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Torah Teasers Parshat Be’halot’cha

Be'halot'cha (Numbers 8-12 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.

1. Which two items in this parsha are "banged out of one solid piece of metal"? What other component of the Tabernacle is made of one solid piece of metal?

The golden menorah (Numbers 8:4) and the silver trumpets (Numbers 10:2) are both "banged out of one solid piece of metal." In Exodus 25:18, the cover of the Holy Ark and its cherubs are made from one solid piece of gold.

2. For which positive commandment, mentioned in this parsha, does its inaction cause the punishment of kares? Which other positive commandment has the punishment of kares?

One who is able to offer the Passover lamb (korbon Pesach) and does not do so, incurs kares (Numbers 9:13). The failure to obtain a circumcision (Brit Milah) also result in kares (Genesis 17:14).

3. In which two places in this parsha does fire appear?

The "the pillar of fire" led the Jews at night (Numbers 9:15). A fire consumed the complainers (Numbers 11:1).

4. Who made the trumpets? Besides this parsha, where else in the Torah are the trumpets mentioned?

The trumpets were fashioned by Moshe himself (Numbers 10:2). The trumpets are mentioned in parshas Matos in regard to the war with Midian (Numbers 31:6).

5. Which letter appears in this parsha that is not part of a word?

The verses depicting the traveling of the Holy Ark are surrounded by two upside-down letters "nun" (Numbers 10:35-36).

6. In what context are five vegetables mentioned in the same verse?

The Jews complain about the banality of the manna, in contrast to the many vegetables they ate in Egypt: cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic (Numbers 11:8).

7. Where in this parsha is the number 70 mentioned? Where else does the Torah mention 70 people?

Moshe is told to appoint 70 elders to help him lead the nation (Numbers 11:16). In parshas Vayigash, 70 descendants of Yaakov descend to Egypt (Genesis 46:27).

8. Which two people appear in the parsha, but nowhere else in the Bible (Tanach)?

Eldad and Meidad, two of the 70 elders chosen to assist Moshe, began to unexpectedly prophesize in the camp (Numbers 11:26-27). They do not appear anywhere else in Tanach.

9. Where in this parsha is a nursing mother mentioned?

Moshe compares the dedication and sacrifice needed to lead the Jews, to the total commitment of a nursing mother (Numbers 11:12).

10. Where in this parsha is a nose mentioned? Where are teeth mentioned? The mouth? The entire face?

Hashem warns Moshe that the Jews will eat so much quail that it will come out of their noses (Numbers 11:20). When the quail are given, those who complained are punished while the flesh is still between their teeth (Numbers 11:33). Hashem speaks to Moshe "mouth to mouth" (Numbers 12:8). When Miriam is inflicted with tzaras (leprosy), she has to be in isolation for seven days, which the Torah compares to seven days of shame a daughter would feel if her father were to spit in her face (Numbers 12:14).

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