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Torah Teasers Parshat Vayetzei

Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

1. After Yaakov has a dream he takes a neder, a vow (Genesis 28:20). Where else in the Torah is an actual neder taken (not a shvuah)?

In Numbers 21:2, the Jews vow to consecrate all of the spoils of war.

2. Which of the sons of Yaakov, whose birth is recorded in this parsha, is not named by a mother?

In naming all the sons, the verse states "And she called." Only with Levi does it state "he called his name Levi," implying that he was not named by his mother (Genesis 29:34).

3. For which child born to Leah is there no reason given for the name?

The Torah does not state any reason for the name of Leah's daughter, Dina (Genesis 30:21).

4. In this parsha, Rachel steals the terafim (idols) from her father Lavan. Where else in Tanach does another woman handle terafim?

Michal placed terafim in the bed of David to help him escape from her father, Shaul (1-Shmuel 19:13).

5. In this parsha, in what context are the four directions, north, south, east and west mentioned? Where else in the book of Genesis are the four directions mentioned?

In this parsha, Hashem promises Avraham that his children will spread out in all four directions of the earth (Genesis 28:14). In Genesis 13:14, Hashem tells Avraham to look in all four directions, since his children would inherit the entire land - i.e. everywhere that Avraham looked.

6. Aside from the Matriarchs, which two other women in Tanach are described as "barren" (akara)?

The mother of Shimshon is called akara, a barren woman (Judges 13:2). Chana, the mother of Shmuel, refers to herself as akara (1-Shmuel 2:5).

7. Where are flowers mentioned in this parsha?

Reuven collects duda'im for his mother which, according to some commentators, is a type of flower (Genesis 30:14, with Rashi).

8. Where is ice referred to in this parsha?

Yaakov describes his devotion to Lavan by saying that by day heat consumed him and by night ice consumed him (Genesis 31:40).

9. Aside from the seven years that Yaakov worked for Rachel and Leah, where else in this parsha is the number seven mentioned?

After Yaakov and family run away, Lavan catches up with them after seven days (Genesis 31:23).

10. What item, mentioned in this parsha, is the tallest thing described in the entire Torah?

The ladder in Yaakov's dream stands on the ground and reaches to the heavens (Genesis 28:12).

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