Parsha Q&A - Parshat Sh'lach
In Israel for the week ending June 24, 2000 / 21 Sivan 5760
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- Why is the portion about the spies written immediately after the portion about Miriam's tzara'at?
- To what was Moshe referring when he asked the spies "Are there trees in the land?"
- Who built Hebron?
- Which fruits did the meraglim bring back?
- How many people carried the grape cluster?
- Why did Hashem shorten the meraglim's journey?
- Why did the meraglim begin by saying the land is "flowing with milk and honey?"
- Why did the meraglim list Amalek first among the hostile nations they encountered?
- How did Calev quiet the people?
- Why did the Land appear to "eat its inhabitants?"
- Besides the incident of the meraglim, what other sin led to the decree of 40 years in the desert?
- On what day did Bnei Yisrael cry due to the meraglim's report? How did this affect future generations?
- "Don't fear the people of the land...their defense is departed" (14:9). Who was their chief "defender"?
- Calev and Yehoshua praised Eretz Canaan and tried to assure the people that they could be victorious. How did the people respond?
- "How long shall I bear this evil congregation?" Hashem is referring to the 10 meraglim who slandered the Land. What halacha do we learn from this verse?
- How is the mitzvah of challah different from other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael?
- What is the minimum amount of challah to be given to a kohen according to Torah Law? Rabbinic Law?
- Verse 15:22 refers to what sin? How does the text indicate this?
- Moshe's doubt regarding the punishment of the mekoshesh etzim (wood-gatherer) was different than his doubt regarding the punishment of the blasphemer. How did it differ?
- How do the tzitzit remind us of the 613 commandments?
(kasha means "question")
Question: Efraim and Menashe were both sons of Yosef. So why in Parshat Shlach is only Menashe's tribe called "the sons of Yosef" and Efraim's tribe isn't? (13:8,11)
Answer: Yaakov gave Yosef's sons Menashe and Efraim "tribe" status. Yaakov stipulated that Yosef's future sons would not have "tribe" status; rather, they would become part of either the Tribe of Menashe or the Tribe of Efraim, at Yosef's discretion. Yosef chose Menashe as the tribe to absorb these children. Hence, the Tribe of Menashe includes not only Menashe's offspring, but the other "sons of Yosef" as well. (Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky)
Also, the scout from Menashe's tribe was one who spoke ill of the Land, hence, he is identified with his ancestor Yosef, who spoke ill of his brothers. Whereas the scout from Efriam's tribe, Yehoshua, did not speak ill of the Land; hence, he is not identified here as a "son of Yosef." (Musaf Rashi)
The minimal volume of dough requiring that challah be separated from it is 43 egg-volumes plus a fraction. The word challah hints at this number by the combined numerical value of its letters: 43! (Challah is spelled chet lamed hey. Chet=8, lamed=30, hey=5)
All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated
13:2 - To show the evil of the meraglim (spies), that they saw Miriam punished for lashon hara (negative speech) yet failed to take a lesson from it.
13:20 - Were there any righteous people in the land whose merit would "shade" the Canaanites from attack?
13:22 - Cham.
13:23 - A cluster of grapes, a pomegranate and a fig.
13:23 - Eight.
13:25 - Hashem knew the Jews would sin and be punished with a year's wandering for each day of the spies' mission. So He shortened the journey to soften the decree.
13:27 - Any lie which doesn't start with an element of truth won't be believed; therefore, they began their false report with a true statement.
13:29 - To frighten the Jews. The Jewish People were afraid of Amalek, because Amalek had once attacked them.
13:30 - He fooled them by shouting, "Is this all that the son of Amram did to us?" The people quieted themselves to hear what disparaging thing Calev wished to say about the "son of Amram" (Moshe).
13:32 - Hashem caused many deaths among the Canaanites so they would be preoccupied with burying their dead and not notice the meraglim.
13:33 - The golden calf.
14:1 - The 9th of Av. This date therefore became a day of crying for all future generations: Both Temples were destroyed on this date.
14:9 - Iyov.
14:10 - They wanted to stone them.
14:27 - That ten men are considered a congregation.
15:18 - The obligation to observe other mitzvot associated with Eretz Yisrael began only after the possession and division of the Land. The mitzvah of challah was obligatory immediately upon entering the Land.
15:20 - No fixed amount is stated by the Torah. Rabbinic Law requires a household to give 1/24 and a baker to give 1/48.
15:22 - Idolatry. "All these commandments" means one transgression which is equal to transgressing all the commandments -- i.e., idolatry.
15:34 - Moshe knew that the mekoshesh etzim was liable for the death penalty, but not which specific means of death. Regarding the blasphemer, Moshe didn't know if he was liable for the death penalty.
15:39 - The numerical value of the word tzitzit is 600. Tzitzit have eight threads and five knots. Add these numbers and you get 613.
Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane & Rabbi Reuven Subar
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
Production Design: Michael Treblow
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