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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 14, v. 8: "Im chofeitz bonu Hashem" - If Hashem wants us - Commentators note the difference between "cheishek" and "chofeitz." The former is an uncalculated yearning and drive that is usually short-lived, while the latter is a calculated long-term emotion. We find this by the incident of Sh'chem and Dinoh. His father tells Yaakov and her brothers that Sh'chem "choshkoh nafsho b'vitchem" (Breishis 34:8). However, later the Torah says "ki chofeitz b'vas Yaakov" (verse 19). Note that now the verse mentions Dinoh as the daughter of Yaakov. Earlier his desire for her was driven by his lust. A bit later it was tempered with calculated appreciation of Dinoh, not as much with her as the object of his passion, but intrinsic worth, a well brought up daughter of Yaakov. Similarly, in the parsha of "y'fas to'ar" we find, "v'choshakto voh" (Dvorim 21:11). The first emotion is emotional uncalculated love. After having her sit in his home for a month in a state of mourning, the Torah tells us that the likely outcome will be that "lo chofatzto boh" (verse 14), not only will you no longer have "cheishek," but you will even lose "cheifetz," rational calculated appreciation.

Similarly, our verse says that Hashem is on our side as long as "CHOFEITZ bonu Hashem." Hashem has to have a good reason to love us, namely we have to behave properly. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 14, v. 9: "Ach baShem al timrodu" - But against Hashem do not rebel - "M'ridoh" is the worst manner of sinning, rebellion. The previous verse says that Hashem will bring us to the Promised Land, "ach," even if you ONLY have the merit of not rebelling, in spite of sinning willingly, as long as it is not done rebelliously. (Rabbi Elchonon Bunim Wasserman in Koveitz Maamorim)

Ch. 14, v. 9: "Al teeru es am ho'oretz ki lachmeinu heim sor tzilom mei'a'leihem" - Fear not the people of the land their protection has removed itself from upon them - Rashi (gemara Sotoh 35a) says that their protection means the merit of righteous people who live among them. Iyov had died. The Sforno explains these words in a simple manner. They simply have no courage to stand up to us, just as bread cannot combat the person who consumes it. "Sor tzilom mei'a'leihem" likewise means that they have abandoned their armour in their frenzied retreat.

Rabbi Shlomo Gantzfried in Apirion says that Rashi's explanation is indicated in the words of our verse. We find two expressions of fear. One is fear MIPNEI, and the other fear ES. Fear coupled with ES, as in "ES Hashem Elokecho tiro" (Dvorim 10:20), means to fear Hashem by virtue of His exalted stature. Fear coupled with MIPNEI simply means fear of the strength and ability of the other party. Since our verse says "al tiru ES am ho'oretz," it clearly shows us that the fear would be one of the opponents' exalted state, namely the merits of its righteous people.

Ch. 14, v. 21: "V'ulom chai oni" - But I remain alive - These words connote a vow. (Rashi) What need is there for a vow here?

The gemara Arochin 16b says that when one speaks loshon hora he kills three people, himself by virtue of this sin, the person who has heard him out and accepted the loshon hora as being accurate, and the victim, the one about whom he spoke negatively. This cannot apply to our circumstance. The spies spoke negatively of Hashem and the masses accepted it. They will not live, "Ki chol ho'anoshim .., Im yiru es ho'oretz, "V'chol m'naatzai lo yiruhoh." However, the victim of the loshon hora, Hashem, cannot be affected. This is "chai oni." (Chid"o in Pnei Dovid)

Ch. 14, v. 34: "Arbo'im yom yom lashonoh yom lashonoh" - Forty days a day for a year a day for a year - We know that sefer Breishis is called sefer "ha'yitziroh" because it contains the basis for all that would later transpire and how we should conduct ourselves when faced with similar circumstances. What transpired in sefer Breishis that portended the 40 years of wandering in the desert?

Rabbeinu M'yuchos, a Rishon from Greece, writes that when Yaakov was brought back to Eretz Yisroel for burial he was not transported on the most direct route to Chevron, but rather on the exact path the bnei Yisroel would travel during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. He adds that they likewise entered Eretz Yisroel from the Tran-Jordanian side. (I have seen him quoted as saying that they likewise experienced the miracle of having the Jordan split to allow for passage, just as Yehoshua and the bnei Yisroel did upon entry, but he does not say this, only that they entered through the Jordan River. They could well have traversed it by boat.) We thus have a "maa'sei ovos siman labonim" for the forty years of wandering.

Note that Yaakov told his sons to position themselves when they would carry his bier in the exact position that they would be encamped in the desert. Likewise, when they went to bury Yaakov they were accompanied by many Egyptians, portending the "eirev rav" who would likewise accompany them at the time of their exodus from Egypt.

Although the Torah does not tell us how long it took from the beginning of their travels from Egypt until Yaakov was buried, but the Torah does say that Yaakov's embalming process took 40 days. The Holy Ari z"l writes that the souls of the children of Yaakov transmigrated into the men who were sent to spy out the land, as indicated by Yaakov's sons saying, "lo hoyu avo'decho m'raglim," - your servants WERE NOT spies (Breishis 42:11). We were not spies yet, but we will be in parshas Shlach. Yaakov's burial being delayed by 40 days because of the embalming procedure was a result of Yaakov's dying in Egypt, which was a spin-off of his sons having sold Yoseif to Egypt.

We can thus explain the words of our verse "yom lashonoh yom lashonoh," which seems to be repetitive, to mean that the nation is being punished a year for a day for what took place here, the spies spending 40 days on their ill-fated mission, and also in their previous life, causing a 40 day delay in Yaakov's being buried. This also explains "avonOSeichem," your sinS, plural, as we have both the present sin of bringing a negative report, and the sale of Yoseif and all that ensued with Yaakov's burial, for which they were responsible. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 15, v. 38: "Psil" - Twisted thread - Rashi says that the eight threads that we have in each corner of our four-cornered garments corresponds to the eight days the bnei Yisroel spent from the day of their exodus from Egypt until they sang their praise, "shiras ha'yom." All commentators ask that it was only seven days. Given two points of information we might well immerge with a new answer. Before the giving of the Torah a day began in the morning and ended the next morning, not like our present night-to-night calculation. The bnei Yisroel actually left Egypt twice, once on the night that they ate their Paschal offerings, as they were miraculously transported to the site of the future Beis Hamikdosh in Jerusalem, and were afterwards brought back to Egypt, and again the next day. This is clearly stated in Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Shmos 19:4. We can thus say that the night departure was on the 14th of Nison and "shiras ha'yom" on the 21st, a total of 8 days. (Nirreh li)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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