Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 12   No. 31

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Avraham Yitzchak
ben Yerachmiel Leib z.l.

The Seventh Day of Pesach

K'riy'as Yam-Suf
(Adapted from the K'li Yakar)

Ba'al Tz'fon

Ba'al Tz'fon, says Rashi, was the only idol still standing - the rest had all been destroyed during the plague of Makas Bechoros. Why specifically Ba'al Tz'fon?

The K'li Yakar explains that G-d chose Ba'al Tz'fon, because it represented wealth. Chazal have said, 'Someone who wants riches should turn towards the north (tzafon)'. Indeed, the Pasuk in Iyov (37:22) states "From the north gold will come". The Egyptians claimed that Yisrael had taken their money and made off with it. As far as the Makos were concerned, he explains, Paroh conceded that they got what they deserved. But that Yisrael should take their money into the bargain! For that, he thought, there was no justification. He wanted the money back, and was looking for an excuse to chase after Yisrael to obtain it. So G-d, who wanted Paroh at the Yam-Suf (for His own reasons, to be sure), obliged, by leaving Ba'al-Tz'fon, the god of wealth, intact, conveying to them the impression that, through him, they would be able to get their money back.


Whom Was Paroh Chasing?

What does the Pasuk mean when it writes that "Paroh was told that the people had fled (ki borach ho'om)"? That was simply not true. Surely, it was Par'oh who had sent them out, and it was only later that Yisrael were ordered to flee. So the Torah ought to have written "ki borei'ach ho'om ('that they are fleeing)"?

And besides, what did he hope to achieve with six hundred chariots against six hundred thousand of B'nei Yisrael? True, the Pasuk adds "and all the chariots of Mitzrayim" (14:7). But this cannot be taken literally, as how many chariots can he have gathered at such short notice? What the Torah must therefore be referring to is not Mitzrayim the country, but Mitzrayim the town. And even then, it was only those 'who feared G-d' who could have supplied the animals (see Rashi). And how many G-d-fearing men could there have been there?

It must therefore be, the K'li Yakar concludes, that "the people" referred to in the Pasuk are the Eirev Rav, the mixed multitude of Egyptians who joined Yisrael in their hour of glory, and who accompanied them out of Egypt. They are the ones who had fled. They were the ones to whom the 'spies' were referring, and they were the ones whom Paroh was now determined to retrieve.

He now figured that, when the Eirev Rav saw that the G-d of Yisrael had forsaken His people and that they were hopelessly lost in the desert, and what's more, trapped by Ba'al Tz'fon, they would certainly relent, and would be only too eager to return to Egypt. And it was to help them achieve this end that he rode out with six hundred chariots.

Yes of course he was also sorry at having sent Yisrael out (which is why, after mentioning "the people" twice, it adds "What did we do, that we sent Yisrael from serving us?")

It seems that once he had encouraged the Eirev Rav (who numbered one million, two hundred thousand, twice as many as Yisrael) to go back to Egypt, he would turn them into a fifth column, and, together with his army, force Yisrael to come back with them.


A Hand for a Staff

When G-d instructed Moshe to 'raise his staff' (14:16), what He meant was that he should remove it. Bearing in mind that the plagues in Egypt were dealt with the Finger of Hashem (as we read in the Hagadah), it was appropriate for Moshe to raise his staff, which resembles a finger. But the Yam-Suf was different. The plagues at the Yam-Suf were dealt with Hashem's Divine Hand (as the Ba'al Hagadah concludes), and so, G-d instructed Moshe to remove his staff, and to stretch out his hand instead.

That is why the Pasuk writes "And Yisrael saw the Great Hand ... ".

At the same time, Yisrael realized that it was not the staff that was responsible for the wonders and the miracles that they had experienced, but G-d's Hand.

That explains why, later, at Mei Merivah, when Moshe struck the rock with his staff (instead of speaking to it), he undid the tremendous Kidush Hashem that he performed here, and rekindled the old belief that the staff was responsible for the miracles. That is why the Torah writes "And Moshe raised his hand and he struck the rock with his staff". He should have stretched out his hand, like he did here, but instead, he removed his hand, and used the staff.

Little wonder that he evoked such a harsh response on the part of G-d.


Learn from the Horse
(Adapted from the Seifer Eishes Chayil)

"And Miriam called out to them"Sing to Hashem ... the horse and its rider He cast into the sea" (15:21).

Why did Miriam pick this Pasuk more than any other, to sing with the women?

(It may well be that she sang the entire Shirah with them, and the Torah records only the first Pasuk. Yet the Torah could have written that Miriam sang the Shirah with the women, just as Moshe sang with the men, without citing any specific Pasuk at all. So the question remains, why the Torah finds it necessary to mention this particular Pasuk?).

It therefore seems that Miriam instructed the women to sing Shirah to Hashem. The main purpose of the Exodus from Egypt, together with all the miracles, was of course, in order to learn Torah, a Mitzvah that does not pertain to women. So what was there to get excited about (for them to sing Shirah)?

The answer is that a woman shares in her husband's reward by assisting him in His learning activities, by encouraging him and enabling him to go and learn.

But from where do we know that one receives such a great reward for merely assisting someone to perform a Mitzvah? The answer lies in the words "the horse and its rider he cast ... ". Now surely it was the rider who was guilty, and who deserved to be punished, not the horse?

The answer is because the horse assisted the rider, it is punished too.

And if one shares in the punishment of the one whom one assisted to do a bad thing, one certainly shares in the reward of the one whom one assisted in performing a Mitzvah.

In that case, said Miriam "Sing to Hashem ... ". Learn from the horse!


Why No Hallel!

The Gemara in Megilah (10b), commenting on the Pasuk "and one did not approach the other all night", comments that when the angels witnessed the Egyptians drowning, they wanted to sing Shirah, but Hashem stopped them. 'My creations are drowning in the sea, and you are going to sing Shirah'!

The Medrash uses this explanation as the reason for not saying Hallel on the last day(s) of Pesach. If Hashem considers it inappropriate for the angels to recite Hallel under such circumstances, then it is inappropriate for us too.

But how can that be, asks the Torah Temimah, when we ourselves sing the Shirah on the very same day?

One could of course, differentiate between the angels, who wished to sing in honour of Hashem, which is inappropriate, and K'lal Yisrael, who sang in honour of their salvation, which is most befitting and correct.

The Torah Temimah however, suggests that it was only whilst the actual drowning was taking place that the angels were ordered to remain silent, but that it was perfectly correct for them to sing Shirah the following day, in honour of the great miracle. Indeed, he says, the Gemara in Sanhedrin (39b) makes the same statement as the Medrash, only it begins with the words "At that moment" (intimating that the next day there would be no problem in singing Shirah). And what's more, the Mechilta specifically states that on the seventh day of Pesach, the angels too sang Shirah. Either way, the Medrash's reason for not reciting Hallel is difficult to understand.

In any event, he concludes, the Gemara in Erchin ascribes not saying Hallel on Chol ha'Mo'ed and on the seventh day, to the fact that (unlike Succos) the Korbanos remained the same throughout Pesach. Because Hallel it seems, requires some sort of Chidush (novelty).

Not only is the Gemara's reason more acceptable than that of the Medrash, says the Torah Temimah in conclusion, but it is also not clear as to why, according to the Medrash, we recite half-Hallel. If, as it suggests there, reciting Hallel is inappropriate, then we ought not to say half-Hallel either.

* * *

Medrash Shir Hashirim
(adapted from the Torah Temimah)

"Draw me after You, we will run; the King brought me to His chambers; we will be happy and rejoice in You; we will mention your love more than wine; those who are righteous loved You" (Shir Hashirim 1:4).

Draw Me After You ...

K'neses Yisrael said to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. 'Ribono shel Olam, we will run after You ...

1. ... because You removed Your Shechinah from among us'. When, following the episode with the Golden Calf, Moshe told Yisrael that Hashem would no longer go with them, what did they do - they mourned!

2. ... because You dealt with our neighbours with the Midas ha'Din, but with us, with Midas Rachamim'. This is the opinion of R. Yudan. R. Azaryah quotes Yisrael as saying ...

3. ... because You gave us the booty of Egypt, the booty of the Yam-Suf and the spoil of Sichon and Og and of the thirty-one kings'.

4. ... because you incited our evil neighbours against us'. This can be compared to a king who became angry with a matron, and who gave vent to his anger by turning her neighbours against her. What did she do? She began crying out 'My master, the King, save me!' So too Yisrael, as the Pasuk writes in Shoftim (10) "And the Tzidonim and Amalek and Ma'on oppressed you; And you cried out to Me and I saved you".

5. ... because You struck us with poverty'. (This explanation amends "Moshcheini", to read "Memaskinani" [meaning 'You impoverished me']).For so Chazal have said 'Poverty is good for the daughter of Ya'akov like a red ribbon around the neck of a white horse'. And this Pasuk merely expresses our appreciation of this fact.

6. ...because of the big security that You took from us' (This explanation amends "Moshcheini to 'Mashchineini"). For so Rebbi Yochanan said, to explain the Pasuk in Nechemyah (1) "We gave You a security", which is written as a double expression ("Chovol chovalnu lach") - This refers to the Churban Bayis Rishon and the Churban Bayis Sheini, which were taken away because of our sins.

"Draw me after You ..." through learning Torah; for some people it is Chumash, for some, it is Mishnah, for others, it is Talmud (Gemara), for others, it is Tosefta, and for yet others, it is Agadta. This refers to the revealed Torah ...


The King Brought Us
to His (private) Chambers

About whom is this written, asks the Medrash? About Rebbi Akiva, who entered the 'orchard' (Pardeis - P'shat, Remez, D'rush, Sod) in peace and left in peace ... this refers to the hidden Torah.

From where did Elihu ben Berechel know the inner secrets of the winds and the rains (i.e. the secrets of nature); and from where did Yechezkel the Navi know the inner secrets of the Merkavah (G-d's Holy Throne), which they both revealed to Yisrael?

That is why the Pasuk writes "The King brought us to His secret chambers".


We Will Rejoice and Be Happy

"Nogiloh" and "nismechoh" are but two of the ten expressions of Simchah that pertain to Yisrael ... 'Gilah, Sisah, Simchah, Rinah, Pitzchah, Tzahalah, Altzah, Alizah, Chedvah and Teru'ah (some take out 'Teru'ah', and replace it with 'Ditzah').


... and Rejoice with You

Yisrael say to Hakadosh Baruch Hu 'Ribono shel Olam, there is nothing in the world that we want more than You!'

Rebbi Avin began his D'rashah with the following ... The Pasuk writes in Tehilim "This is the day that G-d made, let us rejoicebo". Now does "bo" refer to the day or to Hashem?

We know the answer from Shlomoh Hamelech, who writes in Shir Hashirim "Let us rejoice and be happy with You (bach)", with Your salvation, with Your Torah, with the fear of You.

Rebbi Yitzchak interprets 'bach' (which is written 'Beis Chaf') with reference to the twenty-two letters of the alphabet, which forms the basis of the Torah (our greatest joy).


We Will Mention Your Love
More than Wine

What does 'wine' refer to, asks the Medrash? It refers to the wine of Torah, such as the Halachos of Pesach on Pesach, the Halachos of Shavu'os on Shavu'os and the Halachos of Succos on Succos. It is from them that we learn the wonders of Hashem and from there, come to appreciate His love for us (see Torah Temimah, note 68).

Alternatively, it refers to the wine of the Avos (who are to the rest of K'lal Yisrael like wine is to other beverages), because whose deeds can be compared to those of Avraham of Yitzchak and Ya'akov?


Those who are Righteous
Loved You

'Ribono shel Olam. Teach me a Halachah', Moshe asked Hakadosh Baruch Hu. "Follow the majority", was Hashem's reply ('I am no longer the final authority. It now lies in the hands of the Chachamim'). Why is that? So that the Torah should be expounded through forty-nine ways of Tum'ah and forty-nine ways of Taharah (through diversity), as it says "The righteous ones loved You".


How righteous and how mighty are those who love You!


R.Chanin asks how the Torah can write in Vayeira (with reference to the Akeidah) "Because you did this thing ...", when what Avraham (who is referred to as 'Avraham, My beloved one') just did was the tenth of a series of trials (not just one thing)? What G-d was stressing here, answers the Medrash, was the importance of this last trial. If he had not undertaken to do this one thing, then he would have lost all the nine that preceded it. That is why the Pasuk writes here "The righteous ones loved You". Their love did not waver for one moment.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 299:
The Korban Musaf for the Seven Days of Pesach

It is a Mitzvah to bring the Korban Musaf throughout the seven days of Pesach, as the Torah writes in Emor (3:8) "And you shall bring a fire-offering to Hashem for seven days". The Korban is equivalent to the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh - two bulls, one ram and seven lambs, all burnt-offerings, and one goat for a sin-offering, as the Torah explicitly writes in Pinchas. Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah ... what the Chachamim have said in the fourth Perek of Menachos, that the Temidin do not deter the Musafin, and vice-versa (if one did not bring the one, one may nevertheless bring the other). And similarly, they said there that the bulls, the rams and the lambs do not deter each other either. Nor do the lambs deter the Two Breads on Shavu'os, according to Rebbi Akiva, and vice-versa; though ben Nannes holds that the lambs do deter the loaves (but not vice-versa, since throughout the forty years in the Desert they brought the lambs without the loaves). And Rebbi Shimon concurs with ben Nannes, though not with his reason. Because whatever is mentioned in Seifer Bamidbar was brought in the desert, but not what is mentioned in Seifer Vayikra (and that includes the lambs of Shavu'os). When they arrived in Eretz Yisrael, they brought both. So why, according to Rebbi Shimon, may one bring the lambs without the loaves? Because the lambs are 'Matirin' (they permit themselves, as well as the loaves, to be eaten). Whereas the loaves without the lambs have no 'Matirin' ... Similarly, they said there that one combines the drink-offerings of the bulls and the rams, but not the drink-offerings of the lambs with those of the bulls and of the rams ... And furthermore they said there that there were seven liquid measures in the Beis-Hamikdash, a Hin, half a Hin ... . Whereas according to Eliezer b'Rebbi Tzadok there was only one Hin measure, and it was marked 'Up to here for a bull, up to here for a ram, up to here for a lamb ... ' ... together with the rest of the details, are explained there (in Menachos) and in other places in Kodshim (and in the Rambam Hilchos Temidin, Perek 4).


A reason for the Mitzvah is ... because a person is influenced by his deeds (as the author wrote above in connection with Korbanos). Being as he is only human, his thoughts are drawn after his actions, which explains why G-d commanded us to do something special in honour of the day, so that our minds should be made to focus on the greatness of the day and on its holiness, and to reflect on the miracles and favours that He did on our behalf on that day.

This mitzvah applies to male Kohanim during the time that the Beis-Hamikdash is standing. Should they contravene it and fail to bring the Korban Musaf in its time, they will have negated this Mitzvah and will have to bear their sin. Initially, the rest of Yisrael are absolved, because the Mitzvah of Korbanos belongs predominantly to the Kohanim. If however, there are Yisre'elim who realize the omission, then they share in the sin, because ultimately, whatever concerns the Beis-Hamikdash, and in particular, the Temidin and Musafin, is incumbent on all of Yisrael.

* * *

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