Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg
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One of them was too small to be considered an independent nation and he therefore merged with one of his brothers, and the other three changed their names to 'Keidmi, K'nizi and Kadmoni' which according to the Ramban in Devarim (19:5), are equivalent to Amon, Mo'av and Edom, who were given temporary ownership over these lands (due to their various merits). In the days of Mashi'ach, they will be given to their rightful owner, Yisrael, in keeping with G-d's promise to Avraham. In the meantime, Yisrael in the days of Yehoshua only conquered the lands of the seven nations, as the Torah informs us on a number of occasions, but not those of the last three.
Interestingly, until the conquest of Cana'an in the days of Yehoshua bin Nun, G-d deliberately placed these seven lands under the jurisdiction of the Cana'anim. By doing so, based on the fact that they had just been declared slaves, and on the principle that whatever belongs to a slave belongs to his Master, He ensured that the land would remain in the possession of Yisrael, and that nobody else would be able to lay claim to it.
"That is why it was called Bavel, because that was where Hashem confused the language of the whole world and from there Hashem scattered them … " (11:9).
Whenever the Great Name of Hashem is hinted backwards in four consecutive words (as it is here in the first letters of "Ha'aretz U'mi'shom Hefitzom Hashem"), it is a sign of the Midas ha'Din. Indeed here, they had spoken against G-d when they proclaimed "Come let us build a city … ", and so G-d's Midas ha'Din punished them by destroying their verbal communication system ('Midah ke'neged Midah').
Yet the Torah hints to the Midas ha'Rachamim, by virtue of its use of the Name of Hashem (Havayah) which denotes Rachamim. This is because, in contrast to the Dor ha'Mabul, where theft and other man-related sins were rampant, and which was therefore completely destroyed, here there was love and unity, as the Pasuk specifically writes. And that explains as to why G-d, in His mercy, only scattered them across the face of the earth, but did not destroy them completely.
"And Terach died in Charan" (11:32).
The truth is, says Rashi, that Terach died more than sixty years after Avraham left Charan for Cana'an; and it is only so that Avraham should not be accused of abandoning his father that, based on the principle 'Resha'im are called dead even during their lifetimes', that the Torah refers to the idol-worshipping Terach as 'dead'.
Rabeinu Bachye cites a Medrash which, based on the Pasuk in Lech-L'cha (15:15) "And you (Avraham) will come to your fathers in peace", maintains that his father Terach, must have received a portion in Olam ha'Ba. To reconcile this with what we just learned, he explains that this is not because he did Teshuvah, but because of the merit of his righteous son, Avraham.
See Rashi there, and Ramban here.
'And they said: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower whose top reaches the Heaven, and let us make an image on its top and place a sword in its hand; And it will fight on our behalf, before we are scattered over the face of the earth' (11:4).
'And G-d revealed Himself to punish them for building the city … ' (11:5).
' … G-d said to the seventy angels that stand before Him "Come now, let us descend and confuse their languages … ' (11:7).
'And G-d revealed Himself on the city, and with Him seventy angels, corresponding to the seventy angels, each one with the language of its nation, and they scattered them over the face of the earth, forming them into seventy languages. When, failing to understand one another, they began killing each other, they stopped building the city' (11:8).
"These are the generations of No'ach, No'ach was a righteous man; No'ach went with G-d (6:9).
The word "No'ach" appears three times in this Pasuk, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, because No'ach saw three worlds; he saw the world before it was destroyed, he saw it in a state of destruction and he saw it after it had had been rebuilt.
Alternatively, he explains, No'ach was one of the three people, each of whom was responsible for the salvation of three people:
No'ach saved his three sons, Shem, Cham and Yafes (together with their families); Daniel saved Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah (when he interpreted the dream), and Iyov saved his three friends, Elifaz ha'Teimani, Bildad ha'Shuchi and Tzofer ha'Na'amasi;
And a third explanation, based on a play on the word "No'ach: (which means pleasant, or well-liked) is that he was 'No'ach' to Hashem and'No'ach to his contemporaries, 'No'ach' to the celestial-beings and 'No'ach' to those who live on earth, 'No'ach' in this world and 'No'ach' in the 'World to Come'.
" … a bottom floor, a second floor and a third floor you shall make it, and I (va'Ani) … " (6:16/17).
The Torah deliberately juxtaposes the word "va'Ani" next to the words "you shall make it", the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, a hint that if not for a goodly measure of Divine Assistance, there is no way that No'ach could possibly have succeeded in constructing an ark of such gigantic proportions on his own.
"And from all the living creatures from all flesh, two from each species you shall bring to the ark to live with you (lehachayos itoch)" (6:19).
The Gematriyah of "lehachayos itoch" is equivalent to that of 'Lo T'reifah ve'lo mechusar eiver' (not [an animal that has been] torn, and not [a bird that is] missing a limb).
"And he sent the raven, which flew backwards and forwards until the water dried up (ad yevoshes ha'mayim) from the earth" (8:7).
The Gematriyah of "Yevoshes" spelt with a 'Vav' (the way it is pronounced) is equivalent to that of "Nachal K'ris", a River associated with Eliyahu ha'Navi when he hid from King Achav) … a hint that the raven was designated to help the Navi at that stage and to bring him meat from the kitchens of Achav's royal palace.
Whereas the same word "Yevoshes" (without a "Vav', the way it is written) contains the word 'Tishbi', which, as is well-known, is one of the titles of Eliyahu (Eliyahu ha'Tishbi).
Please bear in mind that the rulings in his article Reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch And are not necessarily Halachah
Not to Eat Meat and Milk
It is forbidden to eat meat and milk that have been cooked together, as the Torah writes in Ki-Sissa (34:26) "Do no cook a kid-goat in its mother's milk". This Pasuk comes to forbid eating or deriving benefit from meat and milk. You may well ask as to why the Torah, rather than specifically stating the prohibition as 'eating', prefers to present it as 'cooking'? The answer is that, as opposed to other prohibitions that involve eating, the Torah is coming to forbid eating meat and milk even if one derives no benefit from it, e.g. if one swallows it without chewing it, or even if he eats it hot, in such a way that one burns one's throat in the process. With regard to any other eating prohibition, one would not be Chayav for eating in such a way; whereas someone who eats basar be'chalav in this manner is subject to Malkos. For as the Gemara writes in Pesachim (25a), the Torah declines to use the term 'Achilah' with regard to basar be'chalav, to teach us that one receives Malkos, even if one eats it in an unusual manner. One is not Chayav however, unless the meat and the milk have been cooked together, just as the Torah writes. And although the Gemara in Chulin (115b) states that the prohibition of cooking appears in the Torah three times, to teach us the triple Isur of eating, cooking and deriving benefit from meat and milk, we can only really count them as two La'avin. This is because eating and deriving benefit are considered as one and the same La'av, as the Gemara in Pesachim (21b) explains 'Wherever the Torah writes "Lo sochal" or "Lo sochlu", it incorporates an Isur Hana'ah. The Torah tends to include all forms of benefit in the Lashon of eating, because eating is the most common form of benefit that everybody needs, as the Torah writes in Ki Sissa (25:11 [in connection with Nadav and Avihu and the elders of Yisrael who 'saw the Shechinah' at Har Sinai]) "and they ate and they drank". Perhaps you will then ask why, if two La'avin would suffice, the Torah writes three? This question would be valid, the author answers, if the Torah had written in one place "Lo sevashel" and in another "Lo sochal", in which case, based on the principle that "Achilah" implies both eating and Hana'ah, we would already know both prohibitions, and the third Pasuk would indeed have been superfluous. But now that the Torah does not mention Achilah at all, we would not have known the Isur Hana'ah at all, if it had not inserted the third La'av. And if you ask further why the Torah does not then write "Lo sochal" in one of the cases, and subsequently make do with two La'avin? The answer, as we explained earlier, is to teach us that one is Chayav even if one eats without deriving benefit from the mixture. What emerges from this is that when Chazal say that one La'av is for eating, one for Hana'ah and one, for cooking, they do not mean that there are in fact, three La'avin, but that we need one of the three Pesukim to teach us the Isur Hana'ah.
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