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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch.1, v. 7: "U'vnei Yisroel poru va'yish'r'tzu va'yaatzmu Bim'ode m'ode" - The letter Beis in the word "Bim'ode" seems superfluous. The Holy Admor Rabbi Moshe Leib Erblich of Sassov answers that once the bnei Yisroel multiplied exponentially, as indicated in the earlier part of the verse, they lost their feelings of being aliens in Egypt and their self stature grew. To combat this, "va'yaatzmu B'm'ode m'ode," they strengthened themselves greatly IN "m'ode m'ode he'vei shfal ruach" (Pirkei Ovos 4:4).

The Chasam Sofer in his Droshos volume 1, page 107 explains the seemingly superfluous letter Beis as follows: The gemara Brochos 54a explains the word "m'o'decho" in the verse "V'ohavto eis Hashem Elokecho ....... u'v'chol m'o'decho" (Dvorim 6:5), to mean that one should love Hashem to the point that he is willing to give up all his monetary possessions in Hashem's service. Applying this translation here, the Chasam Sofer says that our verse tells us that the bnei Yisroel strengthened greatly IN acquiring a vast amount of financial wealth. They then had free time to enter the Egyptian theaters and circuses, as mentioned in the Yalkut Shimoni remez #2. He adds that once this happened, the verse concludes "vatimo'lei ho'oretz osom," the coarse physicality, the "artzius," of Egypt entered into the bnei Yisroel (read "vat'ma'lei").

Ch. 1, v. 7: "Vatimo'lei ho'oretz osom" - The gemara Sotoh 11b and the M.R. 1:12 say that after Paroh decreed that all newborn Jewish males be killed, a miracle took place where angels took the newborn boys and placed them below ground and they received their sustenance by sucking oil and honey from two stones in the shape of loaves, as is written "Va'yeini'keihu dvash mi'sela v'shemen meichalmish tzur" (Dvorim 32:13). The Baalei Tosfos and the Kli Yokor say that this is the meaning of the words of our verse "vatimo'lei ho'oretz osom," to be taken literally as, "and the (inside of) the earth became filled with them."

Ch. 1, v. 10: "Hovoh nis'chakmo LO" - Rashi says that TO HIM refers to the nation, hence the singular form LO, and not LO'HEM. The Taz in his commentary Divrei Dovid al haTorah says that this was Paroh's main concern. The population explosion did not bother him per se. It would actually be advantageous to have great growth in the population as long as the alien bnei Yisroel would mingle and intermarry with the Egyptians, thus increasing their number and strength greatly. Paroh's only concern was that the bnei Yisroel multiplied greatly and still kept to themselves as a unique nation, thus his only concern was, "let us deal wisely with him," with the NATION.

Ch. 1, v. 10: "Hovoh nis'chakmoh lo pen yirbeh" - Paroh planned a diabolical scheme to reverse the exponential population explosion of the bnei Yisroel. However, this backfired, as verse 12 states, "V'chaasher y'anu oso kein yirbeh v'chein yifrotz." Intrinsically in the decree of "Hovoh nis'chakmoh lo pen yirbeh" lies the blessing of multiplying and being fruitful, as these words and "Va'yomeir lo'hem Elokim pru urvu" (Breishis 1:28) both have the same numerical value of 918. (Rabbi Y. Orbach in L'oroh shel Torah)

Ch. 1, v. 10: "PEN yirbeh" -In verse 12 we find "KEIN yirbeh." The gemara Sotoh 11a and the M.R. 1:14 say that the verse should have said "kein rovoh," the nation HAS increased, rather than it WILL increase. The gemara and the M.R. answer in the name of Reish Lokish that Ruach Hakodesh announced that as the Egyptians will increase their infliction of pain, in proportion the bnei Yisroel WILL increase. We thus find Paroh concerned with "PEN yirbeh," lest he will increase," and the verse's response of "KEIN yirbeh," accordingly it will increase. The amount of increase from the time the bnei Yisroel descended to Egypt until they left was roughly 600,000 people. The difference mathematically between PEN and KEIN is sixty. Possibly this alludes to the increase of sixty myriads of bnei Yisroel.

Although we are accustomed to recognizing the forms of 22 regular and 5 final letters in our Alef Beis, there are variations in the forms of some of these letters. They are mentioned in a number of Rishonim, in particular the Machazor Vitri, who even includes diagrams. Those who read the Baal Haturim on the Torah regularly, have surely come across a number of these letters mentioned. One letter that sometimes takes on a change is called a "Pei k'fuloh" or "l'fufoh." This basically is a letter Pei as we know it, just with the addition of an additional curl (l'fufoh) that forms a second (k'fuloh) small letter Pei within the larger outer Pei. In tefillin this takes place in two words. They are in the Pei of Paroh, "Va'y'hi ki hikshoh *Ph*aroh l'shalcheinu" (Shmos 15:13), and in the Pei of "*P*en yifteh l'vavchem" (Dvorim 11:16). The Medrash says that the double Pei in Shmos 15:13 indicates that Moshe was 80 years old when he first came to Paroh to plead the case for letting the bnei Yisroel leave Egypt. Pei equals 80. The reason for the double Pei in the word "*Pe*n" is to safeguard the integrity of this letter Pei, as the bit of ink that forms the inner dot of the Pei can easily deteriorate, leaving us with the letter Kof, and with the terrible statement "*K*ein yifteh l'vavchem" ch"v. With a double Pei we avoid this possibility, as a second Pei would still be left. (Although I have seen these double Peis in a few pairs of tefillin, this is not the prevalent custom today.)

We see from this that a Pei can easily become a Kof, and this is the message of the gemara Sotoh and the Medrash. Paroh's PEN became a KEIN.

Ch. 2, v. 21: "Va'yi'tein es Tziporoh vito l'Moshe" - Tziporoh was appropriate to be Moshe's wife as indicated by the numerical value of Tziporoh to equal that of "l'Moshe," 375. (Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 2, v. 21: "Tziporoh" - The Yalkut Dovid says in the name of the Holy Zohar on our parsha (We do not find this in our editions of the Zohar and may assume that it was a hand written text that the Yalkut Dovid had.) that Tziporoh was not the biological daughter of Yisro but rather a maternal sister of Bisyoh the daughter of Paroh. Both were orphans and Tziporoh was taken into the home of Yisro while Bisyoh was taken into the home of Paroh. Armed with this information we may be able to answer a difficulty in the gemara Sanhedrin 19b. The gemara states that he who raises an orphan in his home is considered as having given birth to that child. Rabbi Yochono brings a proof for this from a verse in Divrei Ha'yomim 1:4:18. The verse says "V'ei'leh bnei Bisyoh vas Paroh" after stating earlier in this verse that they were Yered, Avi G'dor, Chever, Avi Socho, Y'kusiel, and Avi Zonoach, all well known names of Moshe as listed in the M.R. Vayikroh 1:3, and in the prayer "Hiskabtzu malochim" said on Shmini Atzerres (Simchas Torah) before the Musof prayer. What seems difficult is that Moshe was not an orphan, as both his father Amrom and his mother Yocheved were alive while he was brought up by Bisyoh.

According to the words of the Holy Zohar mentioned earlier we can say that the proof is not from the verse stating that Yered, Avi G'dor, Chever, Avi Socho, Y'kusiel, Avi Zonoach (all A.K.A. Moshe) was the son of Bisyoh, but rather from the verse stating that Bisyoh was the daughter of Paroh, as she was really an orphan who was raised by Paroh.

Ch. 3, v. 1: "U'Moshe HOYOH ro'eh es tzone" - The Ari z"l says that these words should be translated as "And Moshe ONCE WAS a shepherd," alluding to the words of the Holy Zohar that Moshe was a reincarnation of Hevel who was a shepherd as stated in Breishis 4:2, "Va'y'hi Hevel ro'ei tzone." As well, the Holy Zohar says that Moshe was also the reincarnation of Sheis (Breishis 5:3). More on this in 4:13.

Ch. 3, v. 22: "Klei chesef u'chlei zohov u'smolos" - In Shmos 12:38 we find that the bnei Yisroel indeed asked the Egyptians for "klei chesef u'chlei zohov u'smolos." Rashi (Mechilta) there points out that the order of these items are listed from less worthy to more worthy. The Ponim Yofos says that this is derived since the bnei Yisroel took these items as payment for the debt of being wrongly enslaved by the Egyptians. The rule is that one may not collect such a debt from the garments of the debtor's wife, as per Ch.M. 97:26. However, in the next paragraph it states that garments used on Shabbos and Yom Tov may be collected. The reason is that they are very fancy and we don't consider them as basic necessities.

Thus we may derive that the garments mentioned here are exceedingly worthy, or else they would not be collected to pay the Egyptians' debt. On a simple level it seems that this is derived from the fact that silver is mentioned first and then gold. This indicates that the order is from less to more worthy. It therefore follows that the garments mentioned last are the worthiest of the group.

Ch. 3, v. 22: "V'samtem al bneichem" - Why weren't they allowed to make use of the garments for themselves, and told to only dress their children? I heard that this was because the styles and cuts of the clothing the Egyptians wore were immodest, being cut too short. Thus the clothing was only appropriate for children who were smaller than the adults.

Ch. 4, v. 11: "I'leim o cheireish o FI'KEI'ACH o i'veir" - Why is the seeing person included in this list of handicapped people? The Holy Baal Shem Tov answers that this teaches us that a person with no physical blemish of any of his senses should realize that he is also blemished, as he has numerous character flaws.

On a simple level this could be explained with the words of the M.R. 1:31 and the Medrash Tanchumo #10 that say that these words refer to what took place when Moshe was judged to receive the death penalty for killing an Egyptian. The mute refers to Paroh, whose death sentence could not be carried out, as if he was mute and never said to have Moshe executed. The deaf refers to his underlings, as they were like the deaf who cannot hear the edict of the king. The PI'KEI'ACH was Moshe who was sufficiently wise to escape, and the blind refers to the executor who seemed blind when Moshe ran away.

Ch. 4, v. 13: "Shlach noh b'yad TISHLOCH" - With these words Moshe was refusing to become Hashem's agent to bring the bnei Yiroel out of Egypt. As mentioned earlier in the name of the Holy Zohar, Moshe was a reincarnation of both Hevel and Sheis. In the end Moshe acquiesced to the will of Hashem and became the emissary of Hashem to bring the bnei Yiroel out of Egypt. Perhaps Moshe himself indicated this by allusion when he said "shlach noh b'yad TISHLOCH." TISHLOCH has the same numerical value as HEVEL SHEIS (i"h), indicating that he, the reincarnation of Hevel and Sheis would take on Hashem's assignment.

Ch. 5, v. 2: "Mi Hashem ... lo yodati es Hashem" - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 6:5 asks, "Since the Torah states (Breishis 15:13) 'And they will enslave them and they will persecute them,' why are the Egyptians deserving of punishment?" He answers that since the Torah did not mention any specific person, each Egyptian had the free choice to not persecute the bnei Yisroel. The words of our verse seem to make a very clear case for Paroh's deserving punishment to the fullest extent of the law. Since Paroh clearly states in our verse that Hashem does not exist in his universe he cannot lay claim to acting out of motivation to fulfill Hashem's command. Why then didn't the Rambam offer this answer? Possibly we can say that the Rambam could indeed have answered that the leader of the Egytians denied the existence of Hashem, and was thus subject to punishment, but he wanted to avoid our making a mistake by inference. If he were to say that Paroh denied the existence of Hashem, then we might conclude that if there was no denial of Hashem, he would have had a valid excuse. Therefore the Rambam says that as long as no specific persons are mentioned, each individual is free to behave properly and is thus subject to punishment for improper behaviour. As well, Paroh's denying the existence of Hashem does not explain why the rest of the Egyptians were punished.


1) The Holy Zohar on parshas Vayishlach pg. 168a-b gives us a calculation for King Dovid's 70 years. He says that Avrohom should have lived for 180 years just as his son Yitzchok did, but he gave 5 years away for King Dovid. Yaakov should have lived for 175 years, but only lived 147 years since he gave away 28 years. Yoseif should have lived for 147 years as did his father Yaakov, but he gave away 33 years. These three donations add up to the 70 years of King Dovid's life. The words of the Holy Zohar disagree with numerous medrashim and gemoros which state that Avrohom lost 5 years of his life because of Eisov, Yaakov lost 33 years because of the complaint he verbalized to Paroh, and Yoseif lost 10 years because of his father Yaakov's being called "your servant" ten times in front of Yoseif, or because of an aspect of the incident with Zolicho the wife of Poti Phera.

In any case, the source for Odom's being allotted a life span of 1,000 years is based on Hashem's telling Odom that on the DAY that he would eat from the "eitz hadaas" he would die (2:17). If so, why didn't Odom die on the first day of his life, the day he ate from the "eitz hadaas?" The answer is that 1,000 years are considered one day in Hashem's eyes, as the verse in T'hilim 90:4 says "Ki elef shonim b'einecho k'yom esmol." This is understandable according to the Yalkut that Odom was originally allotted 1,000 years, but graciously offered 70 years to King Dovid. However, according to the Zohar, Odom never gave 70 years of his life to King Dovid. If so, why didn't he live a full millenium? Rashi overtly asks this question and gives an answer. Where is this Rashi and what is his answer?

ANSWER: Rashi on T'hilim 90:4 on the verse "Ki elef shonim b'einecho k'yom esmol" says that although a day is like a thousand years in the eyes of Hashem, and if so Odom who was told that on the day of his eating from the "eitz hadaas" he would die, and if so he should have lived for 1,000 years, so why did he live for only 930 years? Rashi answers that the verse ends with "v'ashmuroh valoyloh." This means that 1,000 years are not a day, but rather a day and an "ashmoroh," a sentinel watch, a portion of the night. This portion is seventy years, leaving the day without the night as an equivalent of 930 years.

QUESTION: What is the earliest source for the title TZADIK being bestowed on Yoseif?

ANSWER: See Omos 2:6, "Al michrom ba'kesef TZADIK," referring to Yoseif.



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