The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

View Profile

Friday, October 27

The Weekly Shtikle - Lech Lecha

In the beginning of the parsha we are taught of Avram and Sarai's sojourn to Egypt due to the famine in Cana'an. It is evident that Lot accompanied the two to Egypt. However, there is no mention of Lot whatsoever in the entire episode until after they leave. What seems puzzling is that even if the Egyptians believed that Avram and Sarai were brother and sister, why did they not suspect Lot of being Sarai's husband? Furthermore, Rashi infers from the singular form of the verb "kevo" (12:14) that Sarai was hidden in a box and only Avram was visible. Should the pasuk not have used plural tense anyway because of Lot? Why does his presence seem to be ignored.


The first question may be answered by Sifsei Chachamim in pasuk 13. There, they ask how it was possible that Avram entrapped the Egyptians and lead them to commit the grievous crime of eishes ish. They answer from Chizkuni that they told the Egyptians that Sarai was in fact married but that her husband was overseas. This way they made it known that she was married. And with this we can also understand why they did not suspect Lot of being Sarai's wife either.


To answer the second question, we again turn to Sifsei Chachamim. They ask why Rashi inferred from the word kevo rather than the word vayeireid in pasuk 10 which is also in singular. They answer that in that pasuk, before Sarai's beauty is addressed, Avram is the only significant figure and the pasuk need only refer to him. However, in pasuk 14, Sarai has already become an integral part of this journey and we would have expected her to pluralize the word kevo. In that case, since Lot was never an integral part of the journey but rather more of a tag-along, we would not expect him to turn the verb into a plural.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
AstroTorah: The Uncountable Stars
Dikdukian: King #5

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,
The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on

Friday, October 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Noach

This past Wednesday, 28th of Tishrei, was the yahrtzeit of my dear friend, Daniel Scarowsky, a"h. This week's shtikle is dedicated leiluy nishmaso, Daniel Moshe Eliyahu ben Yitzchak.


After HaShem instructs Noach on how to bring the animals into the ark, we are told (6:22) that "Noach did all that HaShem commanded him to do, so he did." Later, (7:5), we are told again that Noach did all that HaShem commanded him. Rashi, obviously bothered by the apparent redundancy, says that this pasuk refers to Noach's coming into the ark (whereas the previous one referred to his gathering of the animals).


R' Shimon Schwab in Ma'ayan Beis HaShoeiva points out that the first pasuk ends with the phrase kein asah whereas the second does not. He explains that Rashi tells us (7:7) that Noach did not enter the ark right away but waited until it actually began to rain because he was of "little faith." Therefore, his coming into the ark was not done with complete devotion to the word of HaShem. The phrase kein asah usually refers to a higher level of observance, a more complete carrying out the command. That is why with regards to the bringing in of the animals, which Noach performed completely, we find the words kein asah. But with regards to the coming in to the ark, in which Noach lacked the same level of faith, we do not.


It is also of interest to note that the first pasuk uses the word Elokim to refer to HaShem whereas the second pasuk uses the word HaShem. As Kli Yekar explains, this actually mirrors the original commands. The first passage begins (6:13) "Vayomer Elokim leNoach." This is introduction of the massive destruction HaShem is soon to bring about. It is fitting that Elokim, denoting strict judgment, is used. The second passage begins (7:1) "Vayomer HaShem leNoach." This passage deals with the instructions to save the animals as well as one last delay for one last chance for teshuvah. So the use of the Name of Adnus, denoting mercy, is used.

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: The Weight of the Teiva and The Constant Rate of Recession 
AstroTorah: Sailing the Friendly Skies by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: The World's First Boat?
Dikdukian: Noach's Three Sons

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,
The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on

Wednesday, October 4

The Weekly Shtikle - Sukkos

A hearty Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Aharon & Rachelle Yeres & Family of Cedarhust, NY on the birth of a baby girl, Sima Tova. Mazal tov to the extended Yeres, Frankel & Stark Families


As part of the requisite mitzvos pertaining to Sukkos, we are told (Vayikra 23:42) "You shall dwell in sukkos for a seven day period." Interestingly, the word sukkos is in plural. The first inclination would be that this is because the nation as a whole will dwell, collectively, in many sukkos. However, the adjacent pasuk referring to the mitzvah of the four species refers to the esrog as pri eitz hadar in singular form, despite the fact that the nation as a whole will be taking many. In fact, it is further puzzling that the rest of the species are referred to in the plural. The hadassim and aravos are understandable. But the lulav, of which we only take one, is also in plural.


For now, I would like to address only the discrepancy in the wording of sukkos. There is a significant difference between the mitzvah of sukkah and that of lulav and esrog. The mitzvah to take a lulav and esrog is very personal and private in nature. This is epitomized by the fact that one must own his own four species and cannot fulfill the mitzvah with someone else's.


The mitzvah of sukkah, by contrast, is one that naturally includes others, notwithstanding the opinion of R' Eliezer (Sukkah 27) that one must remain in the same sukkah for the duration of the chag. Everyone makes the sukkah their temporary dwelling, the place where they eat all of their meals. Some are unable to make their own. Families and individuals, whether they have their own sukkah or not, are almost certain to share this mitzvah with others, either by eating in others' sukkah or inviting them eat in their own. Therefore, the mitzvah of sukkah is given in the plural because it is the intention that one should eat in many sukkos whereas the mitzvah of lulav and esrog can only be fulfilled with one's own set of the four species.

Have a good Yom Tov and good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on