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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 22: "Va'yitzav Paroh l'chol amo" - And Paroh commanded on all his nation - This is the translation according to Rashi who says that Paroh decreed that all male newborns, including Egyptians, be thrown into the river on the day his advisers reported that it was the exact day the saviour of the bnei Yisroel would be born. Chizkuni disagrees and says that he commanded his entire nation, not only the midwives, to see to it that the bnei Yisroel male newborns be killed.

Ch. 2, v. 2: "Ki tov hu" - That he is good - Rashi explains that this means that he was born circumcised. Since the expression "ki tov" is used in this verse for a child who is circumcised we have the custom to say the verse "Hodu laShem KI TOV ki l'olom chasdo" (T'hilim 118:29) at a "bris miloh." (Chizkuni)

Ch. 2, v. 2: "Vatitz'p'neihu" - And she hid him - In parshas v'Zose Habrochoh we have the words "usfu'nei t'mu'nei chole" (Dvorim 33:19). Rashi explains this to mean "and it is covered that which is hidden in the sand." Two verses later we have "chelkas m'chokeik sofun." Rashi explains this to mean the same, "the burial plot of the statute giver (Moshe) is covered and hidden." We thus find three words, two of which are phonetically the same, and the third, very similar in sound, "sofun" with the letter Sin, "sofun" with the letter Samach, and Tzofun, with the letter Tzadi (The Syrian pronunciation of a Tzadi is virtually the same as a Sin or Samach in Ashkenazic pronunciation). What are the nuances of difference among these three words?

Perhaps we can say as follows: The least hidden is the word "tzofun," as we find that Moshe was hidden, but obviously not hidden for posterity. His mother hoped that he would be found and somehow saved from the cruel decree.

Similary, we find "Moh rav tuvcho asher tzofanto l'rei'echo" (T'hilim 31:20). The reward is hidden, only to be later brought out and awarded to those who fear Hashem. Tzofun on the night of the Seder is likewise an item that is hidden, only to be taken out at the end of the Seder.

"Sofun" with the letter Sin might mean more hidden than "tzofun." The items hidden in the depths of the sea and the sea-bed will stay there forever, unless someone goes fishing or dredging, but when it is pursued, it becomes uncovered.

"Sofun" with a Samach might mean hidden, with no possibility of being found. This was the case with Moshe's burial plot. Even those who attempted to find it were not successful. It might well be appropriate to spell this word with a Samach, since the configuration of a Samach is a complete circle. It thus totally covers that which is within.

The letter Sin has two almost closed inner spaces, indicative of being hidden, but with the possibility of being uncovered. The letter Tzadi has one almost closed inner space, and one wide- open inner space, indicative of being hidden, but with the intention of being brought out in the open. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 2, v. 6: "Naar bocheh" - A lad is crying - Rashi says that this was Moshe. Even though he was a newborn, his voice was that of a lad. Chizkuni says that it refers to Aharon. This was how Bisyoh knew that the baby was an Ivri.

Ch. 2, v. 21: "Tziporoh" - Chizkuni says that her name is sourced in the Aramaic "tzafra," morning. Her beauty shone like the light of the morning.

Ch. 3, v. 1: "Va'yinhag es hatzone achar hamidbor va'yovo el har" - And he led the sheep to the desert and he came to the mountain - Targum Onkeles writes that Moshe brought them to a place of good grazing, "shfar raa'ya." What necessitates this explanation? The gemara B.M. 36b says that a shepherd is prohibited from bringing sheep up a mountain to graze unless the grass there is excellent. Since our verse says that he came to a mountain, he obviously would not have brought the sheep there unless the grazing conditions were optimal. (Chanukas haTorah)

Ch. 3, v. 12: "Ki e'h'yeh imoch" - Because I will be with you - Even though Moshe received a guarantee from Hashem that no harm would befall him, nevertheless, he feared going to Paroh. This is why he turned down the offer and responded, "shlach noh b'yad tishloch" (4:13). This was the cause of his being punished by the angel that came when he was at the "molone" in the desert (4:24). (Chizkuni on Breishis 32:26)

Ch. 4, v. 14: "Va'yichar af Hashem b'Moshe" - And Hashem became angry with Moshe - Rashi says that this was the loss of K'hunoh. K'hunoh is alluded to in this incident in verse 2. Hashem asks Moshe, "Ma'zeh v'yo'decho." The gemara Brochos 28a says that a "ma'zeh ben ma'zeh" means a Kohein the son of a Kohein. Kohanim sprinkle the blood of an offering upon the altar. Hashem told Moshe that the opportunity to sprinkle the blood is in your hand. However, by refusing to take on the task, he lost it. (Biku'rei Oviv)

This would explain why the two words "mah" and "zeh" are combined into one word.

Ch. 4, v. 19: "Ki meisu kol ho'anoshim hamvakshim es nafshecho" - Because all the people who seek your death have died - Rashi (gemara N'dorim 63a) says that they were Doson and Avirom, and they were not actually dead. Rather they became destitute and a poor man is considered as if he were dead. Their actually being alive is alluded to in the word "hamvakshim," - they ARE seeking. Had they truly been dead, the verse would have said "asher bikshu." We can derive from this that they still seek to do you in, only that they are ineffective. (GR"A)

Ch. 4, v. 24: "Va'yif'g'sheihu Hashem" - And Hashem met him - Rashi explains that an angel came. Sforno sticks to the literal meaning and says that since there was to be a circumcision, Hashem's Holy Spirit was in attendance. This could well be the source for preparing a seat at a circumcision. Although we call it "ki'sei shel Eliyohu," the Sforno says that it a seat for Hashem. He writes likewise at the beginning of parshas Va'yeiro, stating that Hashem came in the main to visit Avrohom because he circumcised himself.

Ch. 4, v. 25: "Tzore" - Chizkuni offers that this word either means a sharp instrument, or a stone, from the word source "tzur." If Tziporoh indeed used a stone why do we today use a steel blade? Chizkuni says that she suddenly found herself having to do a circumcision and just took what was available, a sharp stone. However, Yoreh Dei'oh #264 says that it is preferable to use a steel blade. The Prishoh #7 writes that this is based on the medrash, which says that when Dovid shot a rock at Golias it was directed at his head and would have been deflected by his steel helmet. The angel of steel agreed to forego the normal strength of steel in the helmet and allow the stone to penetrate provided that the angel of stone would agree to forego the merit of using a sharp stone for circumcision and allowing steel to always be used. We see from this that until that time stone was used, and from this point onwards we should specifically use steel. (I have used the word steel for what one might call iron.)

Ch. 5, v. 19: "Va'yiru shotrei vnei Yisroel osom b'ro" - And the officers of the bnei Yisroel saw them in a bad state - Who are the antecedents of the word "osom"? Rashi says that they are the enslaved workers. Chizkuni says that it is reflexive (as we find (Vayikra 22:16) "v'hisi'u OSOM avone ashmo"). The officers, who were required to see that the work quota was met, saw themselves in a bad situation.

N.B. - Last week on Breishis 47:28 the words <> should have read "Perhaps we can answer that it is left out because during some of the years between 40 and 140 Yaakov was not sin free.



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

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