Parsha Q&A - Beshalach

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Beshalach

For the week ending 17 Shevat 5757; 24 & 25 January 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. What does 'nacham' mean in the beginning of the Parsha?
    2. What percentage of the Jewish people died during the plague of darkness?
    3. Why did the oath that Yosef administered to his brothers apply to Moshe's generation?
    4. Why did Pharaoh decide to pursue the Jewish People?
    5. How was Hashem honored through Pharaoh?
    6. When, besides the week of Parshas Beshalach, do we read from Parshas Beshalach?
    7. Why did the Egyptians want to pursue the Jewish People?
    8. From where did the Egyptians obtain animals to pull the chariots?
    9. What does it mean that the Jewish people "took hold of their fathers' profession" (tafsu umnus avosam)?
    10. What other waters divided, besides the waters of the Yam Suf?
    11. Into how many 'watches' (ashmoros) is the night divided?
    12. Why were the dead Egyptians cast out of the sea?
    13. Why are the Egyptians compared to stone, lead and straw?
    14. Why did "fear seize the inhabitants of Pelashes"? (15:14)
    15. The Jewish women trusted that Hashem would grant the Jewish People a miraculous victory over the Egyptians. How do we know this?
    16. Which sections of the Torah did the Jewish People receive at Marah?
    17. What is a chok (statute)?
    18. What lesson in 'derech eretz' does the Torah teach concerning the eating of meat?
    19. How did non-Jews experience the taste of the manna?
    20. Why did Moshe's hands become heavy during the war against Amalek?

    Bonus Question
    "Moshe took Yosef's remains with him ... " (13:19).
    The Talmud praises Moshe for this by saying, "Look how Moshe loved mitzvos: While the rest of the people were busy gathering the wealth of Egypt, Moshe was busy with mitzvos" (Sotah 13a).

    But weren't the other people also fulfilling mitzvos by gathering the wealth of Egypt? After all, Hashem commanded that "each man shall request from his neighbor, and each woman from her neighbor, vessels of silver and vessels of gold" (10:2). So why was Moshe singled out for special praise?

    I Did Not Know That!

    "They [the Jewish People] said to Moshe, "Weren't there any graves in Egypt? Is that why you took us to die in the desert?" (14:11)

    This verse is 'humorous.' Did you not know that?

    The ability to see humor and irony within tragedy and despair is an inherently Jewish characteristic, exhibited here in the nation's early beginnings.

    Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

    Recommended Reading List

    The Miracle of Egyptian Pursuit
    Promise or Command?
    No Need to Cry
    Nature or Miracle?
    When the Shira was Sung
    (second part)
    The Purpose of Trial
    The War Against Amalek
    Red or Dead
    The Ten Miracles of the Crossing of the Sea

    Ibn Ezra
    Slave Mentality
    Drowning and Dry Land

    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. 13:17 - Lead.
    2. 13:18 - 80 per cent (four fifths).
    3. 13:19 - Yosef made his brothers swear that they would make their children swear.
    4. 14:2 - When he saw that the Jewish People turned back toward Egypt, he thought that they had lost their way.
    5. 14:4 - Through punishing him. When Hashem punishes the wicked His name is glorified.
    6. 14:5 - The seventh day of Pesach.
    7. 14:5 - To regain their wealth.
    8. 14:7 - From those Egyptians who feared the word of Hashem and kept their animals inside during the plagues.
    9. 14:10 - They cried out to Hashem.
    10. 14:21 - All the water of the world.
    11. 14:24 - Three.
    12. 14:30 - So that the Jewish People would see the destruction of the Egyptians and be assured of no further pursuit.
    13. 15:5 - The wickedest Egyptians floated around the water like straw, taking a long time to die. The average ones suffered less, sinking like stone. Those who were still more righteous sunk like lead, dying immediately.
    14. 15:14 - Because they slew the members of the tribe of Efraim who had escaped from Egypt at an earlier time. They feared vengeance for this act.
    15. 15:20 - They brought musical instruments with them in preparation for the miraculous-victory celebration.
    16. 15:25 - Shabbos, Red Heifer, Judicial Laws.
    17. 15:26 - A law whose reason we don't understand.
    18. 16:8 - One should not eat meat to the point of satiation.
    19. 16:21 - The sun melted whatever manna remained in the fields. This flowed into the streams from which animals drank. Whoever ate these animals experienced the taste of the manna.
    20. 17:12 - Because he was remiss in his duty, since he, not Yehoshua, should have led the battle.

    Bonus Question

    Caring for Yosef's remains brought Moshe no personal benefit; other than a love of mitzvos, no motive could be ascribed to it. The others chose to gather wealth, a mitzva whose performance could easily become self serving. Moshe was praised for his choice of mitzvos.

    Heard from Rabbi Avraham Eliezar Gordon, shlita

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