subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


Ch. 13, v. 19: "Hishbia" - He made them take an oath - The oath was that they would take his remains along with them went they would leave Egypt. When everyone was busy with emptying Egypt Moshe took the remains of Yoseif along with him. In spite of his total dedication to Yoseif's remains the verse in Yehoshua (24:32) credits the bnei Yisroel with bringing Yoseif's remains out of Egypt. The gemara Sotoh 13a derives from this that if one began a mitzvoh but did not complete it, the credit, even for the beginning, is given to the one who completed it.

The Shalo"h asks how this is derived. One who could have completed it but did not might be credited at least with the beginning, but Moshe was not allowed entry into Eretz Yisroel. If it is impossible to complete then the credit is given to others (see Rashi on the gemara Sotoh 13b d.h. "af moridin"). Hamedrash V'hamaa'seh answers this based on Mechilta d'Rashb"i at the beginning of our parsha. It states that Yoseif's vow was that his remains be removed from Egypt, but not that he be buried specifically in Eretz Yisroel. (There is a dissenting medrash, which says that he asked to be buried in Sh'chem, saying, "You have kidnapped me from Sh'chem. Therefore return my remains to Sh'chem.)

Ch. 13, v. 21: "VaShem holeich lifneihem" - And Hashem goes in front of them - The Yeshuose Yaakov writes that when an agent is sent to escort a person to a simchoh, the agent walks ahead of the invitee, as there is no fear that he will run away. When an agent escorts someone who is summoned to a court, to be incarcerated, or the like, the agent walks behind him so that he will not run away. This is the intention of the words in our prayers, "V'ho'seir soton milfo'neinu umei'acha'reinu." During a person's lifetime the soton seduces the person to pursue life's perceived pleasures. During that time the soton escorts the person to sin, but walks ahead of the person, as he is convinced that the person eagerly goes to sin. This is the prayer "v'ho'seir soton milfo'neinu." After a person's demise the same soton summons him to appear in the celestial court. The person is more than reluctant to go, so the soton stands behind him, prodding him on. This is our prayer, "umei'acha'reinu." We pray that we will not fall victim to his enticements and in turn will not be reluctant to appear in front of the court for our final judgment.

Ch. 13, v. 21: "Lanchosom ha'derech" - To guide them on their path - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:24 writes that had the bnei Yisroel not had many physical difficulties during their forty year odyssey in the desert they would not have been sufficiently physically fit to wage war with the inhabitants of Eretz Yisroel. Thus their difficulties had a major silver lining. Perhaps, based on these words "lanchosom ha'derech" could allude to this and we would translate these words as, "to ease their way" (in their wars in Eretz Yisroel).

Ch. 14, v. 5: "Va'yugad l'melech Mitzrayim" - And it was told to the king of Egypt - Rashi explains that Paroh sent along agents to see if the bnei Yisroel would return as Moshe had told him. They are the ones who related this information. Zichron Niflo'ose explains that Paroh was under the impression that the bnei Yisroel would remain in Egypt for 400 years. He therefore did not give them their own sovereign power. It was only after the Egyptians drown at Yam Suf that the bnei Yisroel acquired themselves, based on the rule that in such a circumstance a slave can acquire himself (gemara Kidushin 17a).

There is a gemara Yerushalmi P'sochim 5:5 which seems to contradict his words. It clearly states that Paroh told Moshe on the night of the smiting of the firstborn that the bnei Yisroel were emancipated. We might simply say that he sent along the agents to see to it that they wouldn't run away with the possessions that they "borrowed."

Ch. 14, v. 14: "Hashem yilocheim lochem v'a'tem tacharishun" - Hashem will wage war for you and you shall remain mute - Rashi (Yalkut Shimoni #234) says that the ministering angel of the Yam Suf complained to Hashem that he was reluctant to split for the bnei Yisroel and then to return to normal flow and destroy the Egyptians because, unfortunately, both were idol worshippers. This could explain why Hashem told Moshe that the bnei Yisroel should not pray, a seemingly most unusual command. The gemara Taanis 26b relates that when there was a great dearth of water Shmuel announced that there would be a mass prayer for rain. Before the people even assembled Hashem sent a lot of rain. People felt very smug about their righteousness, feeling that they moved heaven by just preparing to pray, and even without their actual prayer Hashem responded generously. Shmuel told them that the exact opposite was the case. He gave a parable of a servant who had certain needs of which his master was well aware. The master was displeased with this servant, but still felt that as his servant, his needs must be met. Sensing that the servant was about to come to him and plea for his needs, he preempted him and sent his needs with an intermediary. He said that he was so displeased with him that he did not even want to hear his entreaties. Given that some of the bnei Yisroel were also idol worshippers, Hashem had no interest in hearing their pleas. He therefore assured them that He would take up their case and wage war for them, but they should remain mute. (Nirreh li) A totally different explanation: Read the words "v'a'tem tachrishun" as a rhetorical remark. "Hashem is going to wage war for you in a miraculous manner. Are you going to remain quiet?" Indeed, "Shiras ha'yam" followed. (Ro'isi)

Ch. 15, v. 1: "Oshiroh laShem ki go'o go'oh " - I will offer a song to Hashem because He has been greatly aggrandized - The numerical value of these two words is 18, alluding to our praising Hashem daily with 18 blessings in the "amidoh." The additional blessing of "v'lamalshinim" added by Shmuel Hakoton is also alluded to in the gematria of "go'o" as if it were spelled with a Vov rather than a Hei, as phonetically it is as if a letter Vov ends the word. (Rabbeinu Menachem)

Ch. 15, v. 2: "Zeh Keili v'anveihu" - This is my G-d and I will glorify him - The gemara Shabbos 133b derives a few ideas from these words. One is that we should beautify our mitzvos and not do them in the cheapest, shabbiest manner. Make for Him a beautiful Sukoh, etc. This is derived from the simple translation of "novoh" meaning enhanced. Abba Sho'ul says that these words teach us to emulate Hashem. Just as He is compassionate, so too, we must be compassionate. This is derived from splitting up the word "v'anveihu" into "ani" and "v'hu." I and He should be similar. Abba sho'ul's insight coming on the heels of the previous one teaches us a profound lesson. People readily spend a lot of money on beautifying mitzvos, and it is indeed the proper thing to do. However, at the same time when a needy person comes to their attention their hearts are sometimes made of stone. Abba Sho'ul is telling us to apply the same concept of "beautify mitzvos" and spend more money on them to the mitzvoh of being compassionate. Be generous there too. (Pardes Yoseif)

Ch. 15, v. 20: "Hatofe" - The drum - There is a very well known insight for the women's use of drums. It is because the women sang and "the voice of a woman is 'ervoh' (gemara Brochos 24a)." Note the opinion of the Beis Shmuel on Sh.O. E.H. 21:4, who states that the singing voice of a single woman is not considered "ervoh" (see Shmuel 1:18:6). This has no bearing upon the insight as Miriam herself was married.

Ch. 15, v. 25: "Eitz" - A piece of wood - Medrash Vayikra says that the piece of wood was also bitter. The miracle was thus even greater. A bitter piece of wood turned bitter waters sweet. The Ksav Sofer interprets this in an interesting manner. When a person is bitter because of the many difficulties that confront him, his anguish can sometimes be assuaged by pointing out to him that there is someone who has an even more bitter lot. This is the throwing of a bitter piece of wood into the bitter waters.



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel