Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.
- Which parshas are named for people? (6 answers)
The six parshas named for a person: Noach, Chayei Sarah, Yisro, Korach, Balak, Pinchas.
- Aside from the 40 days of rain, where else is the number 40 mentioned in this parsha?
Noah waits 40 days from seeing the tops of the mountains, to opening up the window to send out the raven (Genesis 8:6, with Rashi)
- Where else is 40 days mentioned in the Torah? (5 answers)
Yaakov is mummified for 40 days before the ascension to and burial in Hebron (Genesis 50:3). Moshe ascends Mount Sinai three times for 40 days each: Exodus 24:18, Deut. 9:18, and Exodus 34:28. Finally, the 12 Spies tour the land of Israel for 40 days (Numbers 13:25).
- Where does the number seven appear in this parsha? (4 answers)
Seven pairs of kosher animals are brought into the ark (Genesis 7:2). There is an additional seven-day waiting period before the Flood begins (Genesis 7:4, with Rashi). On the seventh month, the ark rests on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4). Before sending the dove on each mission, Noah waits seven days (Genesis 8:10, 12).
- Where else in the Torah was someone saved from harm by being situated in a taiva?
Baby Moshe is placed into a taiva by his mother to save him from being drowned in the Nile river by the Egyptians (Exodus 2:3).
- Where else in the Torah is a raven referred to?
- Which mitzvah is given personally to both Adam and Noah?
Adam and Noah are both given the mitzvah “to be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28, 9:1).
- A rainbow is called a keshet. Where else in the book of Genesis does the Torah speak about a keshet in reference to a regular bow? (5 answers)
When Hagar and Yishmael are in the desert, the verse states that he was a “bow’s distance” away (Genesis 21:16). A few verses later, the Torah refers to Yishmael as “an archer” (Genesis 21:20). Before giving the blessing, Yitzhak instructs Esav to take his bow and prepare a meal (Genesis 27:3). Yaakov gives the city of Shchem to Yosef, which he captured “with [his] sword and bow” (Genesis 28:22) The bow is also mentioned later on in the blessing that Yaakov gave Yosef (Genesis 49:24).
- Which grandfather and grandson had the same name?
Nachor has a son Terach who has a son also named Nachor (Genesis 11:24, 26).
- When do we say Kaddish after a non-Jew dies?
In the last verse of the parsha, Terach dies (Genesis 11:32). When completing the reading of the parsha, the one who reads the Torah, recites Kaddish.
The Courage to Live with Uncertainty