Torah Teasers Parshat Mikeitz

November 21, 2012

3 min read


Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17 )

How many answers can you get right?

1. What in this parsha occurs after "two years"? What else in the book of Genesis occurs after "two years"? (2 answers)

Pharaoh has his dreams two years after Yosef interprets the dreams of the butler and baker (Genesis 41:1). In Genesis 11:10, Noah's son Shem has a son, Arpashchad, two years after the Flood. In Genesis 45:6, Yosef tells his brothers that only two years have passed in the famine and they all must move to Egypt.

2. Which two pieces of jewelry are in this parsha?

Pharaoh gives Yosef "his ring" and places "a golden chain" upon his neck (Genesis 41:42).

3. Who in this parsha is called a kohen (priest)? Who else in the book of Genesis is called a kohen?

Poti-Fera, the father-in-law of Yosef, is the "the priest of On" (Genesis 41:45). In Genesis 14:18, Malkei-Tzedek is called a kohen.

4. What in this parsha is compared to sand? Where else in the book of Genesis is there a comparison to sand? (2 answers)

Yosef gathered so much food that it was as numerous "as the sand of the sea" (Genesis 41:49). In Genesis 22:17, Hashem promises Avraham that his offspring will be "like the sand on the seashore." In Genesis 32:13, Yaakov prays to Hashem to save him from Esav, mentioning that Hashem promised to make his children as numerous as the sand of the sea.

5. What 3 vocations appear in this parsha, but nowhere else in the Torah?

Yosef is called the Shalit (ruler/viceroy) and the Mashbir (provider) (Genesis 42:6). Later on, a Maylitz (interpreter) translates the conversation between Yosef and his brothers (Genesis 42:23).

6. What object appears in this parsha 15 times, but does not appear anywhere else in Tanach?

An amtachat (sack) in which the brothers carry back the grain appears 15 times in this parsha but nowhere else in Tanach.

7. In what context are different types of nuts mentioned?

Pistachios and almonds are part of the gift that Yaakov sends to Yosef (Genesis 43:11).

8. How many brothers go down to Egypt the first time? How many brothers go down to Egypt the second time?

The first time, ten brothers go down to Egypt, since Yosef was already there and Benyamin did not go. The second time as well, ten brothers go down - although Benyamin went down, Shimon did not, since he was imprisoned in Egypt.

9. Who washes his feet in this parsha? Where in the book of Genesis are the same feet washed - twice in one day?

The brothers wash their feet when arriving at the house of Yosef (Genesis 43:24). In Genesis 18:4, Avraham tells the angels who visit him to wash their feet, and then when the angels visit Lot, he too tells them to wash their feet (Genesis 19:2).

10. Where in this parsha is there a kal v'chomer (a fortiori) argument? Where else in the Torah does a kal v'chomer appear? (3 answers)

When the brothers are accused of stealing Yosef's silver goblet, they respond with a kal v'chomer: "The money that we found in our sacks, we brought back to you from the Land of Canaan; so why would we have stolen from your master's house any silver or gold?" (Genesis 44:8). In Exodus 6:12, Moshe says to Hashem: "If the Bnei Yisrael did not listen to me, how could Pharaoh be expected to listen to me?" In Numbers 12:14, Hashem says to Moshe: "If a father would spit in his daughter's face she would be humiliated for 7 days, so for sure Miriam should be outside the camp for 7 days (while stricken with tzaras). In Deut. 31:27, Moshe tells the Jews: "If you rebelled when I was alive, you will surely rebel after I die."
Next Steps