Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.
1. Which two mountains found in the Land of Israel are mentioned in this parsha?
Mount Grizim and Mount Eival are both mentioned in Deuteronomy 11:29.
2. How does the Torah refer to the city of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)? Also, where in the Torah are the two halves of "Yerushalayim" given as the name for the place?
Yerushalayim is called "The place that Hashem will choose" (Deut. 26:2, 18:6, 16:6, 14:24, 25, 12:5, 11, 21, 26). In parshas Vayera, the first half of the name Yerushalayim is alluded to: "And Avraham called the name of the place Hashem Yireh" (Genesis 22:14). In parshas Lech Lecha, the second half of the name is alluded to: "And Malki Tzedek the king of Shalem etc." (Genesis 14:18). Yireh Hashem and Shalem both refer to Yerushalayim.
3. In this parsha, which two animals appear in the same verse, four different times?
The deer and the hart (tzvi and ayal) both appear in Deuteronomy 12:15, 12:22, 14:5, and 15:22.
4. Which laws in this parsha refer to the number seven? (5 answers)
The Sabbatical year (Shmittah) occurs every seventh year (Deut. 15:1). A Hebrew slave goes free on the seventh year, after working for six years (Deut. 15:12). There are seven days of Passover (Deut. 16:3, 4, 8). There are seven weeks of counting the Omer (Deut. 16:9). There are seven days of Sukkot (Deut. 16:13, 15).
5. One of the animals that chews its cud but does not have split hooves is the camel. What chapter in the Torah are camels mentioned 18 times?
In parshas Chayei Sarah (Genesis 24), camels are mentioned 18 times in the story of Eliezer finding a wife for Yitzchak.
6. Of all of the non-kosher birds listed in this parsha and in parshas Shmini, only two of them appear elsewhere in the Torah. Which two birds are they and where else do they appear? (1 bird in 1 place, 1 bird in 3 places)
The two birds are the raven and the eagle. The raven is mentioned in parshas Noach (Genesis 8:7) as the bird that Noach first sent to check if the land had dried. The eagle is mentioned several times: (1) In pasrhas Yisro, Hashem compares the Exodus to the Jews being carried on wings of eagles (Exodus 19:4). (2) In the rebuke of parshas Ki Tavo, the enemy is described as coming from afar, as an eagle flies (Deut. 28:49). (3) In parshas Ha'azinu, Hashem's protection of the Jews is compared to an eagle protecting its young (Deut. 32:11).
7. In this parsha, which law involves a door?
The Hebrew slave, who wants to work for more than six years, must have his right ear pierced near a door (Deut. 15:17).
8. Which law is stated in this parsha, and two other times in the book of Exodus, using the same exact five words?
The prohibition to cook meat and milk together is stated with the words, "Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk" (Deut. 14:21). These exact words appear in parshas Mishpatim (Exodus 23:19) and in parshas Ki Tisa (Exodus 34:26).
9. Which law, mentioned three times in this parsha, uses the word "water" - but doesn't involve water?
The Torah forbids eating blood, stating in three separate verses: "On the land you should pour it [blood] like water" (Deut. 12:16, 24, 15:23).