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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 8: "Va'yokom melech chodosh al Mitzrayim asher lo yoda es Yoseif" - And a new king arose who did not recognize Yoseif - Why does the verse express itself with "Va'yokom" rather than "Va'y'hi?" M.R. 1:8 relates that the Egyptians told Paroh that the time has come to attack the bnei Yisroel.. his response was that the Egyptians were sustained thanks to the bnei Yisroel, i.e. when Yoseif saved them from devastating hunger and also filled the government coffers with funds from Egypt and a few surrounding countries. By public demand Paroh was deposed (This did not entail mass public demonstrations and many deaths at the hands of the military in Tahrir Square.) and this lasted for three months. He then acquiesced and he was reinstated to his former position. This is "Va'yokom," he rose, as he was earlier deposed. (Daas Z'keinim)

Ch. 1, v. 9: "Hi'nei am bnei Yisroel rav v'otzum mi'menu" - Behold the nation bnei Yisroel is larger and greater than we are - Their growth comes from siphoning off from us, "mi'menu." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 1, v. 17: "V'lo ossu kaasher di'beir a'leihen melech Mitzrayim vat'cha'yenoh es ha'y'lodim" - And they did not do as the king of Egypt spoke to them and the gave life to the children - Isn't it self-understood that if they did not listen to Paroh the children would remain alive? Our verse tells us that they did much more than not harm or kill the newborns. Normally there is a small amount of infantile death at birth. These two midwives did their utmost to have the newborns stay alive, and not even one died in childbirth. (M.R. 1:15)

Ch. 2, v. 1: "Va'yeilech ish mi'beis Levi va'yikach es bas Levi" - A man from the tribe of Levi went and took a daughter of the tribe of Levi - The Mahara"l of Prague asks why our verse does not tell us their names. He answers that had their names been mentioned here we might have incorrectly concluded that since Amrom, who was the leader of the generation, and Yocheved, a close relative of his, were the parents, that is how a personage of the great stature of Moshe came into being. This is wrong. The world was destined to have a Moshe in any case.

Perhaps we can answer this in another manner. We find in Sh.O. Y.D. that one should avoid giving her child to a non-Jewess to nurse, as we find that Moshe would not nurse from any of the Egyptian women since he was destined to speak directly to Hashem. This is good and fine with Moshe, but what does it have to do with the rank and file children of all later generations? We might add to this question that the parents of many children are simple people. This is why the Torah leaves out their names. Any couple is capable of having a child who can rise to Moshe's stature (meaning that he can fulfill his destiny to the maximum given his abilities), and should therefore not nurse from a non-Jewess. (n.l.)

Ch. 2, v. 2: "Va'tei're oso ki tov hu" - And she saw him that he was good - Rashi cites the gemara Sotoh 12a, which explains that Moshe was good in the sense that upon his birth the house became illuminated. However, the Chizkuni explains that she saw that he was born circumcised. Since his being born circumcised is expressed as "ki tov" we recite "Hodu laShem ki tov" at a circumcision.

Ch. 2, v. 3: "Vato'sem basuf al sfas ha'y'or" - And she placed into the bulrushes at the edge of the river - Rather than taking a boat and dropping her precious package in the middle of a river, she placed it at the edge, allowing for a passerby to just wade into the river and retrieve it. As well, by placing it where bulrushes grew the fear of the flow of water carrying it far into the water was also mitigated.

Ch. 2, v. 3: "Vato'sem basuf al sfas ha'y'or" - And she placed into the bulrushes at the edge of the river - By doing this she fulfilled the astrological sign that the saviour of the bnei Yisroel would end up in a body of water. Paroh's asrologers would be apprised of this through their skills, advise Paroh, and he would call an end to his hideous decree. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 3, v. 5: "Shal naa'lecho mei'al raglecho" - Remove your shoes from upon your feet - The Mahara"m Chagiz in Mishnas Chachomim writes that the concept of wearing shoes serves the purpose of separating one's feet from the ground. Its importance is since the ground was cursed, "Aruroh ho'adomoh," we need a separation between our body and the cursed ground. Here, where Hashem advises Moshe that he is treading on terra sancta, Moshe is told that he should remove his shoes, as there is no need to separate himself from hallowed ground.

The Bnei Yisos'chor expands on this and explains the gemara Shabbos 129b, which says that a person should sell any and everything he owns if he cannot otherwise afford a pair of shoes, based on the Mahara"m Chagiz. Since the earth is cursed there is a very compelling need for shoes. This also explains why when donning shoes we recite the blessing, "She'ossoh li kol tzorki." We now understand why shoes are "all my needs," as they take priority over owning (almost) any other object. The Bnei Yisos'chor takes this concept a step further and offers that this is the reason we don't wear shoes on Yom Kippur, as the day has a unique sanctity (as is testified by the unique blessing that begins with "yotzer ohr ), and it overpowers the otherwise daily impurity of the ground. Similarly, on the 9th of Ov we are prohibited from wearing shoes. This could likewise be for the same reason. As this day is auspicious for the coming of Melech haMoshiach bb"o, as it is the day on which he is born, we pre-Moshiach wear no shoes as once Melech haMoshiach comes the negativity of "aruroh ho'adomoh" will dissipate.

A variation on this theme is offered by Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Yaaros Dvash. He writes: It is known that lusts are connected to the heel. When they are shod and comfortable lusts are present. When there is no covering on the heels, lusts wane. This is why at the Mikdosh compound the Kohanim who do the service may not wear shoes, as they have to distance themselves from lusts. Similarly, when the verse says, "shal naa'lecho mei'al raglecho ki hamokome asher atoh o'meid o'lehoh admas kodesh hu." This location is no sanctified that Moshe has to remove himself from any thoughts of physical pursuits. This can also explain why when a man whose brother died childless, and is given the opportunity of either "yibum," to marry his widowed sister-in-law or to refuse, and go through the "chalitzoh" ritual, when he chooses "chalitzoh," his sister-in-law removes his shoe from his foot. He has obviously chosen to pursue other marriage possibilities over taking his brother's widow and "building a home" for his deceased brother. She therefore removes his shoe, symbolic of a complaint to him, saying through this action that he should not have such lusts.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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