the death of Levi.
    8. 6:18 - It began with the birth of Yitzchak.
    9. 6:23 - Her brothers.
    10. 6:25 - Yisro and Yosef.
    11. 7:17 - The Nile River was their primary water source.
    12. 7:19 - Since the river had provided protection for Moshe when he was cast into it as an infant, it was inappropriate for Moshe to now strike the river.
    13. 7:25 - Seven days.
    14. 7:28 - Pharaoh himself advised the enslavement of the Jewish People.
    15. 8:2 - One.
    16. 8:12 - Because the dust protected Moshe by hiding the body of the Egyptian that Moshe killed.
    17. 8:27 - So that the Egyptians would not benefit from their hides.
    18. 9:10 - In the plague of dever only the cattle in the fields died. The plague of shechin affected the surviving cattle.
    19. 9:29 - Because the city was full of idols.
    20. 9:32 - They matured later and their stalks were still soft. Therefore, they were able to resist the bombardment of hail-stones.

    Bonus Question
    The magicians had two accessible sources of water:
    1. The plague of blood only affected water that was exposed. Water in underground caverns that had not yet been uncovered did not turn into blood. The magicians may have dug a well and used that water.
    2. Since the water of the Jewish People did not turn into blood, they were able to sell water to the Egyptians during the seven days of the plague. Pharaoh's magicians could have purchased the water from them.

    Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Lev Seltzer
    HTML Design: Michael Treblow
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