ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Sotah 13
SOTAH 13 - dedicated by Larry and Marsha Wachsman l'Iluy Nishmas their aunt,
the late Mrs. Rachel Potack, Z"L -- a true "Eshes Chayil" and "Ba'alas
Midos" -- who passed away b'Seivah Tovah in Yerushalayim on 2 Kislev 5761.
(a) On the way to bury Ya'akov, the Torah give precedence to the Egyptians
who accompanied the cortege, whilst on the return journey, it lists the sons
of Ya'akov first - because it was only after they arrived in Cana'an that
the Egyptians came to realize the esteem in which the B'nei Yisrael were
held (and that was when they began to show them respect).
(b) "Va'yavo'u ad Goren ha'Atad". A thorn-bush does not have a granary
attached to it - but the Pasuk is referring to Ya'akov's coffin, which they
surrounded with crowns (as we shall now see) until it resembled a granary
which is surrounded by thorn-bushes.
(c) The three tribes that hung their crowns on Ya'akov's coffin were the
B'nei Yishmael, the B'nei Eisav and the B'nei Keturah (though Rashi does not
seem to have the B'nei Keturah in his text). All in all, there were
thirty-six crowns hanging on the coffin - those of the twelve princes of the
B'nei Yishmael, of the twenty-three rulers of the B'nei Eisav (because the
two extra ones [Teiman and K'naz] are mentioned twice), and of Yosef.
(d) The above-mentioned tribes came - not in order to pay homage to Ya'akov
Avinu, but to fight with the brothers. However, when they saw Yosef's crown
hanging on his father's coffin, they followed suit.
(a) We Darshen from the Pasuk in Va'yechi "Va'yispedu Sham Misped Gadol
ve'Kaved *Me'od*" - that even the horses and the donkeys mourned for
(b) When they came to bury Ya'akov in the Me'aras ha'Machpeilah, Eisav
protested vehemently - on the grounds that, although he had sold him the
birthright, he had not sold him his rights as Yitzchak's son and joint heir
together with Ya'akov. Consequently, he argued, if Ya'akov had kindly buried
Le'ah in his own grave, the remaining grave was his (Eisav's).
(c) They chose Naftali to Egypt to fetch the deeds of the sale - because he
was an exceptionally fast runner (in keeping with his father's B'rachah
"Naftali Ayalah Sheluchah" [Va'yechi]).
(d) Chushim ben Dan bludgeoned Eisav to death with a cudgel - because he
considered it a gross disrespect to allow Ya'akov to remain unburied until
(a) When Chushim beat Eisav on the head, his eyes dropped out of their
sockets and rolled onto Ya'akov's feet.
(b) The Pasuk "Yismach Tzadik Ki Chazah Nakam" - refers to Ya'akov Avinu,
who then opened his eyes and smiled (because he had been avenged).
(c) At that moment, Rifkah's prophecy came true - the prophecy that she
would be bereaved of both her twins on the same day (since they were both
buried on that day).
(d) The Pasuk attributes the burial of Ya'akov to Yosef, despite the fact
that all the brothers participated - because Yosef was a king, and the
brothers themselves authorized him to play the major role in their fathers
burial, since this would be a greater Kavod for Ya'akov.
(a) The Pasuk praises Moshe Rabeinu with the words "Chacham Leiv Yikach
Mitzvos" - in connection with his pursuit of the Mitzvah of seeing to the
transportation of Yosef's remains whilst everybody else went to 'borrow'
money (admittedly, that was a Mitzvah too, but the former was a 'Meis
(b) According to the Tana Kama, Yosef's coffin was buried in the River Nile.
Moshe discovered its exact location - by consulting Serach bas Asher, who
had been alive at the time of Yosef's death.
(c) The Egyptians buried the coffin in the Nile - so that its waters should
(a) Moshe stood on the banks of the Nile and announced that the time had
arrived for Hashem to keep his promise and to redeem Yisrael from Egypt, and
for Yisrael to keep their promise to Yosef to carry his bones out with them
from Egypt. To encourage Yosef's coffin to float to the surface - he added
that unless Yosef would show himself, they were exempt from their oath to
(b) If a metal object was able to float for Elisha, who was a disciple of
Eliyahu, who was, in turn, a disciple of Moshe (who learned from his works,
or, if Eliyahu was Pinchas, from Moshe directly) - then we reckon, it could
certainly float for Moshe.
(c) According to Rebbi Nasan, Yosef was buried in a royal sepulcher. Moshe
discovered which was Yosef's coffin - when, after Moshe had applied the same
tactics as described by the Tana Kama, the coffin shuddered.
(a) What is noteworthy about the way in which Yosef's coffin traveled during
the forty years in the desert - is the fact that it traveled alongside the
Aron of the Shechinah which housed the Luchos.
(b) It is perfectly befitting for the coffin containing a dead person to
travel alongside the Aron containing the Shechinah (and the Luchos) - as
long as it can be said that 'The one kept was written in the other.
(c) The significance of the following Pesukim (all written in connection
with Yosef) "ha'Sachas Elokim Ani"; "es ha'Elokim Ani Yarei"; "Chei Par'oh",
and "u'Tevo'ach Tevach ve'Hachein" is - that they are the first four of the
ten commandments, which Yosef kept scrupulously (together with the remaining
(d) The other two Mitzvos concerning man and man that Rashi lists among
those that Yosef observed, besides "Lo Sikom ve'Lo Sitor", are "Lo Sisna es
Achicha bi'Levavecha" and "ve'Chei Achicha Imach".
(a) Once the Torah records that Moshe saw to Yosef's bones - because even
K'lal Yisrael agreed that it would be a greater Kavod for such a great man
to do so; once that it was K'lal Yisrael - because when Moshe died, even his
family agreed that it would be a greater Kavod for the community at large to
take over the Mitzvah; and once, that it was his family - because,
presumably, when it came to the actual burial, it was up to the family to
perform the Mitzvah.
(b) They made a point of burying Yosef in Sh'chem - because that is where
they stole him from (not as appears in Va'yeishev, from Dosan, because Dosan
is not the name of a place, but has connotations of legal plans).
(c) The Pasuk in Yehoshua writes "ve'es Atzmos Yosef Asher He'elu B'nei
Yisrael ... " giving the credit of the burial to Yisrael rather than to
Moshe, like it does in Beshalach ("Va'yikach Moshe es Atzmos Yosef Imo") -
because a Mitzvah is always ascribed to the one who concludes it.
(d) According to some, he is also demoted, as we find with Yehudah, who lost
his leadership of the brothers, for saving Yosef from death by suggesting
that they rather sell him, but who did not complete the Mitzvah by returning
him to his father. We also learn that a person who begins a Mitzvah without
finishing it also buries his wife and children - from Yehudah, because, as
the Pasuk writes in Va'yeishev (shortly after the sale of Yosef) "Va'tamas
bas-Shu'a Eishes Yehudah" and "Va'yamas Er ve'Onan".
(a) Yosef deserved ...
1. ... to be called bones even whilst he was still alive (as the Torah
writes "Ve'ha'alisem es Atzmosai mi'Zeh Itchem") - for hearing the brothers
refer to their father as "Avdecha Avinu" a number of times, and not
(b) We interpret the Pasuk "ve'Yosef *Hurad* Mitzraymah" - as if it had
written "ve'Yosef *Horid* Mitzraymah", which we explain to mean that he
lowered the prestige of the astrologers (through his ability to interpret
Par'oh's dream, which they were not able to do).
2. ... to die before all his brothers - before he conducted himself like a
ruler (see Agados Maharsha, B'rachos).
(c) Potifar's chief motive in purchasing Yosef - was for immoral purposes.
(d) "S'ris Par'oh" means Par'oh's valet (see Agados Maharsha), or that he
was a eunuch (already before Yosef arrival upon the scene).
first refers to Par'oh's valet as "Potifar" and then as "Potifera" - because
the angel Gavriel protected Yosef by castrating Potifar still further (as is
implied by the word 'Pera').
(a) The connection between "*Rav Lachem* B'nei Levi"(that Moshe said to
Korach and his men), and "*Rav Lach*, Al Tosef Daber Elai Od ba'Davar
ha'Zeh" (that Hashem said to him) is - that Hashem confronted Moshe with the
latter due to the fact that he confronted the B'nei Levi with the former.
(b) Others explain the Pasuk to mean that Moshe should stop praying to enter
Eretz Yisrael, because he had a Rav - Yehoshua, whose time had arrived to
(c) And according to yet others, Hashem had 'personal' reasons in insisting
that Moshe stop asking to enter Eretz Yisrael - because (since for reasons
that only He knows, Moshe could not possibly have entered Eretz Yisrael) He
did not want people to remark 'how patient is the Talmid and how cruel is
(d) They ascribe Hashem's strict treatment of Moshe to the principle 'le'Fum
Gamla, Shichna' - meaning that one loads a camel according to its strength.
Similarly, Hashem treats Tzadikim much more harshly than he does ordinary
people (because they can carry the load), That is why He sometimes deals
with them with the Midas ha'Din without a trace of mercy (in return for
which they receive a full measure of reward in the World to Come).
(a) Moshe Rabeinu said "ben Me'ah ve'Esrim Shanah Anochi *ha'Yom"* -
implying that that day was his hundred and twentieth birthday.
(b) We learn from the Pasuk "es Mispar Yamecha Amalei" - that 'Hashem fills
the years and the months of Tzadikim from day to day'.
(c) Seeing as the Torah testifies that on the last day of his life he had
not aged, when Moshe said "Lo Uchal Od La'tzeis ve'La'vo" - he meant that he
was no longer able to 'come and go' in words of Torah, because the fountains
of wisdom were now closed to him.
(d) In support of the Torah's testimony - he climbed the twelve steps from
the Plains of Mo'av to Har Nevo in one step (see Agados Maharsha).
(a) We learn from the Pasuk "Va'yeilech Moshe vi'Yehoshua Va'yisyatzvu
be'Ohel Mo'ed" - that that was the Shabbos when Yehoshua attained equality
with Moshe (because it was the first time that he was allowed to enter the
Ohel Mo'ed [see Agados Maharsha]).
1. Har Nevo (the mountain on which Moshe died) is situated - in Reuven's
(c) The distance from one to the other is four Mil.
2. ... whereas Moshe is buried - in the territory of Gad.
(d) Hashem buried Moshe and the angels accompanied the cortege.
1. The angels declared "Tzidkas Hashem Asah, u'Mishpatav im Yisrael".
(b) According to others, Hashem declared "Mi ke'ha'Chacham, u'Mi Yodei'a
Pesher Davar" (Koheles) or "ha'Chochmah me'Ayin Timatzei" (Iyov) or
"va'Yamas Sham Moshe Eved Hashem" (ve'Zos ha'Berachah), and some add to that
'Safra Raba de'Yisrael'.
2. Hashem declared "Mi Yakum Li Im Merei'im, Mi Yisyatzev Li Im Po'alei
1. "Mi Yakum Li Im Merei'im" - means 'Who will (now) rebuke the sinners
(c) One opinion maintains that Moshe did not really die. He learns from the
'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Va'yamas Sham Moshe", "Va'yehi Sham Im Hashem" - that he
continues to serve Hashem (studying Torah as diligently as ever).
2. "u'Mi Yodei'a Pesher Davar" - means 'Who (like Moshe) knows how to
arbitrate between Hashem and Yisrael?
(a) What is remarkable about the Pasuk "Va'yikbor Oso ba'Gai, be'Eretz Mo'av
Mul Beis Pe'or" is - the fact that in spite of such detailed instructions,
the Torah continues "ve'Lo Yada Ish es Kevuraso ad ha'Yom ha'Zeh".
(b) The Romans (with the help of the local governors) went to great lengths
to try to discover the exact location of Moshe's grave. However, when they
stood on top of Har Nevo, it appeared to be at the bottom, when they stood
at the bottom it appeared to be at the top, and when they divided into two
groups, each one seemed to see it at the other extremity.