by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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PLEASE DAVEN FOR CHAYEH BAS LEAH NECHA AND SHOLO-M BEN FRAIDA MILKA FOR A REFUOH SHLEIMOH BSSC"Y
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'SHALACH 5769 BS"D
Ch. 14, v. 5: "Va'yeiho'feich l'vav Paroh vaavodov el ho'om va'yomru mah zose ossinu ki shilachnu es Yisroel mei'ovdeinu" - And Paroh's heart changed and that of his servants and they said what is this that we have done that we have released Yisroel from serving us - The verse begins with "am" and ends with Yisroel. Also, why are they questioning their actions, since they were forced into compliance?
As recorded in parshas Bo, "the "eirev rav" also left with the bnei Yisroel. Paroh and his servants regret their not stopping the "eirev rav," the "am," a term usually used for the lower echelons of society, from leaving with the bnei Yisroel, "ki shilachnu es Yisroel mei'ovdeinu," we have only sent out the bnei Yisroel with permission. The next verse follows in this theme very nicely. "Va'y'cha'zeik Hashem es lev Paroh melech Mitzrayim va'yirdof acha'rei bnei Yisroel." Chasing after the "eirev rav" required no hardening of the heart, as they were simply running away without permission, and it is well understood why the Egyptians would take chase after them. However, the bnei Yisroel left with permission. It was only because of "chizuk lev Paroh" that they were also pursued. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 14, v. 7: "V'sholishim" - And ministers over army groups - This is Rashi's translation. Ibn Ezra says that the king is number one in authority of the country, the "mishneh l'melech" is second in command, and the one who is below him is called a "sholish."
Ch. 14, v. 8: "B'yad romoh" - With an upraised hand - What does this mean? Ibn Ezra explains that it means that they left overtly, not escaping by night. Another aspect is that they were not on the run. They moved along at a leisurely pace.
Marpei Loshon says that it means that they left with a spirit of defiance and rebellion.
Ch. 14, v. 10: "U'Pharoh hikriv" - And Paroh brought close - The medrash says that when Paroh sighted the bnei Yisroel encamped by the yam suf he took heart, saying that his god baal tzfone would not let them go far. He then offered sacrifices to his false deity in preparation of his onslaught, assuming that they would be driven into the sea. The medrash alternatively offers that Paroh, by coming upon the bnei Yisroel with a powerful army, brought the bnei Yisroel to true repentance, knowing that they had no one to rely upon except Hashem.
Ch. 14, v. 13: "Ki asher r'isem es Mitzrayim ha'yom lo sosifu lirosom ad olom" - Because as you see Egyptians today you will not continue to see them forever - The Holy Zohar cites Rabbi Yeisi, who asks that the bnei Yisroel did see them dead upon the yam suf banks. He answers that the intention of the verse is, "Ki asher r'isem es Mitzrayim ha'yom CHAIM lo sosifu lirosom ad olom." Rabbi Abba is not pleased with this answer, as the word "chaim" does not appear in the verse, so he said that we are left with the question.
Ch. 15, v. 9: "Omar oyeiv" - The enemy said - This is Paroh. How did the bnei Yisroel know what Paroh said back in Egypt? They received divine prophecy about this matter. (Mechilta)
The Holy Zohar 58b writes that the enemy is the highest ministering angel of the Egyptians. When he was given control over the bnei Yisroel he wanted to ch"v totally annihilate them. This attitude is not limited to the ministering angel of Egypt. Anytime any nation has mastery over the bnei Yisroel, its administering angel wants to ch"v annihilate them and indeed issues edicts to that effect. In the merit of our Holy Patriarchs Hashem confounds and renders their edict impotent. When Moshe saw that Hashem thwarted the Egyptian angel's plans he sang out, "Mi chomocho bo'eilim."
Ch. 15, v. 10: "Ka'o'fe'res" - Like the lead - The common word for lead is "eiver." "O'fe'res" is sourced from "ofor," earth. This is because all metals, when left in earth for a while will be eaten away a bit, but lead actually expands when left in the earth. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 15, v. 19: "Ki voh sus Paroh" - Because/when Paroh's horse came - Musaf Rashi offers these two translations, although Rashi himself says "kaasher." This means that when Hashem had the water return to its natural function and it drowned Paroh's army, at that time Miriam took a drum and sang praises to Hashem.
As mentioned in numerous earlier editions, there is a disagreement between the Ibn Ezra, who posits that our verse is also part of the "shiroh," and the Ramban and Rashbam, who say that it is not. The Ramban in his second explanation says that this verse only describes when the "shiroh" was said, while the Rashbam and the Ramban in his first explanation say that it describes when Miriam took the drum, as mentioned earlier from Musof Rashi. According to either explanation of the Ramban it is not part of the "shiroh."
The Machatzis Hashekel says that this disagreement is based upon the actual formatting of this verse. If we say that it is part of the "shiroh" it has the "brick on brick" layout of the previous verses, and if not, it does not, and is one continual verse with no gaps in the middle.
Commentators on Sh.O. O.Ch. say that we conclude that it is not part of the "shiroh" as is shown in our daily "pesukei d'zimroh," where we repeat the previous verse, ""Hashem yimloch l'olom vo'ed," and also say the Targum, "shnayim mikra v'echod Targum." A question is raised, for which I still have no answer: Why in davening do we follow the opinion that it is not part of the "shiroh" and in out Torah Scrolls this verse is formatted as part of the "shiroh?" Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 15, v. 22: "Va'yasa Moshe es Yisroel mi'yam suf" - And Moshe caused Yisroel to travel from yam suf - Rashi explains that the reason the bnei Yisroel did not travel on willingly was that the Egyptians bedecked their horses and chariots with jewels of silver, gold, and precious stones, sort of creating a joyous ambience for their expected victory. When they were tossed around and drowned in the yam suf the jewels washed up on the shore and the bnei Yisroel were busy collecting the spoils. This is why Moshe had to push them to move onwards.
Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on 14:9 writes that when the Egyptians caught up to the bnei Yisroel, the bnei Yisroel were busying themselves with collecting jewels from the shore. They were brought there through the River Pishon drawing them out of Gan Eden and passing them on to the River Gichon, which in turn brought them to the yam suf, which them washed the jewels up onto its shore. Pirush Yonoson says that the version of Targum Yonoson ben Uziel alleviates the issue of how is it possible that the Egyptians bedecked their horses and chariots with jewels, as the bnei Yisroel had already emptied the country of all its goods, as per the verse, "Va'y'natzlu es Mitzrayim" (12:36). Obviously, there is an opinion that only the possessions of the people were taken, as medrash Shir Hashirim 1:11 says that Paroh emptied out the storage houses of wealth that was amassed in the days of the famine under Yoseif, so these were government property. In any case the spoils taken at yam suf surpassed those taken from Egypt proper, as per the medrash on Shir Hashirim 1:11, on the words "Torei zohov naa'seh loch im n'kudos hako'sef."
Ch. 16, v. 14: "Dak m'chuspos dak kakfor al ho'oretz" - Thin uncovered thin as ice on the ground - Sforno writes that the two aspects of thin are that the manna appeared as thin kernels and also that it landed in a thin manner, meaning that it was not piled up, but rather, landed as a thin sheet of ice, a layer of only single kernels.
Ch. 17, v. 13: "Va'yachalosh Yehoshua es Amoleik v'es amo l'fi cho'rev" - And Yehoshua weakened Amoleik and his nation through a sword - A number of insights into the use of the word "va'yachalosh":
1) Rashi explains that Yehoshua killed the strong ones among Amoleik and left over the weak ones. "Va'yachalosh" is causative. This deserves an explanation. The nation of Amoleik is to be eradicated, so why did Yehoshua leave over the weak? If he was able to overpower the strong, he could surely defeat the weak. We must say that there was a Divine edict that in this encounter the weak were to be left alone. (B'eir Yitzchok)
2) Daas Z'keinim explains that he did not kill them, but rather cut off their arms and legs. The reason Yehoshua did not simply kill them is because among the Amoleikim there were those who were able to know through astrological insight who was not destined to die that year. Those were sent to do battle. Although they were destined to not die, they were injured. The intention of "l'fi cho'rev" is that a sword was used against them, and "va'yachalosh" is to be taken literally.
3) In a similar vein, Rabbeinu Bachyei writes that unless there are extremely compelling circumstances, Hashem does not totally negate a "maarochoh," an established entity. Rather than totally wiping out the negativity of Amoleik, Hashem only allowed for a weakening of the nation. Similarly, we find that when Hashem promised Avrohom that he would have biological descendants who would grow into a nation, Avrohom, who was at the time still Avrom, said that he knew through astrology that Avrom will not have children. Hashem responded that he should "step out" of his astrological assumptions. Although Avrom would not have children, upon having a name change, AvroHom would have children. Why didn't Hashem simply change things and allow Avrom, with no name change, have children? It is because Avrom was indeed destined to not have children. Rather than totally negate this, Hashem side-stepped it through a name change. Here too, the main accomplishment was for the bnei Yisroel to be saved from the onslaught of Amoleik, and it was sufficient to only "va'yachalosh" and not "va'yaharog."
4) Alternatively, he offers that "va'yachlosh" means that Yehoshua weakened the ministering angel of Amoleik in the heavens through his prayer, or perhaps this was done through the power of Moshe lifting his hands in prayer. This weakened Amoleik's angel, as is indicated by the word ES, "es Amoleik." At this point the angel was on Yehoshua's side and actually helped overpower Amoleik.
5) Abarbanel offers that Yehoshua's army first weakened Amoleik by bashing them, and then they went on to kill them by the sword.
6) Targum Onkelos and the Rada"k translate "va'yachalosh" as "and he broke" the Amoleikim. This could also mean that they killed them.
7) Rashbam and Rabbi Avrohom ben hoRambam say that it means that they were victorious over them.
8) Medrash Tanchuma on parshas Yisro says that "va'yachalosh" means that Yehoshua drew lotteries to see which of the "Amoleikim" should be killed. This seems to fit with the previous concept, that Amoleik chose people who were destined to not die that year. Perhaps many others volunteered to join the Amoleik army, and it was those whom Yehoshua was able to identify through a lottery.
Ch. 17, v. 16: "Milchomoh laShem" - A war for Hashem - On a simple level, this is a war for the greatness of Hashem to become known to all, for as long as there is even a remnant of Amoleik, Hashem's Holy Name and His Holy Throne, are incomplete.
Rabbeinu Bachyei writes that "for Hashem" means that although in most wars the spoils are the property of the victorious nation, when it comes to Amoleik, the spoils are not to be used by the bnei Yisroel. This was the mistake of Sho'ul, and he was punished in kind. Just as Hashem's name and throne are incomplete, Sho'ul lost the throne, and even his name, meaning his descendants, were greatly muted upon the death of his son Yehonoson.
Mordechai steered clear of repeating this grievous mistake, as stated in Megilas Esther, "uvabizoh lo sholchu es yodom," even though Achashveirosh allowed then to take the spoils.
Ch. 17, v, 16: "Keis Koh" - Throne of Hashem - The letters missing to complete Hashem's Holy Name and His Holy Throne are Alef-Vov-Hei. This is alluded to in the verse, "IVoH l'moshav lo." Similarly, in our prayers when we say, "V'HU yashmi'einu b'rachamov sheinis," we have these three letters, in both phrases referring to the end of days, when Amoleik will be eradicated, bb"a. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
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