CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS BREISHIS 5772 - BS"D
1) Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - The parshios of the Torah as they are written today are either "p'suchoh" or "s'sumoh," meaning that depending on the configuration of the spacing before a new chapter, a parsha either has the status of an "open" or "closed" parsha. What is the status of parshas Breishis, since it is the beginning of the Torah and has nothing before it?
2) Ch. 1, v. 3: "Y'hi ohr" - The vast majority of light that we have at our disposal at night is electrical. What is the earliest instance of one of our Torah sages using the word form "electric?"
3) Ch. 3, v. 20: "Vayikra ho'odom es sheim ishto Chavoh" - We give a son his name at his circumcision. When should one give a daughter her name?
4) Ch. 4, v. 3: "Va'y'hi mi'keitz yomim" - When did the confrontation between Ka'yin and Hevel occur? How old were they at the time?
5) Ch. 5, v. 5: "Va'yi'h'yu kol y'mei Odom asher chai tsha mei'os shonoh ushloshim shonoh" - The Holy Zohar on Breishis page 140a and the Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim chapter #92 say that Odom donated 70 years of his life to King Dovid, who would have otherwise been a stillborn or have died just after birth. The Mahara"l of Prague in N'sivos Olom, Nsiv Ha'teshuvoh at the end of chapter 4 explains this. He says that just as Odom, primary man, the first human being on earth, was its leader, so too, King Dovid was the first king of the bnei Yisroel who was of the royal tribe of Yehudoh. What other calculation is there for Dovid's being granted seventy years of live taken from other people's years?
The Rambam at the end of ch. 8 of hilchos sefer Torah lists all the parshios of the Torah that are called "p'suchos," and then lists all the parshios that are "s'sumos." He leaves out the chapter of Breishis as well as every first chapter of the other four books of the Torah. The Kesef Mishneh comments that the Rambam feels that these first chapters have neither status as they are a beginning. The last four books of the Torah follow four blank lines and are considered a beginning.
The Shulchan Oruch Y.D. #272:4 says that when one writes the final words of the Torah, he should space the writing so that the final three words "l'einei kol Yisroel" are the only words written on the last line, that they should be on the bottom line of the final column, and that there should be space left at the end of the line (of at least nine Yud-width spaces). The Pis'chei Teshuvoh s.k. #4 brings the opinion of the T'shuvos B'eir Sheva #67 that if the words "l'einei kol Yisroel" end at the far left of the line, leaving no space, the sefer Torah is rendered not kosher. This needs clarification since there is seemingly no reason for this lack of spacing to invalidate the Torah since there is no writing afterwards for this lack of space to change its status. Indeed, the Rambam does not mention this as one of the twenty things that invalidate a Torah.
Possibly, there is a school of thought other than the Rambam's and we should not consider Breishis as the beginning of the Torah with nothing preceding it. So as to not have an end to the Torah, it can be viewed as a continuum, the end running into the beginning. This would explain the need for specific spacing before the word Breishis. This is the space after the last words of the Torah, and if there is no space, this would be a case of not having a space where required, which the Rambam does mention as something that invalidates the Torah.
The final letter of the Torah is a Lamed and the first is a Beis. These two letters spell the word "leiv." If we consider the Torah a continuum as just mentioned, then the Lamed appears earlier to the right and the Beis to the left. When studying Torah books in their original Loshon Hakodesh, one reads from right to left as he proceeds. Only when one reviews does he look to the right. A wise person knows that to retain the information that he has studied, he must continually review. This might be the meaning of the verse "Leiv chochom limino" (Koheles 10:2), a wise man looks to the right to review, just as the word "leiv," spelled Lamed-Beis indicates looking back to the end of the Torah before proceeding from the beginning.
Continuing with the theme of the beginning of the Torah being a continuum of the end, the gemara Megiloh 9a relates that king Ptolmy segregated 72 Jewish elders and demanded that they each write the exact text of the Torah. Hashem put into the mind of each of them to change certain words so that Ptolmy should not scoff at the Torah. The first change was "Breishis boro Elokim," which they changed to "Elokim boro breishis," so that Ptolmy should not incorrectly say that a being called "breishis" ch"v created Elokim. Since there is no matter which is not hinted to in the Torah, possibly this event is alluded to in the last words and the first words of the Torah. "L'einei kol Yisroel breishis boro Elokim" - In front of the eyes of bnei Yisroel the words of the Torah should appear as "Breishis boro Elokim." However for Ptolmy who is not of the bnei Yisroel, "YoShoR AL breishis boro Elokim" - Do not write the words "Breishis boro Elokim" in the straight order. The word YiSRAeL is spelled Yud-Sin-Reish-Alef-Lamed, which when split after the Reish can spell the words YoShoR AL.
It seems that the word form "electric" was used by the Rambam. He writes in his commentary on the mishnoh Keilim 2:8 that the wick that is placed into a lantern is a bit of cloth that is soaked in either ELECTRON or oil.
The Zeicher Dovid says that it should be done right after her birth. Others wait until after she is thirty days old, while others give a name only on Shabbos. See the responsa of the Rashb"a 4:30 who deals with this matter.
1) The first night of Pesach (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #21)
2) Chanukah (Breishis Rabboh 22:4)
3) Shovuos (Breishis Rabboh 22:4)
4) Rosh Hashonoh (Zohar Chodosh page 33b)
1) This incident took place on day they were born. (Yalkut Reuveini in the name of the Medrash Plioh)
I don't know how this opinion will explain the words of our verse "Va'y'hi mi'keitz yomim."
2) Fifty days old (Breishis Rabboh 22:4)
3) At the end of their fortieth year (Medrash Tanchumo #9)
4) When they were 100 years old (Ibn Ezra's text of the Medrash Tanchuma #9)
The Holy Zohar on parshas Vayishlach, pages 168a-b gives us an alternate calculation for King Dovid's 70 years. He says that Avrohom should have lived for 180 years just as his son Yitzchok did, but he gave 5 years away for King Dovid. Yaakov should have lived for 175 years, as did Avrohom, but he only lived 147 years since he gave away 28 years. Yoseif should have lived for 147 years as did his father Yaakov, but he gave away 37 years. These three donations add up to the 70 years of King Dovid's life. He adds that the majority of Dovid's years was donated by Yoseif because both he and Yoseif were kings.
A careful reading of Rashi's commentary on the words in T'hilim 90:4, "Ki elef shonim b'einecho k'yom esmol" indicates that he is in agreement with the second opinion mentioned in the Holy Zohar.
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