by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BO 5768 BS"D
Ch. 12, v. 29: "Va'y'hi bachatzi halailoh" - And it was at midnight - the Holy Zohar writes that even though it was midnight, when Hashem personally appeared in Egypt the night began to become light. This might explain how the great Rabbis who assembled in Bnei Brak were not aware of the daylight and had to be advised so by their students. They, through their great sanctity, brought the powerful influences of redemption on this night and all the miracles that took place in Egypt into their seder. Their night was somewhat illuminated and they therefore did not notice the day beginning. Rashi on 12:6 says that the bnei Yisroel had themselves circumcised that night (see Rashi on gemara Y'vomos 72a). If the night was somewhat illuminated that night might have a status of day. This also alleviates the question raised by the Chasam Sofer in his responsa O.Ch. #51. He asks why we recite Hallel on the first night of Pesach, as Hallel is to be recited by day only. (This is answered by some as the status of the Hallel not being one of a regular Hallel, but rather, "Birkas hashir," another status.)
This also gives understanding to the words of the "yotzeir" recited by some on the first night of Pesach, "Leil shimurim hu zeh asher hu lo yom v'lo lailoh."
Ch. 13, v. 5: "El eretz haCanaani" - To the land of the Canaanites - The verse lists five peoples and Rashi explains that the intention is all seven, as the name Canaani is inclusive of all. Tosfos Hasholeim asks, "If so, why in parshas Shmos, where it lists six of the seven nations, does Rashi comment that the Girgoshi nation is left out because in the future they will run away and not even put up a fight? Why doesn't Rashi say the same as here? Tosfos offers no answer. Perhaps a Talmudic insight applies to the verses as well. When a Talmudic statement lists a number of things and it seems that there should be another item in the list, the gemara sometimes says that "tana v'sha'yer," the author of this statement taught (gave a listing) and left something out (because he did not want to elaborate). However, this is only acceptable when more than one item was left out. If only one item was omitted then this explanation is not accepted, "mai sha'yer d'hai sha'yer." If only Girgoshi is left out we cannot say that we rely on its being included in Canaani. This is why Rashi offers another explanation.
Ch. 13, v. 7: "Matzos Yei'ocheil" - Matzos shall be eaten - In the previous verse it says "tochal matzos," you should eat. Why the change from a simple verb, "binyan kal," to a causative verb, "binyan nifal?" It seems that there is a responsibility to eat and see that it be eaten by others as well. An understanding of this double responsibility can be illustrated with the following story: In Bucharest just after the 2nd WW, there was a scarcity of kosher for Pesach flour. The Noam Eliezer, the Holy Admor of Skulen procured a bit and had it baked. He distributed just two matzos per person to Rebbishe and Rabbonishe people. The Seret-Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Reb Boruch sent his son, Reb Moshe'le, for matzos and was given two, one for each seder night. Rabbi Boruch said that his father insisted that he be given double the amount. The Skulener Rebbe said "This is not right. I need for others as well." Reb Moshe'le said that his father insisted and he continued to nudge a lot. The Skulener Rebbe acquiesced and gave double, i.e. four matzos in total.
On erev Pesach shortly before sundown, R' Boruch sent his son R' Moshe'le to the Skulener Rebbe with the extra double portion, i.e. two matzos, to return them to the Skulener Rebbe. Sure enough when he got there he saw that the Skulener Rebbe had no matzos for himself. He had distributed everything. This is why R' Boruch insisted on receiving double, a true fulfillment of "matzos YEI'O'CHEIL."
Ch. 13, v. 8,9: "Ossoh Hashem LI b'tzeisi miMitzroyim, V'hoyoh l'cho l'ose" - Hashem has done for ME upon my exiting Egypt, and it shall be a sign for you - We have a juxtaposition of the scathing response to the words of the "ben horosho" on the night of the seder, "LI v'lo lo," with the mitzvoh of tefillin. Perhaps this is an allusion to the famous statement of the Baal Halochos G'dolos in his preface to his listing of the mitzvos. He writes that it is more beloved to Hashem the proper fulfillment of the mitzvoh of tefillin by a rosho than this same mitzvoh being performed by a righteous person. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 13, v. 9: "Al yodcho" - Upon your arm - Rashi comments that the mitzvoh is to write these paragraphs and bind them upon your head and arm. Why does Rashi mention binding them upon your head before binding them upon your arm? Our verse clearly mentions the arm before the head, which is the practical halacha as well. Any help would be appreciated.
Ch. 13, v. 9: "Al yodcho" - Upon your arm - Rashi comments that the arm upon which the tefillin are bound is the weaker arm, the left arm, as is derived from the unusual spelling of "yodchoh" in the following parsha (13:16). It appears with the letter Hei at the end, allowing for an interpretation of "yad Keihoh," a weaker arm. Why does Rashi mention this here, where the word "yodcho" is spelled normally and the ruling cannot be derived from here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 13, v. 16: "Ultotofos" - And as an adornment - Rashi comments that this word conveys the meaning of four. These are the four compartments of the shel rosh tefillin. In Dvorim 6:8 Rashi again comments on "l'totofos" that it means four, but there Rashi says it means the four "parshios" of the tefillin. Why does Rashi change from four "batim" to four "parshios?" In a previous edition of Sedrah Selections the insight of Rabbi Dovid Cohen shlit"a, Rav of Cong. Gvul Yaavetz, was cited. He raised the question already raised by the Rashba in his commentary on the gemara Zvochim. When the mitzvoh of tefillin was given in parshas Bo, only two of the four parshios have been transmitted through Moshe. How at that time were tefillin worn? The Rashba answers that the bnei Yisroel were already taught the parshios of "Shma" and "V'hoyoh im shomo'a." He brings proof for this. Rabbi Cohen suggests that at that time the mitzvoh was to have a four-compartment shel rosh and only have the two parshios already transmitted to them in the housing. This explains why the description of the mitzvoh is in this most unusual manner, "totofos," meaning two and two. This is because the mitzvoh originally was only two paragraphs, and only later would it develop into a four-paragraph mitzvoh.
Based on his opinion Rashi's change of wording is also understood. "Totofos" here in parshas Bo can only mean four compartments as there were no four paragraphs yet. In parshas Vo'es'chanan Rashi mentions the number of parshios because the bnei Yisroel were apprised of "Shma" and "V'hoyoh im shomo'a." Although "V'hoyoh im shomo'a" comes one parsha later, this is not a problem. As the initial words of sefer Dvorim are "Eileh hadvorim asher di'ber ……," indicating that Moshe had transmitted the book of Dvorim to them already. (Nirreh li)
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