Sunday, November 6, 2011

Answers to Lech Lecha Questions

1. How did the land of Israel come to be known as the land of Cnaan? (12:6) 

The land was originally given to the children of Shem but the decendants of Ham's son Cnaan (hence the Cananites) conquered the land and drove Shem's decendants away.

2. Who was Amraphel? (14:1)

Nimrod.

3. Who were Avraham's 318 men? (14:14)

Eliezer.  His name in gematria is 318.

4. Who was Malki Tzedek? (14:18)

Noach's son Shem..

5. How many years were the Jews in Egypt? (15:13)

Rashi says 210.  Hashem told Avraham that his children would be redeemed in 400 yeras.  Rashi understands that to mean 400 years form the birth of Yitzchak.  He provides the calulations:
 The Torah tells us that Yitzchak was 60 when Yaakov was born, and Yaakov was 130 when he went down to Egypt.  60 + 130 = 190.  210 years later was the Exodus 190 + 210 = 400. 
They could not have been in Egypt for 400 years as Kehat was one of the people who went down to Egypt and even if he was a baby when he got there he lived 133 years, his son Amrama lived 137 years, and his son Moshe was 80 at the time of the Exodus.  133 + 137 + 80 is only 350 and that doesn't account for the years taht eaach generation overlapped.

6.Where did Avraham meet Hagar? (16:1)

Hagar was Pharoah's daughter.  Upon seeing the miracles Pharoah said, "Better that my daughter should be a maidservant in this household rather than the main wife in another household.

7. What was Sara's complaint against Avraham regarding Hagar? (16:5)

Sara made two complaints: first she complained that Avraham prayed only for himself and not for her.  Therefore Avraham's prayers were answered with a son, Yishmael, but Sara was seemingly disregarded.  The second complaint was that Avraham did not stop Hagar from disgracing Sara.

8. When Avraham was circumsized what is learned form the words, "on that very day?" (17:23)

Rashi learns that Avraham gave himself a bris in broad daylight to demonstrate that he wanted to fulfill the mitzva as soon as possible and also to demonstrate that he was afraid of neither his friends or his enemies who may try and stop him from fulfilling the commandment.

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