CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS MISHPOTIM 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 21, v. 13: "V'ho'Elokim inoh l'yodo" - Rashi brings the gemara Makos
10b which tells us that although one can escape the judgement of the courts, no
one escapes the judgement of Hashem. If one were guilty of intentional murder
and deserved the death penalty, and another killed someone by accident and
deserved to go into exile into a city of refuge, but there were no witnesses for
either act, then Hashem will bring about circumstances so that these two
people will come together. The one deserving exile to the city of refuge will be
climbing a ladder (either downwards or upwards but the rungs of the ladder sag
as he steps upon them), and the one deserving death for intentional murder
will be below. The man on the ladder will fall upon the murderer in front of
witnesses. The murderer will be killed, thus getting his just punishment, and the
one who fell upon him will now be forced to flee to a city of refuge.
Since the death penalty due a murderer is beheading and someone falling onto
him is a form of stoning, then he received a punishment which was stricter
than he deserved, since the mishnoh Sanhedrin 7:1 (49b) says that stoning is
stricter than beheading. Why is this fair?
2) Ch. 21, v. 30: "IM kofer yushas olov" - Rashi near the end of parshas
Yisro (20:22) brings a Mechilta in the name of Rabbi Yishmoel, that "IM" always
means "IF, R'SHUS," except for the following three places, which are all
requirements: 1) IM mizbach avonim ta'a'seh li (20:22)
2) IM kesef talveh es ami (22:24)
3) IM takriv minchas bikurim (Vayikra 2:14). In these three places, IM means
"when you will do," a requirement. Rashi on our verse says that this "IM"
is not IF, "TOLUY," dependent upon one's choice, but rather a must, as "Im
kesef talveh." This Rashi seems to contradict the Mechilta he himself quoted in
20:22 and 22:24, that there are only three places that "IM" means "as you will
3) Ch. 22, v. 13: "V'nishbar o meis" - Why was the "nishboh," seized,
possibility not mentioned, as it is mentioned in verse 9, when discussing the laws of
the paid guard?
4) Ch. 22, v. 30: "U'vosor BASO'DEH treifoh" - The law of "treifoh" is not
limited to the field. Rashi says that it is a common occurrence for an animal
to be torn asunder in a field. This is one of four places in our parsha where
Rashi says that the specifics of a verse are not limited to that case only,
but a common occurrence is used as an example, "di'beir hakosuv b'hoveh." Rashi
brings two proofs for this concept, from Dvorim 22:27 and 23:11.
The other three places are:
1) 21:28, "V'chi yigach SHOR," not only an ox, but any animal, etc.
2) 22:17, "M'cha'sheifoh lo s'cha'yeh," not only a female witch, but a male
3) "Kol almonoh v'yosom lo s'anun," not only a widow and an orphan, but
Why does Rashi not bring a proof for "di'beir hakosuv b'hoveh" at the
earliest opportunity? Why does he wait until the fourth time this appears in our
parsha? Why aren't the first three cases sufficient proof for "dibeir hakosuv
b'hoveh" for our verse?
5) Ch. 24, v. 6: "Chatzi hadam" - Rashi says that an angel split the amount
of blood EXACTLY in half. The gemara Eruvin 15b and Chulin 28b states that it
is possible for a person to divide something exactly in half. If so, why was
an angel needed?
Answer to questions on parshas Yisro:
1) Ch. 18, v. 4: "V'sheim HO'ECHOD Eliezer" - Why doesn't it say "v'sheim
HASHEINI" as it does in Bmidbar 28:4 "v'es ha'keves HASHEINI?"
1) Since this name incorporates the name of Hashem, "Ki ELOKEI ovi b'ezri,"
just as Hashem is ONE, the expression "the one" is used. (Tosfos Hasholeim)
2) Moshe loved him as if he would have been an only son. (Tosfos Hasholeim)
3) The Medrash Tanchumoh says that Hashem quoted the opinion of Rabbi
Eliezer regarding the acceptable age of the red heifer (poroh adumoh). Moshe heard
this and begged Hashem for Rabbi Eliezer to descend from him. Moshe also had
this in mind when naming this son. Since this specific name was a wish of
Moshe, he is called "the one." (Tosfos Hasholeim)
4) The Mechilta says that Yisro agreed to give his daughter in marriage to
Moshe only on the condition that he not circumcise his first son. Moshe
agreed. Eliezer, however, was circumcised. Therefore he is called "the one." (This
is only according to one opinion in the gemara N'dorim 32a.) When an angel
came to kill Moshe, Tziporoh had Gershom circumcised. This is also the reason
for the Rabbis placing the name Rabbi Eliezer into the first mishnoh of the
chapter that deals with circumcisions, Rabbi Eliezer d'miloh (Shabbos chapter 19).
2) Ch. 18, v. 21: "Sorei alofim ... mayos ... chamishim ... asoros" - Rashi
says that they are 600, 6,000, 12,000, and 60,000. Excluding these
administrators from the count of the remainder, there should have been 600, 5,994,
11,868, and 58,153.
1) The administrators ministered over the lesser administrators. (Rabbi
Yosef Bchor Shor Baal Tosfos)
2) The administrators were all from the tribe of Levi and from the non-Lviim
who were over sixty years old, who were not in the count of the 600,000.
3) The "sorei asoros" administered over nine, not ten, and so on. (Baalei
Tosfos in Hadar Z'keinim)
3) Ch. 19, v. 6: "Eileh hadvorim" - Rashi says, "Exactly these words, no more
and no less." Why is this stressed by the giving of the Torah over any other
prophecy that Moshe was told?
1) Since Moshe realized that the whole purpose of creation was dependent
upon accepting the Torah, and that this would also be the greatest treasure that
is imaginable for a nation to receive, there was a fear that Moshe might
ENHANCE the words of Hashem to entice the bnei Yisroel to accept the Torah. (Emes
2) Moshe was about to become the transmitter of the Torah. It was
absolutely necessary to warn him that he would be deserving of this position only if he
would not alter the word of Hashem by even one iota. (Emes L'Yaakov)
4) Ch. 19, v. 9: "V'gam b'cho yaaminu l'olom" - The Rambam in hilchos Yesodei
haTorah (8:1,2,3) explains how the prophecy of Moshe can never be refuted, as
stated in this verse. The Rambam expounds and expands this idea in his
famous "I'geres Teimon," stating that he who denies in the truth of Moshe's
prophesies, without a doubt his ancestors were not present at the time of the giving
of the Torah. How is it then, that throughout the generations, there were bnei
Yisroel who did not believe in his prophecy? This question is exacerbated
when it applies to someone who was actually at Har Sinai, namely Korach.
1) The Holy Admor of Satmar answers that the non-believers are the "eirev
rav" or their descendants. This does not seem to answer Korach. Perhaps Korach
believed in Torah and Moshe as Hashem's agent, but still he knowingly
campaigned against Moshe's appointment(s).
2) The K'hilas Yaakov answers that one can become a non-believer by studying
5) Ch. 19, v. 13: "HEIMOH yaalu vohor" - Who are the antecedents of the
1) The Ibn Ezra says in the name of Rabbi Shmuel ben Chofni that this was
permission for Aharon and the seventy Elders ONLY, to ascend the mountain. The
rest of the bnei Yisroel were restricted from ascending because of a residual
sanctity that remained on the mountain until the building of the Tabernacle.
2) The Mahari"l Diskin says that it seems to be the opinion of Rabbi Saadioh
Gaon that not only was permission granted for all of the bnei Yisroel to
ascend, but possibly it was even a COMMAND, to indicate that the sanctity had
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