by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMOS 5768 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Bnei Yisroel habo'im Mitzroymoh" - The bnei Yisroel who are coming to Egypt - Here is a chidush for you! Galya Rozo says that the reason for the bnei Yisroel's descent to Egypt and their suffering in bondage was a result of Yaakov's wresting away the blessings from Eisov in a deceitful manner.
Ch. 1, v. 15: "Va'yomer melech Mitzrayim" - And the king of Egypt said - Why until now were the harsh edicts expressed in the plural form, "va'yosimu, v'chaasher y'anu, va'yaavidu, va'y'mor'ru," and now in the singular? The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains that although all the previous laws were Paroh generated, they were given much publicity and all the law enforcers of the land were involved, hence plural. However, this hideous law, to kill babies was not given publicity. It was told behind closed doors to the midwives only, because going public would bring the pregnant women to avoid using them, hence the singular form.
Ch. 2, v. 5: "Va'tei'red bas Paroh lirchotz al ha'y'or" - And Paroh's daughter descended to bathe at the river - The Holy Zohar writes that she wanted to wash herself as she suffered from leprosy. When she came upon the basket that held Moshe, she not only opened it and saw him, as recorded in the next verse, but also touched him. Immediately upon touching him her leprosy miraculously disappeared. This contact spiritually contaminated Moshe and when he received a communication from Hashem at the burning bush, Hashem told him to not come closer until he would remove his shoe from his foot. In a deeper sense this means that he should shed his previous soul, as it was sullied, and he would now receive a new elevated soul. This soul would be capable of receiving a unique high level of G-dly communication.
Ch. 2, v. 21: "Va'yi'tein es Tziporoh vito l'Moshe" - And he gave his daughter Tziporoh to Moshe - Moshe's first forty years were devoted to helping out his people. When he ran away from Paroh he was away for forty years as well. During this time he did not involve himself in helping the bnei Yisroel. His last forty years were again devoted to leadership of the bnei Yisroel. Correspondingly, his first ascent to heaven for forty days and his third ascent for the same number of days were positive. The middle forty were in a state of Hashem's displeasure. Because he did not help the bnei Yisroel during his middle forty years he was reduced to having to rely on Yisro to feed him bread and he also married a non-bas Yisroel, notwithstanding that she was very righteous. (Asoroh Maamoros)
Ch. 3, v. 4: "Ki Sor Liros Va'yomer" - That he turned to see - The first letters of these words spell Kislev. This is the only place in Tanach that the first letters spell Kislev in order. This is a most befitting allusion for the Chanukah miracle of the oil of the menorah not being totally consumed on the 25th of Kislev. (Ro'isi)
Ch. 3, v. 5: "Shal no'lecho mei'al raglecho" - Remove your shoes from your feet - The Tur asks why our verse does not say that Moshe complied, just as it says by Yehoshua, who was told to remove his shoe, and the verse says "Va'yaas Yehoshua kein" (Yehoshua 5:15). He answers that our verse does not state this because in fact Moshe did not remove his shoes. Moshe was only told that to enter this area he would have to remove his shoes. He decided to stay put and there was no need to remove his shoes. This is quite a chidush, as we must say that the Tur understood that "ki hamokome asher atoh omeid o'lehoh admas kodesh hu" means that the place he was about to enter is holy. However, he is not alone in this interpretation. The Baalei Tosfos also say that Moshe had not yet entered the sanctified area.
Ch. 3, v. 5: "Shal no'lecho mei'al raglecho ki hamokome asher atoh omeid o'lehoh admas kodesh hu" - Remove your shoes from your feet because the location upon which you stand is terra sancta - The Ramban explains that the location was sanctified because the Holy Sh'chinoh had rested upon Har Sinai. He says that the burning bush was at the peak of the mountain. He equates this with the requirement for Kohanim to go barefoot when they do the service in the Beis Hamikdosh. This point is mentioned in the M.R. here. However, Rabbi Dovid Luria does not understand the comparison. The ruling of Kohanim going barefoot is derived from equating their service with their holding onto the holy vessels used for the service. From the verses we derive that there can be no barrier between the items contained in the vessel which need to be sanctified and the vessel. There is a comparison between the Kohanim and the vessels (gemara Z'vochim 24a). Just as the vessels sanctify what they contain and there may not be a barrier between the two, so too, the floor of the Beis Hamikdosh, which sanctifies, may not have the Kohanim who tread upon it have a barrier between their feet and the floor. This is not a terra sancta ruling, as one may not wear shoes anywhere in the "azoroh" area, but may be shod in cloth footing. This is a specific sanctification of the Kohanim while they do their service, so the rulings come from two different vantage points.
Ch. 3, v. 5: "Ki hamokome asher atoh omeid o'lehoh admas kodesh hu" - Because the location upon which you stand is terra sancta - In Yehoshua 5:15 the verse says something quite similar, "Ki hamokome asher atoh omeid o'lehoh kodesh hu." Here the sanctity came from the place being the future location of the giving of the Torah, but by Yehoshua what sanctity did the ground have? (According to what was just mentioned in the previous offering, that the location at which Hashem communicates becomes sanctified, this question is laid to rest.) Moshav Z'keinim offers that before Hashem communicates to His prophet He sends an angel who spreads out earth from a sanctified location. If you will wonder why this took place specifically by Yehoshua, it is because Yehoshua's prophecy at that time took place when the land had not yet been sanctified as Eretz Yisroel. This also explains why Moshe's prophecy took place at Har Sinai, a sanctified location. (Future prophecies to Moshe no longer required terra sancta, similar to a prophet who received prophecy in Eretz Yisroel, who could afterwards receive it outside of Eretz Yisroel as well. This might also explain why here we have "ADMAS kodesh" and by Yehoshua the word ADMAS is lacking. The GROUND of Har Sinai was sanctified, while by Yehoshua only the surface was sanctified sand, but not the earth itself. Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 13: "Mah shmo" - What is His name - The bnei Yisroel obviously believed in Hashem. What, all of a sudden, is this question of "mah shmoh?" The Moreh N'vuchim 1:63 explains that until this time every prophecy without exception was a personal one. For example, there were prophecies advising our Patriarchs what to do or not do, advising them of what was in store for them, their children, and for later generations. This was the first time that a prophecy carried a message to tell the masses what to do and what was going to take place. This required a new level of trust in Hashem's prophet. Moshe understood that the bnei Yisroel would rightfully ask him on what basis they should believe him as a prophet for this new type of message. This is the meaning of their asking "Mah shmo." Rabbeinu Bachyei has a similar understanding, although not quite the same as the Rambam.
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