Parsha Q&A - Chukas

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Chukas

For the week ending 7 Tammuz 5757; 11 & 12 July 1997

  • Parsha Questions
  • Bonus Question
  • I Did Not Know That!
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Answers to Parsha Questions
  • Answer to Bonus Question
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    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    1. "Take a perfect Parah Adumah (red heifer) which has no blemish…" What does the word 'perfect' (temima) mean in this context?
    2. How many non-red hairs disqualify a cow as a valid Parah Adumah?
    3. A man dies in a tent. What happens to the sealed metal and earthenware utensils in the tent?
    4. What happens to the one who: a) Sprinkles the water mixed with the ashes of the Parah Adumah; b) Touches the water; c) Carries the water?
    5. Why was the mitzvah of the Parah Adumah entrusted to Elazar rather than to Aaron?
    6. Why does the Torah stress that all of the congregation came to Midbar Tzin?
    7. Why is Miriam's death taught after the section of the Parah Adumah?
    8. During their journey in the midbar, through who's merit did the Jewish People receive water?
    9. Why did Moshe need to strike the rock a second time?
    10. When Moshe told the King of Edom that the Jewish People would not drink from the well-water, to which well did he refer? What do we learn from this?
    11. The cloud that led the Jewish People in the midbar leveled all the mountains that were in their path except for three. Which three and why?
    12. Why did the entire congregation mourn the death of Aaron?
    13. What disappeared when Aaron died?
    14. Who was "the inhabitant of the South" (21:1) that attacked the Jewish People?
    15. For what two reasons did Hashem punish the people with snakes specifically?
    16. Why did the Jewish People camp in Arnon, rather than pass through Moav to enter Eretz Canaan?
    17. What miracle took place at the valley of Arnon?
    18. What was the "strength" of Amon that prevented the Jewish People from entering into their land?
    19. Why was Moshe afraid of Og?
    20. Who killed Og?

    Bonus Question
    "...Give water to the people and to their animals." (20:8)

    The Talmud states that it is forbidden to eat before feeding your animals. As for drinking, the Magen Avraham rules that you may drink before giving water to your animals. As a support for this, the Magen Avraham cites the example of Rivka, who said to Eliezer, "Drink, and (afterwards) I will give water to your camels, too."

    Why doesn't the Magen Avraham cite as support the verse from this week's Parsha, in which Hashem tells Moshe to "give water to the people" and only afterwards "and to their animals"?

    I Did Not Know That!

    "Speak to the rock..." (20:8)

    Hashem told Moshe to 'teach' the rock a single chapter of the Mishna. When the rock would thus give forth water, this would impress upon the Jewish People the awesome power and importance of Torah study.

    (Yalkut Shimoni as explained by Rabbi Shmuel Faivelson, shlita)

    Recommended Reading List

    The Whole Congregation
    The Serpent
    Imperative for Peace
    Fear of Og
    Ohr HaChaim
    The Sin of Moshe
    Parah Adumah
    Aaron's Special Shroud

    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. 19:2 - Perfectly red.
    2. 19:2 - Two.
    3. 19:14,15 - The metal utensils are impure for seven days, even if they are sealed. The sealed earthenware vessels are unaffected.
    4. 19:21 - a) Remains tahor; b) He, but not his clothing, contracts tumah; c) He and his clothing contract tumah.
    5. 19:22 (19:3) - Because Aaron was involved in the sin of the golden calf.
    6. 20:1 - To teach that they were all fit to enter Eretz Yisrael, because anyone who was involved in the sin of the spies had already died.
    7. 20:1 - To teach that just as sacrifices bring atonement, so too does the death of the righteous.
    8. 20:2 - Miriam's.
    9. 20:11 - After he hit it the first time, only a few drops came out since he was commanded to speak to the rock.
    10. 20:17 - To the well that traveled with the nation in the midbar. This teaches that even if one has adequate provisions he should purchase goods from his host in order to benefit the host.
    11. 20:22 - The mountains that were spared were Har Sinai for the giving of the Torah, Har Nevo for Moshe's burial place, and Hor Hahar for Aaron's burial place.
    12. 20:29 - Aaron made peace between contending parties and between spouses. Thus, when he died, everybody mourned.
    13. 20:29 - The ananei hakavod (clouds of glory) disappeared, since they sheltered the Jewish People in the merit of Aaron.
    14. 21:1 - Amalek.
    15. 21:6 - The original snake, who was punished for speaking evil, is fitting to punish those who spoke evil about Hashem and about Moshe. And the snake, for whom everything tastes like dust, is fitting to punish those who complained about the manna which changed to any desired taste.
    16. 21:13 - Moav refused to let them pass through their land.
    17. 21:15 - The Amorites concealed themselves in caves in the mountain on the Moabite side of the valley in order to ambush the Jewish People. When the Jewish People approached, the mountain on the Eretz Canaan side of the valley moved close to the other mountain and the Amorites were crushed between the two mountains.
    18. 21:24 - Hashem's command, "Do not harass them" (Devarim 2:19).
    19. 21:34 - Og had once been of service to Avraham. Moshe was afraid that this merit would assist Og in battle.
    20. 21:35 - Moshe.

    Bonus Question

    It is a Torah principle that 'one should not rely on a miracle.' For example, one should not do something dangerous and say "I'm in no danger, because G-d will protect me miraculously."

    Being in a desert with no natural water source is life-threatening. In such a situation, a person is obligated to preserve his life at the expense of his animal's life. Therefore, the people were not allowed to give the first water to the animals, because they would then need to rely on Hashem to produce more 'miracle water' for their own self-preservation.

    The Magen Avraham's proof from Rivka, on the other hand, applies even to a situation where there is ample natural water for both people and animals.

    (Meged Yosef)

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane & Rabbi Reuven Subar
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Lev Seltzer
    HTML Design: Eli Ballon
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