Torah Teaser – Parshat Eikev Questions & Answers – July 26 2113

Torah Teasers
Parshas EIKEV
1. Eretz Yisroel is a land where you can eat bread without scarceness, a land that lacks nothing in it (Eikev 8:9). What is the lesson here? Ans… The Maharam Shiff says that it is not courageous for a poor man to subsist on bread and water alone. When Chazal praise someone who eats only the basic essentials and avoids eating grand meals with fine delicacies, they refer to a rich man who can eat anything he desires but chooses not to. It praises a person who chases spiritual pleasures rather than physical delights. The Yismach Moshe says we can see this in pasuk, בְמִסְכֵּנֻת לֹא אֲשֶׁר, אֶרֶץ, a land where food is not scarce. לֶחֶם בָּהּ תֹּאכַל-, even though there is plenty of food, still you only eat bread. בָּהּ כֹּל תֶחְסַר לֹא-, it lacks nothing, yet you don’t spend your days enjoying its abundance
2. “Simlascha Lo Balsa MeiAlecha; Your clothing did not wear out in forty years.” (Eikev 8:4) If Bnei Yisrael had everything they needed in the Midbar including food, shelter, and clothing how were they able to do the Mitzva of Tzedaka in the Midbar? Ans… Rav Shimshon Pincus answers that in truth they could not do this mitzva. Why? “Tzedaka Tatzil MiMaves; If there is a decree on someone that he must die, giving tzedaka can abolish the gezeira.” Hashem was Gozer in the Midbar that the entire generation would die. Had there been the possibility of tzedaka it could have altered the plans, which was not the way Hashem wanted it. Therefore, Hashem made it impossible to give tzedaka, and the decree was carried through unimpeded.
3. “Eretz Zais Shem U’Dvash; (8:8) A land of olive oil and honey.” The pasuk lists the seven minim of grains and fruits that grow in Eretz Yisrael and breaks them into two groups. Olive oil and honey are listed alone after the pasuk repeats the word “Eretz” once again. Why? Ans… The Meshech Chochma answers that all the other minim were found in Mitzrayim. Only these two did not exist there. When they asked Moshe why he took them out of Mitzrayim to a barren wilderness they complained that there were no figs, grapes, and pomegranates. Olive oil and honey were not mentioned because they didn’t have them in Mitzrayim either. They are written separate from the other minim under the word Eretz because they are more important since they are unique to Eretz Yisrael. This also explains the Gemara that says the importance of the minim are based on their positioning in the pasuk. You are required to make a bracha first on the minim closer to the word Eretz since they are more important.
4. Rashi famously comments on the words, “Eikev Tishmi’un; If you keep the mitzvos that a person tramples with his heel.” This refers to the seemingly trivial less important mitzvos that we think are not really worth our time or effort. Only when we keep these mitzvos as well, is it a sign of true dedication to the mitzvos and to our Father above whose commandments we heed whether big or small. How is that understood? Ans … The Sfas Emes further illuminates this saying that the Remach or 248 Mitzvos Aseh each correspond to one of our 248 limbs, Doing these mitzvos gives life to its corresponding limb in this world and the next. In our body we have a head and heart which are surely very important above all the others. And just like the body has a heel, while although trivial, if it lacks strength, the entire body collapses, head, heart and all, similarly if we ignore the trivial mitzvos, all our hard work and devotion on the big ones will be for naught as the entire structure will collapse.
5. And now Yisrael what does Hashem ask of you other than to fear him (Eikev 10:12). The Gemara (Minachos 43b) says that we learn from this pasuk that there is a mitzva to make 100 brachos every day. The word מָה says the Gemara can be read as Mei’a or 100. The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh in Parshas Ki Seitzei (22:13) says that the word וְעַתָּה is a lashon of Tshuva. What is the connection between 100 brachos and Tshuva? For someone who has sinned isn’t there a list of higher priority thing to do to repent? Ans… Rav Moshe Shternbuch answers that the reason we learn 100 brachos from this pasuk that demands from every Jew Yiras Shamayim above all, is that the best way to learn to fear Hashem is to get close to him through Brachos. Brachos are said in awe and trepidation of the Master of the Universe who owes us nothing, yet magnanimously gives us everything we have. Without Him we have absolutely nothing, not even ourselves. Making a serious Bracha 100 times a day will surely effect you after a few days or less. What can be more important for someone who has sinned and needs to appreciate the Chutzpa of biting the hand that feeds him, especially when it is the hand of the Almighty Hashem?
6. The Pasuk says that the Mun fell from Shamayim every day, “Lmaan Nasoisecha; In order to test (8:16).” What is the big test in receiving your sustenance every day straight from Shamayim? ANS… MiSHulchan Govo’a brings from Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Rabinowitz the answer with the Mishna in Sanhedrin (71b) that says, “Tranquility for Reshaim is bad for them and bad for the world. Tranquility for Tzadikim is good for them and good for the world.” Rashi explains that when Tzadikim have time on their hands, they will learn Torah and perform mitzvos. This will be very productive for both them and the world. When Reshaim have too much time on their hands, watch out! They will use their time to destroy the world. With their daily sustenance delivered to their doorstep, the Dor HaMidbar had plenty of time on their hands. This was a good test to see which direction they will go in. Are they Tzadikim or Reshaim? That was the test of the Mun.
7. “And I took hold of the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and broke them before your eyes.” Why does the pasuk say that Moshe took hold of the Luchos after seeing the Egel. Wasn’t he in the midst of carrying them down the mountain? Why the expression, וָאֶתְפֹּשׂ? ANS…The Ohr HaChaim explains, “Before the Aveira of the Egel, Moshe did not need to carry the Luchos. They actually were floating in the air. However, once Moshe saw the Egel which the Bnai Yisrael worshipped, the Shechina deserted the Luchos, causing Moshe to have to carry them. It is for this reason that the pasuk says that Moshe took hold of them.”

EIKEV Test Me….Just Test Me…..I Dare You!
1. When a group performs a mitzvah, whose name is attached to the mitzvah? – The person who finishes it.
2. How did the Jewish People do their laundry in the midbar? – The ananei kavod (clouds of glory) cleaned and bleached their clothes.
3. How did the Jewish People obtain clothing for their growing children in the midbar? – As their children grew, their clothing grew with them.
4. How many days did Moshe spend on Mt. Sinai altogether? – 120 days.
5. On what day did Moshe come down from Mt. Sinai having received complete forgiveness for the Jewish People? – The tenth of Tishrei, Yom Kippur.
6. How was Aharon punished for his role in the golden calf? – His two sons died.
7. Who made the ark in which Moshe placed the second set of tablets? What special function did it later serve? – Moshe. This ark would accompany the Jewish People into battle.
8. Which sin of the Jewish People was prompted by the death of Aharon? – When Aharon died the ananei kavod departed, causing many Jews to fear war with the King of Arad and to retreat toward Egypt.
9. Why were the levi’im chosen by Hashem? – Because they did not participate in the sin of the golden calf.
10. Why do the levi’im have no portion in the land? – Since they served in the Temple, thus they were not free to work the land.
11. All aspects of man’s life are in Hashem’s “hands” except one. What is this? – Fear of Heaven, which is dependent upon the person.
12. What is the “added benefit” of observing the mitzvot? – There is reward.
13. What is meant by circumcising one’s heart? – To remove those things that block the words of Torah from entering.

Created By Avrohom Sherman

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