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Parshat Bo - Questions for Self Study

Questions for the Shabbat Table
Questions for Shiur Preparation
Questions on Parshanut

Part I - Questions for the 'Shabbat Table'
1. "V'higadta l'bincha ... ba'avur zeh asa Hashem li b'tzeiti miMitzrayim."
Everyone is familiar with this pasuk, as it is mentioned numerous times in the Haggadah of Pesach (it is a primary source for the mitzvah of magid). Read this pasuk (Shmot 13:8), noting its context (13:5-8).
How would you translate it (in pshat)? While doing so, explain:
What does "zeh" refer to?
What did Hashem - "asa li" - do for me?
Explain what is most problematic about this pasuk?
Now, go to the Parshanut section and answer question #4!

2. While studying the Parsha, see how many of the 'four questions' [of the four sons in the Haggada] you can find in Parshat Bo.
Did you find all four, or are some missing? [If so, which questions are missing?]
Are the answers to those questions in Chumash the same as the answers in the Haggada?
If not, can you explain why? [Relate to the topic of each question.]
Afterward, see Devarim 6:20-23. Relate these psukim to your answers to the above questions.

3. In the Maakkot, see if you can find a pattern following from "aretz" to "shamayim." If so, can you find any significance in this progression? [Relate to Breishit chapter 1 - "asara ma'amarot" --> "asara maakot!"]
Go through the Makkot one more time, and chart Pharaoh's reaction to each plague.
In other words, categorize his reaction as either:

    1) No reaction
    2) Promising to let them leave [then changing his mind]
    3) Admitting that he has sinned ["Chatati..."]
[Be sure to note 9:27 and 10:16-17.]
Can you find a pattern?
[Can you relate your answer to last week's question concerning the 3x3x3 pattern of "dtzach adash b'achav?"]

4. Read Yirmiyahu 7:21-22. [If you have time, read from 7:1]
Based on Parshat Bo, does 7:22 make sense?
[In other words, how can Yirmiyahu claim that God never commanded Am Yisrael to bring korbanot on the day that they left Egypt, if the only mitzvah they did perform on that day was to offer the Korban Pesach!?!]

Now read Yirmiyahu 7:23-28, especially 7:23!
Is this statement true? Do we find anywhere in Parshat Bo that God commands Bnei Yisrael "shimu b'koli?"
Where in Sefer Shmot do we find that statement in 7:23 which Yirmiyahu claims was made on "the day they left Egypt [i.e, Listen to Me, Be My People - I'll be your God]?
[Relate to Shmot 19:1-9, 24:3-9, Vayikra 26:3-13]

Could this day relate to the day of Matan Torah?!
Did God command Bnei Yisrael to offer korbanot on that day?
[Relate to Shmot 24:5-8!]

Now, review Shmot 6:2-9, especially 6:7!
Could these psukim fit into Yirmiyahu 7:22-24?
[In other words, could 6:6-8 be considered the 'day that I took Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt?']
What phrases are similar ad what phrase is 'missing?'

Review now Yechezkel 20:1-11, especially 20:5-8.
Can this help answer the above question of when "shimu b'koli" was first told to Bnei Yisrael at Yetziat Mitzraim?
Finally, review the conclusion of last week's shiur on Parshat Va'eyra, in regard to the deeper meaning of "Ani Hashem."

Can those conclusions help explain Yirmiyahu's statement? Relate this as well to the main points of Yirmiyahu chapter 7 (i.e. in regard to the reason for God's decision to destroy the Bet ha'Mikdash).
Relate this to the opinions of other prophets in regard to offering korbanot [e.g. Yishayahu 1:10-17, Tehilim 51:10-21]!
[Relate also "divrei olah v'zavach" in 7:22 to chapter 1-3 in Sefer Vayikra, and when those mitzvot were first given! Make special note of Vayikra 1:1. Were these mitzvot given on Har Sinai during Matan Torah, or only after the Mishkan was built and the shchina had returned?]

Part II - Questions for Preparation (for weekly shiur)
Parshat Ha'Chodesh - Shmot 12:1-20
1. Read these psukim and attempt to divide them into two distinct groups.
Give a title to each group.

2. When did Moshe receive this commandment (on what day)? Prove your answer from psukim 1-3.
What day is "ha'yom ha'zeh" in pasuk 14 referring to?
What day is "ha'yom ha'zeh" (2x) in pasuk 17 referring to?

3. How should "hotzeiti etchem" in pasuk 17 be translated - past tense or future?
Relate to 12:39 and its context.
[See Parshanut section below question #1.]

4. When did Moshe convey these commandments (recorded in 12:4-20) to Bnei Yisrael?
[Scan 12:21-13:10 very carefully to find your answer. Be sure to relate to 13:2-3!]
Relate your answer to the two groups cited in question #1.
Why doesn't Moshe convey all of these mitzvot at the same time? [When was the parsha 12:43-50 given to Moshe?]

5. Read 12:14 carefully.
What "chag" does "v'chagotem oto chag l'Hashem..." refer to?
Does this pasuk relate to the psukim that precede it, or to the psukim that come afterward?
See Rashi and Ibn Ezra (ha'aroch).
In your opinion, does 12:14 relate to 12:24-27 or 13:3-6?

6. Read Vayikra 23:4-8 and Bamidbar 28:16-18 carefully.
Are Pesach and Chag Ha'Matzot the same holiday?
Relate your answer to the above questions.
On a Jewish calendar, what holiday falls out on 14 Nisan?
What holiday falls out from 15 Nisan to 21 Nisan?
Based on the above questions, what should be the names of these holidays?

7. Read Devarim 16:1-8 (especially 1-3).
Relate these psukim to question 6.

8. Based on the above sources:
Read Bamdibar 9:1-14. Explain the laws of Pesach sheni.
Define chag ha'pesach, and its purpose.
Define chag ha'matzot, and its purpose.

9. Read Yechezkel 20:1-12. Note especially 20:7-9.
According to Yechezkel, what was the spiritual level of Bnei Yisrael prior to Yetziat Mitzraim?
Did they deserve to be redeemed?
Based on these psukim in Yechezkel, suggest a reason why it was necessary for Bnei Yisrael to offer the Korban Pesach to save them from Maakkat Bchorot.
What does the word "pasach" mean?
What happened to those who did not offer this korban? Why?

10. What is the purpose of offering this korban every year? (Relate to 12:26-27).
Based on Yechezkel chapter 20 (see above), what else should this remind us of?

11. Why do we eat matzah with the korban Pesach?
Why do we eat matzah on chag ha'matzot?
If the reasons are different, explain why.
[Which relates to "lechem oni," and which to 'being rushed?']
Why is chametz forbidden? [Is it only to encourage us to eat matzah?]
Why, in addition, is it forbidden to own chametz, or even see it ["isur bal yay'ra'eh/bal yi'ma'tzey"]?

12. Compare the laws of "isur avodah zara" to "isur chametz."
In what ways are they similar?
Based on the above questions, can you suggest an additional reason for the special "isur" of chametz?
What were Bnei Yisrael expected to do before leaving Egypt?
What was the purpose of all the "nisyanot" (tests) which Bnei Yisrael experienced until they reached Har Sinai? (See previous shiurim on Shmot-->Bshalach.)
Based on this and Yechezkel perek 20, can you suggest a deeper meaning to the "isur" of chametz? Explain the thematic connection between Pesach and Chag Ha'Matzot.

13. The laws of korbanot also include a prohibition against offering chametz on the mizbayach (see Vayikra 2:11, 6:10). Why?
What does chametz symbolize?

Extra Credit [For Shavuot]
14. On Shavuot, a special korban, the "shtei ha'lechem," is offered "chametz" (see Vayikra 23:15-21)!
Explain this korban based on the connection between chag ha'matzot and chag ha'shavuot.

15. Compare the laws of the Korban Pesach to the laws of Korban Todah in relation to all other korbanot (see Vayikra 7:11-18).
In what manner are they similar?
Are any other korbanot eaten with matzah?
How does this comparison enhance your understanding of the laws of Korban Pesach?

Now that you've prepared, go to the shiur.

Part III - Parshanut
1. Read 12:15-20 (noting how this parshia begins in 12:1).
What is problematic with 15:17 [i.e. the word "hotzeiti"]?
Can you suggest an answer?
Now see Ibn Ezra. Identify the three answers that he suggests.
Which answer do you think he prefers?

2. See Seforno in his introduction to Sefer Shmot [which is found in the beginning of Sefer Breishit, where he overviews each sefer].
Note how Seforno relates Sefer Shmot to Yechezkel 20:5-9.
Relate this to shiur on Parshat Va'eyra and the above questions.

3. Read 12:40-42, and relate to Breishit 15:13-15.
What is the obvious parallel, and what is the problem with that parallel?
If 12:40 is indeed speaking of the same 400 years, from when are these years being counted? How do you explain the 'extra 30 years?'

Now, see Rashi.
How does he understand this connection?
What aspect does he add in his pirush?

See Rashbam.
What problem in pshat does Rashbam explain (solve)?

See Ibn Ezra [ha'aroch and ha'katzar].
How does he explain pshat?
In what manner is his approach different?
How does he explain the time period from the time that Avraham left Ur Kassdim until Avraham left Charan and came to Eretz Canaan?
What problem does this solve?

Finally, see Ramban.
How is his pirush similar to and how is it different from that of Ibn Ezra?
Why does Ramban question the assumption that the '400 years' begins with Yitzchak's birth?
What is his conclusion concerning how long the actual enslavement was for?

In general, why do you think that all the commentators concur that these psukim (12:40-41) relate specifically to "brit bein ha'btarim?"

4. Read 13:3-8 carefully, and answer question #1 in Part I above.
What problems did you encounter translating 13:8?

First see Rasa"g and Rashbam on "ba'avur zeh."
How do they 'solve' the problem in this pasuk?
Why do they 'switch around' its order?

Next, see Ibn Ezra (aroch).
How and why does he argue with Rashbam?
[In your opinion, which pirush is more logical?]
Note how Ibn Ezra supports his pirush from 3:12.
Recall Rashbam's daring pirush to this pasuk.
Relate that pirush (to 3:12) to this machloket!

Now, see Rashi.
Is Rashi's pirush similar to Ibn Ezra's or Rashbam's?
[How is it different that Ibn Ezra's?]

Next, see Chizkuni!
Is his pirush the same as Rashi's, or a bit different?

Finally, see Ramban.
Is his pirush the same as Rashbam's or different?
If so, in what manner?
How does Ramban translate "ba'avur?" Why?
Why do you think that Ramban quotes Ibn Ezra, just to disagree with his pirush?

In closing, did you ever realize how complicated this pasuk was?
In your opinion, according to which above pirush of this pasuk does the story of magid (that we read in the Haggada) follow?