CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS R'EI 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 12, v. 4: "Lo saasun kein laShem Elokeichem" - What exactly is this
2) Ch. 12, v. 5: "Ki im el hamokome" - If the earlier part of this verse, "Lo
saasun kein laShem Elokeichem" refers to the prohibition of destroying the
altar, how do the words "ki im el hamokome" flow?
3) Ch. 12, v. 5: "Ki im el hamokome" - If the earlier part of the verse
refers to the prohibition of erasing Hashem's Holy Name, how do the words "ki im el
4) Ch. 12, v. 5: "Ki im el hamokom asher YIVCHAR" - Why didn't Hashem advise
much earlier in our history where the location of the Beis Hamikdosh would
5) Ch. 15, v. 18: "Lo yiksheh v'ei'necho b'sha'leichacho oso chofshi ..
avodcho sheish shonim" - Do not find it difficult in your eyes when you send him
away free .. he has served you for six years - The master owned this slave for a
maximum of six years only. When sending away an indentured slave who might
have worked for his master as for as long as 49 years (Vayikra 25:10,13) the
Torah does not commensurate with the owner or comfort him by stating that the
servant did what was required of him and that we were likewise slaves in Egypt
and were freed (verses 15 and 18). It would seem that there is a greater need to
mention these concepts there.
Answer to questions on parshas Eikev:
1) Ch. 8, v. 3: "Va'y'ancho va'yari'vecho va'yaachilcho es hamon" - And He
caused you pain and He caused you to hunger and He fed you the manna. How do
these three concepts flow?
1) The bnei Yisroel only derived the pleasure of taste from the manna, but
not the visual pleasure of seeing a variety of food. This was their complaint
"ein kol bilti el hamon eineinu" (Bmidbar 11:6). They considered it as if they
had no food from the monotony of always seeing manna. Similarly we find by
Yitzchok in his old age when he was blind that he requested of Eisov to bring him
food and prepare it. Yitzchok expressed himself, "Va'assei li MATAMIM"
(Breishis 27:4). He said, "Prepare for me something TASTY," as he was blind and was
limited to only the taste enjoyment of food and not the visual enhancement.
(Medrash Hagodol parshas Toldos)
2) And He caused you pain through your difficult journey, as is written in
T'hilim 102:24, "Inoh va'derech kochi." And He caused you to hunger by
restricting you to a kosher diet. Only after stopping to eat non-kosher food are you
ready to imbibe the heaven sent manna (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
3) Alternatively, He caused you to hunger so that you would totally use up
any vestiges of earthly food, and only then would you be ready for the food of
celestial beings, the manna. We find that Moshe in preparation for ascending
to heaven also separated himself from all worldly pursuits including food for
six days, as is written, "Va'y'cha'sehu he'onon sheishes yomim" (Shmos 24:16).
4) He caused you pain and hunger by feeding you manna whose default taste
has the flavour of honey and oil, as is written "V'taamo k'tzapichis biDVOSH"
(Shmos 16:31), and "K'taam l'shad ha'SHO'MEN" (Bmidbar 11:8). The purpose of
this limited diet was to purify you spiritually and to weaken your evil
inclination. (Alshich Hakodosh)
5) He caused you pain and hunger through your lack of security of not having
"bread in your larder." Hashem fed you manna which fell on a daily basis and
if left over from one day to the next would totally spoil (Shmos 16:20).
(Ramban and R"I of Vienna)
6) The manna did not satiate people as it was a light quasi-spiritual food.
This was the complaint of the people when they said "v'nafsheinu kotzoh
ba'lechem haklokeil" (Bmidbar 21:5). This is quite similar to the explanation of the
Alshich Hakodosh in #4. (Ibn Ezra)
7) He caused you pain and hunger by having you enslaved in Egypt and then
having to travel in the desert. People who have suffered these experiences and
deprivations cannot eat the same foods as one who has not gone through these
experiences. A regular diet could be devastating for those with a weakened
constitution. Hashem therefore fed you manna, which is perfectly suited for even
those who are weakened. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
8) It is prohibited to derive benefit from something that was created
through a miracle. This prohibition is lifted, as are most, when there is a need to
use the object to alleviate a danger to one's life. Only because Hashem caused
you pain and hunger and your lives were endangered were you allowed to eat
the manna. (Nachal K'dumim on parshas B'shalach)
9) The gemara Yoma 75a relates that there are seemingly contradicting verses
indicating that the manna fell close to people's homes and far away. Also
there seem to be contradictions in verses regarding how prepared the manna was
for consumption. The gemara answers that according to one's piety, the manna
that was his portion fell and was prepared. If one was very devout, the manna
would fall just outside his home and would be ready for consumption. If one was
sinful the manna fell further away and required grinding, etc. before being
edible. This situation was very fluid, changing daily if someone's level of
mitzvoh observance changed. If someone sinned and his next allotment of manna fell
far away, he was very embarrassed to go far afield to fetch it. Since there
was no saving of manna from one day to the next, he would either have to swallow
his pride and make the long trek for his manna or simply go hungry. Many
opted to go hungry. This is the meaning of "and He caused you pain and hunger."
This concept might be the source for a well-known Yiddish expression: "Men
shtarbt nisht fun hunger. Men shtarbt fun bushoh." No one starves from hunger, only
The Paa'nei'ach Rozo and R"I from Vienna say that these words of our verse
were an indication to Esther to suggest to Mordechai to proclaim a three day
fast and that in that merit they would overpower Homon. "Va'yaancho" on the first
day of the fast, "Va'yari'vecho" on the second day, and on the third day,
"Va'yaachilcho es HOMON." The letters of the word HAMON without their vowels can
be read HOMON.
2) Ch. 8, v. 4: "Simlos'cho lo volsoh mei'o'lecho" - Why didn't their clothes
1) The Ibn Ezra says that there was no miracle of exceptional durability.
The verse means that they had so much clothes with them that they took along
with them when they left Egypt, that they were able to change often and had no
2) Alternatively, he offers that because they ate manna they did not sweat.
This was the cause of their clothes having longevity.
3) The Ramban strongly disagrees with the Ibn Ezra, claiming that even if
one were to place a garment onto a pole and leave it there for a while, it would
deteriorate. Surely in forty years it would be a heap of shreds. Rabbeinu
Bachyei adds that just constant wear for forty years sans sweat would cause
garments to fall apart. The Ramban explains that the verse seems to indicate that
the bnei Yisroel merited having clothes that lasted by virtue of a miracle, in
response to their complying with Hashem's mitzvos.
4) Rashi says that their clothes lasted because the clouds of glory rubbed
(washed) and ironed their clothes.
5) The GR"A in A'deres Eliyohu says that since the bnei Yisroel drank from
the wellspring of Miriam they did not sweat, and the clothes lasted. The Kli
Yokor simply says that they did not sweat. This is alluded to in the word
"mei'o'lecho," referring to something that was upon you, namely sweat.
3) Ch. 10, v. 21: "Hu s'hilos'cho" - He is your praise. What does this mean?
1) All your praise should be of Hashem. (Ramban)
2) Hashem is the cause of your being exalted and praised above all the
nations of the world. (Ramban)
3) Your praise should be directed to Hashem Who is always available to help
you. (Rabbeinu M'yuchos, a Baal Tosfos from Greece)
4) Your praise should be directed to Hashem Who gave you the privilege to be
His servant. (Sforno)
4) Ch. 11, v. 4: "Va'y'ab'deim Hashem ad ha'yom ha'zeh" - The Egyptians who
were drowned are gone forever, not only until "this day," meaning forty years
after the splitting of the Yam Suf.
1) The Ramban answers that these words refer not to the drowned Egyptians,
but rather to their military horses and chariots. Absolutely every military
horses and chariot was sent out in pursuit of the bnei Yisroel, and all were
lost. Thus for a period of forty years the Egyptians had no military might.
2) The Ibn Ezra explains that not only were the warriors who pursued the
bnei Yisroel destroyed, but also all able-bodied men, and their male children who
remained in Egypt. Thus it took forty years until a new generation of adult
Egyptian men developed. The Moshav Z'keinim in parshas Shlach also says that
after the episode of Yam Suf there were no living males left in Egypt.
3) The Sforno says that although there were survivors in Egypt,
nevertheless, the Egyptians were dealt such a devastating blow that they had any vestiges
of courage knocked out of them for forty years.
5) Ch. 11, v. 6: "Va'asher ossoh l'Doson v'laAvirom .. asher potz'soh
ho'oretz es piho vativlo'eim" - Why does the verse mention the earth's swallowing
Doson and Avirom, and not mention the swallowing of the leader of the revolt,
1) Neither Korach nor his 250 followers are mentioned because the Torah is
recollecting happenings unique to the desert, and the death penalty for one who
is not authorized to bring the incense offering applies always. (Ramban)
2) Moshe was ashamed to recount Korach's being swallowed because Korach, a
Levite, was Moshe's relative. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
3) Only Doson and Avirom are mentioned to stress that they had even more
audacity than Korach. They stood arrogantly, "yotzu nitzovim" (Bmidbar 16:27) and
cursed and shamed Moshe. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
4) Doson and Avirom were punished more severely than Korach. Korach's sons
survived (Bmidbar 26:11), and the great personage of the prophet Shmuel was
their descendant. Doson and Avirom's families were totally obliterated. (Ponim
5) Korach at least had a claim to a higher position, as mentioned in Rashi
on Bmidbar 16:1 d.h. "vDoson." Doson and Avirom involved themselves in an
argument that was not theirs, and were thus punished more harshly than even Korach
was. We find the same when Midyon came to the aid of Moav, where Midyon ended
up suffering even greater consequences than Moav. (Daas Yisochor)
6) Korach was in general a peaceful person. Only when egged on by his wife
did he bring himself to quarrel with Moshe. Doson and Avirom were the source
for much discontent numerous times in the past. (Ha'a'meik Dovor - N'tziv)
7) Doson and Avirom were the source for Korach's courage in keeping up his
argument with Moshe. When shove came to push and push came to kick, Korach
might have backed down when challenged by Moshe. A strong indication to this is
that Moshe went to the homes of Doson and Avirom, hoping to dissuade them from
their folly. He did not go to Korach. This shows that Moshe realized that if
Doson and Avirom would back off, then the wind would be blown out of Korach's
sails, and the rebellion would be squelched. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
8) Since Korach's sons had repented and were alive at this time, out of
concern for their feelings Moshe did not mention their father's name. (Med'r'shei
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