For the week ending 12 September 2020 / 23 Elul 5780

Parashat Nitzavim - Vayelech

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Questions - Nitzavim

  1. What is the connection between the verse "atem nitzavim" and the curses in the previous parsha?
  2. Who were the wood-choppers and water-carriers?
  3. Why can Hashem never "swap" the Jewish People for another nation?
  4. One who ignores the Torah's warnings "adds drunkenness to thirst." What does this mean?
  5. What two cities were destroyed along with S’dom and Amorah?
  6. "The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d, and the revealed things are for us..." What does this mean?
  7. According to Rashi, how will the day of the ingathering of the exiles be "great and difficult"?
  8. Where is the Torah not to be found? Where is it to be found?
  9. When and where did the Jewish People become culpable for each other's sins?
  10. How do the earth and sky remind us to keep the mitzvahs?

All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated.

Answers - Nitzavim

  1. 29:12 - The Jewish People asked, "Who can survive such curses?" Moshe responded, "You've done a lot to anger Hashem, and yet ‘atem nitzavim’— you are still standing before Him."
  2. 29:10 - Canaanites who joined the Jewish People under false pretenses.
  3. 29:12 - Because Hashem swore to their ancestors that He would never do so.
  4. 29:18 - He causes Hashem to reckon his unintentional sins alongside his intentional ones, punishing him for all.
  5. 29:22 - Admah and Tsevoyim.
  6. 29:28 - There is collective culpability only for "open" sins, but not for "hidden" ones.
  7. 30: 3 - It will be as if Hashem needs to take each individual by the hand and lead him out of exile.
  8. 30:12-15 - The Torah is not found in Heaven, nor is it across the ocean. Rather, it is "very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart."
  9. 30:28 - When they crossed the Jordan and accepted the oath on Mount Eval and Mount Grizim.
  10. 30:19 - The earth and heavenly bodies, although receiving neither reward nor punishment, always obey Hashem's will. How much more so should we, who stand to receive reward or punishment, obey Hashem.

Questions - Vayelech

  1. Moshe said, "I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in..." How do we know this does not refer to physical inability?
  2. Which of Moshe's statements to Yehoshua was later contradicted by Hashem's command?
  3. Why does the Torah refer to Succot of the eighth year as though it occurred during the shemita year?
  4. Why does the Torah command that babies be brought to the Torah reading?
  5. What does it mean that Hashem "hides His face?"
  6. What function does the song Ha'azinu serve?
  7. Which verse promises that the Torah will never be totally forgotten?
  8. What is the difference of opinion regarding the placing of the Torah scroll which Moshe gave the levi'im?
  9. On the day of Moshe's death, why didn't Moshe gather the people by blowing trumpets as he normally would have?
  10. Moshe said, "For I know that after my death you will act corruptly," but, in fact, this didn't occur until after Yehoshua's death. What does this teach us?

All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated.

Answers - Vayelech

  1. 31:2 - Because verse 34:7 says "His (Moshe's) eye never dimmed, and his (youthful) moisture never departed."
  2. 31:7 - Moshe told Yehoshua to share his leadership with the Elders. Hashem later commanded Yehoshua to rule alone.
  3. 31:10 - Because the laws of the seventh year still apply to the harvest.
  4. 31:12 - To give reward to those who bring them.
  5. 31:17 - He ignores their distress.
  6. 31:21 - It warns what will befall the Jewish People if they abandon Torah.
  7. 31:21 - "For (the Torah) will not be forgotten from the mouth of their offspring."
  8. 31:26 - Whether it was placed outside but adjacent to the Ark, or inside next to the Tablets.
  9. 31:28 - Blowing the trumpets expressed Moshe's dominion, and "there is no dominion on the day of death." (Kohelet 8)
  10. 31:29 - That a person's student is as dear to him as himself. As long as Yehoshua was alive it was as though Moshe himself was alive.

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