by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS EIKEV 5768 BS"D
Ch. 7, v. 12,13: "V'hoyoh eikev tish'm'un, U'veirach pri bit'n'cho u'fri admo'secho" - And it will be as a result of your listening, And He will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land - The gemara Mo'eid Koton 28 says that one's success in having children, a livelihood, and life, are not dependent upon one's merits, but rather, on "mazel." Don't our verses seem to say otherwise, that when one follows Hashem's dictates he will be blessed with these matters? The Yalkut Reuveini offers either that we can differentiate between the masses, who will in general be blessed by complying, and an individual, or that in Eretz Yisroel it depends upon merits, while in the Diaspora it depends upon "mazel."
Ch. 7, v. 15: "V'heisir Hashem mimcho kol choli v'chol madvei Mitzrayim horo'im asher yodato lo y'simom boch" - And Hashem will remove from you all sickness and all bad afflictions of Egypt which you have known He will not place in you - If you will not have these sicknesses what need is there to remove them?
Our sages say that when the final redemption will come Hashem will again bring the ten plagues He sent on Egypt upon the world. He will also add some more plagues. They add that when Hashem visited the ten plagues upon the Egyptians they also came upon the bnei Yisroel, but for a fleeting moment only. The new type of plagues that Hashem will bring upon the world will come upon the bnei Yisroel, again for only a moment, and the plagues that are repetitive of what was sent upon Egypt will not be sent upon the bnei Yisroel at all. This is the meaning of "v'heisir." Hashem will place new plagues upon you, but only for a moment, and then remove them. The plagues of Egypt, "lo y'simom boch" at all.
Based on this, the Shaa'rei Aharon explains that the term "simoh" rather than "n'sinoh," is very well understood. The gemara M'nochos 59b says that "simoh" means placing even a very small measure. Hashem will not place upon us even in the smallest measure the plagues He once sent upon Egypt. (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 7, v. 15: "Kol choli v'chol madvei" - All sickness and all afflictions - What is the difference between these two words?
1) "Choli" is sickness that comes from the outside, such as extreme cold, pollution, etc., and "madvei" is a sickness that comes from one's inners. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
2) "Choli" is a common sickness, while "madvei" is an unusual sickness. (Ibn Ezra)
3) "Choli" is used when referring to most illnesses, while "madvei" is used when referring to a sickness that affects the heart. (Rabbeinu Myuchos)
4) "Choli" means a general sickness that is not felt in any specific organ, while "madvei" means a sickness that is felt in a specific organ or organs. (GR"A)
5) "Choli" means a sickness that comes upon a person because of his negligence, while "madvei" means a sickness that in spite of being careful, is sent upon a person. (N'tzi"v)
Ch. 7, v. 20: "Hatziroh" - The hornet - This is Rashi's translation, but Rabbeinu Saadioh Gaon and the Ibn Ezra translate it as an affliction, sourced from "tzoraas."
Ch. 7, v. 22: "Pen tirbeh o'lecho chayas haso'deh" - Lest the wild animal of the bush will proliferate on you - Rashi asks that there should be no fear of wild animals as per the verse in Iyov 5, "V'chayas haso'deh hishlimoh loch." Rashi answers that this assurance only applies when the bnei Yisroel are sin free, but Moshe with his prophecy knew that they would sin in the future.
In Shmos 23:29 we find a verse similar to ours, telling us that the inhabitants will not be eradicated in one quick fell swoop because, "pen ti'h'yeh ho'oretz shmomoh v'raboh o'lecho chayas haso'deh." Rashi does not raise his question there at all. The Maskil l'Dovid explains that there it is self-evident that the verse is discussing a situation where the bnei Yisroel unfortunately are not sin free, as the parsha is predicated with, "Hinei onochi sholei'ach malach l'fo'necho" in verse 20. The angel is necessary when the bnei Yisroel ch"v sin and don't merit a more direct contact with Hashem. Our parsha begins with, "V'hoyoh eikev tish'm'un," when the bnei Yisroel are totally sin free.
Ch. 7, v. 25: "Psi'lei eloheihem tis'r'fun bo'aish lo sachmod kesef v'zohov a'leihem v'lokachto loch" - Their cast deities you shall burn in fire do not lust silver and gold that is upon them and take it for yourself - The gemara A.Z. 52a brings the words of Shmuel who raises a question. This verse says that you shall burn their deities and then says that you shall take for yourself. He answers that when it is a deity form it requires destruction and when it is negated (read "psilei" as "possul") then it is permitted. When a non-Jew negates his own deity is no longer an avodoh zoroh and is permitted. On a simple level Shmuel's question is not really a question. The verse says that you should not lust the accoutrements that are upon the idols and take them for yourself. The Meshech Chochmoh explains that Shmuel's point is made by virtue of the verse not saying, "kesef v'zohov a'leihem LOKACHAS loch." "V'lokachto" indicates that there is a situation where you may take it for yourself.
He adds that it is the opinion of some Rishonim that even though one may keep for himself and derive benefit from avodoh zoroh that a non-Jew negated, it may still not be used for the Mikdosh. This is also indicated in these words. "V'lokachto loch," only for yourself, for secular use.
Ch. 9, v. 19: "Ki yogorti mipnei ho'af v'hacheimoh" - Because I feared from the anger and the fiery anger - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that five powers of destruction came to ch"v annihilate the nation. They were Af, Cheimoh, Ketzef, Mash'chis, and Chorone. Upon Moshe's becoming aware of this he invoked the Holy Ineffable Name and awakened our Patriarchs. They prayed to Hashem and in the merit of the three Patriarchs three of these destructive power, Ketzef, Mash'chis, and Chorone were put to rest. Moshe entreated Hashem for mercy and he was granted power over the remaining two. He dug a pit in the land of Moav (the bnei Yisroel were quite distanced from Moav at the time) and covered them over and bound them in the pit through a vow in the great and awesome Holy Name of Hashem.
The Holy Zohar on parshas P'kudei page 264 says that the two spirits, Af and Cheimoh, are appointed to extract punishment from those who do not respond to the cry of our Torah scholars to act or refrain from acting in certain ways, those who scoff at the words of the Torah, and even those who study Torah and fulfill mitzvos, but do it without joy.
Rashi in his commentary on the gemara B.B. 9b says that Af and Cheimoh are two harsh legions that extract punishment from sinners.
Ch. 9, v. 19: "Va'yishma Hashem eilai gam bapaam hahee" - And Hashem hearkened to me again at that time - In the next verse, which relates that Moshe prayed for Aharon's atonement, the verse does not conclude with the same words. This is because Hashem forgave the bnei Yisroel for their sin to a great extent and did not destroy them. However, Aharon's sin of his involvement with the creation of the golden calf was in the main not forgiven. He lost his two oldest sons and was not granted entry into Eretz Yisroel. Although he was also involved in "mei m'rivoh," the primary reason for his not being granted entry to Eretz Yisroel was the part he played in the golden calf. (Malbim)
Ch. 10, v. 8: "Hivdil Hashem es sheivet haLevi lo'seis es arone bris Hashem" - Hashem has separated the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Covenant with Hashem - Although there were other Levi-specific duties, such as transporting the shulchon, the menorah, and the altars, only the Holy Ark is mentioned because their duties with the other items was limited to the desert only, while the carrying of the Holy Ark would be their responsibility for all time. (Meshech Chochmoh) According to the opinion of the Rambam that the Levites were invested with the duty of carrying the Holy Ark only in the desert because there were insufficient Kohanim to do this, but once they entered Eretz Yisroel the duty was transferred to the Kohanim, it seems that this explanation is insufficient.
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