Parsha Q&A - Parshas Beshalach

Library Library Library

Parsha Q&A

Parshas Beshalach

For the week ending 13 Shevat 5759 / 29 & 30 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. What percentage of the Jewish people died during the plague of darkness?
    2. Why did the oath that Yosef administered to his brothers apply to Moshe's generation?
    3. When, besides the week of Parshas Beshalach, do we read from Parshas Beshalach?
    4. Why did the Egyptians want to pursue the Jewish People?
    5. Where did the Egyptians get animals to pull their chariots?
    6. What does it mean that the Jewish people "took hold of their fathers' profession" (tafsu umnus avosam)?
    7. How did Hashem cause the wheels of the Egyptian chariots to fall off?
    8. Why were the dead Egyptians cast out of the sea?
    9. To what future time is the verse hinting when it uses the future tense of "Then Moshe and Bnei Yisrael will sing"?
    10. Why are the Egyptians compared to stone, lead and straw?
    11. Why did "fear seize the inhabitants of Pelashes?"
    12. The princes of Edom and Moav had nothing to fear from the Jewish People. Why, then, were they "confused and gripped with trembling?"
    13. Why is Miriam referred to as "Aharon's sister" and not as "Moshe's sister"?
    14. The Jewish women trusted that Hashem would grant the Jewish People a miraculous victory over the Egyptians. How do know this?
    15. Which sections of the Torah did the Jewish People receive at Marah?
    16. When did Bnei Yisrael run out of food?
    17. What lesson in derech eretz concerning the eating of meat is taught in this week's Parsha?
    18. How did non-Jews experience the taste of the manna?
    19. The Prophet Yirmiyahu showed the Jewish People a jar of manna prepared in the time of Moshe. Why?
    20. Why did Moshe's hands become heavy during the war against Amalek?


     
    Solution 
    Contents

    Sherlox Holmes and the Mysterious Cry

    "The words tell a lot about the speaker," said world famous detextive Sherlox Holmes. "Yet, a close look at the speaker tells you a lot about his words."

    "Well then, perhaps you can explain this text about the Children of Israel and their words," said Watstein. "The text says: The Children of Israel lifted their eyes and saw the Egyptians pursuing, and the Children of Israel cried out to G-d." (Shmos 14:20)

    "Whenever an army pursues you to the sea ... pray, I always say," said Sherlox.

    "I agree. The text is self-explanatory. Why, then, does Rashi comment? Rashi says that by praying, 'they latched on to their ancestors' craft.' " (Rashi)

    "Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov all cried to G-d in times of distress. Now their offspring were doing the same. Is that hard to understand?"

    "No, but why the need for this comment? Rashi's comments are designed to answer textual difficulties, yet this verse couldn't be simpler: The Jews prayed. So, Mr. Holmes, what textual difficulty is Rashi trying to answer?"

    "A close look at the speaker tells you a lot about his words."


    I Did Not Know That!

    "Macho Emche ... I will obliterate the remembrance of Amalek" (Shemos 17:14).

    The phrase "I will obliterate" (macho emche) has the same numeric value as the phrase "this refers to Haman" (ze haman), Amalek's most infamous descendant.

    (Ba'al HaTurim)


    Recommended Reading List

    Ramban
    14:4
    The Miracle of Egyptian Pursuit
    14:13
    Promise or Command?
    14:15
    No Need to Cry
    14:21
    Nature or Miracle?
    15:19
    When the Shira was Sung
    16:4
    The Purpose of Trial (part 2)
    17:9
    The War Against Amalek
    Ibn Ezra
    14:13
    Slave Mentality
    14:29-30
    Drowning and Dry Land

    Malbim
    14:11-12
    Red or Dead
    14:16
    The Ten Miracles of the Crossing of the Sea


    Answers to this Week's Questions

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

    1. What percentage of the Jewish people died during the plague of darkness?
      13:18 - Eighty percent (four-fifths).

    2. Why did the oath that Yosef administered to his brothers apply to Moshe's generation?
      13:19 - Yosef made his brothers swear that they would make their children swear.

    3. When, besides the week of Parshas Beshalach, do we read from Parshas Beshalach?
      14:5 - On the seventh day of Pesach (and also on Purim).

    4. Why did the Egyptians want to pursue the Jewish People?
      14:5 - To regain their wealth.

    5. Where did the Egyptians get animals to pull their chariots?
      14:7 - From those Egyptians who feared the word of Hashem and kept their animals inside during the plagues.

    6. What does it mean that the Jewish people "took hold of their fathers' profession" (tafsu umnus avosam)?
      14:10 - They cried out to Hashem.

    7. How did Hashem cause the wheels of the Egyptian chariots to fall off?
      14:25 - He melted them with fire.

    8. Why were the dead Egyptians cast out of the sea?
      14:30 - So that the Jewish People would see the destruction of the Egyptians and be assured of no further pursuit.

    9. To what future time is the verse hinting when it uses the future tense of "Then Moshe and Bnei Yisrael will sing"?
      15:1 - Resurrection of the dead during the time of mashiach.

    10. Why are the Egyptians compared to stone, lead and straw?
      15:5 - The wickedest ones floated like straw, dying slowly. The average ones suffered less, sinking like stone. Those still more righteous sunk like lead, dying immediately.

    11. Why did "fear seize the inhabitants of Pelashes?"
      15:14 - Because they slew the members of the Tribe of Efraim who had escaped from Egypt at an earlier time. They feared vengeance for this act.

    12. The princes of Edom and Moav had nothing to fear from the Jewish People. Why, then, were they "confused and gripped with trembling?"
      15:14 - They felt horrible seeing Israel in a state of glory.

    13. Why is Miriam referred to as "Aharon's sister" and not as "Moshe's sister"?
      15:20 - Aharon put himself at risk for her when she was struck with tzara'as. (See Bamidbar 12:12)

    14. The Jewish women trusted that Hashem would grant the Jewish People a miraculous victory over the Egyptians. How do know this?
      15:20 - They brought musical instruments with them in preparation for the miraculous victory celebration.

    15. Which sections of the Torah did the Jewish People receive at Marah?
      15:25 - Shabbos, Red Heifer, Judicial Laws.

    16. When did Bnei Yisrael run out of food?
      16:1 - 15th of Iyar.

    17. What lesson in derech eretz concerning the eating of meat is taught in this week's Parsha?
      16:8 - One should not eat meat to the point of satiation.

    18. How did non-Jews experience the taste of the manna?
      16:21 - The sun melted whatever manna remained in the fields. This flowed into streams from which animals drank. Whoever ate these animals tasted manna.

    19. The Prophet Yirmiyahu showed the Jewish People a jar of manna prepared in the time of Moshe. Why?
      16:32 - The people claimed they couldn't study Torah because they were too busy earning a livelihood. Yirmiyahu showed them the manna saying: "If you study Torah, G-d will provide for you just as he provided for your ancestors in the desert."

    20. Why did Moshe's hands become heavy during the war against Amalek?
      17:12 - Because he was remiss in his duty, since he, not Yehoshua, should have led the battle.



    Mystery
    Contents

    Solution to Sherlox Holmes

    "Who cried out?" asked Sherlox.

    "The Children of Israel, of course. It says so explicitly."

    "And if it wouldn't say so?"

    "Hmm, I suppose we would know it anyway because the preceding phrase says that the 'Children of Israel' saw the Egyptians pursuing...."

    "Aha!"

    "I see your point. The second 'Children of Israel' seems redundant."

    "You can say that again."

    "Therefore, Rashi explains that the phrase 'Children of Israel' doesn't tell us who cried out, it tells us how they cried out. Their prayer wasn't an ordinary response to a scary situation; rather, it reflected their lofty calling as the Children of Israel, the offspring of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov (also known as Israel), latching on to their ancestral art of prayer."

    "Artfully said, Dr. Watstein."

    (Based on Maskil L'David; 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
    © 1999 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved. This publication may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue newsletters. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission, and then send us a sample issue.

    This publication is available via E-Mail
    Ohr Somayach Institutions is an international network of Yeshivot and outreach centers, with branches in North America, Europe, South Africa and South America. The Central Campus in Jerusalem provides a full range of educational services for over 685 full-time students.

    The Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) of Ohr Somayach offers summer and winter programs in Israel that attract hundreds of university students from around the world for 3 to 8 weeks of study and touring.

    The Ohr Somayach Home Page is hosted by TeamGenesis
    vj_bar.gif (1798 bytes)

    Copyright © 1999 Ohr Somayach International. Send us Feedback.
    Dedication opportunities are available for Parsha Q&A. Please contact us for details.
    Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.