Parsha Q&A - Parshas Vayechi

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Vayechi

For the week ending 14 Teves 5759 / 1 & 2 January 1999

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

  • This publication is also available in the following formats: [Text] [Word] [PDF] Explanation of these symbols 

    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    1. Why is kindness towards the dead called "chesed shel emes" - kindness of truth?
    2. Give three reasons Yaakov didn't want to be buried in Egypt.
    3. How do you treat a "fox in his time" (i.e., a commoner who rules)?
    4. "When I was coming from Padan, Rachel died on me... I buried her there on the way to Efrat...." Why did Yaakov say all this to Yosef?
    5. Initially, why was Yaakov unable to bless Efraim and Menashe?
    6. What does pillalti mean?
    7. What does "Shechem" mean as used in this week's Parsha? (two answers)
    8. What individual is called "the Emori?" Why? Give two reasons.
    9. What did Yaakov want to tell his sons but was unable to?
    10. What privileges did Reuven lose due to his rash actions?
    11. What congregation from Yaakov's offspring did Yaakov not want to be associated with?
    12. What did Yehuda do after he heard Yaakov rebuke Reuven, Shimon and Levi? Why?
    13. What does milk do to teeth?
    14. Why is Yissachar like a "strong-boned donkey?"
    15. With what resource did both Yaakov and Moshe bless Asher?
    16. To whom was Yaakov referring in Yosef's blessing when he said "They embittered him..."?
    17. Which descendants of Binyamin "will divide the spoils in the evening"?
    18. From whom did Yaakov buy his burial place?
    19. What oath did Yosef make to Pharaoh?
    20. Which two sons of Yaakov did not carry his coffin? Why not?


     
    Solution 
    Contents

    Sherlox & The Vision Mystery

    Watstein held the white handkerchief up to the light and squinted. "Do you see that tiny puff of yellow thread caught in the fabric?" asked world famous detextive Sherlox Holmes. "A sample from Mr. Burnshire's yellow cardigan will match it, no doubt."

    "I still can't see it," said Watstein.

    "Hold the kerchief out of the direct light," said Sherlox. "Too much light impedes vision."

    "Speaking of vision," said Watstein, "I'm perplexed by the following verse: 'Yaakov saw Yosef's sons and said: Who are these?' (Genesis 48:8) On the words 'Yaakov saw Yosef's sons' Rashi explains that Yaakov wanted to bless Yosef's sons, Efraim and Menashe, but the Divine Presence left him due to their future wicked offspring."

    "Now that's what I call vision," said Sherlox.

    "But why does Rashi resort to this midrashic explanation, instead of the simple explanation that Yaakov saw Yosef's sons?"

    "Well, isn't it odd that Yaakov would ask 'Who are these?' about his own grandchildren? Perhaps that's what's bothering Rashi?"

    "But Rashi is commenting on the words 'Yaakov saw,' not on the words "Who are these.' Besides, it seems it was standard to ask for formal identification before a blessing. The angel who blesses Yaakov first asks 'What is your name?' although he certainly knew it (Genesis 32:38). And Yitzchak does the same, even after identifying Esav (Genesis 27:24). So I ask again, why does Rashi depart from the simple meaning of the words: "Yaakov saw?"

    "Sometimes," said Sherlox, "too much light impedes vision."


    I Did Not Know That!

    "His smaller brother will be greater than him...." (Bereishis 48:19)

    Efraim was chosen above his older brother Menashe because of his greater humility. Thus, the verse emphasizes that he was the "smaller," i.e., the more humble, brother.

    (Based on Kli Yakar)


    Recommended Reading List

    Ramban
    47:28
    Egypt and Rome
    47:31
    Necessity for the Oath
    48:1
    The Division of Eretz Yisrael
    48:7
    Rachel's Tomb
    48:15
    (first part) Yosef's other children
    49:10
    (first part) Kings of Israel
    49:17
    Shimshon
    49:31
    Burial in the Ma'aras HaMachpela
    49:33
    The Death of Yaakov

    Sforno
    47:31
    Yosef's Oath
    48:18
    The Laying of Hands
    49:7
    The Humility of Dispersion
    49:11
    Signs of Mashiach


    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. Why is kindness towards the dead called "chesed shel emes" - kindness of truth?
      47:29 - Because the giver expects no reward from the recipient.

    2. Give three reasons Yaakov didn't want to be buried in Egypt.
      47:29 - a) Egypt's ground was to be plagued with lice; b) At the time of the resurrection, those buried outside Israel will suffer; c) So the Egyptians wouldn't make him into an idol.

    3. How do you treat a "fox in his time" (i.e., a commoner who rules)?
      47:31 - Bow to him.

    4. "When I was coming from Padan, Rachel died on me... I buried her there on the way to Efrat...." Why did Yaakov say all this to Yosef?
      48:7 - Yaakov thought Yosef harbored resentment since Yaakov had not buried Yosef's mother, Rachel, in the Ma'aras HaMachpela.

    5. Initially, why was Yaakov unable to bless Efraim and Menashe?
      48:8 - The Shechina departed from him.

    6. What does pillalti mean?
      48:11 - "I thought."

    7. What does "Shechem" mean as used in this week's Parsha? (two answers)
      48:22 - a) The actual city of Shechem; b) A portion.

    8. What individual is called "the Emori?" Why? Give two reasons.
      48:22 - Esav. a) He acted like an Emorite; b) He trapped his father with words (imrei pi).

    9. What did Yaakov want to tell his sons but was unable to?
      49:1 - When mashiach will come.

    10. What privileges did Reuven lose due to his rash actions?
      49:3 - Priesthood and Kingship.

    11. What congregation from Yaakov's offspring did Yaakov not want to be associated with?
      49:6 - Korach and his congregation.

    12. What did Yehuda do after he heard Yaakov rebuke Reuven, Shimon and Levi? Why?
      49:8 - He drew back. He was afraid that Yaakov would rebuke him for the incident with Tamar.

    13. What does milk do to teeth?
      49:12 - It makes them white.

    14. Why is Yissachar like a "strong-boned donkey?"
      49:14 - Just as a donkey bears a heavy burden, so the tribe of Yissachar bears the yoke of Torah.

    15. With what resource did both Yaakov and Moshe bless Asher?
      49:20 - Oil-rich land.

    16. To whom was Yaakov referring in Yosef's blessing when he said "They embittered him..."?
      49:23 - Yosef's brothers, Potifar and his wife.

    17. Which descendants of Binyamin "will divide the spoils in the evening"?
      49:27 - Mordechai and Esther.

    18. From whom did Yaakov buy his burial place?
      50:5 - From Esav.

    19. What oath did Yosef make to Pharaoh?
      50:6 - Yosef swore not to reveal Pharaoh's ignorance of Hebrew.

    20. Which two sons of Yaakov did not carry his coffin? Why not?
      50:13 - Levi, because he would carry the aron (holy ark). Yosef, because he was a king.



    Mystery
    Contents

    Solution to Sherlox Holmes

    "What kind of vision did Yaakov have?" asked Sherlox.

    "What do you mean?"

    "Read two more verses: 'Israel's eyes had become heavy from age; he was unable to see...' (Genesis 48:10) The text says that Yaakov saw Yosef's sons, and then goes on to say Yaakov was unable to see."

    "Of course! The answer is right before my eyes: Yaakov was unable to see! So how could he 'see' Yosef's sons? Therefore, Rashi explains that Yaakov 'saw' their future offspring through the lens of Divine intuition."

    (Based on 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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