CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS EIKEV 5769 - BS"D
1) Ch. 7, v. 14: "Lo yi'h'yeh v'cho okor vaakoroh" - There will not be within you a non-reproductive man or woman - There is a disagreement in the gemara between Rabbi Yonoson and Rabbi Yashioh if a prefix letter Vov can sometimes be translated as OR, rather than always meaning AND. According to the opinion that this Vov must always mean AND, why does our verse say "Vaakoroh" rather than "O akoroh?"
2) Ch. 7, v. 15: "Lo y'simom boch unsonom b'chol so'necho" - He will not place them in you and He will give them to your enemies - These words seem to indicate that disease must be given to someone, and Hashem tells us that when we fulfill our responsibilities we will avoid these sicknesses. However, why does the verse mention that they will be given to others?
3) Ch. 8, v. 9: "Eretz asher avo'nehoh varzel" - The simple understanding of these words is that the rock's of the land CONTAIN iron, but not that the rocks are 100% iron. If so, why doesn't the verse say, "asher B'avo'nehoh varzel?"
4) Ch. 9, v. 15: "Ushnei luchos habris" - And two tablets of the covenant - Why in verse 17 are they only called "shnei luchos," but not "habris"?
5) Ch. 9, v. 23,24: "Vatamru es pi Hashem v'lo he'emantem lo v'lo shma'tem b'kolo, Mamrim he'yi'sem IM Hashem" - And you have rebelled against the word of Hashem and you have not had faith in Him and you have not hearkened to His voice, You have been rebellious WITH Hashem - Should the verse not have said that you were deniers OF Hashem?
The Mahari"l Diskin explains that we can translate the prefix letter Vov of "Vaakoroh" as AND, "There will not be within you a non-reproductive man AND woman." A non-reproductive man will not marry a non-reproductive woman. However, if only one of the marriage partners has this problem it can be alleviated through prayer, as "t'filoh o'soh machatzeh," prayer accomplishes half (see Rashi on our parsha 9:20). Would a non-reproductive man marry a non-reproductive woman even prayer would not help. It would seem that the Mahari"l Diskin would have to admit that the prayers of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs went beyond this restriction.
The Abarbanel says a startling "chidush." The world would be overburdened by the need to supply sustenance to an endless number of people. It is therefore necessary to have plagues and other catastrophes to wipe out large numbers of people so that the earth's resources can support the needs of a smaller population. If this is so, why didn't Hashem either create a world that produces even more resources, or set up a system where reproduction would not be as prolific, rather than having people born only to die in a plague or the like?
Tosfos on the gemara K'subos 112a d.h. Rabbi Chaninoh says that when the Rabbis would travel to Eretz Yisroel and had come close to the border, they would lift rocks to determine if they had entered the Holy Land. If the mass/weight ratio of the rocks was normal, they knew that they were still outside Eretz Yisroel. If the rocks were unusually heavy for their size, they knew that they had entered Eretz Yisroel. This is a fulfillment of the verse in T'hilim 102:15, "Ki rotzu avo'decho es avo'nehoh." This phenomenon is alluded to in the words of our verse, "Eretz asher avo'neho VARZEL." (based on Chumash Medrash Halacha by Rabbi Yechiel Michel Stern shlit"a)
This is because when Moshe descended from the mountain the words were still upon the tablets, but after seeing that the golden calf was made the letters flew off the tablets, they were no longer "two tablets of the covenant," but only "two tablets." (Bikurei Oviv)
Verse 23 recounts the sin of sending the spies and believing their negative reports to the point that they were reluctant to enter Eretz Yisroel. Commentators explain that the spies and the masses had mistaken spiritual calculations in wanting to remain in the desert. Thus we have the bnei Yisroel WITH Hashem, with mistaken spiritual reckonings.
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