Tantalizing questions and challenging riddles from the weekly parsha.
1. In what two contexts does the number 40 appear in this parsha?
Yitzhak marries Rivka at the age of 40 (Genesis 25:20). Esav also marries at age 40 (Genesis 26:34).
2. In what other contexts does the number 40 appear in the book of Genesis? (5 answers)
Noah's flood lasts for 40 days (Genesis 7:12), and at the end of 40 days from the appearance of the mountaintops, Noah opens the window to send out the raven (Genesis 8:6). Avraham asks Hashem if He will save the city of Sodom if there are 40 tzaddikim living there (Genesis 18:29). Yaakov sends Esav a gift that includes 40 cows (Genesis 32:16). Yaakov is mummified for 40 days before his burial in Hebron (Genesis 50:3).
3. Which verse in this parsha has five verbs in a row?
When Esav takes the lentil soup from Yaakov, the Torah states: "And he ate and he drank and he got up and he went and he degraded the birthright" (Genesis 25:34).
4. In this parsha we are informed of the birth of the twins Yaakov and Esav. Which other set of twins appears in the Torah?
Twin sons, Zerach and Peretz, were born to Yehudah and Tamar (Genesis 38:27).
5. Besides Esav, who else in Tanach is called an "admoni" - a person with reddish complexion?
When the future king, David, first meets the prophet Shmuel, David is described as having "reddish complexion" (1-Shmuel 16:12).
6. Who in the Torah is referred to as a firstborn male or female? (10 answers - 9 in the book of Genesis)
The following people are called a firstborn: Abraham's nephew Utz (Genesis 22:21); the eldest daughter of Lot (Genesis 19:31); Naviot, the oldest son of Yishmael (Genesis 25:13); Esav (Genesis 27:19); Leah (Genesis 29:26); Reuven (Genesis 35:23); Esav's son Eliphaz (Genesis 36:15); Yehudah's son Er (Genesis 38:7); Yosef's son Menashe (Genesis 41:51); and Nadav, the son of Aaron (Numbers 3:1).
7. Whose neck is mentioned in this parsha? (2 answers)
Yaakov's neck is mentioned when his mother places the goat skins upon it (Genesis 27:16). Esav's neck is mentioned by Yitzhak in his blessing (Genesis 27:40).
8. Where else in the book of Genesis is a neck mentioned? (4 answers)
In Genesis 33:4, Esav cries on the neck on Yaakov. In Genesis 46:29, Yosef cries on the neck of Yaakov upon their reunion after 22 years. In Genesis 41:42, Pharaoh places a golden chain on Yosef's neck in appointing him viceroy of Egypt. In Genesis 45:14, Benyamin cries on the neck of Yosef upon their reunion.
9. Who cries in this parsha? Where else in the book of Genesis does someone cry? (8 answers)
Esav cries when he finds out that Yaakov received the blessings (Genesis 27:38). Elsewhere in the book of Genesis, Hagar cries when she thought that Yishmael would die (21:16). Avraham cries at the funeral of Sarah (23:2). Yaakov cries when he meets Rachel (29:11). Yaakov and Esav cry when they reunite (33:4). Yaakov cries about the apparent death of Yosef (37:35). Yosef cries when he reunites with Yaakov in Egypt (46:29). (According to Ramban, it was Yaakov who cried when seeing Yosef.) Yosef and Benyamin cry when they reunite in Egypt (45:14-15). Yosef cries when Yaakov passes away (50:1).
10. Which single verse in this parsha mentions all the following: A grandfather and grandson, a grandfather and granddaughter, a father and son, an uncle and nephew, a husband and wife, a father-in-law and son-in-law, and a brother and sister?
The last verse in the parsha (Genesis 28:9) contains the following relatives: grandfather and grandson - Avraham and Esav; grandfather and granddaughter - Avraham and Machlat; father and son - Avraham and Yishmael; uncle and nephew - Yishmael and Esav; husband and wife - Esav and Machlat; father-in-law and son-in-law - Yishmael and Esav; brother and sister - Nivayot and Machlat.