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Torah Teasers Parshat V'etchanan

V'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.

1. In this parsha, long life is promised as reward for which four actions? Which two other commandments in the Torah promise long life?

In this parsha, long life is promised for: (1) keeping all of God's laws and statutes (Deut. 4:40), (2) keeping all the commandments properly (Deut. 5:29), (3) honoring one's father and mother (Deut. 5:15), and (4) observing the commandments in the Land of Israel (Deut. 6:2).

Elsewhere, long life is promised twice in parshas Ki Teizei for: (1) sending away the mother bird before taking its eggs (Deut. 22:7), and (2) having accurate weights and measures (Deut. 25:15).

2. In what context are fish mentioned in this parsha?

The Jews are warned to not make any images of fish (Deut. 4:18).

3. In this parsha, where are an ox and a donkey mentioned in the same verse? (2 answers)

In the Ten Commandments, an ox and a donkey are mentioned with regard to (1) keeping Shabbos (Deut. 5:14), and (2) the prohibition of coveting a neighbor's possessions (Deut. 5:18).

4. In this parsha, what two places does the Torah state "with your heart and with all your soul"?

(1) When the Jews will be sent into exile, each person will seek out Hashem and succeed, doing so "with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 4:29). (2) In the first paragraph of the Shema, the Torah states that one must love Hashem "with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 6:5).

5. In this parsha, who is called "a wise and understanding nation"? Elsewhere in the Torah, who is called "understanding and wise"?

When the Jews are devoted to Torah, other nations will see them as "a wise and understanding nation" (Deut. 4:6). In parshas Miketz, Pharaoh states that no one is as "understanding and wise" as Yosef (Genesis 41:39).

6. In this parsha, where does the word arafel (thick cloud) appear?

Arafel appears in connection to the giving of the Torah (Deut. 5:19, 4:11). It also appears in the same context in parshas Yisro (Exodus 20).

7. This parsha contains the only verse in the Torah in which two letters are enlarged. Which verse is it?

In the verse of "Shema Yisrael" (Deut. 6:4), both the ayin of the word shema and the dalet of the word echad are written larger than the other letters.

8. In this parsha, which verse contains all the letters of the alef-bet? What is the only other verse in the Torah that contains all the letters of the alef-bet?

Deut. 4:34 contains every letter of the alef-bet. The only other verse is in parshas Beshalach, Exodus 16:16.

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