CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS LECH L'CHO 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch.12, v. 1: "Va'yomer Hashem" - Why doesn't Hashem APPEAR and then speak
to Avrom, as we find in verse 7, "VA'YEIRO Hashem el Avrom va'yomer?"
2) Ch.13, v. 3: "Vayeilech l'maso'ov" - Rashi comments that this teaches us
that a person should not change his place of lodging. How is this derived?
Possibly, Avrohom was pleased with the accommodations and wanted to stay in the
3) Ch. 14, v. 2: "Hee Tzo'ar" - This is the first time the word "hee"
appears in the Torah with a "yud." Throughout the Torah, it is almost always
spelled with a "vov," and a "chirik" under the "hei."
Is there any difference in meaning between the two spellings of the word?
Why does the Torah use the exact letters of the word mean "HE", male form, to
create a word THAT means "SHE?"
4) Ch. 14, v. 23: "V'im ekach mikol" - Avrohom was not willing to accept
anything from the king of Sdom. Yet by the incident with Paroh we see that Avrohom
accepted a very sizeable amount of gifts, 12:16, 13:2. Why did he accept
from Paroh and not from the king of Sdom?
5) Ch. 17, v. 10: "Himol lochem kol zochor" - Since Avrohom kept the Torah
and even Rabbinic decrees before the Torah was given, why didn't he perform bris
miloh upon himself before the command?
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Answer to questions on parshas Noach:
1) Ch. 6, v. 21: "V'hoyoh l'cho v'lo'hem l'ochlo" - Why is Noach's eating
mentioned before that of the animals according to the law which we derive from
Dvorim 11:15 (parshas "V'hoyoh im shomo'a") that feeding animals comes before
feeding one's self?
1) Noach did not properly pray for humanity and the rest of the world to be
saved. This somewhat lowered him to the level of the animals. His eating is
therefore considered on an equal plane as that of the animals. (Tzror Hamor)
2) The Kabalists explain that the reason behind the animals eating first is
that we want to have an orderly elevation of the different types of creation.
The earth, the inanimate, gives minerals to sustain plant life. Plant life is
the sustenance of animals. Then the animals are consumed by humans, thus
sustaining them. Before the exodus from the ark, man was not permitted to slaughter
animals for consumption. We see that up to that time the order of elevating
inanimate to vegetation to animal to human was not yet in effect. Hence it was
not necessary to feed the animals first.
2) Ch. 7, v. 14: "Ho'ofe .. tzipor" - What is the difference between these
1) "Ofe" refers to a bird that flies close to the ground, while "tzipor" is
one that flies to great heights. (Rokei'ach)
2) "Ofe" is a small bird, while "tzipor" is a large bird. (Rada"k)
3) "Ofe" refers to birds only, while "tzipor" includes any species that has
wings. (Ibn Ezra)
3) Ch. 7, v. 23: "Va'yimach es kol ha'y'kum ...... va'yimochu min ho'oretz" -
Why the duplication of the same concept, that everything was eradicated?
1) The gemara Sanhedrin 108a says that the double expression indicates that
they were eradicated from this physical world and also will have no existence
in the world to come.
2) The Ibn Ezra answers that the expression "va'yimach" refers to the actual
eradication of the people and all that stood on the face of the earth, while
"va'yimochu" refers to the total erasure of the people, since they left over
3) The Radak answers that the expression "va'yimach" refers to the actual
eradication of the people and all that stood on the face of the earth, while
"va'yimochu" refers to the total destruction of all buildings. This leaves no
trace of the previous civilization, where one could have possibly said that these
buildings are the remnant of a previous generation. This is a second level of
4) The Ramban answers that the second expression of destruction refers to
the fact that besides the birds being destroyed, their eggs were also destroyed,
thus leaving no opportunity for a continuation of their species beyond those
that found safe harbour in the ark.
5) The Rokei'ach answers that the first expression refers to the destruction
of the flesh of all living beings, while the second expression refers to the
pulverizing and disintegration of their bones.
6) The Malbim says that the second expression of destruction does not refer
to the disintegration of the bones, but rather that the earth swallowed up the
bodies of all creatures and brought them deep into the bowels of the earth.
He adds that this explains the archaeological finds of dinosaurs and the like
found deep in the earth. The extremely old age placed upon these finds can also
be explained even though the numbers predate the creation of the world since
they are from a previous world that was created and destroyed.
The Haa'meik Dovor disagrees with this last point of the Malbim, quoting the
end of the medrash that Hashem created worlds and destroyed them, returning
them to a state of "tohu vovohu," vast emptiness, thus leaving over no vestige
of the previous worlds.
4) Ch. 11, v. 11: "Cha'meish mei'os shonoh" - Why were the life spans of the
ensuing generations noticeably shorter than the previous generations?
1) The Ramban in parshas Breishis 5:4 d.h. "Va'yi'h'yu" brings a Rambam in
Moreh N'vuchim, section 2, perek 47, who says that the life span of almost
everyone was 70 to 80 years, and only the exceptions are mentioned in the Torah.
2) The Ramban strongly disagrees, claiming that it is illogical for some
people who have no special merit (see Pirkei Ovos 5:2-3) to miraculously live ten
to twelve times as long as the norm. He says that all antediluvian
(pre-Mabul) people lived much longer. After the Mabul there was a very negative change
in the atmosphere which shortened people's lives. Noach's sons who were born
before the Mabul, lived longer than most, as they were strengthened by living
during the very healthy antediluvian era, but a bit shorter than those who lived
their whole lives pre-Mabul, because they were also subject to the negative
atmospheric post-Mabul effects. Along came the Dor Haflogoh and the dispersion
to new climates had a further negative affect, cutting down the average
lifespan by fifty per cent to below two hundred years.
3) The Sforno attributes the shorter life span to the changes of temperature
throughout the year. He says that originally the earth was aligned at its
poles perpendicularly to the sun and the climate and temperature were always
quite steady. However, after the Mabul, Hashem changed the angle of earth'e axis
(tilting it 23 degrees). This is what gives us the change of seasons.
5) Ch. 11, v. 29: "Va'yikach Avrom v'Nochor lohem noshim" - Why does the
Torah spend so much time on the details of Yitzchok's finding a wife (all 67
verses of chapter 24), and by Avrohom and Soroh all we find is a verse simply
stating that Avrom took Sorei as his wife?
1) Possibly, since she was his niece and lived in the same community, it was
simply a matter of agreeing to marry.
2) I heard that there is an important lesson to be learned from this. The
proper way to pursue a shidduch is for the young man and woman to rely greatly
on their parents or parents' agent to give them guidance and even to help in
the final decision making. Therefore the Torah elaborates on the shidduch of
Yitzchok so that we should learn to follow this path. Avrohom and Soroh had
parents who had totally different values from their G-d fearing children. Avrohom
and Soroh had no choice but to take their own initiative. To totally rely on
oneself is not a lesson the Torah wants to teach future generations, hence there
is no elaboration on their manner of pursuit of a shidduch.
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