SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMOS 5765 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 22: "Va'yitzav Paroh l'chol amo" - And Paroh commanded on all his
nation - This is the translation according to Rashi who says that Paroh decreed
that all male newborns, including Egyptians, be thrown into the river on the
day his advisers reported that it was the exact day the saviour of the bnei
Yisroel would be born. Chizkuni disagrees and says that he commanded his entire
nation, not only the midwives, to see to it that the bnei Yisroel male
newborns be killed.
Ch. 2, v. 2: "Ki tov hu" - That he is good - Rashi explains that this means
that he was born circumcised. Since the expression "ki tov" is used in this
verse for a child who is circumcised we have the custom to say the verse "Hodu
laShem KI TOV ki l'olom chasdo" (T'hilim 118:29) at a "bris miloh." (Chizkuni)
Ch. 2, v. 2: "Vatitz'p'neihu" - And she hid him - In parshas v'Zose Habrochoh
we have the words "usfu'nei t'mu'nei chole" (Dvorim 33:19). Rashi explains
this to mean "and it is covered that which is hidden in the sand." Two verses
later we have "chelkas m'chokeik sofun." Rashi explains this to mean the same,
"the burial plot of the statute giver (Moshe) is covered and hidden." We thus
find three words, two of which are phonetically the same, and the third, very
similar in sound, "sofun" with the letter Sin, "sofun" with the letter Samach,
and Tzofun, with the letter Tzadi (The Syrian pronunciation of a Tzadi is
virtually the same as a Sin or Samach in Ashkenazic pronunciation). What are the
nuances of difference among these three words?
Perhaps we can say as follows: The least hidden is the word "tzofun," as we
find that Moshe was hidden, but obviously not hidden for posterity. His mother
hoped that he would be found and somehow saved from the cruel decree.
Similary, we find "Moh rav tuvcho asher tzofanto l'rei'echo" (T'hilim 31:20). The
reward is hidden, only to be later brought out and awarded to those who fear
Hashem. Tzofun on the night of the Seder is likewise an item that is hidden, only
to be taken out at the end of the Seder.
"Sofun" with the letter Sin might mean more hidden than "tzofun." The items
hidden in the depths of the sea and the sea-bed will stay there forever, unless
someone goes fishing or dredging, but when it is pursued, it becomes
"Sofun" with a Samach might mean hidden, with no possibility of being found.
This was the case with Moshe's burial plot. Even those who attempted to find
it were not successful. It might well be appropriate to spell this word with a
Samach, since the configuration of a Samach is a complete circle. It thus
totally covers that which is within.
The letter Sin has two almost closed inner spaces, indicative of being
hidden, but with the possibility of being uncovered. The letter Tzadi has one almost
closed inner space, and one wide- open inner space, indicative of being
hidden, but with the intention of being brought out in the open. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 6: "Naar bocheh" - A lad is crying - Rashi says that this was
Moshe. Even though he was a newborn, his voice was that of a lad. Chizkuni says
that it refers to Aharon. This was how Bisyoh knew that the baby was an Ivri.
Ch. 2, v. 21: "Tziporoh" - Chizkuni says that her name is sourced in the
Aramaic "tzafra," morning. Her beauty shone like the light of the morning.
Ch. 3, v. 1: "Va'yinhag es hatzone achar hamidbor va'yovo el har" - And he
led the sheep to the desert and he came to the mountain - Targum Onkeles writes
that Moshe brought them to a place of good grazing, "shfar raa'ya." What
necessitates this explanation? The gemara B.M. 36b says that a shepherd is
prohibited from bringing sheep up a mountain to graze unless the grass there is
excellent. Since our verse says that he came to a mountain, he obviously would not
have brought the sheep there unless the grazing conditions were optimal.
Ch. 3, v. 12: "Ki e'h'yeh imoch" - Because I will be with you - Even though
Moshe received a guarantee from Hashem that no harm would befall him,
nevertheless, he feared going to Paroh. This is why he turned down the offer and
responded, "shlach noh b'yad tishloch" (4:13). This was the cause of his being
punished by the angel that came when he was at the "molone" in the desert (4:24).
(Chizkuni on Breishis 32:26)
Ch. 4, v. 14: "Va'yichar af Hashem b'Moshe" - And Hashem became angry with
Moshe - Rashi says that this was the loss of K'hunoh. K'hunoh is alluded to in
this incident in verse 2. Hashem asks Moshe, "Ma'zeh v'yo'decho." The gemara
Brochos 28a says that a "ma'zeh ben ma'zeh" means a Kohein the son of a Kohein.
Kohanim sprinkle the blood of an offering upon the altar. Hashem told Moshe
that the opportunity to sprinkle the blood is in your hand. However, by refusing
to take on the task, he lost it. (Biku'rei Oviv)
This would explain why the two words "mah" and "zeh" are combined into one
Ch. 4, v. 19: "Ki meisu kol ho'anoshim hamvakshim es nafshecho" - Because
all the people who seek your death have died - Rashi (gemara N'dorim 63a) says
that they were Doson and Avirom, and they were not actually dead. Rather they
became destitute and a poor man is considered as if he were dead. Their
actually being alive is alluded to in the word "hamvakshim," - they ARE seeking. Had
they truly been dead, the verse would have said "asher bikshu." We can derive
from this that they still seek to do you in, only that they are ineffective.
Ch. 4, v. 24: "Va'yif'g'sheihu Hashem" - And Hashem met him - Rashi explains
that an angel came. Sforno sticks to the literal meaning and says that since
there was to be a circumcision, Hashem's Holy Spirit was in attendance. This
could well be the source for preparing a seat at a circumcision. Although we
call it "ki'sei shel Eliyohu," the Sforno says that it a seat for Hashem. He
writes likewise at the beginning of parshas Va'yeiro, stating that Hashem came in
the main to visit Avrohom because he circumcised himself.
Ch. 4, v. 25: "Tzore" - Chizkuni offers that this word either means a sharp
instrument, or a stone, from the word source "tzur." If Tziporoh indeed used a
stone why do we today use a steel blade? Chizkuni says that she suddenly found
herself having to do a circumcision and just took what was available, a sharp
stone. However, Yoreh Dei'oh #264 says that it is preferable to use a steel
blade. The Prishoh #7 writes that this is based on the medrash, which says that
when Dovid shot a rock at Golias it was directed at his head and would have
been deflected by his steel helmet. The angel of steel agreed to forego the
normal strength of steel in the helmet and allow the stone to penetrate provided
that the angel of stone would agree to forego the merit of using a sharp stone
for circumcision and allowing steel to always be used. We see from this that
until that time stone was used, and from this point onwards we should
specifically use steel. (I have used the word steel for what one might call iron.)
Ch. 5, v. 19: "Va'yiru shotrei vnei Yisroel osom b'ro" - And the officers of
the bnei Yisroel saw them in a bad state - Who are the antecedents of the word
"osom"? Rashi says that they are the enslaved workers. Chizkuni says that it
is reflexive (as we find (Vayikra 22:16) "v'hisi'u OSOM avone ashmo"). The
officers, who were required to see that the work quota was met, saw themselves in
a bad situation.
N.B. - Last week on Breishis 47:28 the words <> should have read "Perhaps we can answer that it is left out because
during some of the years between 40 and 140 Yaakov was not sin free.
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