Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

Please send your answers and comments to: SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


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 same place.

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?

Send your answers to

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 two words?

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 no descendants.

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 eradication.

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.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel