Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS BO 5767 - BS"D

1) Ch. 10, v. 2: "U'l'maan t'sapper b'oznei bincho u'ven bincho" - Why will this plague be one that will be recounted to later generations more so than any of the other plagues?

2) Ch. 10, v. 21: "Vihi choshech al eretz Mitzroyim" - The Medrash Tanchuma on our parsha #1 and the M.R. 14:1 bring the verse in T'hilim 105:28, "Sholach choshech va'yachashich V'LO MORU es dvoro," saying that it refers to the plague of darkness. There are different opinions as to who "V'LO MORU." One opinion is that V'LO MORU means "and they did not accept as master," l'ka'beil MORUS, referring to the Egyptians, and thus they deserved to be punished with the plague of darkness. The more common translation of V'LO MORU is "and they did not rebel," and the verse tells us that the angels who were to bring the darkness did not rebel against Hashem. Why should I think that they would rebel?

3) Ch. 11, v. 2: "V'yishalu klei chesef uchlei zohov" - And they shall borrow vessels of silver and vessels of gold - Since this will take place in tandem with the smiting of the first-born is this not a violation of the rule "Ein odom meis umsha'leim" (gemara Ksubos 33b) - one is not subject to a double punishment of both being put to death and paying? If you will attempt to answer this by saying that this rule does not apply to the Egyptians, this is not so. Tosfos on the gemara A.Z. 71b d.h. "ben Noach" says that this rule applies to everyone.

4) Ch. 11, v. 6: "V'hoysoh tz'okoh g'doloh asher komoHU lo ni'h'yosoh v'chomoHU lo sosif" - We find a clash of genders among the words "tz'okoh, g'doloh, komoHU, ni'h'yosoh, v'chomoHU," and "sosif," the upper case letter stressing the male form.

5) Ch. 12, v. 42: "LEIL shimurim hu ...... hu haLAYLOH ha'zeh" - What is the difference between LEIL and the more common LAYLOH?

ANSWERS:

#1

Rabbeinu Bachyei answers that after the prayers of Moshe that the locust be removed, there has remained for all future generations a phenomenon that locust no longer enter the land of Egypt, even when they are great in number and are prevalent in neighbouring countries. Even if a few fly off course and enter the air space of Egypt, they will consume nothing. This is something concrete we can relate to our children during later generations. All the other plagues have left no visible sign for generations.

#2

1) Because the darkness was not in the original master plan of the creation of the world, and a departure from that is not readily followed by the angels

2) The angels might have been reluctant since they knew that 4/5ths of the bnei Yisroel would die during this plague

3) The angels added darkness to the darkness that Hashem had already decreed as indicated by "choshech va'yachashich," but this was not considered deviating from Hashem's command as there was an indication from Hashem that He wanted them to add to the darkness by his first asking them if the Egyptians deserved it (Beis haLevi)

4) The Medrash says that ALL the angels agreed, and this included the arch angel of Egypt as well, whom we might have thought would not cooperate.

A most interesting antecedent of "v'lo moru" is the bnei Yisroel, who did not rebel against Hashem's word. The Ksav Sofer explains this with the words of verse 23, "V'lo komu ish mitachtov." Rashi explains that the darkness was of such an intensity that it had denseness and the Egyptians were not able to move. This presented an ideal opportunity for the bnei Yisroel to not only "ask" for items from the Egyptians, but also to make a quick exit. Remember that they had experienced over the last ten or eleven months a most ambivalent Paroh, changing his mind numerous times, even after promising to let the bnei Yisroel leave. Yet they had the self-control to wait for the time that Hashem designated, the day of the fifteenth of Nison, after the devastating plague of the smiting of the firstborn. Yoseif had told them to not force the exodus before its time, "Pokode yifkode Elokim es'chem v'he'eloh es'chem min ho'oretz hazose" (Breishis 50:25). This was the "v'lo moru es dvoro" of the bnei Yisroel. (MVRHRH"G Rabbi Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l makes a similar point regarding the bnei Yisroel not leaving during the night of the smiting of the firstborn even though Paroh clearly told Moshe that the bnei Yisroel should leave immediately during the night. Yet they waited for the morning as per Hashem's command.)

The Holy Admor of Satmar answers a question with these words of the Ksav Sofer. Indeed, why was the archangel of the Egyptians agreeable to have his people smitten with the plague of darkness? He answers that since this angel knew that the bnei Yisroel would have a wonderful opportunity to leave Egypt unhindered during the plague, he was sure that they could not restrain themselves and would leave early, resulting in catastrophic results, as we find happened to the 32,000 bnei Efrayim who left early. He therefore agreed. To his great shock the bnei Yisroel were also "v'lo moru es d'voro."

It might be in place to point out that since the exodus from Egypt is a portender for the future final redemption, just as the exodus from Egypt was not to be brought earlier than Hashem's wishes, so also we should not push through our actions to speed up the redemption. The Medrash Tanchuma Dvorim #4 on the words "rav lochem sove es hohor ha'zeh" (Dvorim 2:3) states that Hashem made the bnei Yisroel make three vows (as mentioned in Shis Hashirim 2:7). One was "shelo yidchaku es ha'keitz," that no attempt should be made to FORCE the speeding up of the coming of Moshiach.

#3

1) The Proshas Drochim answers that since the punishment of death was administered by Hashem and not by an earthly court, the death penalty is called "misoh bi'dei Shomayim," and the gemara Ksubos 30b says that although Rabbi Nechunioh ben Hakonoh posits that "misoh bi'dei Shomayim" and monetary payment are not both administered, we rule against him. Indeed, this is the opinion of the Rambam in hilchos g'neivoh 3:2. The Medrash Eliyohu says that this might be the reason the previous verse stresses "ode nega echod OVI," - one more plague I (Hashem) will bring - indicating that it is to be considered "misoh bi'dei Shomayim."

2) It seems that a simple reading of the verses could also alleviate this problem. The bnei Yisroel were asked to BORROW vessels. Thus the removal of these vessels from the Egyptians' homes was not a punishment of payment of property. Later when the Egyptians ran after the bnei Yisroel with their armies, it was an act of war. With the miraculous resounding defeat of the army, which represents the whole country, the bnei Yisroel rightfully kept all items they already had in their hands, besides the new spoils, as booty of war. Thus there weren't two punishments administered.

3) Another answer might emerge through a technical understanding of "ein odom meis umsha'leim" but rather "kum lei bidrabo mi'nei," - one is only given the stricter punishment and not both punishments. This rule only applies when ONE ACT has brought about two punishments, for example, if one were to shoot an arrow and kill someone. The single act of shooting the arrow has caused both damage to the victim's shirt and his death. We only administer the punishment for killing and not for property damages, since both came about through one action, the shooting of the arrow. If one were to rip another's shirt and them kill him, both punishments are administered, as they were two independent actions. The Egyptians were worthy of death for idol worship. Their enslaving the bnei Yisroel, a separate act, brought about their deserving to lose their property as partial payment for enslavement.

4) Alternatively, the rule of only administering one punishment is derived from "k'dei rishosO" (Dvorim 25:2), - as per his evil ACT, in the singular. This ruling came only after the giving of the Torah. Although we say that our forefathers kept the rules of the Torah even before it was given, and we may assume that Hashem did likewise, but outside of Eretz Yisroel Avrohom and Yaakov did not always abide by the Torah if another consideration arose. We can similarly say that since the punishment was administered outside Eretz Yisroel, Hashem prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

#4

1) The Rashbam says that "tz'okoh" is a word that is both male and female in form, and we find that even within one verse the Torah uses both forms (Breishis 32:9).

2) The Ibn Ezra says that "tz'okoh" is female only, and we must add the understood word "shode" or "shever," and understand the verse to say, "which like it, the destruction (male), there never was such shouting (female) as a reaction."

#5

1) The Holy Zohar on parshas T'rumoh pg. 131a says that the first half of the night is called LEIL, while the second half is called LAYLOH. (Possibly we can thus explain the verse in Mishlei 31:17, "To'amoh ki tov sachroh lo yichbeh baLEIL(OH) neiroh." The word is spelled baLEIL, KRI, while read baLEILOH, KSIV. One who sees that his Torah (TOV is Torah) is a good endeavour will not extinguish his light neither in the first half, nor in the second half of the night.)

2) The Rokei'ach says that LEIL is the last part of the night before daybreak, and he brings a proof for this from Yeshayohu 21:11, "Shomer mah miLAYLOH shomer mah miLEIL."

3) He offers another interpretation. LEIL refers to a night during which the moon shines brightly. He brings a proof for this from Yeshayohu 16:3, "Shisi chaLAYIL tzi'leich b'soch tzohoroyim."

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See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights


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