Parsha Q&A - Parshas Vayeitze

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Vayeitze

For the week ending 9 Kislev 5759 / 27 & 28 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

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

    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    1. When Yaakov traveled to Charan, the Torah stresses that he departed from Be'er Sheva. Why?
    2. On the night of his dream, Yaakov did something he hadn't done in 14 years. What?
    3. In his dream, Yaakov saw angels going up and down. What were the missions of these angels?
    4. Hashem compressed the entire land of Israel underneath the sleeping Yaakov. What did this symbolize?
    5. Why did Yaakov rebuke the shepherds?
    6. Why was Rachel tending her father's sheep; that is, why didn't her brothers tend the sheep as was customary in those days?
    7. Why did Yaakov cry when he met Rachel?
    8. Who was Elifaz, and why didn't he kill Yaakov when he had the chance?
    9. Why did Lavan run to greet Yaakov?
    10. Why were Leah's eyes tender?
    11. How old was Yaakov when he married Leah and Rachel?
    12. Why did Rachel envy Leah?
    13. Who was Yaakov's fifth son?
    14. How do you say "dudaim" in Arabic?
    15. "Hashem remembered Rachel" (30:22). What did He remember?
    16. What does "Yosef" mean? Why was he named that?
    17. How many times did Lavan change Yaakov's wages?
    18. Where are there two Aramaic words in this week's Parsha?
    19. Who was Bilhah's father? Who was Zilpah's father?
    20. Who escorted Yaakov into Eretz Yisrael?


     
    Solution 
    Contents

    Sherlox Holmes And The Mystery Of Reuven

    "Little Falswell will have an inferiority complex when he grows up," said world famous detextive Sherlox Holmes.

    "How do you figure?" asked Watstein.

    "His mother constantly compares him to her other children. Comparing siblings always causes problems."

    "Speaking of problems with mothers and children," said Watstein, "Help me with this problematic text concerning Leah and her son Reuven: 'And she called him Reuven, for she said: G-d has seen my affliction...' " (Bereishis 29:32).

    "What's problematic?" asked Sherlox.

    "Rashi's comment. According to Rashi, Reuven stands for 'reu ben' - 'look at the difference;' with this name, Leah prophetically declared: 'Look at the difference between my righteous first born, Reuven, and Yitzchak's evil firstborn, Esav.' "

    "Do you deny Leah her natural right as a mother to brag about her children?"

    "No. But I deny the right of anyone to say that Rashi quotes a midrash for no reason! The verse itself clearly gives a reason for Reuven's name! Why, then, does Rashi bring a midrashic reason for no apparent reason?

    "Comparing siblings always causes problems," said Sherlox.


    I Did Not Know That!

    And Lavan gathered all the people of the place and made a feast (lit. drinking repast). (Bereishis 29:22)

    Lavan wanted Yaakov to get intoxicated so that he could more easily fool him into marrying Leah. That's why he made a festive meal which included alcoholic beverages. But when Yaakov married Rachel, Lavan made no feast at all.

    (Da'as Zekeinim Miba'alei Hatosafos)


    Recommended Reading List

    Ramban
    28:12
    Yaakov's Dream
    29:2
    Three Flocks
    30:2
    Yaakov's Anger
    31:19
    The Terafim
    Sforno
    28:12-13
    Yaakov's Dream
    29:6
    A Proper Guest
    29:11
    Why Yaakov Cried
    31:32
    Yaakov's Curse
    32:1
    A Father's Blessing


    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. When Yaakov traveled to Charan, the Torah stresses that he departed from Be'er Sheva. Why?
      28:10 - The departure of a righteous person leaves a noticeable void in that place.

    2. On the night of his dream, Yaakov did something he hadn't done in 14 years. What?
      28:11 - Sleep at night lying down.

    3. In his dream, Yaakov saw angels going up and down. What were the missions of these angels?
      28:12 - The ascending angels accompanied Yaakov in Eretz Canaan. The descending angels accompanied Yaakov outside of the Land.

    4. Hashem compressed the entire land of Israel underneath the sleeping Yaakov. What did this symbolize?
      28:13 - That the Land would be easy for his descendants to conquer.

    5. Why did Yaakov rebuke the shepherds?
      29:7 - He thought they were loafing, stopping work early in the day.

    6. Why was Rachel tending her father's sheep; that is, why didn't her brothers tend the sheep as was customary in those days?
      30:27 - Her brothers weren't born yet.

    7. Why did Yaakov cry when he met Rachel?
      29:11 - He saw prophetically that they would not be buried together; or because he was penniless.

    8. Who was Elifaz, and why didn't he kill Yaakov when he had the chance?
      29:11 - Elifaz was Esav's son who chased Yaakov in order to kill him. But because Elifaz had grown up under the tutelage of Yitzchak, he relented.

    9. Why did Lavan run to greet Yaakov?
      29:13 - He thought Yaakov was carrying money.

    10. Why were Leah's eyes tender?
      29:17 - She cried continually because she thought she was destined to marry Esav.

    11. How old was Yaakov when he married Leah and Rachel?
      29:21 - Eighty-four.

    12. Why did Rachel envy Leah?
      30:1 - She envied her mitzvos, thinking they were the reason Leah merited having children.

    13. Who was Yaakov's fifth son?
      30:5 - Dan.

    14. How do you say "dudaim" in Arabic?
      30:14 - Jasmine (Yasmin).

    15. "Hashem remembered Rachel" (30:22). What did He remember?
      30:22 - That Rachel gave Leah the "signs of recognition" that Yaakov had taught her, so that Leah wouldn't be embarrassed.

    16. What does "Yosef" mean? Why was he named that?
      30:24 - "Yosef" means "He will add." Rachel prayed to Hashem for another son, in addition to Yosef.

    17. How many times did Lavan change Yaakov's wages?
      31:7 - One hundred times.

    18. Where are there two Aramaic words in this week's Parsha?
      31:41 - Yagar Sahadusa, meaning "wall of testimony."

    19. Who was Bilhah's father? Who was Zilpah's father?
      31:50 - Lavan.

    20. Who escorted Yaakov into Eretz Yisrael?
      32:1 - The angels of Eretz Yisrael.



    Mystery
    Contents

    Solution to Sherlox Holmes

    "Compare Reuven's naming to that of his brothers," said Sherlox. "Notice anything?"

    "Hmm," said Watstein, thumbing through the text. "Now that you mention it, I notice an oddity regarding the order of the naming."

    "Continue," said Sherlox.

    "At the birth of Yaakov's other sons, the reason for the name is stated first. Then the name is stated: 'This time I will praise (odeh) G-d, therefore she called him Yehuda,' or 'G-d has judged me (dan-ani)...therefore she called him Dan.' " (Bereishis 29:35 30:5) Reuven is the one exception!"

    "Exactly," said Sherlox. "Regarding Reuven the order is reversed: Leah first names him - 'and she called him Reuven' - and only as an "afterthought" does she give a reason - 'for G-d has seen my affliction....' Thus the text indicates that her decision to name him Reuven preceded the stated reason. She must have had another, unstated reason."

    "I see," said Watstein. "By reversing the order, the text hints that the name Reuven came first and that the stated reason was secondary. Leah would have named him Reuven regardless of the stated reason, because she had another reason not stated in the text. Rashi answers the question: What was her other reason?"

    "Spoken with reason," said Sherlox.

    (Source: Haemek Dava; 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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