by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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CHASIDIC INSIGHTS PARSHAS MASSEI 5765 BS"D
Ch. 33, v. 1: "Ei'leh massei" - Rashi on Shmos 40:38 writes that although the word "massei" literally means "travels of," nevertheless, it is also used for places of encampments, and he offers our verse as an example of this. The Torah lists where they encamped and calls it "massei." We must say that it also means "encampments." Why indeed does the Torah use the word form TRAVEL for the exact opposite concept, A STOP? This teaches us that when the bnei Yisroel are in "chutz lo'oretz," even if they remain there for an extended period of time, they should realize that they are only at a STATION, and not a DESTINATION. (Rabbi Yitzchok Bernstein)
Ch. 33, v. 2: "Masseihem l'motzo'eihem" - Moshe embedded in the Torah all the travels in "golus" that the later generations would have, until they will finally leave, "l'mot'zo'eihem," and permanently stay in Eretz Yisroel. (Rabbi Moshe Yechiel of Ozhrov in B'eir Moshe)
Ch. 33, v. 4: "U'Mitzrayim m'kabrim eis asher hikoh Hashem kol b'chor uveiloheihem ossoh Hashem shfotim" - What is the connection between these two happenings? As related in Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 136, the Egyptian firstborn demanded of Paroh and their parents that they let the bnei Yisroel leave, as they knew that the grand finale plague would spell their end. Paroh and their parents did not comply. As was often the case, Hashem orchestrated matters in a manner that the Egyptians could not say, "yirosom tovon," their deities caused the calamities as a result of some perceived injustice. The Egyptians might later say that the smiting of the firstborn was a punishment administered by their gods in response to their hard-heartedness with the firstborn. Hashem therefore destroyed their gods at the same time. They could now not attribute the retribution to their non-existent gods. (Nirreh li)
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