by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMOS 5770 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 5: "V'Yoseif hoyoh v'Mitzroyim" - And Yoseif was in Egypt - Yoseif is mentioned last because:
1) The Torah will elaborate about him, so if he were to be mentioned in the middle it would disrupt the flow. (Hadar Z'keinim)
2) He was the viceroy and in spite of this he did not portray himself as superior to his brothers, to the point that he was even listed last here. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
3) This alludes to Moshiach ben Yoseif who will come at the end of days as part of the heralding of the final redemption. (Toldos Yitzchok)
4) Although it was Heavenly ordained that Yoseif should descend to Egypt, nevertheless, his father and brothers were newcomers to Egypt while he had resided there for many years. They were Eretz Yisroel people to a greater extent. (n.l.)
5) Since verse 1 mentions that "they are coming" to Egypt, they are mentioned in unison, as they came together, while Yoseif descended many years earlier. (n.l.)
Ch. 1, v. 6: "Va'yomos Yoseif v'chol echov" - Yoseif and all his brothers died - Yoseif was the first of the brothers to die even though he was one of the younger ones. Some reasons for his predeceasing them:
1) He behaved as a lord over others in his position as viceroy. (gemara Brochos 55a)
2) He told his brothers, "Onochi achalkeil es'chem," I will sustain you. Hashem responded with, "Let us see who sustains whom. You will die ahead of all your brothers and they will manage without you." (Medrash Seichel Tov)
3) Rebbi says that this was because he had his father embalmed. (M.R. Breishis 100:4)
4) Yoseif caused his brothers to utter ten times, "Av'd'cho ovinu." (Although we find this only five times, the translator also said this, so it doubles five.) (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer Ch. 39)
5) Had Yoseif outlived his brothers he would have thought that Hashem was punishing them for selling him. (Medrash Seichel Tov)
6) He really should have outlived them all and lived for more years than any of them, a total of 147 years, the same as his father, but he donated 37 years of his life to King Dovid, as stated in the Holy Zohar on parshas Va'yishlach.
Ch. 1, v. 16: "Uri'sen al ho'ovnoyim" - And you will see them on the birthing stones - Rabbeinu Bachyei derives from "ho'ovnoyim" an allusion to the statement of our Rabbis that the women gave birth to sextuplets. Read this word as "Hei Alef bonim," five and one sons.
Ch. 2, v. 6: "Va'tir'eihu es ha'yeled" - And she saw him the child - The verse should have simply said, "Va'ti'reh ha'yeled." Rashi cites a medrash that explains that she saw Him, the Holy Spirit of Hashem that was with (es) the child. The Rashbam and others say that she noticed that he was circumcised. This would explain how she knew that the abandoned child was an Ivri.
If we take the letters in this phrase beyond the basic "vati'reh ha'yeled" we have the added letters Vov, Alef, and Sof, which spell "ose," the sign of circumcision. (n.l.)
Ch. 2, v. 6: "V'hinei naar bocheh" - And behold a lad is crying - Who was this "naar?" The gemara Sotoh 12b offers that it was either Moshe, who cried like an older baby, hence "naar," or that it was Aharon, who was standing nearby to see what would happen (see Yalkut Ho'eizovi and Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid).
Ch. 2, v. 6: "Vatomer mi'yaldei hoIvrim zeh" - And she said that this is from the Ivri children - Who is the antecedent of "zeh?"
1) Moshe, based on gemara just cited
2) Aharon, based on gemara just cited - (The use of the word "zeh" is well understood, as it indicates pointing to someone or something. The child at hand was Moshe, and since she was referring to Aharon, she pointed to him.)
3) "Zeh" does not refer back to a person, but rather to a happening. When gazing upon Moshe she was healed of her "tzoraas" like skin affliction. She said that this, the healing, was a result a child of the Ivri nation. (Yalkut Med'r'shei Teimon)
4) An angel said this word. He told her that "this" child will lead his nation in saying "ZEH Keili v'anveihu" (Shmos 15:2).
(Yalkut Med'r'shei Teimon)
Ch. 2, v. 6: "HoIvrim" - The title Ivri is either sourced from the bnei Yisroel being the descendants of Eiver, or the descendants of Avrohom, who once resided on the "other side" of the Jordan River. These are commonly known explanations. Tosfos Hasholeim offers that since the bnei Yisroel are held responsible for each others behaviour, "a'reivim," they are called Ivrim, with the letters Reish and Beis switched.
Philosophically, we might say that this word is sourced from "evroh," anger. This appellation fits the bnei Yisroel's history. There is no surviving nation that has experienced Hashem's wrath more than the bnei Yisroel. At the same time, they have survived it all, in fulfillment of another application of this word-form, "Gam zeh yaAVORe." (n.l.)
Ch. 2, v. 12: "Va'yifen ko vocho va'yar ki ein ish" - And he turned to and fro and he saw that there is no man - Moshe engaged him by wrestling with him and easily tossed him to and fro. This brought him to realize that he was dealing with an "ein ish," a person with no great physical power. At this point Moshe smote him. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)
Moshe turned over two options in his mind, to either keep out of a fray that was not his, or to stand up and help someone, as per the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos, "B'mokome she'ein ish hishta'deil li'h'yos ISH." He saw that if he were to just look away he would be an "ein ish," so he smote the Egyptian. (Abarbanel)
Ch. 2, v. 13: "Shnei anoshim Ivrim" - Two Ivri men - The word Ivrim is used here because Moshe got involved. This was because of "arvus," responsibility one for another. The word "a'reivim" contains the same letters as "Ivrim." (Rabbeinu Efrayim) (See comment on 2:6 from Tosfos Hasholeim.)
Ch. 2, v. 13: "Va'yomer lorosho" - And he said to the evil one - Rashi (M.R.) says that the two disputants were Doson and Avirom. If so, why did Moshe call only one of them a "rosho," rather than saying "r'sho'im?" The Minchoh V'luloh answers that just as the Ramban explains the words of the gemara R.H. that a "rosho" is written and sealed in the book of death, means one who is found guilty in this particular judgment if he should live out the next year or not, so too here. Even though they were both "r'sho'im," Moshe said the singular "rosho" because only one was hitting the other. (This might explain why we have the definitive Hei, in this case expressed in the vowel Pasach under the Lamed, THE "rosho" of this incident.)
I don't understand the question raised by the Minchoh V'luloh. Moshe was only admonishing the one who hit his acquaintance, not the victim. Why should he have addressed the victim as well?
Ch. 5, v. 7: "Lo sosifun lo'seis teven lo'om" - Do not continue to give straw to the nation - The spelling of "sosifun" is quite unusual, having a seemingly superfluous letter Alef after the Sof. Rabbeinu Chananeil offers that the Alef alludes to this evil decree lasting only one day. Verse 14 seems to indicate that they were held responsible for the shortfall of bricks for at least two days, "Gam t'mol gam hayom."
Perhaps the added Alef gives this word a double meaning, both "You shall not continue," and "You shall not collect (asifoh) for them." (n.l.)
Ch. 5, v. 12: "Va'yofetz ho'om b'chol eretz Mitzrayim l'kosheish kash la'teven" - And the nation dispersed over the whole land of Egypt to collect straw - The Chizkuni explains that Hashem orchestrated this so that the bnei Yisroel would literally spread out throughout the land, seeking straw everywhere. It was at this time that even those who were very removed from the bnei Yisroel, who basically lived in one area, had the opportunity to hit them, and this included even the slaves and maidservants. This justified Hashem's later punishing everyone in the land with the ten plagues.
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