Parsha Q&A - Parshas Vayishlach

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Vayishlach

For the week ending 16 Kislev 5759 / 4 & 5 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. What sort of messengers did Yaakov send to Esav?
    2. Why was Yaakov both "afraid" and "distressed?"
    3. In what three ways did Yaakov prepare for his encounter with Esav?
    4. Where did Dina hide and why?
    5. After helping his family across the river, Yaakov remained alone on the other side. Why?
    6. What was the angel forced to do before Yaakov agreed to release him?
    7. What was it that healed Yaakov's leg?
    8. Why did Esav embrace Yaakov?
    9. Why did Yosef stand between Esav and Rachel?
    10. Give an exact translation of the word "nisa" in verse 33:12.
    11. What happened to the 400 men who accompanied Esav?
    12. Why does the Torah refer to Dina as the "daughter of Leah" and not the "daughter of Yaakov?"
    13. Whom should Shimon and Levi have consulted concerning their plan to kill the people of Shechem?
    14. Who was born along with Binyamin?
    15. What does the name Binyamin mean? Why did Yaakov call him that?
    16. In verse 35:22 the Torah states "The sons of Yaakov were twelve." Why?
    17. How old was Yaakov when Yosef was sold?
    18. Esav changed the name of his wife, Ahalivamah, to Yehudis. Why?
    19. Which three categories of people have their sins pardoned?
    20. What is the connection between the Egyptian oppression of the Jewish people and Esav's decision to leave the land of Canaan?


     
    Solution 
    Contents

    Sherlox Holmes And The Miracle Mystery

    "I don't understand," said Watstein. "The verse says: I have been diminished by all the kindnesses and truth You have done for Your servant; for with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps." (Bereishis 32:11)

    "Yaakov was thankful. He left Canaan penniless and returned wealthy," said world famous detextive Sherlox Holmes. "Is that hard to understand?"

    "My question exactly!" said Watstein. "The phrase 'with my stick' means 'penniless.' Why, then, does Rashi need to bring a midrash? The midrash says that Yaakov put his staff into the Jordan and the waters of the Jordan split."

    "Dr. Watstein, if the Torah had only meant 'penniless,' don't you suppose the Torah would have said so?" said Sherlox.

    "No! The Torah is replete with idioms! Example: 'With his shirt-tails' (Shemos 21:3) means 'all alone.' Rashi doesn't comment there. Why does he here?"


    I Did Not Know That!

    "Thus say to my master, to Esav..." (32:5)

    Yaakov calls Esav "my master" eight times in this week's Parsha. Because of this, Esav merits that eight kings emerge from his descendants before any king emerges from Yaakov's descendants.

    (Chizkuni)


    Recommended Reading List

    Ramban
    32:4
    Yaakov's Error
    32:9
    Sign for the Future
    32:26
    The Gid Hanashe
    33:14
    The Journey to Seir
    34:12
    Dina
    35:8
    Rivka's Death
    35:16
    Rachel's Tomb

    Sefer HaChinuch
    3
    The Gid Hanashe
    Sforno
    32:19
    Strategy of the Gifts
    32:25
    The Wrestling Match
    32:26
    Yaakov's Injury
    32:33
    The Gid Hanashe
    33:4
    Surviving Esav
    34:27
    The Guilt of Shechem
    35:10
    The Meaning of Yaakov's Name
    35:23
    The Power of Repentance


    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. What sort of messengers did Yaakov send to Esav?
      32:4 - Angels.

    2. Why was Yaakov both "afraid" and "distressed?"
      32:8 - He was afraid he would be killed. He was distressed that he would have to kill.

    3. In what three ways did Yaakov prepare for his encounter with Esav?
      32:9 - He sent gifts, he prayed, and he prepared for war.

    4. Where did Dina hide and why?
      32:23 - Yaakov hid her in a chest so that Esav wouldn't see her and want to marry her.

    5. After helping his family across the river, Yaakov remained alone on the other side. Why?
      32:25 - He went back to get some small containers he had forgotten.

    6. What was the angel forced to do before Yaakov agreed to release him?
      32:27 - Admit that the blessings given by Yitzchak rightfully belong to Yaakov.

    7. What was it that healed Yaakov's leg?
      32:32 - The shining of the sun.

    8. Why did Esav embrace Yaakov?
      33:4 - His pity was aroused when he saw Yaakov bowing to him so many times.

    9. Why did Yosef stand between Esav and Rachel?
      33:7 - To stop Esav from gazing at her.

    10. Give an exact translation of the word "nisa" in verse 33:12.
      33:12 - It means "travel." (It does not mean "we will travel.") This is because the letter "nun" is part of the word and does not mean "we" as it sometimes does.

    11. What happened to the 400 men who accompanied Esav?
      33:16 - They slipped away one by one.

    12. Why does the Torah refer to Dina as the "daughter of Leah" and not the "daughter of Yaakov?"
      34:1 - Because she was outgoing like her mother, Leah.

    13. Whom should Shimon and Levi have consulted concerning their plan to kill the people of Shechem?
      34:25 - Their father, Yaakov.

    14. Who was born along with Binyamin?
      35:17 - His two twin sisters.

    15. What does the name Binyamin mean? Why did Yaakov call him that?
      35:18 - Ben-Yemin means "Son of the South." He was the only son born in the Land of Israel, which is south of Aram Naharaim.

    16. In verse 35:22 the Torah states "The sons of Yaakov were twelve." Why?
      35:22 - To stress that all of them - including Reuven - were righteous.

    17. How old was Yaakov when Yosef was sold?
      35:29 - One hundred and eight.

    18. Esav changed the name of his wife, Ahalivamah, to Yehudis. Why?
      36:2 - To fool Yitzchak into thinking that she had abandoned idolatry.

    19. Which three categories of people have their sins pardoned?
      36:3 - One who converts to Judaism, one who is elevated to a position of leadership, and one who marries.

    20. What is the connection between the Egyptian oppression of the Jewish people and Esav's decision to leave the land of Canaan?
      36:6 - Esav knew that the privilege of living in the Land of Israel was accompanied by the prophecy that the Jews would be "foreigners in a land not their own." Therefore Esav said, "I'm getting out of here - I don't want the Land if it means I have to 'pay the bill' of subjugation in Egypt."



    Mystery
    Contents

    Solution to Sherlox Holmes

    "Yaakov said his merits were 'diminished by all the kindness.' What specifically diminished his merits?" asked Sherlox.

    "The Divine kindness, as Yaakov himself says," said Watstein.

    "But what specific type of kindness?" asked Sherlox.

    "I don't see what you're getting at" said Watstein.

    "Let me ask you a different question. Where else do we see an instance of someone fearing that his merits had been diminished?"

    "Hmm..." said Watstein. "How about Avraham? (Bereishis 15:1 & Rashi) He feared that he had used up his merit in the battle against the four kings."

    "And how did Avraham defeat them?" asked Sherlox.

    "How? By virtue of ... a miracle! (Rashi Ibid.) Aha! I see what you're getting at. You're suggesting that the diminishing of a person's merit occurs when he receives Divine kindness above the ordinary, such as a miracle."

    "Yes, I am suggesting that. My theory is that diminishing merit is tied specifically to the occurrence of a miracle. (see Shabbos 32a) Yet, Yaakov mentions no explicit miracle. Rashi, therefore, cites a midrash which explains that Yaakov was indeed referring to a miracle: The miraculous splitting of the Jordan."

    (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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