Parsha Q&A - Nitzavim / Vayelech

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Parsha Q&A

Parshiot Nitzavim / Vayelech

For the week ending 23 Elul 5759; 3 & 4 September 1999

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

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    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    NITZAVIM

    1. What is the connection between the verse "atem nitzavim" and the curses in the previous parsha?
    2. Who were the wood-choppers and water-carriers?
    3. Why can Hashem never "swap" the Jewish people for another nation?
    4. One who ignores the Torah’s warnings "adds drunkenness to thirst." What does this mean?
    5. What two cities were destroyed along with Sedom and Amorah?
    6. "The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d, and the revealed things are for us..." What does this mean?
    7. According to Rashi, how will the day of the ingathering of the exiles be "great and difficult?"
    8. Where is the Torah not to be found? Where is it to be found?
    9. When and where did the Jewish People become culpable for each other’s sins?
    10. How do the earth and sky remind us to keep the mitzvot?

    VAYELECH

    1. Moshe said, "I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in..." How do we know this does not refer to physical inability?
    2. Which of Moshe’s statements to Yehoshua was later contradicted by Hashem’s command?
    3. Why does the Torah refer to Succot of the eighth year as though it occurred during the shemita year?
    4. Why does the Torah command that babies be brought to the Torah reading?
    5. What does it mean that Hashem "hides His face?"
    6. What function does the song Ha’azinu serve?
    7. Which verse promises that the Torah will never be totally forgotten?
    8. What is the difference of opinion regarding the placing of the Torah scroll which Moshe gave the levi’im?
    9. On the day of Moshe’s death, why didn’t Moshe gather the people by blowing trumpets as he normally would have?
    10. Moshe said, "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly," but, in fact, this didn’t occur until after Yehoshua’s death. What does this teach us?


    Kasha

    (kasha means "question")

    How would you answer this question on the Parsha?

    A covenant was made between Hashem and "those standing here with us today — in front of Hashem, our G-d — and those NOT here with us today (i.e., future generations)." How can future generations be obligated by a covenant which they never entered into?

    Answer:

    The souls of all future generations — although not physically "here with us today" — exist nevertheless "in front of Hashem, our G-d." These yet unborn souls entered the covenant, along with the rest of the Jewish People.

    (Kli Yakar)


    I Did Not Know That!

    The first letters of the words "Mi Ya’aleh Lanu Hashamaimah" — who will go up to the heavens for us? — spell "mila" (circumcision). The last letters spell Hashem’s name. Brit Mila prepares a person for his heavenly climb towards G-dliness.

    Ba’al Haturim (30:12)

    Recommended Reading List

    Ramban
    29:18
    Refusing the Covenant
    29:28
    Accidental Sins
    31:1
    Bidding Farewell
    31:2
    Loss of Knowledge
    Sforno
    29:18
    Denying the Curse
    30:6
    Cleaving to Hashem
    30:9-10
    Our Own Merit
    31:18
    Hiding of Hashem

    Sefer Hachinuch
    612
    The Gathering
    613
    Writing a Sefer Torah


    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    NITZAVIM

    1. What is the connection between the verse "atem nitzavim" and the curses in the previous parsha?
      29:12 - The Jewish People asked, "Who can survive such curses?" Moshe responded, "You’ve done a lot to anger Hashem, and yet — "atem nitzavim" — you’re still standing before Him."

    2. Who were the wood-choppers and water-carriers?
      29:10 - Canaanites who joined the Jewish People under false pretenses.

    3. Why can Hashem never "swap" the Jewish people for another nation?
      29:12 - Because Hashem swore to their ancestors that He would never do so.

    4. One who ignores the Torah’s warnings "adds drunkenness to thirst." What does this mean?
      29:18 - He causes Hashem to reckon his unintentional sins alongside his intentional ones, punishing him for all.

    5. What two cities were destroyed along with Sedom and Amorah?
      29:22 - Admah and Tsevoyim.

    6. "The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d, and the revealed things are for us..." What does this mean?
      29:28 - There is collective culpability only for "open" sins, but not for "hidden" ones.

    7. According to Rashi, how will the day of the ingathering of the exiles be "great and difficult?"
      30: 3 - It will be as if Hashem needs to take each individual by the hand and lead him out of exile.

    8. Where is the Torah not to be found? Where is it to be found?
      30:12-15 - The Torah is not found in heaven nor across the ocean. Rather, it is "very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart."

    9. When and where did the Jewish People become culpable for each other’s sins?
      30:28 - When they crossed the Jordan and accepted the oath on Mt. Eval and Mt. Grizim.

    10. How do the earth and sky remind us to keep the mitzvot?
      30:19 - The earth and heavenly bodies, although receiving neither reward nor punishment, always obey Hashem’s will. How much more should we, who stand to receive reward or punishment, obey Hashem.

    VAYELECH

    1. Moshe said, "I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in..." How do we know this does not refer to physical inability?
      31:2 - Because verse 34:7 says "His (Moshe’s) eye never dimmed, and his (youthful) moisture never departed."

    2. Which of Moshe’s statements to Yehoshua was later contradicted by Hashem’s command?
      31:7 - Moshe told Yehoshua to share his leadership with the Elders. Hashem later commanded Yehoshua to rule alone.

    3. Why does the Torah refer to Succot of the eighth year as though it occurred during the shemita year?
      31:10 - Because the laws of the seventh year still apply to the harvest.

    4. Why does the Torah command that babies be brought to the Torah reading?
      31:12 - To give reward to those who bring them.

    5. What does it mean that Hashem "hides His face?"
      31:17 - He ignores their distress.

    6. What function does the song Ha’azinu serve?
      31:21 - It warns what will befall the Jewish People if they abandon Torah.

    7. Which verse promises that the Torah will never be totally forgotten?
      31:21 - "For (the Torah) will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring."

    8. What is the difference of opinion regarding the placing of the Torah scroll which Moshe gave the levi’im?
      31:26 - Whether it was placed outside but adjacent to the Ark, or inside next to the Tablets.

    9. On the day of Moshe’s death, why didn’t Moshe gather the people by blowing trumpets as he normally would have?
      31:28 - Blowing the trumpets expressed Moshe’s dominion, and "there is no dominion on the day of death." (Kohelet 8)

    10. Moshe said, "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly," but, in fact, this didn’t occur until after Yehoshua’s death. What does this teach us?
      31:29 - That a person’s student is as dear to him as himself — As long as Yehoshua was alive, it was as though Moshe himself were alive.


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


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