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 SHMOS 5768 - BS"D

1) Ch.1, v. 7: "U'vnei Yisroel poru va'yish'r'tzu va'yaatzmu Bim'ode m'ode" - The letter Beis in the word "Bim'ode" seems superfluous.

2) Ch. 2, v. 2: "Vatitz'p'neihu" - And she hid him - In parshas v'Zose Habrochoh we have the words "usfu'nei t'mu'nei chole" (Dvorim 33:19). Rashi explains this to mean "and it is covered that which is hidden in the sand." Two verses later we have "chelkas m'chokeik sofun." Rashi explains this to mean the same, "the burial plot of the statute giver (Moshe) is covered and hidden." We thus find three words, two of which are phonetically the same, and the third, very similar in sound, "sofun" with the letter Sin, "sofun" with the letter Samach, and Tzofun, with the letter Tzadi (TheSyrian pronunciation of a Tzadi is virtually the same as a Sin or Samach in Ashkenazic pronunciation and all three are identical in sound, homonyms.) What are the nuances of difference among these three words?

3) Ch. 2, v. 14: "MI somCHo l'iSH ha'l'horgeini atoh omeir" - Who gave you a position of authority are you saying to kill me - Rashi says that from the words "atoh omeir" we derive that one of the combatants told Moshe that he knew of Moshe's previously killing an Egyptian through talking, by invoking Hashem's Holy Name. What Holy Namw was invoked?

4) Ch. 3, v. 22: "V'samtem al bneichem" - Why weren't they allowed to make use of the garments for themselves, and told to only dress their children?

5) Ch. 4, v. 25: "Tzore" - Chizkuni offers that this word either means a sharp instrument, or a stone, from the word source "tzur." If Tziporoh indeed used a stone why do we today use a steel blade?

ANSWERS:

#1

1) The Holy Admor Rabbi Moshe Leib Erblich of Sassov answers that once the bnei Yisroel multiplied exponentially, as indicated in the earlier part of the verse, they lost their feelings of being aliens in Egypt and their self stature grew. To combat this, "va'yaatzmu B'm'ode m'ode," they strengthened themselves greatly IN "m'ode m'ode he'vei shfal ruach" (Pirkei Ovos 4:4).

2) The Chasam Sofer in his Droshos volume 1, page 107 explains the seemingly superfluous letter Beis as follows: The gemara Brochos 54a explains the word "m'o'decho" in the verse "V'ohavto eis Hashem Elokecho ....... u'v'chol m'o'decho" (Dvorim 6:5), to mean that one should love Hashem to the point that he is willing to give up all his monetary possessions in Hashem's service. Applying this translation here, the Chasam Sofer says that our verse tells us that the bnei Yisroel strengthened greatly IN acquiring a vast amount of financial wealth. They then had free time to enter the Egyptian theaters and circuses, as mentioned in the Yalkut Shimoni remez #2. He adds that once this happened, the verse concludes "vatimo'lei ho'oretz osom," the coarse physicality, the "artzius," of Egypt entered into the bnei Yisroel (read "vat'ma'lei").

#2

Perhaps we can say as follows: The least hidden is the word "tzofun," as we find that Moshe was hidden, but obviously not hidden for posterity. His mother hoped that he would be found and somehow saved from the cruel decree. Similarly, we find "Moh rav tuvcho asher tzofanto l'rei'echo" (T'hilim 31:20). The reward is hidden, only to be later brought out and awarded to those who fear Hashem. Tzofun on the night of the Seder is likewise an item that is hidden, only to be taken out at the end of the Seder.

"Sofun" with the letter Sin might mean more hidden than "tzofun." The items hidden in the depths of the sea and the sea-bed will stay there forever, unless someone goes fishing or dredging, but when it is pursued, it becomes uncovered.

"Sofun" with a Samach might mean hidden, with no possibility of being found. This was the case with Moshe's burial plot. Even those who attempted to find it were not successful.

These differences might well be carried through in the actual configuration of a Samech, a Tzadi, and a Sin. It might well be appropriate to spell Moshe's burial spot being hidden with a Samach, since the configuration of a Samach is a complete circle. It thus totally encircles that which is within.

The letter Sin has two almost closed inner spaces, indicative of being hidden, but with the possibility of being uncovered, as is the case with items hidden in the depths of the sea. The letter Tzadi has one almost closed inner space, and one wide- open inner space, indicative of being hidden, but with the intention of being brought out into the open, as is the case with Moshe's being hidden among the reeds, reward set aside for the world-to-come, and the Afikomon. (Nirreh li)

#3

1) Kav Ha'yoshor chapter #90 writes that the Holy Name Moshe used was spelled Yud-Kof-Shin, the final letters of "MI somCHo l'iSH." When Moshe was worried and responded "ochein noda hadovor," - indeed it has become known - his worry wasn't that there was knowledge of his having killed an Egyptian, but rather, that the use of Hashem's Holy Name became known and might be invoked by others. (Chid"o in Dvash L'fi)

2) There is an opinion mentioned in the writings of the Ari z"l that the letters Tof-Kof-Hei, "ta'keh," were invoked.

#4

1) Tiferes Tzion answers that Rashi in parshas Eikev says that the clothing they took with them from Egypt miraculously grew with them as they became bigger, similar to the shell of a tortoise. Had the adults donned the adult clothing this would not have been noticed. By placing the clothing on their children they took note of its miraculously shrinking to the children's size and then as the children grew, another miracle, that the clothes grew larger with them.

2) I heard that this was because the styles and cuts of the clothing the Egyptians wore were immodest, being cut too short. Thus the clothing was only appropriate for children who were smaller than the adults.

#5

1) Chizkuni says that she suddenly found herself having to do a circumcision and just took whatever was available, a sharp stone.

2 Yoreh Dei'oh #264 says that it is preferable to use a steel blade. The Prishoh #7 writes that this is based on the medrash, which says that when Dovid shot a rock at Golias it was directed at his head and would have been deflected by his steel helmet. The angel of steel agreed to forego the normal strength of steel in the helmet and allow the stone to penetrate provided that the angel of stone would agree to forego the merit of using a sharp stone for circumcision and allowing steel to always be used. We see from this that until that time stone was used, and from this point onwards we should specifically use steel. (I have used the word steel for what one might call iron.)


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


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