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 CHUKAS 5768 - BS"D

1) Ch. 20, v. 8: "V'dibartem el ha'sela l'ei'nei'hem" - And you shall speak towards the stone in front of their eyes - What should Moshe say?

2) Ch. 20, v. 14: "Melech Edom" - King of Edom - The verse does not tell us his name, while it does tell us that the Emorite king was Sichon and the Boshonite king was Og. Why?

3) Ch. 20, v. 17: "Derech ha'melech neileich" - On the kings highway we will go - In the next verse Edom responds that he gives no permission to pass through. In the verse after that the bnei Yisroel give a counter-offer, to travel only on the path, "bamsiloh." What is the give and take?

4) Ch. 20, v. 19: "V'im mei'mecho nishteh ani umiknai v'nosati michrom" - And if we will drink of your waters I and my cattle I will pay their cost - Didn't Moshe just state that the bnei Yisroel would not consume any water in verse 17?

5) Ch. 21, v. 33: "Va'yeitzei Og lamilchomoh" - And Og went out to the war - When Sichon went out to do battle against the bnei Yisroel, the verse says "Va'yilochem b'Yisroel" (verse 23), - he actually engaged in war, while here it only says that Sichon "went out to the war." Why the difference?

ANSWERS:

#1

The M.R. 19:9 says that he was commanded to say an halachic dissertation. The N'tzi"v offers 2 explanations of this medrash. One is that with Moshe's telling over words of Torah to all of the bnei Yisroel he would re-enact the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai, as the words that would emanate from his throat would be on the level of Hashem Himself communicating, "sh'chinoh m'da'be'res mitoch grono shel Moshe." When the giving of the Torah took place there was a supernatural flow of water, as related in Shoftim 5:5, "af ovim notfu mayim." Here too, this activity would bring about an abundant flow of water.

Alternatively, he offers that anytime there is a congregation of bnei Yisroel learning the Torah it creates a Celestial influence of happenings that are not restricted by nature, so water would abundantly flow even from a dry rock in the middle of the desert.

Rabbi Eliyohu Kanarek shlit"a, Rosh Yeshivas Ohr Ha'meir, offers that when the bnei Yisroel are in a position that there is no visible means of sustenance, lacking even the most minimal of items, drinking water, if one totally immerses himself into Torah study, Hashem will surely provide.

#2

1) Ramban offers that the kings who were famous for their valour had their names mentioned. The king of Edom was relatively mediocre.

2) Perhaps we can answer this question based on the Baal Haturim who writes that Og wasn't the specific name of a king, but rather the name given to every king of Boshon. This might be true of the name Sichon as well. Since this was a permanent name, the Torah mentions it, as it does Paroh of Egypt.

#3

1) Edom responded that if the bnei Yisroel travel on a very broad thoroughfare there is a real fear that as a well assembled group they might wage war with Edom. Therefore the bnei Yisroel responded that they would travel only on a narrow path, which does not physically allow for a large group of people to be assembled in one area, but rather only in single file. This removes all concern. In spite of this Edom refused (verse 20). (Da'mesek Eliezer)

2) Alternatively, the gemara K'subos says that if a person signed as a witness on a writ of sale of a certain property he cannot later claim that the sale was not valid, even if he personally does not gain from the sale not being valid. Although Edom left Eretz Yisroel, he did not want to allow the bnei Yisroel direct passage to their land. This would be akin to agreement that it is their land. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)

This might be the intention of the words "pen ba'cherev eitzei likro'secho" (verse 18). These words seem most puzzling. If Edom was saying no, and was threatening to fight the bnei Yisroel if they entered their land, why not state straightforwardly "ba'cherev eitzei"? Why the word "pen"? They were saying that one day in the future they might want to reclaim the land, when the bnei Yisroel might ch"v not have sufficient merit. At this point in time Edom was afraid to lay claim to Eretz Yisroel. The bnei Yisroel responded that they would travel byways and not highways. When traveling by highway they would pass through quickly and not come in contact with people who sell water (before the days of HoJos). When traveling on narrow local roads they would move much, much slower, thus requiring drink on the way, and also being in contact with local people who live on the sides of the road. This would negate the claim that Edom acknowledged that the bnei Yisroel have a right to the land by accommodating them to travel directly there. Edom could claim that they did this to generate the high profit sale of water to throat-parched travelers. (Nirreh li)

#4

1) These words clarify what he stated earlier. It is obvious that the bnei Yisroel would need water during the time that they would traverse Edom. Moshe meant that they would not drink it without payment, as explained in this verse. (Rabbi Yoseif B'chor Shor)

2) Perhaps we can say that there is not even a seeming contradiction in Moshe's words. In verse 17 he stated that the bnei Yisroel would not drink WELL WATER. Here he is discussing other waters.

#5

This can be explained with the gemara Brochos 54b. Og literally lifted a mountain off the ground and rested it upon his head, readying himself to lower it upon the complete encampment of the bnei Yisroel ch"v. The mountain ended up coming down upon his head and while he was confounded Moshe overcame him with a sword. While Sichon actually waged war. Og only went out to do war. He was stopped dead in his tracks before even one projectile was thrown at the bnei Yisroel. (Divrei Avrohom)


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