Parsha Q&A - Behar

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Behar

For the week ending 17 Iyar 5757; 24 May 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. Why does the Torah specify that the laws of shemitah were taught on Har Sinai?
    2. If one possesses shemitah 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 sonu ish es amiso…" A person shall not afflict his fellow…"?
    7. What is the punishment for neglecting the laws of shemitah?
    8. If shemitah is observed properly, how long is the crop of the sixth year guaranteed to last?
    9. Under what circumstance may one sell ancestral land?
    10. After selling an ancestral field, when can one redeem it?
    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 first born 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?

    Bonus Question
    "If you say: 'What will we eat in the seventh year? - behold! We're not going to plant seed, and we're not going to gather in our crops!' Then I will command My blessing for you in the sixth year and it will produce a crop enough for three years." (25:20)
    This verse implies that the crop in the sixth year will be miraculously blessed only if the People say "What will we eat in the seventh year?" But if they don't say this, then the land will produce only the normal amount of food. If that should happen, how would the people survive? What would they eat?

    I Did Not Know That!

    Rabbi Yishmael said, "When the People of Israel do the will of Hashem, they will keep shemitah one year out of seven. But when they do not do the will of Hashem, they will end up keeping four 'shemitahs' every seven years! How so? Their land will not be very productive, and so they will need to leave it fallow every other year (in order to replenish the depleted mineral supply)."

    Ramban based on the Midrash

    Recommended Reading List

    First Six Years
    Two Kinds of "Shofar"
    The Word "Yovel"
    Three Year Blessing
    Ban on Perpetual Sale
    Two Kinds of Usury
    Commitment in Hostile Environment
    Sefer Hachinuch
    Counting until Yovel
    Call of the Shofar
    Unfair Profit
    National Land

    "A Shabbos to Hashem"

    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. 25:1 - To teach us that just as shemitah was taught in detail on Har Sinai, so too, all the mitzvos were taught in detail on Har Sinai.
    2. 25:7 - Remove it from his property and declare it ownerless.
    3. 25:10 - At the beginning of the year the Beis Din declares, "This year is kadosh (sanctified)."
    4. 25:10 - The return of the land to its original owner, and the "return" (freedom) of the slave from slavery.
    5. 25:10 - From the sounding of the shofar. A ram's horn is called a yovel.
    6. 25:17 - One may not intentionally hurt people's feelings, nor give bad advice while secretly intending to reap benefit.
    7. 25:18 - Exile.
    8. 25:21,22 - From Nissan of the sixth year until Succos of the ninth year.
    9. 25:25 - Only if one becomes impoverished.
    10. 25:24 - Anytime after two years following the sale until yovel. At the beginning of yovel it returns to the family automatically.
    11. 25:29 - Only within the first year after the sale. Afterwards, even in yovel, it does not return.
    12. 25:29 - The days of an entire year.
    13. 25:29 - A city that has been surrounded by a wall since the time of Yehoshua.
    14. 25:35 - A non-Jew who lives in Eretz Yisrael and accepts upon himself not to worship idols.
    15. 25:38 - To one who worships idols.
    16. 25:38 - The prohibition against taking interest is accompanied by the phrase, "I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of Egypt." Rashi explains that just as Hashem discerned in Egypt between those who were first-born and those who were not, so too will Hashem discern and punish those who lend with interest, pretending they are acting on behalf of others.
    17. 25:39-43 - a) Do not make him perform humiliating tasks; b) Do not sell him publicly; c) Do not make him perform unnecessary jobs.
    18. 25:41 - His master.
    19. 25:54 - No. If he is not redeemed with money, he must wait until the yovel to go free.
    20. 26:1 - In the Mikdash.

    Bonus Question

    If the Jewish People have trust in Hashem and don't say "What will we eat in the seventh year?" then the food grown in the sixth year will have extraordinary nutritional value. People will need to eat only a tiny bit in order to feel fully satisfied.


    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane & Rabbi Reuven Subar
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
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