by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMOS 5767 BS"DCh. 1, v. 10: "Pen yirbeh" - Lest he multiply - Rashi on verse 12 d.h. "kein" cites a medrash, which says that Hashem's response to "Pen yirbeh" was "Kein yirbeh." The letter Pei is a composite of a Kof and a Vov that is inverted. The Vov has the numerical value of 6. Paroh's concern of "pen" resulted in 6 children born at a time at a time (see Rashi on verse 7). (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 13: "B'fo'rech" - With back-breaking work - Tosfos on the gemara P'sochim 117b quotes Maharam whocites a medrash that says that the letters Pei-Reish-Kof, when transmuted in the a"t ba"sh system, become Vov-Gimel-Lamed. These letters have the numerical value of 39, alluding to the 39 types of work prohibited on Shabbos. The bnei Yisroel were subjected to do all of these types of work, and when freed from Egypt, they accepted the work restrictions of Shabbos upon themselves and refrained from these 39 categories of work. (This gives us a new insight into Shabbos being a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt.)
Ch. 1, v. 19: "Ki lo chanoshim haMitzrios hoIvrios" - The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women - When Paroh saw that the Jewish midwives did not comply with his edict to kill the newborn Jewish males, he said that they did not comply with the law issued by the government, and the gemara says, "Dina d'malchusa dina," the law of the government is binding. The women responded that this is only true when the laws are applied fairly and equally. Since only the males born to Jewish women were singled out it is not binding. This is "Ki lo chanoshim haMitzrios hoIvrios." Paroh immediately responded with an amended law, "Va'y'tzav Paroh l'chol amo leimore KOL ha'bein hayilod ha'y'oroh tashlichuhu" (verse 22), every male, even an Egyptian, should be thrown into the river. Now the law treats everyone equally. (K'tzos Hachoshen)
Ch. 1, v. 22: "Va'y'tzav Paroh l'chol amo leimore KOL ha'bein hayilod ha'y'oroh tashlichuhu" - And Paroh commanded even regarding his own nation that every son who is born into the river you shall throw him - How many bnei Yisroel were actually thrown into the river? M.R. on Shir Hashirim 2:15 cites two opinions. One is that 10,000 were thrown in, based on the verse in Yechezkeil 16, "R'vovoh k'tzemach haso'deh n'satich." Rabbi Levi says that 600,000 were thrown into the river.
Ch. 2, v. 1: "Va'yeilech ish" - And a man went - Why doesn't the verse simply say "Va'yikach ish mi'beis Levi"?
1) The gemara Sotah 12a says that "va'yeilech" means that he went after the counsel of his daughter to remarry his wife.
2) When a person performs an act that takes great valour the Torah often not only tells of the act, but adds "va'yeilech," as it takes much courage to move oneself to act. (Ramban)
3) His wife simply lived in another town, so he had to go there to marry her. (Ibn Ezra)
4) Many men gave up on reproducing because of the evil decree. They sent their wives to another community. Thus remarrying them required traveling. (Malbim)
Ch. 2, v. 2: "Vatitz'p'neihu shloshoh y'rochim" - And she hid him for three months - Where did she hide him? Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer #48 says that she built a room underground and hid him there.
Ch. 2, v. 20: "V'ayo .. kir'en lo v'yochal lechem" - And where is he .. call him and he will eat bread - The gemara Beitzoh 37b says that the opinion of Ayo is that we cannot place two "eiruvin" before Shabbos and through the clarification of deciding on Shabbos which of the two he wants, a concept called "breiroh," retroactively activate the one that is more practical. Yisro said to his daughters, "Given your report that the man was so very kind, it would behoove one of you to become his wife." A man must give his wife something of value to complete the marriage transaction, and this can even be an act of value, such as here, chasing away those who pestered them, allowing them to give drink to the sheep. Even if we were to posit like Ayo, that this act was performed for all Yisro's daughters and there was no clarification at the time for whom the value of this act was specifically intended, nevertheless, Yisro told them to bring him home to eat bread, an allusion to marrying, as per Rashi on Breishis 39:6, "Ki im ha'lechem asher hu ocheil." He could then take one of Yisro's daughters in marriage in the regular manner, by giving her an item of worth, "kesef kidushin." (Rabbi Ezra Attiah)
Ch. 2, v. 21: "Va'yi'tein es Tziporoh vito l'Moshe" - And he gave his daughter Tziporoh to Moshe - The Ibn Ezra comments that this Tziporoh is the "ishoh Kushis" mentioned in Bmidbar 12:1. He goes on to say that that which is written in Divrei Ha'yomim of Moshe is not to be believed. A general rule is that any book not written by prophets or sages based on verbal tradition is not to be relied upon, and surely when they make statements contrary to proper logic. Included in this is the book of Zerubovel and of Eldad the Dani, and the like. In Divrei Hayomim we find that Moshe took a Kushite wife, and it seems that the Ibn Ezra is telling us that to assume that this was the same woman Tziporoh, based on Divrei Ha'yomim is incorrect, because we cannot rely on the writings in Divrei Ha'yomim. He seems to equate Divrei Ha'yomim with the history books of Zerubovel and Eldad the Dani. To understate it, this is most startling. A novel understanding of the Ibn Ezra is offered by Yekev Elozor. Rashbam in his commentary on the verse in Bmidbar 12:1 says that the "ishoh Kushis" refers to that which is written in "Divrei ha'yomim," that Moshe, when he was a refugee, running away from Paroh, went to the land Kush and resided there for 40 years. He became their king and took a Kushite woman as his wife. This is the Kushite referred to in this verse. (This story, with much more detail, is to be found in Sefer Ha'yoshor. It is interesting to note that the Ramban cites this sefer and predicates it by saying, "If we are to believe in the accuracy of this book ...")
This is the intention of the Ibn Ezra. He is NOT referring to Divrei Ha'yomim that is part of Tanach, but rather, to the history book cited by the Rashbam.
Ch. 2, v. 23: "Va'yizoku" - The term "z'okoh" is used for crying or screaming out to Hashem, while immediately afterward this verse says "vataal shavosom." The next verse says "Va'yishma Elokim es naakosom." In 3:7 we find "v'es tzaakosom shomati." We have four terms for their crying/screaming out to Hashem. What are the differences among these four terms?
Ch. 2, v. 23: "Vataal shavosom el hoElokim" - And their cry rose up to Elokim - The next verse goes on to say that Elokim heard their entreaty. It is obvious that well before the king of Egypt contracted a skin affliction they were hard at prayer as well. Our verse is telling us that it was just now that their prayers had an affect. Why now all of a sudden?
The gemara Brochos 31a says that one should not pray while in a state of melancholy, but rather when in a positive happy frame of mind. Until now, because of the extreme servitude the bnei Yisroel were in a continual state of depression and their prayers were ineffective. It was only now, when Paroh was stricken with a debilitating skin affliction that the bnei Yisroel had a glimmer of happiness, as their oppressor was likewise suffering, that they had some level of simchoh. At this point their prayers were effective. (Rabbi Menachem Pollack in Responsa Cheilek Levi)
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