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Torah Teasers Parshat Nitzavim

Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.

1. This parsha begins with a description of the Jewish people "standing" (netzavim) before Hashem. What 4 other places in the Torah are people described as "standing" (netzavim)?

(1) The angels who come to Avraham in parshas Vayerah are standing (netzavim) over him (Genesis 18:2). (2) In parshas Vayigash, men are standing near Yosef when he wishes to reveal himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1). (3) In parshas Shemos, when Moshe and Aharon leave Pharaoh after their unsuccessful meeting, men are standing outside the palace waiting to meet them (Exodus 5:20). (4) In parshas Korach, Dathan and Aviram stand outside their tents when Moshe comes to speak to them (Numbers 16:27).

2. Which two ancient professions appear in this parsha?

The professions of a wood-chopper and a water-carrier are in Deuteronomy 29:10.

3. In what context is salt mentioned in this parsha? What 3 other places in the Torah is salt referred to?

Moshe states that when later generations view the destruction of the land, they will see "sulphur and salt, a conflagration of the entire Land" (Deut. 29:22). Elsewhere in the Torah: (1) Salt is mentioned in parshas Vayera when Lot's wife turns to look at the destruction of Sodom and turns into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). (2) In parshas Vayikra, we are commanded to add salt to every offering (Leviticus 2:13). (3) In parshas Bamidbar, the eternal covenant with the kohanim is referred to as a "covenant of salt" (Numbers 18:19).

4. Which four cities are mentioned in a single verse in this parsha, and also in a single verse in the book of Genesis?

Sodom, Amora, Adma, and Tzivoyim are all mentioned in a single verse in this parsha (Deut. 29:22). They are also mentioned (twice) in single verses in parshas Lech Lecha (Genesis 14:2, 8).

5. Which three people appear together in a single verse in this parsha - on two separate occasions?

Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov are mentioned together in Deut. 29:12, and in 30:20.

6. In what context is a root (shoresh) mentioned in this parsha?

Moshe compares those who have in mind to serve other gods to a "root flourishing with gall and wormwood" (Deut. 29:17).

7. What item in this parsha is referred to both in the masculine form and the feminine?

A Torah scroll (sefer Torah) is referred to in the feminine form (Deut. 28:61), and in the masculine form (Deut. 29:20) See Rashi (Deut. 29:20) for an explanation.

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