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Torah Teasers Parshat Ekev

Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.

1. The first verse in this parsha mentions ekev, literally a "heel." Where in the Torah is a heel first mentioned?

In parshas Bereishis, the snake is cursed that man will step on his head, while the snake will attack the man's heel (Genesis 3:15).

2. Which two insects are mentioned in this parsha?

Hashem promises to send hornets to drive out any remaining enemies from the Land of Israel (Deut. 7:20). Hashem protected the Jews from scorpions during their 40 years in the desert (Deut. 8:15).

3. In what context is the "the finger of God" mentioned in this parsha? Where else in the Torah is the "finger of God" mentioned?

This parsha states that the two tablets were written "with the finger of God" (Deut. 9:10). In parshas Va'eira, the plague of lice is described by the Egyptian magicians as a product of "the finger of God" (Exodus 8:15).

4. In this parsha, what is described as being ground into dust? What else in the Torah is ground up? (2 answers)

In this parsha, the Golden Calf is described as being ground into dust (Deut. 9:21). Elsewhere, the manna that fell in the desert was ground before being baked (Numbers 11:8), and certain types of grain offerings (Mincha) were crumbled into pieces (Leviticus 2:6, 6:14).

5. Which set of seven items appears in a single verse in this parsha, and nowhere else in the Torah.

In Deut. 8:8, the seven species of the Land of Israel appear together: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

6. What three forms of rain are mentioned in this parsha?

In the second paragraph of the Shema, three forms of rain are mentioned: timely rain (matar), early rain (yoreh), and late rain (malkosh) (Deut. 11:14).

7. In this parsha, which "two sets of two" appear in the same verse?

Moshe states that he threw down two tablets from his two hands (Deut. 9:17).

8. In this parsha, which two "quick actions" are mentioned in the same verse?

When the Jews fashioned the Golden Calf, turning "quickly" from the proper path, Hashem tells Moshe that he should "quickly" descend the mountain (Deut. 9:12).

9. Which two sons of Yaakov are mentioned in this parsha?

This parsha mentions the names of Reuven (Deut. 11:6) and Levi (Deut. 10:8-9).

10. In what two contexts are "garments" mentioned in this parsha?

(1) Moshe commands the Jews to remember the miracles that Hashem did in the desert, including how their garments did not wear out (Deut. 8:4). (2) The Torah describes Hashem as One who provides for a convert/stranger by giving him bread and garments (Deut. 10:18).

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