CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHIOS MATOS-MASSEI 5773 - BS"D
1) Ch. 30, v. 2: "Zeh hadovor" - THIS is the matter - Rashi (Sifri 2) says that Moshe and other prophets prophesied with the expression "Ko." ADDITIONALLY Moshe prophesied with the expression "zeh hadovor." We must both clarify what the exact difference is between these two expressions and why Moshe used both, while other prophets only used the one. As well, all commentators say that "zeh" is a higher level. If so why would Moshe use "Ko" when he could use "zeh"?
2) Ch. 30, v. 2: "Zeh hadovor" - THIS is the matter - Rashi says that Moshe and other prophets prophesied with the expression "Ko." ADDITIONALLY, Moshe prophesied with the expression "zeh hadovor." One would have thought that this most important point of information would be conveyed to us either at the beginning of Moshe's career as a prophet (according to those who posit that he had this level immediately), or at least at the receiving of the Torah. Why does the Torah wait until specifically this point to give us this information?
3) Ch. 31, v. 8: "V'es Bilom ben B'ore horgu becho'rev" - And Bilom the son of B'ore THEY killed with the sword - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel gives us a lengthy account of how Bilom was killed by Pinchos. Bilom made use of a negative spiritual power to propel himself and others who were attempting to escape the bnei Yisroel, into the air. Pinchos took flight after him by using the power of a Holy Name. When he caught up to Bilom, Bilom pleaded with him to be spared, and he would onwards only sing the praises of the bnei Yisroel. Pinchos refused, saying that Bilom was the cause of much sinning and death. He then killed Bilom with a sword. What remains to be explained is the plural form "horgu," THEY killed, as it was only Pinchos.
4) Ch. 33, v. 4: "Asher hiKo Hashem bohem kol bchor" - That Hashem smote in them every first-born - What is the intention of "bo'hem?"
5) Ch. 33, v. 7: "Va'yisu
va'yoshov" - And THEY traveled
and HE returned - Why the change from plural to singular?
1) "Ko" is a general idea, not exact wordage, open to the expressions and semantics used by the individual prophet. Moshe also used "zeh," meaning exact wordage. At the beginning of his career Hashem communicated with him with a "Ko" prophecy in parshas Shmos (3:14,15 - 4:22), and as well the verse (3:2) says that a "malach" appeared to him, meaning a go between, i.e. a lower level prophecy, in parshas Vo'eiro we also find "Ko" (7:17,26 - 8:8 - 9:1,13), and in parshas Bo (10:3 - 11:4) when being told to or actually talking to Paroh. Later he graduated to only use "zeh." A "zeh" prophecy is called "aspaklaria ha'm'iro." (Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi)
2) The choice of terms depends upon level of the one to whom the prophecy is to be transmitted by the prophet. (Malbim)
3) The choice of terms depends upon difficulty of the subject, so if a visual aid is needed, such as "sh'chitoh," then "zeh" is used, based on the maxim that "zeh" indicates that something is being shown. (B'eir Baso'deh)
4) In total disagreement with Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi, any prophecy to any prophet is always with exact words, just like "KO s'vorachu" (Bmidbar 6:23). Are we to say that by prefacing the priestly blessing with "Ko" the Koanim have leeway to use the words of their choice in their blessing? Of course not! The difference is that when the word of Hashem is actively being transmitted, a live broadcast, "sh'chinoh m'da'be'res mitoch grono," then "zeh" is used, but if it is a "tape recording" (exact words however), then "Ko" is used. This does not explain why this or that is used at different times. (Eimek haN'tzi"v)
5) "Ko" is used when a prophecy of temporary relevancy is being given, i.e. talk to Paroh, talk to Aharon and tell him to accompany you, fight Sichon, etc. This is a NEW happening in the world, as it is a prophecy, but it has no permanence, as it is for the situation at hand, the need of the present time. This is a lesser message, as it comes to an end. A prophecy to transmit a parsha of Torah laws is PERMANENCE. This deserves "zeh." (Mahara"l in Gur Aryeh)
MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l answers that since the Torah gives us the laws of oaths here, we see the power of a human creating "mitzvos" so to say, that must be fulfilled with the stringency of Torah law. The improper concept of thinking that possibly Moshe used his own imagination and wisdom to give us what he perceived as proper behaviour might creep into our minds. It is therefore essential at this point to inform us that Moshe received and transmitted Hashem's message in a perfect unadulterated manner, on the level of ZEH HADOVOR.
Possibly, since there was an army of numerous people, we credit all the people with killing him. However, Yalkut Shimoni gives another version of what happened. Bilom saw Pinchos closing in on him and he spread out his hands and took flight through the use of a Holy Name. Pinchos flew up into the air after him. Pinchos caught up with Bilom as he was prostrating himself in front of the Holy Throne of Hashem. Pinchos placed the "tzitz," the head adornment worn by the Koein Godol, on Bilom, grabbed him, and lowered him back to earth. Bilom was brought in front of Moshe and a court was convened, which ruled that he was deserving of death, and the verdict was carried out by the members of the court. This explains the plural "horgu."
The medrash says that the firstborn came to their fathers and others to immediately emancipate the bnei Yisroel before they would be struck by "makas b'choros." Those who were not b'chorim refused and the firstborn started warring with them and killed many, many of them. "Bohem" could be telling us this. "Bohem" means "within them." From within their own ranks Hashem brought about death, that of the firstborn killing the others, besides the firstborn later being killed through the plague. (n.l.)
1) When they came back to pi hachiros they did so in unity, with a united heart, totally trusting Moshe. (Baal Haturim)
2) They followed Hashem's direction of travel. It is as if Hashem went there. (Yalkut Med'r'shei Teimon)
3) The cloud of glory went there. (Abarbanel)
There were seven clouds, so why is this in the single form?
4) It is the practice of the verses to begin in plural and end in singular. (Rabbeinu Myuchos)
Even though Rabbeinu Myuchos offers this novel insight, it seems to be problematic right here, as the verse does not end in the singular form. It goes on to say "va'yachaNU lifnei Migdol."
A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH. FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY.
FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. TO SUBSCRIBE, KINDLY SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM
See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh
V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights