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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'SHALACH 5767 BS"D

We have the custom of placing food outside on erev Shabbos parshas B'shalach-Shiroh for birds to consume (Mogen Avrohom Sh.O. O.Ch. #324). The gemara P'sochim 118a says that providing a livelihood for mankind is as difficult as the splitting of Yam Suf. Birds find their sustenance through "theft" (see Rashi on Vayikra 1:16), and in spite of this Hashem provides them with their livelihood. In preparation for the Shabbos on which we read the splitting of Yam Suf we likewise give birds food, and hope for a response in kind from Hashem, to give us our livelihood even if we are undeserving. (Yismach Yisroel of Alexander)

Based on this, we might have an insight into the gemara P'sochim which derives that providing a livelihood for mankind is as difficult as the splitting of Yam Suf from the juxtaposition of "L'gozeir Yam Suf ligzorim" near "Nosein lechem l'chol bossor" (T'hilim 136). The end of the verse is "ki l'olom chasdo." Indeed, we praise Hashem for the "chesed," beyond the letter of the law, in providing mankind with his sustenance.

Ch. 15, v. 18: "Hashem yimloch l'olom vo'ed" - Hashem shall reign forever - Ibn Ezra writes that the word "vo'ed" is like "v'ad," and that this verse is terse, leaving out the final "olom."

Ch. 15, v. 18: "Hashem yimloch l'olom vo'ed" - Hashem shall reign forever - King Dovid wrote in T'hilim 146:10, "Yimloch Hashem l'olom." He switched the order, mentioning Hashem after "yimloch." This is because the previous verse mentions the wicked, "v'derech r'sho'im y'a'veis." To distance Hashem's Name from the wicked, he reversed the order.

Ch. 15, v. 20: "Miriam hanvi'oh" - Miriam the prophetess - Rashbam disagrees with this translation. He says that "hanvi'oh" means the woman who gives praise. Kli Yokor writes that Miriam was invested with prophecy for the first time here, and her prophecy overflowed upon all the women present. Medrash Tanchuma says that even a maidservant saw a clearer vision of prophecy than did Yechezkeil. It seems that both the Rashbam and the Kli Yokor are contrary to the gemara Sotoh 12b, which says that Miriam was a prophetess even as a five year old child.

Ch. 15, v. 22: "Va'yeilchu shloshes yomim bamidbor v'lo motzu moyim" - And they traveled for three days in the desert and they found no water" - How did they subsist for three days without water? Medrash Tanchuma answers that they had "drinking fountains" in the channels through which they passed in the Yam Suf. They collected some of this water for later, but after three days they ran out of this water.

Ch. 16, v. 5: "V'hoyoh ba'yom hashishi v'heichinu" - And it will be on the sixth day and they should prepare - "V'hoyoh" is an expression of joy. This teaches us that when we prepare for Shabbos it should be in an atmosphere of joyous anticipation of the upcoming holy day. (Chidushei HoRi"m)

Ch. 16, v. 24: "V'rimoh lo hoysoh bo" - And worminess was not in it - The word "v'rimoh" appears in one other place in Tanach, "V'rimoh t'cha'seh a'leihem" (Iyov 21:26), referring to the decomposition and worminess that afflict a corpse. We can derive from our verse that just as there was no "rimoh" in the manna left over for Shabbos, so too, there is no affliction of worms upon a corpse on Shabbos. (Baal Haturim, Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 16, v. 33: "Tzintzennes" - A vessel - Medrash Tanchuma says that it was an earthenware vessel. The GR"A's text of the M.T. is that it was a glass vessel. He backs this up by noting that the M.T. says that the vessel was "meitzitz mitocho," peered out from within, meaning that its contents were visible, clearly indicating that it was a see-through glass vessel. Ibn Ezra says that it was either earthenware or copper.

Ch. 16, v. 34: "Va'yanicheihu" - And he placed it - The antecedent of "it" is not the "tzintzennes," as it is a female word form. Rather, the antecedent is the manna.

Ch. 16, v. 35: "Uvnei Yisroel ochlu es hamon" - And the bnei Yisroel ate the manna - Bnei Yisroel ate the manna, to the exclusion of the "erev rav." They had no portion in the manna. They subsisted on fodder and other food by-products, as did the cattle. They were on such a low level, similar to the cattle, that the warning to keep the "tzone uvokor" from grazing on the mountain (Shmos 34:3) refers to the "erev rav." (Holy Zohar on parshas Ki Siso page 191b)

Ch. 16, v. 35: "Ochlu es hamon arbo'im shonoh" - They ate the manna for forty years - Arguably, this is the chronologically latest happening that had taken place mentioned anywhere in the Torah. The Torah discusses prophecies of what will be in the future, even at the time of the coming of Moshiach, but as far as a happening that the Torah relates that has "taken place," there seems to be nothing later.

Perhaps there is something even later. In Breishis 36:31-39 we have the listing of eight kings of Eisov's dynasty. A partial timeline for their demise and the next leader taking over is found in medrash Sefer Ha'yoshor, but it is incomplete. If the combined reign of these 8 kings spanned over a 330 year or longer period, it would pass up our verse. According to the opinion of Rabbi Yosi in the Medrash Tanchuma, mentioned later on in a lengthy comment on this verse, an additional 14 years are needed to compete with our verse.

If you have a later happening, please let me know.

Ch. 16, v. 35: "Arbo'im shonoh" - Forty years - Ibn Ezra writes that among all of the miracles Moshe wrought, this is the greatest. This is because it was not a short-lived miracle, but a continuous one that lasted forty years. Ibn Ezra, in his final comment on parshas Mishpotim writes that Moshe's remaining alive even though he did not eat nor drink, is the greatest wonder heretofore. We must differentiate between the term "nes," used here, and "pelle," used there.

Why was the miracle of the wellspring of Miriam not of equal stature? True that it came in the merit of Miriam, but Moshe wrought it. As well, the wellspring gave water even on Shabbos and Yom Tov, while the manna did not descend on Shabbos, nor on Yom Tov.

We have elaborated in the past on the miracle of the wellspring, discussing two opinions. One is that the miracle was that the rock gave forth water, and the second position, that wherever the rock was located, the earth gave forth water.

According to this latter opinion, it is readily understood that the miracle of manna was greater. Even though the miracle of the wellspring endured for longer, the earth giving forth water in and of itself is not a miracle, as there are numerous wellsprings. This is what puts the manna on a higher level of miracle.

Ch. 16, v. 35: "Arbo'im shonoh" - Forty years - Paa'nei'ach Rozo says that when the bnei Yisroel were in or near an inhabited area, which allowed for procuring food and drink, the manna did not fall and the wellspring did not give forth water.

Tzror Hamor writes that had the bnei Yisroel remained in the desert for even another two- thousand years, the manna still would have continued to fall.

Ch. 16, v. 35: "Ad bo'om el eretz nosho'ves es hamon ochlu ad bo'om el k'tzei eretz K'no'an" - Until their coming to an inhabited land the manna they eat until they came to the edge of the land Canaan - Rashi explains that the earlier part of the verse means that they still ate manna that remained in their vessels until the 16th of Nison, and the latter part refers to the actual falling of manna, which lasted only as long as Moshe was alive (see gemara Kidushin 38a). This seems to be a contradiction to his words in the previous verse, where he says that the manna ceased on the 15th of Nison. The Moshav Z'keinim answers that we should take note of Rashi's exact wording. In the previous verse he says "posak," while here he says "posak hamon MI'LEI'REID." "Posak" means it came to a total stop, not even having any left over. In our verse, "posak mi'lei'reid" only means that there was no new manna from the heavens, but what they had lasted until the 16th of Nison.

Ch. 16, v. 35: "Ad bo'om ad bo'om" - Until their coming until their coming - The doubling of "ad bo'om" is explained by Rashi. The former refers to their consuming manna in Eretz Yisroel until the 16th of Nison, from the leftovers of what fell on the 7th of Ador. The latter refers to their consumption of "fresh" manna, which came from the heavens for the final time on the day Moshe died, the 7th of Ador, and this was in Arvos Moav. According to Rashi the two "ad bo'om"s are not in chronological order.

Rabbeinu M'yuchos switches it around, saying that "eretz nosho'ves" means an inhabited land, that of Sichon and Og, and "el k'tzei eretz K'no'an" means to include their entry into the land of Canaan, keeping things in chronological order. He does not explain why the Torah doesn't simply mention the latter, so we should assume that he likewise would explain it as does Rashi, the final falling of manna and the final consumption.

Targum Onkelos says that "eretz nosho'ves" is their entry into Canaan, and "k'tzei eretz K'noan" means the "end" of the land. Seemingly, he is saying that they ate manna until they totally occupied the land. If this is his intention, he might not be a lone voice. Shaa'rei Aharon cites a Medrash Tanchuma (I have searched but have not found it.) that states in the name of Rabbi Yosi that they ate manna for 40 years in the desert, and another 14 years in Eretz Yisroel.

What remains to be explained is the switching of words, where earlier it says, "ochlu es hamon," and afterwards, "hamon ochlu." In the previous verse Rashi says that the shortfall of one month less that forty years is taken up by the bnei Yisroel's tasting the flavour of manna in the matzos they took along with them when they left Egypt (gemara Kidushin 38a). They therefore ate/tasted manna before there was actual manna, hence "achiloh" before the word "mon." According to the opinion that "es hamon ochlu" refers to their eating the manna even in Eretz Yisroel, and although its final fall from heaven was on the 7th of Ador, but it lasted until the 16th of Nison, we have the manna ahead of their "achiloh," hence "hamon ochlu."(Nirreh li)

Ch. 17, v. 14: "Ksove zose zikoron ba'sefer" - Write this as a remembrance in the book - Ibn Ezra says that this command took place at the end of the forty years in the desert.

Ch. 17, v. 14: "Zikoron ba'sefer" - A remembrance in the book - Chizkuni says that the book was a log of wars, "sefer milchomos Hashem," mentioned in Bmidbar 24:11, which is lost, as are other books, such as "sefer ha'yoshor," mentioned in Yehoshua 1:13 and Shmuel 2:1:18 (the gemara A.Z. says that this refers to Breishis), "medrash Ido," mentioned in Divrei Ha'yomim 2:13:22, and some other books.

He adds that the need to have this recorded is so that anyone who would later complain about the seemingly brutal attitude towards Amo'leik would be able to read the details of how deserving his nation is of such treatment.

Ch. 17, v. 15: "Hashem nisi" - Hashem is my miracle performer - This is Rashi's translation. Rabbeinu Efrayim says that it means that Moshe hoisted a banner at the location of the altar, upon which was written the Holy Four-letter Name.

Ch. 17, v. 16: "Ki yod" - Because a hand is raised in oath - Baal Haturim says that when we combine the numerical values of the letter Yud in "kI," with the word "yod," we have a total of 24, the same as that of Dovid (when spelled Dalet-Vov-YUD-Dalet). This most puzzling. We usually find Dovid spelled without a Yud, and we can simply have the value of the word "YoD" equal that of DoViD. Perhaps the connection between the two refers to a specific verse where we find Dovid's name spelled with a Yud. Possibly, this is in Divrei Ha'yomim 1:29:10,11, "Va'y'voreich DovId es hakohol," etc. The following verse states that Hashem has "hamamlochoh." However, as stated here, Hashem's Name and His throne are incomplete. Their completion will come only when Amo'leik is eradicated, hence the choice of spelling Dovid's name with a letter Yud. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 17, v. 16: "Keis Koh" - Hashem's throne - The missing letters to complete the word "ki'sei" and "Hashem" are Alef-Vov-Hei. Their completion is alluded to in T'hilim 132:13, "IVoH l'moshov lo," and in the prayer, "v'HU yashmi'einu b'rachamov sheinis." (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)

Ch. 17, v. 16: "Milchomoh laShem" - A war for Hashem - This means that the spoils of wars should not be taken for personal use. Rather, they should either be used for the Mishkon/Mikdosh or be destroyed, "cherem." This explains why the bnei Yisroel did not take the spoils of their battle with Homon and his cohorts, "Uvabizoh lo sholchu es yodom" (Megilas Esther 9:15).

Ch. 17, v. 16: "Midor dor" - From generation to generation - The medrash explains that the battle with Amo'leik was one of transmission of Torah values from the previous generation to the next. If this link could ch"v be severed then the battle against Torah and sanctity is won. This is the exhortation of "Ksove ZOSE zikorone" (verse 14). "Dor dor" has the numerical value of 408, the same as "zose." While the Amo'leikim attempted to separate one generation from the next, Hashem said to join "dor dor," and this would result in "zikorone," a remembrance of the previous generation's values. (Nirreh li)

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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a


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