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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Ish u'veiso bo'u" - The Medrash Hagodol says that this refers even to Chanoch and Palu who were 2 years and 1 year old respectively. Yaakov did not want his descendants to marry Egyptian women, so he brought along girls who would later become their wives.

Ch. 1, v. 5: "Shivim nofesh" - Upon counting the list of names in parshas Va'yigash (46:8-27) we find only 69. The Nachal K'dumim offers that we add Hashem to the total. He says that this is alluded to in the words "Onochi ei'reid imcho" (Breishis 46:4). The word "imcho," spelled Ayin-Mem-Chof is an acronym for Ayin (70) Mashlim K'vodi. This doesn't seem to fit into the words of our verse, "kol nefesh YOTZEI YERECH Yaakov shivim nofesh."

Ch. 1, v. 6: "Va'yomos Yoseif v'chol echov" - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that these words are to be understood as, "And Yoseif died, and AFTERWARDS all his brothers died." The gemara Brochos 55a and Sotoh 13b says that Yoseif died "kodem l'echov." Rashi (Brochos 55a d.h. "Yoseif meis") brings a proof to this from the words of our verse, clearly indicating that his understanding of the words "kodem l'echov" is that Yoseif died first. However, the Seder Olom and Seder Hadoros write that Z'vulun lived for 110 years. Since he was born before Dinoh whose gestation period was concurrent with that of Yoseif, Z'vulun was born approximately a year before Yoseif, and in turn, living the same number of years, died before Yoseif, contrary to the Targum Yonoson and Rashi. The opinion of the Seder Olom and the Seder Hadoros that Z'vulun lived for 110 years and thus died before Yoseif is not contradicted by the gemara. They can interpret "kodem l'echov" to mean that Yoseif had the shortest life span of all the brothers. However, we must say that Yoseif lived for 110 years and Z'vulun lived for 110 years and a bit more, and the Seder Olom and Seder Hadoros did not mention the fraction of a year.

Ch. 1, v. 6: "Va'yomos .. v'chole hador hahu" - The Tu'rei Zohov O.Ch. 582:3 explains the text of our R.H. and Y.K. prayers, "m'loch al Kol ho'olom KULO," which is seemingly repetitive, to mean that we pray that Hashem reign upon the WHOLE world in its entirety, without even one exception. If the text would only be "KOL ho'olom" it could be interpreted as MOST of the world, with KOL meaning "the majority," as per the rule of "ruba k'kula damya" (gemara Horios 3b). Our verse says that the complete generation died, using the word form KOL only once. Then the bnei Yisroel greatly multiplied and a new king rose over Egypt. Here too, not everyone of that generation died before the happenings of verse 7 and 8 took place. How many people can you name who remained alive?

Ch. 1, v. 6: "Uvnei Yisroel poru va'yish'r'tzu" - Rashi (M.R. 1:8) says that we derive from the six expressions of multiplying that the women gave birth to sextuplets. The Yalkut Shimoni says that the bnei Yisroel experienced servitude for only one hour. This is explained by the Holy Admor of Ostrovtza in a most fascinating manner. A day in Hashem's calculation is 1,000 years (gemara Sanhedrin 97a, M.R. Breishis 8:2). Rashi on T'hilim 90:4, "Ki e'lef shonim b'einecho k'yom esmole .. vaashmuroh valoyloh," explains that a day and a section of the night, called "asmuroh" combined, are 1,000 years. Thus a day alone is less. There is an opinion in the gemara Brochos 3a that an "ashmuroh" is 1/4th of a 12 hour period, or 3 hours. Thus 15 hours, 12 daylight and three night hours, are equal to 1,000 years. One hour equals 66 years and 8 months.

The original decree was that the bnei Yisroel would be enslaved for 400 years, "Yodo'a teida ki ger y'h'yeh zaracho b'eretz lo lo'hem vaavodum v'inu osom arba meios shonoh" (Breishis 15:13). We can say that the time was shortened because of the great increase of the bnei Yisroel. Since they multiplied six-fold, similarly the time was decreased by 5/6ths. A five-sixths reduction of 400 years equals 66 years and 8 months, exactly one hour in Hashem's time calculation.

Ch. 1, v. 7-8: "Vatimo'lei ho'oretz osom, Va'yokom melech chodosh" - In Breishis 15:13 Hashem tells Avrohom, "Yodo'a teida ki ger y'h'yeh zaracho b'eretz lo lo'hem vaavodum v'inu osom arba meios shonoh." Yet we find that the bnei Yisroel were subject to painful servitude for only 86 years, as per the Psikta Zut'r'sa 15:11 and the M.R. Shir Hashirim 2:13 who say that Miriam was born when the true affliction of servitude began, 86 years before the exodus. Regarding that period the verse says "va'y'mor'ru es cha'yeihem" (1:14), hence the name Miriam. How do we reconcile this with the prophecy of 400 years told to Avrohom?

The Mahari"l Diskin answers that Hashem never told Avrohom that his descendants would be subject to 400 years of unconditional servitude and affliction. Hashem stipulated "b'eretz lo lo'hem," that IF the bnei Yisroel would reside in a land that is not theirs, they would be slaves for 400 years. The M.R. on Breishis 20:16 says that among the items Paroh gave Soroh to appease her for being taken away from Avrohom, was a parcel of land in Egypt, Goshen. Thus as long as the bnei Yisroel remained in the "Jewish ghetto" of Goshen they resided in their own land. When they experienced a population explosion and ventured out to "suburbia," "vatimo'li ho'oretz osom," they were "b'eretz lo lo'hem." Immediately, "Va'yokom melech chodosh," a king rose with new edicts, bringing on the beginning of "vaavodum v'inu osom," they would enslave and afflict them.

Ch. 2, v. 10: "Vayigdal ha'yeled vatvi'eihu l'vas Paroh" - Why did Hashem bring about that Moshe should be raised in the home of Paroh? I read but have forgotten where, that this gave him the opportunity to learn proper protocols of being a leader.

Alternatively, we might say that when Moshe would later escape from an attempted execution he basically had nowhere to run, as who would take the risk of harbouring the top man on Paroh's most-wanted list. By being in the home of Paroh, he was privy to the council meeting among Paroh, Bilom, Iyov, and Yisro, regarding the Jewish problem (gemara Sotoh 11a). He was witness to Yisro's running away and not wanting to suggest anything negative be done to the bnei Yisroel. Thus Moshe knew that he had a safe haven in the home of Yisro.

Ch. 2, v. 10: "Vatikro shmo Moshe vatomer ki min hamayim m'shisihu" - Moshe WAS DRAWN from the water. If so his name should have been Moshuy. Moshe means "he draws." The Moshav Z'keinim explains that although his name was taken from this event, Bisyoh the daughter of Paroh was invested with prophecy, and knew that Moshe would later miraculously DRAW water from a rock. She therefore adjusted his name to reflect that he DRAWS.

Ch. 3, v. 2: "Va'yeiro malach Hashem eilov" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:45 writes that although Hashem appeared to Moshe directly, this was not the case at the beginning of his career, as we see from our verse, that Hashem sent an angel as an intermediary to convey prophecy to him.

On the words "zeh hadovor asher tzivo Hashem" (Bmidbar 30:2) Rashi (Sifri #2) says that prophets transmitted their messages with the term "KO omar Hashem," - Hashem said LIKE THIS. Moshe, in addition to this, prophesied with the term "zeh hadovor," - THIS is the word of Hashem. There are numerous explanations for Moshe's two forms of prophecy, ZEH and KO. Some attribute the difference to the level of clarity, saying that Moshe sometimes prophesied on the lower level of KO. The levels are also open to interpretation, whether the exact words of the message were conveyed, or the general message, or that in either case the exact words were conveyed, but the spiritual level of exposure of the Divine Spirit is different, reflected by the terms KO and ZEH.

The Eimek haNtzi"v says that KO is used where the communication from Hashem to the prophet had ended and was later transmitted by the prophet, while ZEH is used when the voice of Hashem emanates from the throat of the prophet. Any of these opinions is in consonance with the Rambam, as there were two levels of prophecy that Moshe experienced, and we can say that the lower level was experienced at the beginning of his prophesying.

However, the Mahara"l of Prague in Gur Aryeh says, "Heaven forbid that Moshe's level of prophecy was not consistent throughout his life. The term KO is used when the prophecy was relevant to a situation that was at hand, but was not conveying a command to do a mitzvoh that would be binding always, and ZEH is used when conveying a command to do a mitzvoh that would always be binding." This is clearly in disagreement with the Rambam.

Ch. 3, v. 2: "B'labas eish" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 1:39 says that "b'labas" means "in the heart of." Just as one's heart is situated in the centre of one's body, so too, the angel appeared in the core of the flame.

Ch. 3, v. 2: "B'labas eish" - The Zohar Chodosh comments on these words: "L'hashlim es hashem," - to complete the name. This statement is most enigmatic. The Holy Rabbi Shimshon of Ostrapolia explains this with the words of the Holy Zohar in parshas Breishis that the souls of Hevel and Sheis became components of Moshe's soul. The letters of Moshe's name, Mem-Shin-Hei, spell Moshe, Sheis, and Hevel. The name Moshe contains the letter Shin of Sheis, but lacks the letter Tof. As well, it contains the letter Hei of Hevel, but lacks the letters Beis and Lamed. Thus the word "LaBaS," spelled Lamed-Beis-Sof, has the letters that complete the names Sheis and Hevel.

Ch. 3, v. 15: "Zeh shmi .. v'zeh zichri" - The Holy Zohar on parshas Ki Sovo page 556 writes that the Holy Name of Hashem Yud-Kei-Vov-Kei is a combination of "shmi" and "zichri." The first two letters, Yud-Kei, are "shmi," while the last two letters, Vov-Kei, are "zichri." He adds that if we add the numerical value of Yud-Kei, 15, to that of "shmi," 350, we have a total of 365, the number of negative mitzvos. When we add Vov-Kei, 11, to "zichri," 237, we have a total of 248, the number of positive mitzvos. The total of 613 positive and negative mitzvos encompasses the complete Torah, and Hashem and His Torah are one.

Ch. 4, v. 1: "Ki yomru lo ni'roh ei'lecho Hashem" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 1:63 writes that when a person claims that he is a prophet of Hashem and wants to transmit his prophecy, it is proper for people to say that they do not believe him unless he brings a proof for his claim. It would seem that the Rambam would translate the word KI in our verse as WHEN and not IF.

Ch. 4, v. 13: "Shlach noh" - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that Moshe requested of Hashem to send Pinchos as His agent to bring the bnei Yisroel out of exile, as he will indeed do at the end of days in the form of Eliyohu the prophet. Pirush Yonoson explains that Pinchos is alluded to in our verse by the word "noh." Pinchos is Eliyohu, and by Eliyohu the verse says, "Vihi NOH fi shnayim b'ruchacho" (M'lochim 2:2:9). We find that Pinchos is Eliyohu in Pirke d'R' Eliezer ch. 29, ch. 47, and as well in Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Shmos 4:13, and 6:12 and 18, and in the Holy Zohar in numerous places. The Gemara B.M. 114b relates a story about Eliyohu, stating that he is a Kohein and Rashi d.h. "Lav" says that he is Pinchos.

The Nachal K'dumim says that Pinchos is alluded to in our verse based on the words of the Holy Zohar. The Holy Zohar says that Pinchos was so frightened upon killing Zimri (Bmidbar 25:8), fearing being killed by Zimri's fellow tribesmen, that his soul left him. Hashem revived him by placing the souls of both Nodov and Avihu into him. NOH, Nun-Alef, is an acronym for Nodov Avihu.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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