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Torah Teasers Parshat Behar

Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.

1. Mount Sinai is referenced in the first verse of the parsha. By what two other names is Mount Sinai known? Which two other mountains in the Torah are known by more than one name?

In parshas Shemos, Mount Sinai is called God's Mountain (Har HaElokim) (Exodus 3:1). In parshas Ki Tisa, it is referred to as Mount Chorev (Exodus 33:6). In parshas Vezos Haberacha, the mountain that Moshe ascends to view the Land of Israel is called Mount Nevo (Deut. 34:1); in parshas Pinchas it is known as Mount Ha'Evarim (Numbers 27:12), and in parshas Ha'azinu it is called both names (Deut. 32:49). Mount Hermon is mentioned in parshas Devarim (Deut. 3:8), while in parshas Ve'eschanan it is called Mount Sion (Deut. 4:48).

2. Which law in this parsha involves counting? Which two other laws in the Torah involve counting?

The Torah commands the counting of seven sets of seven years, totaling 49 years leading up to the Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:8). In parshas Emor the Torah commands the counting of 50 days from the Omer offering (brought on the second day of Passover) until the "new grain" offering (Mincha Chadasha) which is brought on Shavuos (Leviticus 23:15-16). In parshas Metzora, the Torah commands a woman with the ritual impurity of ziva to count seven days before becoming ritually pure (Leviticus 15:28).

3. In this parsha, what number appears four times in one verse?

The number seven appears four times in the verse: "Count for yourselves seven sets of Sabbaticals, seven years seven times, and it should be seven sets of Sabbaticals equaling 49 years" (Leviticus 25:8).

4. In this parsha, which verse has six words in a row - all beginning with the same Hebrew letter?

Leviticus 25:8 has six words in a row, all beginning with the letter Shin.

5. In this parsha, which law involves blowing a ram's horn (shofar)?

On Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year, we are commanded to blow a shofar (Leviticus 25:9).

6. Where is the first time in the Torah that the number 50 appears? Where else in the Torah does the number 50 appear? (7 answers)

In parshas Noach, Hashem instructs Noach to build an ark with a width of 50 cubits (Genesis 6:15). (1) In parshas Vayera, Avraham beseeches Hashem to save the city of Sodom if the city contains 50 righteous people (Genesis 18:24). (2) In parshas Yisro, upon the suggestion of his father-in-law Yisro, Moshe appoints judges over every 50 people (Exodus 18:21,25). (3) In parshas Terumah, 50 loops and hooks connect the different sets of the coverings placed on top of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:5-6,10-11). (4) In parshas Terumah, the width of the Tabernacle courtyard is 50 cubits (Exodus 27:18). (5) In parshas Bamidbar, the Levites are counted and designated for work in the Tabernacle from ages 30 until 50 (Numbers 4:3). (6) In parshas Matos, 50 percent of the war spoils are donated to the Levites (Numbers 31:30). (7) In parshas Ki Teizei, a man who violates a young maiden must give pay 50 silver coins as reparation (Deut. 22:29).

7. In this parsha, which law involves a wall?

For a home in a walled city, the original owner has a year to redeem it, after which the home becomes the perpetual property of the buyer (Leviticus 25:29).

8. In this parsha, which three-word phrase appears four times?

The phrase "I am Hashem your God" (Ani Hashem Elokeichem) appears four times: in regard to the prohibition of saying hurtful words (Leviticus 25:17), the prohibition against charging interest (Lev. 25:38), the obligation to free slaves (Lev. 25:55), and the prohibition of idol worship (Lev. 26:1).

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