Torah Tidbits

21 August 2014 / 25 Av 5774
Issue 1036
Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa
February 28, 2013

TTriddles "Report"


Previous (T’tzaveh plus) TTriddles:
[1] 10, my mouth, Yitzchak Alfasi, bulls… what’s next?
10 = YUD. My mouth = PI = PEI-YUD. R’ Yitzchak Alfasi is known as the RIF = REISH-YUD-PEI. One letter is being added each word or phrase. Bulls are PARIM = PEI-REISH-YUD-MEM. What’s next is to add a MEM and get PURIM. Happy that. MG/RNY added a DALET to get R’FIDIM, the locale of Amalek’s attack.
[2] Jeopardy: Sedras for 200 - T’tzaveh and Nitzavim
What are the sedras that begin with YOU? (V’ATA, and ATEM)
[3] Eikev, R’ei, Shof’tim, Ki Teitzei, Nitzavim in addition, but R’ei gets an asterisk
It is well known that the name Moshe does not occur in Parshat T’tzaveh. Various reasons are given. For the obvious reason, his name does not appear in any sedra of the book of B’reishit. And in D’varim, which is mostly Moshe Rabeinu talking, the name is missing from several sedras. Five of the 11 sedras in D’varim, to be exact. R’ei gets an askerisk because the word MASHEI, spelled MEM-SHIN-HEI does occur. Letter-wise the same as Moshe.
[4] Bring him close, speak to the artisans… in addition to the opener
The opener is V’ATA T’TZAVEH, and you command (the children of Israel)... Also in the sedra of T’tzaveh, we find two other instructions from G-d to Moshe which begin with V’ATA.
[5] Forbid the roads
This doesn’t work the way it was supposed to. The Hebrew translation with its letters rearranged was intended to produce ESTEIR UMORDECHAI. But it doesn’t. Oh, well. Not our first botched TTriddle. Sorry if you spent much time on this one.
This English one works. Rearrange the letters and get ESTHER MORDECHAI.
[7] Just less than half have more
The TTriddle, with its confusing wording, was just an excuse to inform you of the very uneven distribution of mitzvot throughout the Torah. With only three mitzvot, you might expect T’RUMA to be way down the list of sedras when listing them from most mitzvot to least. In fact, there are fewer sedras that have more mitzvot than T’ruma than have fewer mitzvot than T’ruma. Specifically, there are 25 sedras that have zero, one, or two mitzvot. Two sedras with 3 mitzvot. And 26 sedras with more than 3 mitzvot - which is just under half of the 54 sedras.
[#] Old Business
The word MA (MEM-HEI), meaning why, usually has a PATACH under the MEM. The PATACH changes to a KAMATZ, mostly before words that begin with an ALEF or REISH. Sometimes, a HEI. And rarely, other letters. The vowel changes to a SEGOL (MEH) before words beginning with HEI, CHET, and AYIN. And occasionally (between occasionally and rarely), when the word following begins with another letter. One noticeable example of MEH followed by a word not beginning with HEI, CHET, or AYIN, was in the haftara for Parshat Zachor. What makes it more noticeable is the TAAM under the MEH, which is a T’VIR, which makes the word sound like the bleating of sheep - MEHEHEHEH. And since the word is followed by KOL HATZON, the sound of sheep, the word MEH (rather than MA) and the TAAM are most noticeable. In the Purim spirit (remember that this is Old Business and is being written on Motza’ei Shabbat Zachor, when most of Israel is hearing Megila and some of us in Jerusalem are starting on Torah Tidbits for this week), might we suggest that someone purposely voweled the word with a SEGOL and TAAMed it with a T’VIR for onomatopoeic reasons?
Rabbi Atik z"l used to ask…
For T’tzaveh:
Which species of Sukkot’s four has a connection to which element of the KG’s garb?
HADASIM. In the Torah, they are called ANAF EITZ AVOT. AVOT is spelled AYIN-VET-TAV. The word means braid-like. The other time we find the word is in the Torah’s description of the gold chains that were used to connect the CHOSHEN to the shoulder straps of the EIFOD.
Half of a common unit, this is used for only one thing in the Torah. What thing?
ZERET, which means pinky (the finger, not the adjective, having the color pink), is a Biblical unit of measure equal to half an AMA (which is a much-mentioned measure). Open your hand - choose one, and stretch your fingers as wide apart as they can go. The distance from the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinky is called a SPAN, in Biblical Hebrew, a ZERET. After the CHOSHEN was woven, it was folded in half and resulted in a square that measured a ZERET by a ZERET.

This week’s TTriddles:
[2] First odd composite in the duo of Reuven and Shimon
[3] Alef & Lamed either way far exceed the current 2-letter word
[4] Mishlo’ach Manot is to guarantee that you’ll have chameitz
Rabbi Atik z"l used to ask…
For Ki Tisa: In what context is the expression ETZBA ELOKIM used in the sedra? And previously?
What item does Moshe fashion on his own in the sedra? What else, elsewhere?
Taken from a new book:
Rabbi Atik’s Torah Teasers by Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum keyword Torah Teasers

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