Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 13, v. 21: "Lo'leches yomom voloyloh" - To go by day and by night - Why would they travel by day and by night?

2) Ch. 13, v. 22: "Lo yomish amud he'onon yomom" - The cloud pillar would not move by day - What is the difference between "yom" and "yomom?"

3) Ch. 15, v. 20: "Achose Aharon" - Why does the Torah stress Miriam's being the sister of Aharon and not the sister of Moshe as well?

4) Ch. 15, v. 20: "B'supim u'vimcholos" - We find no mention of the men using musical instruments to accompany their singing their shiroh. Why is this only mentioned by the women?

5) Ch. 15, v. 20: "B'supim u'vimcholos" - What is the difference between a "tof" and a "mochol?"



1) We can ask another question as well. If they traveled by night why did the clouds of glory leave at night? They were needed to guide the bnei Yisroel's travel, "lanchosom ha'derech". We must say that the traveling at night refers to walking from tribal encampment to tribal encampment within the camp to meet those from other tribes. (Moshav Z'keinim)

2) They were such a large group that to keep moving in unison meant very slow travel. They made up the short distances covered during the day by also traveling at night. (Minchoh V'luloh)

3) This refers to the presence of the cloud of glory by day and the pillar of fire at night. "Lo'leches" means to simply be there. (Abarbanel)

4) This only took place at the beginning of their travels. They were so eager to reach the location of the giving of the Torah that they traveled by day and by night. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)


Chizkuni differentiates between "yom" and "yomom." "Yomom" is only used when the intention is during daylight, while "yom" can be used even when referring to night. He brings an example, "b'YOM hakosi kol b'chor" (Bmidbar 3:13), and we all know that the smiting of the first-born took place at night. These words are most puzzling. On Shmos 12:29 Chizkuni comments that although we find "b'YOM hakosi kol b'chor," and the smiting of the first-born took place at night, Rabbi Yochonon says that they were smitten at midnight but didn't die until the morning. The contradiction is obvious. Any help would be appreciated.


1) To point out that she was a prophetess at an early age when Moshe was not yet born (See gemara Sotoh 12b), and at that time she was the sister of only Aharon.

2) Miriam was struck with tzoraas (a spiritually caused leprosy). Aharon put himself out in beseeching Moshe to have her healed (See Bmidbar 12:10 and 12:12). In this merit she was called the sister of Aharon. (Rashi in the name of the Mechilta)

3) Since Aharon was three years older than Moshe, Miriam was already called the sister of Aharon earlier and this title stayed with her. (RAVa"M) This is similar to the explanation given by the Rashbam as to why Yoseif was called the "ben z'kunim" of Yaakov and Binyomin wasn't.

4) Since the appellation "prophetess" is being used here, it is appropriate to relate Miriam to Aharon, whose level of prophecy is similar to hers as indicated in Bmidbar 12:2, "Gam bonu dibeir Hashem", and not to Moshe whose prophecy was above either of theirs. (RaVa"m)

5) Since Moshe and Miriam are mentioned in relation to the "Shiroh," the song of praise and thanks to Hashem, the verse did not want to leave out Aharon. (Ramban)

6) It is common for the Torah to relate one's relationship to the oldest son of the family, as we find in Divrei Hayomim 1:2:42, "U'v'nei Choleiv achi Y'rach'm'eil," even though he had a brother named Rom (D.H. 1:2:9) as well. (Ramban) 7) It is common for the Torah to mention the oldest brother of a woman, as we find in Breishis 36:3, "V'es Bosmas bas Yishmo'eil achose N'voyose," and in Shmos 6:23, "Elisheva bas Aminodov achose Nach'shone." (Rashbam and Rivo"sh)

8) Since both Miriam and Aharon were born to Amrom and Yocheved during their first marriage, and Moshe was born to them after they remarried (See gemara Sotoh 12b), the Torah connects Miriam to Aharon only. (Toras Shlomo)

9) Moshe was a Levite. The Levite's servitude to Hashem is marked by singing, "U'Lviim b'shirom u'v'zimrom" (Musof service of Yom Tov). Aharon was a Kohein. Kohanim's servitude to Hashem is marked by action done with a physical object, i.e. processing sacrifices, etc. Since the praise to Hashem had only taken on the form of singing, "Oz yoshir Moshe," there was no place for Aharon, the paradigm of physical servitude. Miriam wanted Aharon to have an opportunity to praise Hashem along his lines of servitude. She introduced the accompaniment of musical instruments in the praise of Hashem, thus initiating this form of praise. Therefore she is mentioned as the sister of Aharon only. (Avnei Nezer, the Holy Admor of Sochatchov)


The Yalkut Mei'am Lo'eiz says that it was necessary for the women to make use of musical instruments during their singing praises to Hashem to drown out their voices, as "Kol b'ishoh ervoh" (gemara Brochos 24a and Kidushin 70a). However, the Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim disagrees and says that since there was a palpable presence of the "Sh'chinoh," the Holy Spirit of Hashem, as indicated by the words "Zeh Keili" (15:2), this was not necessary, as mentioned in the gemara Nidoh 13a , "bi'asuso d'sh'chinoh."

A true story is told of a time when there was a very severe draught in Eretz Yisroel. The communal heads of all the populace of all shades and persuasions called for a mass assembly for prayer to take place at the Kosel Hamaarovi. The size of the crowd was larger than anyone present could remember, matching the need for heavy precipitation. One very elderly and infirm Admor was also brought by wheelchair to join in the prayers.

After many chapters of T'hilim and other appropriate prayers were said, literally out of the clear blue sky, laden dark grey clouds appeared. It took but a few minutes and the sky blackened, and then, wonder of wonders, precious droplets of rain fell, quickly turning into a virtual flood of rain. The masses were besides themselves with happiness, no one caring that he was drenched to the bone with the life saving liquid that was more precious than gold.

There was but one person among the many thousands present who was not saturated by the rain. He was the elderly Admor. When it started raining he opened a large umbrella which he had taken along with him. Among all the thousands of people who went to pray at the Kosel Hamaarovi for rain, he was the only one who had the conviction that help was SURELY on the way, hence the necessity to bring along an umbrella.

Similarly, the Mechilta says that only the righteous women (and not the men) who left Egypt were so convinced that they would still merit future miracles, that they therefore brought along musical instruments with which to play music to complement the praises of Hashem which would be sung.

It would seem that all knew that the exodus was not truly complete upon exiting Egypt, as the Yerushalmi P'sochim 10:6 asks why no songs of thanks were sung immediately upon departure from Egypt. The Yerushalmi answers that they only sang when the redemption was complete, at the splitting of the Yam Suf. In spite of this knowledge, only the women were sufficiently motivated to bring along musical instruments.


Rabbi Saadioh Gaon says that a TOFE is a small drum (a timbrel) which is sounded by banging with the hands. A MOCHOL is a much larger drum that is played with the use of wooden drumsticks. The Mechilta seems to also say that these are both musical instruments, as it says, "How did they have TUPIM and M'CHOLOS in the desert?"

However the Targum Onkelos and the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel both say that M'CHOLOS are circles of people dancing. Rashi seems to go along with the Targumim, as he says that the women brought TUPIM out of Egypt. He does not mention M'CHOLOS. Perhaps an indication that M'CHOLOS are instruments can be brought from T'hilim 150:4, "Hal'luhu b'SOF uMOCHOL." The Metzudas Dovid translates these words as, "Praise Him with a drum and dancing." However, the Yismach Moshe brings a Beis Yosef, O.CH. #422, who says in the name of the "Gaonim" that the reason for reciting Hallel every Rosh Chodesh is because we find in this chapter of T'hilim the expression "hallel" twelve times, indicating the recital of Hallel at the beginning of each of the twelve months (save Tishrei). This is the reason we double the last verse, "Kol han'shomo t'hallel," for the extra month of Adar II. The Yismach Moshe says that since Nison is the first month of the year (Shmos 12:2), the sixth month is Elul. The sixth expression of hallel in this chapter is "Hal'luhu b'seika shofar," indicating the custom to sound the shofar throughout this month.

Perhaps, just as we find the expression "hallel" twelve times (see RDa"K), there might also be twelve instruments mentioned in this chapter. This is only so if MOCHOL is counted as an instrument. For those who will actually check this out, note that a number of instruments are in the plural form, indicating a minimum of two.



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

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