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

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Vol. 19   No. 16

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Naomi Nina (Freedman) Bas David Yosef z"l

Parshas Beshalach

Two Portions on Shabbos
(from the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos)

"And it was on the sixth day, they collected two loaves, two Omer each, and all the princes of the people came and reported it to Moshe" (16:22).

Throughout the week, Yisrael in the desert collected one Omer per day, from which they prepared two loaves, one for each of their two daily meals. In that case, the two Omrim that they collected on Friday would provide them with four loaves, one of which they ate for Friday lunch, leaving them with three loaves for Shabbos. They used two loaves on Friday night of which they ate one, and they did the same thing for the main meal on Shabbos. That left them with only one loaf for Shabbos afternoon (Shalosh Se'udos). This, says the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos, proves that for Shalosh Se'udos one does not require Lechem Mishneh.


He then cites the custom of R. Merinus, whom he saw making a Motzi over two Challos at Shalosh Se'udos, and he substantiates that with a Medrash. R. Yitzchak, (commenting on Pasuk 29 "See, that G-d has given you the Shabbos !") states that if the nations of the world ask you why you keep Shabbos, tell them to note the great miracle that we witnessed in the desert. Tell them, says the Medrash, that every day each member of Klal Yisrael received one loaf, but on Shabbos they received two. And what happened was that on Shabbos they received a double portion of bread, in that after eating their Friday lunch meal, each of the three remaining loaves turned into two. Consequently, they ate two loaves Friday night (one extra one for the Neshamah Yeseirah, which needed to be fed too), two on Shabbos morning and two for Shalosh Se'udos.


Yosef's Bones
(Adapted from Maseches Sotah 13a & Tosfos there)

"And Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for he (Yosef) had made the B'nei Yisrael swear, saying when G-d will remember you (pokod yifkod ), then you shall take my bones out with you" (13:19).

The Gemara in Sotah 13a asks how Moshe knew where Yosef (who died some hundred and thirty years earlier) was buried. In one of the answers, the Gemara relates how the people informed Moshe that Serach, the daughter of Asher, was still alive from those who came down to Egypt. So he went to ask her for the required information, and she showed him the exact spot where they had thrown Yosef's metal coffin into the Nile (precisely in order that B'nei Yisrael should never be able to retrieve it).

Tosfos there asks why Moshe needed to ask Serach bas Asher, when both Machir and Ya'ir, sons of Menasheh (grandsons of Yosef himself), who lived in the time of Ya'akov Avinu, and who entered Eretz Yisrael, were available and could well have given him the information he wanted.

And he answers that Serach was the one to whom the secret of the Ge'ulah was handed down; she was the one who knew exactly what the redeemer was destined to say when he came to redeem the people from slavery. Hence it was to her that the people turned when Moshe and Aharon appeared to take the people out of Egypt. And therefore she was the one to inform the people of Moshe and Aharon's authenticity once they used the words "pokod yifkod eschem" (as we explained earlier). Moreover, Tosfos explains, following the large contingent from Efrayim who left Egypt thirty years before the due date of redemption, the people no longer trusted Yosef's descendents. So they consulted Serach. That is why Moshe Rabeinu consulted her too. The Gemara then goes on to describe how Moshe stood on the bank of the River Nile at the spot that Serach had located. There he announced that the time had arrived to take Yisrael out of Egypt, and that he had come to fulfill the promise that Yisrael had made to him (Yosef) to take his coffin with them when they left, but that if he failed to reveal his whereabouts, they would be absolved from the promise. Immediately, Yosef's coffin floated to the surface and Moshe retrieved it.

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Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

The Hand

"And he (Moshe) said 'For the hand is on the throne of Hashem, the battle of G-d against Amalek '" (17:16).

Rashi explains that this refers to the Hand of Hashem, which is raised to swear by His Throne to do battle with Amalek and to be his enemy.

Citing other commentaries, however, the Riva explains that it refers to the hand of Amalek. And in so doing they resolve an apparent contradiction between the Pasuk here (Pasuk 14), where G-d promises that He will destroy Amalek, and the Pasuk at the end of Ki Seitzei, which instructs us to do so.

As long as Amalek attacks us, they explain, the Mitzvah falls upon us to strike back and wipe him out. But the moment he lays a hand on the Beis-Hamikdash (which the Torah describes here as "the Throne of G-d",) then G-d Himself will take over.


Quails & Meat

"And it was in the evening that quails came up and covered the camp" (16:13).

Seeing as they had a regular supply of quails (Manna in the morning and quails in the evening), asks the Riva, why (in Parshas Beha'aloscha 11:4) did they clamour for meat?

And he cites a Medrash Tanchuma which interprets their complaint not about meat, but rather a request to permit incest (which the Torah sometimes refers to as 'Basar').

In any event, the Medrash points out, it cannot have been meat that they wanted, since the Manna tasted like anything they wanted it to taste like, including meat!

Moreover, the Tabchuma points out, why on earth would they have wanted meat, seeing as they left Egypt with vast quantities of sheep and cattle, as the Torah records in Parshas Bo (12:38). And it rejects the suggestion that they finished it all in the course of their wanderings, since the Torah records in Matos (32:1) that Reuven and Gad possessed large flocks of sheep. The Tanchuma's explanation answers both questions.

Rashi in Parshas Beha'aloscha, asks the Medrash Tanchuma's second question. And he answers that Yisrael did not clamour for meat because they needed it, only because they were looking for something to grumble about.

In answer to the Tanchuma's first question, the Riva cites R. Yitzchak, who explains that the quails stopped falling after the first year, whereas it was in the second year that the people grumbled.

* * *


"And they believed in Hashem and in Moshe (u've'Moshe) His servant" (14:31).

We find virtually the same expression (but in the negative) in Parshas Beha'aloscho (21:5), (when the people complained about the Manna), where the Torah writes "And the people spoke against Hashem and against Moshe".

This teaches us, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that on the one hand, someone who has faith in his Rebbe, it is as if he had faith in Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu, whereas on the other, someone who quarrels with his Rebbe it is as if he quarreled with Him.


"Then Moshe sang (yoshir)" 15:1.

The word "yoshir" is the acronym of 'Yud Shir'. This hints at the ten songs that are found in T'nach - The Reed Sea, the Well, Ha'azinu, Yehoshu'a, Devorah, Chanah, David, Sh'lomoh, Chizkiyah and Mashi'ach.


" the choice (u'Mivchar) of their captains were drowned in the Sea" (15:4).

The word "u'Mivchar" also appears in Yirmiyah (48:15) "and the choice (u'Mivchar) of his young men went down to the slaughter". From there we learn, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that after floundering in the churning waters of the Reed Sea, they were cut to pieces on the rocks on the sea-bed.

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