Parsha Q&A - Parshat Nitzavim / Vayelech

Library Library Kaddish

Parsha Q&A

Parshat Nitzavim / Vayelech

For the week ending 23 Elul 5760 / 22 & 23 September 2000

Contents:
  • Parsha Questions
  • Nitzavim
  • Vayelech
  • Kasha
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Answers to Parsha Questions
  • Nitzavim
  • Vayelech
  • Back issues of Parsha Q&A
  • Subscription Information
  • Ohr Somayach Home Page

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


    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    NITZAVIM

    1. What was once the customary method of making a covenant?
    2. What is the connection between the verse "Atem nitzavim" and the curses in the previous parsha?
    3. Who are the wood-choppers and water-carriers?
    4. One who ignores the Torah's warnings "adds drunkenness to thirst." What does this mean?
    5. What two cities were destroyed along with S'dom 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?
    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")

    "You will return to Hashem and listen to His voice....
    And Hashem will circumcise your heart....
    And you will return to Hashem...and do all His commandments." (30:2-8)

    QUESTION:After we have already "returned to Hashem," why will there be a further need to "circumcise our hearts?" And why, after that, does the verse repeat "And you will return to Hashem"?

    ANSWER: There are three parts to the observance of the Torah's commandments. One, the study of Torah; two, refraining from what the Torah forbids; and three, doing the positive commandments.

    All three are represented in the above verses: First we will "return to Hashem and listen to His voice," i.e., we will study Torah which is the expression of Hashem's voice. Then Hashem will "circumcise our hearts" and cut away our desire for forbidden things. Finally, we will return to Hashem and "do all His commandments," i.e., the commandments which require "doing."


    I Did Not Know That!

    "Hain (Behold), the time is coming for you to die...." (31:14)

    Why did Hashem announce Moshe's death using the word hain?

    Hain is spelled with the Hebrew letters "hei" (which equals five) and "noon" (which equals 50). These letters are unique in that neither one can pair with another letter to add up to 10 or 100. Alef (1) plus tet (9) equals 10, bet (2) plus chet (8) equals10, etc. But "Hei" (5) has no such "partner." The same is true for noon (50); it has no pair among the numbers from 10 to 90 with which to add up to 100, as the other letters do.

    Because Moshe is unique among the prophets, his leaving this world and entering the next world is announced with the two letters that are unique among the letters.

    Da'at Zekeinim Mi'ba'alei Hatosefot


    Recommended Reading List

    NITZAVIM
    Ramban
    29:18
    Refusing the Covenant
    29:28
    Accidental Sins
    30:2
    Returing to Hashem
    30:6
    Divine Help

    Sforno
    29:18
    Denying the Curse
    30:6
    Cleaving to Hashem
    30:9-10
    Our Own Merit
    30:11
    Repentance in Exile
    VAYELECH
    Ramban
    31:1
    Bidding Farewell
    31:2
    Loss of Knowledge
    31:18
    Hiding Redemption

    Sefer Hachinuch
    612
    The Gathering
    613
    Writing a Sefer Torah

    Sforno
    31:18
    Hiding of Hashem
    31:21
    Attitude


    Answers to this Week's Questions

    Questions | Contents

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

    NITZAVIM

    1. What was once the customary method of making a covenant?
      29:11 - There would be two partitions, one to the right and one to the left, and the people would walk in between (to show acceptance of the covenant.)

    2. 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."

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

    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 S'dom 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?
      29:28 - 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?
      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: Michael Treblow

    © 2000 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.

    Ohr Somayach is hosted by TeamGenesis


    Copyright © 2000 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) and your donation is tax deductable.