Sunday, October 23, 2011

Answers to Bereishit quiz questions

I hope everyone enjoyed shul this last week!

Here are the answers to the quiz questions:

1. Why does the Torah start with the creation of the world? (1:1)

Rashi questions why the Torah starts with the creation of the world rather than jumping out the gate with mitzvot that Moshe commanded to the people. If the Torah is a book of laws why waste time with the long back story of how we gat there? 
Rashi answers that the Torah also serves as a deed to the land of Israel.  1,000 years ago Rashi predicted that the non Jews would come to deny Israel's right to exist as a a Jewish state and they would claim that the Jews stole the land from another nation.  Therefore the torah begins with the story of creation as a statement, "Hashem created the world and therefore it is His right to aportion it out as He sees fit - and He saw fit to give Israel to the Jews.  If you have a problem take it up with Him!"
Rashi seems very prophetic here as in the days of Rashi the Jews were scattered and dispersed.  

2. What inconsistency does Rashi notice in 1:16?

The verse starts by saying that Hashem created two large luminaries (the sun and the moon).  Then right after it refers to the two luminaries as the small one and the large one.  The obvious answer would be that the latter half of the passuk is speaking in relative terms.  The moon is really big, but relative to the sun it is small.  But Rashi, in his usual way, takes this opportunity to introduce us to a midrash that teaches an important value.  
Originally God created the sun and the moon the same size.  Then the moon picked a fight.  He said, "hey, how are two kings supposed t rule with one crown?"  God said, "you know, you are right."  and he shrunk the moon down so that the sun was the dominant luminary.  This teaches that those who cause controversy in a search for honor will usually find dishonor and diminish their esteem in the eyes of others.

3. Why does Hashem say, "Let us make man" in the plural? (1:26)

Even though Hashem had the capability of creating man by Himself, he chose to involve the angels in the decision.  This was to set an example to future Jewish leaders.  If you think you are smart enough to make a decision without consulting with others, just remember, God Himself chose to consult before he made a big decision.

4. Why does Hashem ask Adam "where are you?' when He clearly knows where he is?  Who else did Hashem ask similar questions to? (3:9)

This was in order to give Adam an opportunity to come forward and repent.  He did this with Kayin and with Bilaam as well.

5. When Hashem spoke to Kayin, why did he say your brother's bloods in plural?  What does Rashi answer? (4:10)

Rashi gives two answers.  The second answer is because Kayin caused many wounds because he did not know what would kill (nobody had ever killed before).  
The first answer of Rashi is that Kayin did not only spill Hevel's blood, but he spilled the bloods of every decendant that could have potentially come form Hevel that will now never be born.  From here the Gemara learns the important principle, "he who kills one life destroys an entire world and he who saves one life saves an entire world."

6. What historical role did Naama play? (4:23)
She was Noach's wife.
7. How did Noach bring rest to his generation? (5:29)

Noach was the Steve Jobs of his generation.  he invented the plowshare and thereby through technology lifted the curse of Adam and Kayin that the earth should be cursed.