Parsha Q&A - Parshas Chayei Sarah

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Chayei Sarah

For the week ending 25 Cheshvan 5759 / 13 & 14 November 1998

Contents:
  • Parsha Questions
  • Sherlox Holmes
  • I Did Not Know That!
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Answers to Parsha Questions
  • Solution to Sherlox Holmes
  • Back issues of Parsha Q&A
  • Subscription Information
  • Ohr Somayach Home Page

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    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    1. Name the four couples buried in Kiryat Arba.
    2. What did Sara hear that caused her death?
    3. What title of honor did the B'nei Ches bestow upon Avraham?
    4. Where was Avraham born?
    5. How were Avraham's camels distinguished?
    6. What is meant by "all the good of his master in his hand?"
    7. What special character trait did Eliezer seek when choosing a wife for Yitzchak?
    8. Why did Avraham's servant, Eliezer, run toward Rivka?
    9. Why did Lavan run to greet Eliezer?
    10. When Lavan told Eliezer that the house was cleared out, what did he remove?
    11. Who did Eliezer want Yitzchak to marry?
    12. Aside from Eliezer, to which other people did Rivka offer to give water?
    13. Lavan answered Eliezer before his father, Besuel, had a chance. What does this indicate about Lavan's character?
    14. What did Rivka mean when she said "I will go?"
    15. What blessing did Rivka's family give her before she departed?
    16. Who was Ketura?
    17. What gift did Avraham give to Yitzchak?
    18. How old was Avraham when he died?
    19. For how many years did Yaakov attend the Yeshiva of Ever?
    20. How many times is Eliezer's name mentioned in this week's Parsha?


     
    Solution 
    Contents

    Sherlox Holmes And The Jewelry Mystery

    Watstein stood at the door of the mahogany study. "Someone's out here to see you, Mr. Holmes. He says you weren't expecting him but that it's an emergency."

    "You mean the wealthy-looking, neatly-dressed man sitting comfortably in the burgundy chair with his right leg crossed over his left and his hands clasped together?" asked world famous detextive Sherlox Holmes.

    "Why, how in heaven did you know all that?"

    "Simple. On the wall behind you I see a reflection whose shape and position indicate beyond a doubt that it originates from a highly polished shoe resting just at the left knee of someone sitting in the burgundy chair. Above that and to the right is the reflection of a diamond-studded ring, whose position indicates hands clasped about the middle. There's so much information one can gather from a simple little ring."

    "Speaking of rings," said Watstein, "can you help me understand this verse: The man took a gold ring weighing a beka, and two bracelets for her hand, their weight being ten sela. (Bereishis 24:22)"

    "Is it surprising that Eliezer would give Rivka presents, hoping to win her as Yitzchak's bride?" said Sherlox.

    "Not at all," said Watstein. "But why does Rashi need to comment? Rashi says that by the beka weight, Eliezer hinted to the beka that future Jews would donate to the Temple. The two bracelets hinted to the Two Tablets, and the weight of ten sela hinted to the ten commandments contained therein."

    "Isn't that poetic!" said Sherlox. "The very inception of the Jewish people, Yitzchak's marriage to Rivka, is suffused with hidden metaphors symbolizing their ultimate goal: Receiving the Two Tablets containing the ten commandments!"

    "But Rashi wasn't writing poetry! Rashi himself says: I come only to explain the plain meaning of the text, or to offer aggadic explanations which answer difficulties in the text. (Bereishis 3:8) So, I ask you, Mr. Homes: What's bothering Rashi?"

    "There's so much information one can gather from a simple little ring," said Sherlox.


    I Did Not Know That!

    "And you will call his name Yitzchak…(17:19)"

    The first section of this week's Parsha describing the purchase of Sara's burial site contains seven references to "burying a dead person." These refer prophetically to the seven people to be buried there - Avraham & Sara, Yitzchak & Rivka, Yaakov & Leah - and the wicked Esav, whose head is buried there.

    (Vilna Gaon)


    Recommended Reading List

    Ramban
    22:9
    The Cave of Machpela
    24:1
    Blessed in all Things
    24:64
    Rivka's Modesty
    25:8
    Full of Years
    Sforno
    24:14
    Prayer or Divination
    24:65
    The Awe of Yitzchak
    25:8
    Avraham's Death


    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. Name the four couples buried in Kiryat Arba.
      23:2 - Adam and Chava, Avraham and Sara, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah.

    2. What did Sara hear that caused her death?
      23:2 - That Yitzchak was almost slaughtered.

    3. What title of honor did the B'nei Ches bestow upon Avraham?
      23:6 - Prince of G-d.

    4. Where was Avraham born?
      24:7 - Ur Kasdim.

    5. How were Avraham's camels distinguished?
      24:10 - They were muzzled, so they wouldn't graze in the fields of others.

    6. What is meant by "all the good of his master in his hand?"
      24:10 - Eliezer carried a document in which Avraham gave all he owned to Yitzchak so that people would want their daughter to marry him.

    7. What special character trait did Eliezer seek when choosing a wife for Yitzchak?
      24:14 - He sought someone who excelled in performing acts of kindness.

    8. Why did Avraham's servant, Eliezer, run toward Rivka?
      24:17 - He saw that the waters of the well rose when she approached.

    9. Why did Lavan run to greet Eliezer?
      24:29 - Lavan coveted his money.

    10. When Lavan told Eliezer that the house was cleared out, what did he remove?
      24:31 - Idols.

    11. Who did Eliezer want Yitzchak to marry?
      24:39 - His own daughter.

    12. Aside from Eliezer, to which other people did Rivka offer to give water?
      24:44 - To the men who accompanied Eliezer.

    13. Lavan answered Eliezer before his father, Besuel, had a chance. What does this indicate about Lavan's character?
      24:50 - That he was wicked.

    14. What did Rivka mean when she said "I will go?"
      24:58 - I will go even if you don't want me to go.

    15. What blessing did Rivka's family give her before she departed?
      24:60 - That the blessings given to Avraham would continue through her children.

    16. Who was Ketura?
      25:1 - Hagar.

    17. What gift did Avraham give to Yitzchak?
      25:5 - The power of blessing.

    18. How old was Avraham when he died?
      25:7 - One hundred and seventy five years old.

    19. For how many years did Yaakov attend the Yeshiva of Ever?
      25:17 - Fourteen years.

    20. How many times is Eliezer's name mentioned in this week's Parsha?
      None!



    Mystery
    Contents

    Solution to Sherlox Holmes

    "The beka and ten sela weights are completely ordinary for a ring and bracelets. There's nothing unusual about them at all," said Sherlox.

    "So," said Watstein.

    "So, why does the verse bother mentioning them?"

    "I see," said Watstein. "The verse could simply have said that Eliezer gave Rivka a gold ring and gold bracelets. These are common enough objects, such that we don't need to be told their exact weight - unless it's unusually big or small. But, as you pointed out, Mr. Holmes, there's nothing outstanding about a beka ring or two bracelets of ten sela. Hence, Rashi cites a midrash to explain why these seemingly ordinary weights are extra ordinary."

    "Extraordinary, Dr. Watstein. Now, please show that man in...."

    (Source: Sifsei Chachamim; Sherlox" is by Reuven Subar,
    inspired by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek's "What's Bothering Rashi")

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