by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BO 5763 BS"D
Ch. 10, v. 26: "V'gam mikneinu yeileich imonu .. ki mi'menu nikach laavode es Hashem" - Also our livestock will go with us .. because from it we will take to serve Hashem - Paroh had just told Moshe, "tzonchem uvkarchem yutzog," - your sheep and cattle shall stay put. Moshe responded that not only would the sheep and cattle not stay behind in Egypt, but that they would even go willingly to be used as sacrifices for Hashem, just as the M.R. Bmidbar 23:9 relates that when Eliyohu was to bring a sacrifice on Har Carmel it went willingly. However, the sacrifice of baal did not want to go. Eliyohu told it that through it the Name of Heaven would also be sanctified, and it then went willingly. Moshe added that from the positive attitude of the livestock we will learn how to properly serve Hashem, "ki mi'menu nikach laavode es Hashem."
Ch. 10, v. 26: "Vaanachnu lo neida mah naavode es Hashem ad bo'einu shomoh" - And we will not know what will be needed to serve Hashem until we come there - In keeping with the thought presented in the previous offering, the Malbim translates these words to mean, "We will not know how to properly serve Hashem until we come there and see the livestock willingly offer themselves without resistance, and learn from them."
Ch. 11, v. 2: "Da'ber noh b'oznei ho'om" - Please speak into the ears of the nation - Rashi (gemara Brochos 9a) says that the word "please" is used to indicate that a favour would be done for Hashem. By having the bnei Yisroel leave with great wealth Avrohom's claiming that "'vaavodum v'inu osom' (Breishis 15:13) ki'yeim BO'HEM 'v'acharei chein yeitzu birchus godol' (ad loc.) lo ki'yeim BO'HEM", - 'and they will enslave them and brutalize them' He fulfilled IN THEM, but 'and afterwards they will leave with great wealth' He has not fulfilled IN THEM," would be averted.
What is the intention of the words IN THEM? The Holy Alshich in his commentary on the verse in parshas Lech L'cho says that the wealth refers to the spiritual gains made by going through such tribulations and remaining strong in their belief in Hashem, an absolutely necessary requirement as a preparation for receiving the Torah. Thus had the bnei Yisroel left empty-handed with no physical riches there would have been no abrogation of Hashem's promise. However, Avrohom's claim would be that just as "and they will enslave them and brutalize them" was fulfilled IN THEM, in their physical bodies, so too, "and afterwards they will leave with great wealth" should be fulfilled IN THEM, in a tangible manner. (Drush Shmuel)
Ch. 11, v. 2: "V'yishalu .. klei chesef uchlei zohov" - And they shall borrow .. vessels of silver and vessels of gold - Since this will take place in tandem with the smiting of the first-born is this not a violation of the rule "Ein odom meis umsha'leim" (gemara Ksubos 33b) - one is not subject to a double punishment of both being put to death and paying? If you will attempt to answer this by saying that this rule does not apply to the Egyptians, this is not so. Tosfos on the gemara A.Z. 71b d.h. "ben Noach" says that this rule applies to everyone.
The Proshas Drochim answers that since the punishment of death was administered by Hashem and not by an earthly court, the death penalty is called "misoh bi'dei Shomayim," and the gemara Ksubos 30b says that although Rabbi Nechunioh ben Hakonoh posits that "misoh bi'dei Shomayim" and monetary payment are not both administered, we rule against him. Indeed, this is the opinion of the Rambam in hilchos g'neivoh 3:2. The Medrash Eliyohu says that this might be the reason the previous verse stresses "ode nega echod OVI," - one more plague I (Hashem) will bring - indicating that it is to be considered "misoh bi'dei Shomayim."
It seems that a simple reading of the verses could also alleviate this problem. The bnei Yisroel were asked to BORROW vessels. Thus the removal of these vessels from the Egyptians' homes was not a punishment of payment of property. Later when the Egyptians ran after the bnei Yisroel with their armies, it was an act of war. With the miraculous resounding defeat of the army, which represents the whole country, the bnei Yisroel rightfully kept all items they already had in their hands, besides the new spoils, as booty of war. Thus there weren't two punishments administered.
Another answer might emerge through a technical understanding of "ein odom meis umsha'leim" but rather "kum lei bidrabo mi'nei," - one is only given the stricter punishment and not both punishments. This rule only applies when ONE ACT has brought about two punishments, for example, if one were to shoot an arrow and kill someone. The single act of shooting the arrow has caused both damage to the victim's shirt and his death. We only administer the punishment for killing and not for property damages, since both came about through one action, the shooting of the arrow. If one were to rip another's shirt and them kill him, both punishments are administered, as they were two independent actions. The Egyptians were worthy of death for idol worship. Their enslaving the bnei Yisroel, a separate act, brought about their deserving to lose their property as partial payment for enslavement.
Alternatively, the rule of only administering one punishment is derived from "k'dei rishosO" (Dvorim 25:2), - as per his evil ACT, in the singular. This ruling came only after the giving of the Torah. Although we say that our forefathers kept the rules of the Torah even before it was given, and we may assume that Hashem did likewise, but outside of Eretz Yisroel Avrohom and Yaakov did not always abide by the Torah if another consideration arose. We can similarly say that since the punishment was administered outside Eretz Yisroel, Hashem prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Ch. 11, v. 8: "Tzei atoh v'chol ho'om asher b'raglecho" - Leave, you and all the nation that follows in your footsteps - During one of the Holy Admor of Satmar's zt"l stays in Yerusholayim he was reviewing the weekly parsha of Bo "shtei'im Mikro v'echod Targum." A most distressed petitioner came in, hoping to tell the Rebbe that his wife was having extreme difficulties in childbirth. Knowing that the Rebbe would not interrupt his reading of the verses by talking, he wrote his request on a note, a "kvittel," and handed it to the Rebbe. The Rebbe glanced at it and continued his reading to the impatient consternation of the petitioner. When the Rebbe came to our verse he read it much louder and with special stress. The petitioner understood that the Rebbe's intention was that he leave, as the words "tzei atoh" translate as a command, "you leave." He left and went back to the medical facility and found out that just at the time that the Rebbe read these words his wife's situation totally changed for the better and the baby was immediately born. The new father related this happening to Rabbi Y.Y. Reisman, a senior member of the Badat"z Rabbinical Court of Yerusholayim. Rabbi Reisman told him to look into the commentary of Rabbeinu Bachyei on this verse and all would be clarified.
Rabbeinu Bachyei writes that just as with these words the bnei Yisroel were relieved of many years of being tied in the ropes of oppression and enslavement, so too, from the words of this verse there is derived a Holy Name of Hashem that unties the bonds of a fetus that tied up in its mother's womb, releasing it to the outside world so that it may merit to pursue the teachings of the Torah, just as the bnei Yisroel were released for the purpose of accepting and fulfilling the Torah (Shmos 3:13).
Ch. 12, v. 42: "Leil shimurim hu laShem l'hotzi'om mei'eretz Mitzroyim hu halailoh ha'zeh laShem shimurim l'chol bnei Yisroel l'dorosom" - A night of guardings it is for Hashem for His taking them out of the land of Egypt it is this night for Hashem guardings for all bnei Yisroel to their generations - There seems to be quite a bit of redundancy in this verse. Rashi alleviates this by explaining that the "night of guardings" at the beginning of the verse refers to Hashem's waiting for the opportunity to fulfill His promise to redeem the bnei Yisroel from their exile. "It is this night for Hashem" refers to His promise to Avrohom to redeem his descendants on this particular night. "Guardings for all bnei Yisroel to their generations" refers to this night being a night of safety for all future generations against any destructive forces.
The reference to Hashem's promise to Avrohom is not very apparent in the words of our verse. As well, why repeat the word "laShem"? Also, why is the first word for night "leil," and the second "leiloh"?
The word "shimurim" can also be read "shemorim," - that they teach. We can thus interpret our verse to first be saying as explained by Rashi. The second half, beginning with "hu halailoh ha'zeh" can be understood as: This night is dedicated for Hashem through "sheMORIM l'chol bnei Yisroel l'dorosom," - they teach all the bnei Yisroel for all future generations - through fulfilling the mitzvoh of MAGID, relating all that has transpired and thanking Hashem for the miracles He wrought.
Ch. 13, v. 16: "Ultotofose" - And as an adornment - The Ramban writes a somewhat lengthy dissertation on some very major concepts of Judaism that are germane to our exile to Egypt, the servitude there, and the miraculous events that led up to and occurred after the redemption, as well as some insights into prayer. It is absolutely must reading! At the end he writes: "A person has no portion in the Torah of Moshe our teacher unless he believes that all matters and happenings that come upon us are miraculous, and they are not the result of nature and the normal workings of this physical world. This is not only true of matters that affect the public as a group, but also each and every individual! If a person fulfills the mitzvos his reward will bring success, and if he transgresses them punishment will bring excision in its wake, all as decreed by the One above. This is expressed in the Torah in Dvorim 29:13,24.
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