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 NOSSO 5768 - BS"D

1) Ch. 5, v. 6: "Limol maal baShem" - Why not "umo'al maal" in the past tense, just as we find in Vayikra 5:21, "u'mo'aloh maal," where it discusses the same situation of one who has stolen and upon being apprehended has sworn that he has not stolen (gemara B.K. 110a)?

2) Ch. 5, v. 8: "V'im ein lo'ish go'eil l'hoshiv ho'oshom eilov" - Rashi says, "When the thief who swore falsely relents and admits that he has sinned." What is Rashi pointing out that is not apparent in the verse itself?

3) Ch. 5, v. 28: "V'im lo nit'm'oh ho'ishoh u't'horoh hee v'niksoh v'niz'roh zora" - These words teach us that if the suspected "sotoh" is found to be not guilty, not only may she remain with her husband, but she will also receive a blessing in the realm of bearing children, as per the gemara Sotoh 26a. The M.R. 9:9, Tanchuma #6, and Yalkut Shimoni at the end of remez #705 relate the following: A man was suspicious of his wife's activities with another man after she had gone into seclusion with him. He warned her not to repeat this, but she took no heed and repeated her improper actions. As required by halacha, he started his trip to Yerusholayim with his wife, to have her tested by drinking the dreaded "bitter sotoh water." It was a lengthy trip, and the woman's sister lived in a community that was on the way to Yerusholayim. They stopped there for overnight lodging. When the two sisters had some privacy, the host sister asked her visiting sister the purpose of the visit, as it was not the season for the holiday pilgrimage to the Holy City. Her sister responded that she was on her way to be tested with the "sotoh" water. The host sister asked if she was indeed guilty, to which she responded in the affirmative.

The host sister suggested a most novel scheme. Since they were extremely similar in appearance, she offered to switch clothes with her errant sister and pretend to be the "sotoh." The guilty sister readily agreed, realizing that she would otherwise be put to the test and have only two options, to admit her guilt and be divorced and sent away in shame with no financial support, or to drink the waters and risk death.

The ruse worked and the imposter was not caught by her sister's husband. She drank the waters, suffering no negative affects, and happily started the trip homeward. They once again stopped at the home of the sister, and when the guilty one stepped out of the house to greet her sister who had saved her life, they embraced and kissed each other on the lips. A bit of the flavour of the "mei sotoh" still lingered in the imposter's throat and entered the mouth of the guilty sister. There was an immediate reaction. The adulteress's body started to swell and she died shortly thereafter, having received the ultimate kiss of death.

Now to the question: Since the imposter sister was not guilty of adultery does she receive the blessing of this verse, or does it only apply to the woman who actually went into seclusion and received a warning from her husband not to do it again and secluded herself again, against her husband's warning?

4) Ch. 6, v. 9: "V'chi yomus meis olov b'fesa pisom" - We find in verse 11 that the bird offering that the Nozir is required to bring for become defiled is a sin atonement offering, "v'chi'per olov mei'asher choto al hano'fesh." What sin has the Nozir committed by becoming defiled in this situation of "yomus meis olov b'fesa pisom?" Why is he responsible for something that is beyond his control?

5) Ch. 7, v. 89: "Vayishma es hakole mi'da'beir eilov mi'bein shnei hakruvim" - And he heard the voice as it spoke to itself from between the two cherubs - We find that Rashi deals with the seeming contradiction between verses as to from where the voice of Hashem came to Moshe. He (Sifri 7:162) explains that the voice came down from heaven to the area between the two "kruvim," and from there it went to Ohel Mo'eid, where Moshe heard Hashem's voice.

It seems that these words of Rashi are based on the words "mi'bein shnei hakruvim" of our verse. If so, why did Rashi explain this first in d.h. "u'v'vo Moshe" before he went on to explain the word "mi'da'beir," which appears earlier in the verse?

ANSWERS:

#1

The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that by using the future tense the verse teaches us that when a person steals and knows that he might later be apprehended he has already decided in his mind that he is ready to deny, even with an oath, that he stole. Perhaps it is pointed out here and not earlier in parshas Vayikra since our verse discusses "viduy," confession. When confessing a sin one must understand the full depth of the sin, in this case that at the time of the theft he has already decided that he is ready to swear falsely.

#2

Rabbi Moshe Berdugo in "Rosh Mashbir" explains that we might have thought that the ruling of this verse that the stolen object goes to the Kohein applies to any case where a person steals from a convert who has no heirs, and the thief wants to make amends and return the stolen object, but since the convert is no longer alive it goes to the Kohein. However, this is not so. In such a case the thief may keep it, as is the ruling when a convert who leaves no heirs dies, whoever gets possession of his property first owns it. Rashi tells us that the ruling of giving the object to the Kohein applies only when the thief has sworn falsely when the convert was still alive and upon relenting and wanting to return it, finds that the convert has died and has left no one to inherit him. (Chomas Anoch - Chid"o)

#3

The Pnei Dovid (Chid"o) in the name of Eitz Hachaim page 73 says that even an imposter gets the blessing as it is the automatic result of "mayim k'doshim" (5:17).

#4

We find at times that an evil person being in the proximity of a righteous person highlights the sins of the evil person. This was expressed by Lote in Breishis 19:19, "Pen tidbokani horo'oh vomati," as explained there by Rashi. We find the same by the widow in M'lochim 1:17:18, "Bosso eilai l'hazkir es avoni u'l'homis es bni." By virtue of a person taking upon himself abstinence as a "nozir' he has greatly sanctified himself, as we find that he is called "kodosh" in verse 5. He is therefore partially to blame for the death of those who come in contact with him, as he highlights their shortcomings. (Toldos Yitzchok)

#5

Perhaps because Rashi's answer includes an explanation of "el Ohel Mo'eid," indicating that Moshe heard the voice in Ohel Mo'eid, and these words appear in the verse before "mi'da'beir," Rashi is actually commenting on the words of our verse in order.

The Moshav Z'keinim says that the voice of Hashem traveled a total of 7 stations until it was heard by Moshe, from Hashem to "chayos," to "malach," to Ohel Mo'eid, to the Holy Ark, to the Holy Tablets, to the "kaporres," to the cherubs. The Moshav Z'keinim adds that if the voice traveled from inside the Ark to the cherubs, we must say that there were openings in the "kaporres." This is most puzzling, as we must assume that the voice traveled supernaturally, as it emanated from the heavens and came to earth. If so, it could travel from inside the Ark through the "kaporres" without being muffled even if there were no openings in the "kaporres."

It also seems that the Moshav Z'keinim does not agree with Rashi's answer to the contradiction, as he states that Ohel Mo'eid was the third stop along the way, and not that the voice went from between the "kruvim" to Ohel Mo'eid.

An allusion to the 7 stations that Hashem's voice traveled might be indicated in chapter 29 of T'hilim, where it says "kole Hashem" 7 times.

While on the subject of hearing a voice that comes from a great distance, the Ohr Zorua in his commentary on the gemara Eiruvin 43a (siman #147) writes that a "shin-dalet" spoke from Sura to another "shin-dalet" in Pumbadisa through a long hollow reed. Perhaps this was the forerunner of fibre-optic communication.


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


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