CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS KI SOVO 5768 - BS"D
1) Ch. 26, v. 6: "Va'yo'rei'u OSONU haMitzrim" - Why doesn't the verse say LONU rather than OSONU?
2) Ch. 26, v. 10: "Reishis pri HO'ADOMOH" - Fruit grows from trees and hence we say the blessing of "bo'rei pri HO'EITZ" before eating them. Vegetables grow from the ground as does grain from which we make bread. Yet for vegetables we make the blessing "bo'rei pri HO'ADOMOH" while over bread we say "hamotzi lechem min HO'O'RETZ." Why don't we either say HO'ADOMOH by both or HO'ORETZ by both?
3) Ch. 27, v. 12,13: There is seemingly no rhyme nor reason for the order of the placement of the tribes in these two verses. In particular, why was Reuvein separated from his maternal brothers?
4) Ch. 27, v. 19,20: "Orur matteh, Orur shocheiv" - We find 12 (11 according to Rashi in verse 24) "arurim" at Har Eivol. Each "orur" is a separate parsha, separated from the previous one by a blank space called a "s'sumoh." However, between the two "arurim" of verses 19 and 20 we find no separation. (Perhaps Rashi's intention in saying that there are 11 curses (verse 24) although we find 12, is that there are 11 parshios of curses.) Why are these two "arurim" not separated?
5) Ch. 28, v. 43: "Ha'geir asher b'kir'b'cho ya'aleh o'lecho maloh moloh v'atoh seireid matoh motoh" - Earlier by the blessings in verse 13 we find, "V'hoyiso rok l'maloh v'lo si'h'yeh l'motoh." If so, why don't we have the opposite expressed here, "Ha'geir asher b'kir'b'cho yi'h'yeh rok l'maloh v'atoh si'h'yeh rok l'matoh?"
1) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh derives from the use of the word OSONU rather than LONU that the intention of these words is that the Egyptians turned us into bad people. (Yet in Bmidbar 20:15 we find that when the bnei Yisroel attempted to persuade the nation of Edom to allow them to traverse their land on the way to Eretz Yisroel and the bnei Yisroel related their travails, they said "va'yo'rei'u LONU haMitzrim," - the Egyptians treated us badly. Perhaps since the bnei Yisroel were making a plea to be allowed to enter Edom's land, they felt that it would not further their case if they would be self-incriminating and state that they had become bad people, even if it was caused by their host country, Egypt.)
2) The N'tzi"v says that the intention of our verse is to say that the Egyptians gave us bad press. For a supposedly enlightened ruler to issue such harsh and heartless edicts against an innocent people would be impossible, as he would be met with a public outcry bemoaning the injustice. However, if enough bad press is aimed at the bnei Yisroel, he could change public opinion and get away with even the greatest injustice. It seems that history has repeated itself numerous times in this manner, even in most recent years.
The Avudrohom answers that the Rabbis instituted the wording of these two blessings to correspond with the terms expressed in the Torah. In our verse we find the words "pri HO'ADOMOH" referring to the fruit grown on the ground. In T'hilim 104:14 we find, "l'hotzi lechem min HO'O'RETZ" referring to bread.
This can be answered when we delve into 27:20, "Orur shocheiv im eishes oviv." The gemara Shabbos 55b says: "Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachamani says that whoever says that Reuvein sinned with his father's concubine (Breishis 35:22) is mistaken. Rabbi Shimon ben Elozor said, "Is it possible that Reuvein's descendants would stand on Mount Eivol and utter the curse, 'Orur shocheiv im eishes oviv,' if their forefather had committed this sin?"
The Pnei Yehoshua explains this gemara according to the words Rashi brings in verse 24 in the name of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan. He says that there were 11 curses mentioned. (The Sifsei Chachomim says that "Orur asher lo yokim" (verse 26) is a general curse, not pinpointing a specific sin, and is not included in the count. Another explanation was given in the offering on 27:19,20.) These 11 curses correspond to the 11 tribes. Shimon was left out, as his tribe was not to receive a direct blessing in parshas Zose Habrochoh. Others say that there were 12 curses corresponding to the 12 tribes; see Rashbam.)
The Pnei Yehoshua says that according to the above gemara the order of our two verses is well understood and as well we have a deeper understanding of the words of Rabbi Shimon ben Elozor. According to Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan since no curse was mentioned to correspond to the tribe of Shimon, the sixth curse, "Orur shocheiv im eishes oviv," corresponds to Reuvein. This is why he was placed on the second mountain as the seventh tribe and the sixth one to utter this particular "orur." Rabbi Shimon is not only saying that Reuvein was present at the time of the verbalization of this curse, but also that his tribe was the one that said it. This clearly shows that Reuvein was not guilty of this sin.
A careful reading of the Chizkuni will show that he preceded the Pnei Yehoshua in saying this interpretation of the above gemara.
The Baalei Tosfos in the name of Rabbi Moshe of Kutzi also say that this curse corresponds to the tribe of Reuvein.
However, they bring out the opposite point. By corresponding to the tribe of Reuvein, this curse is a sharp reminder of the sin of their forefather.
1) The Mahari"l Diskin explains that since one of these two curses is committing adultery with one's father's wife, which the overt words of the Torah indicate that Reuvein had done (Breishis 35:22), the Torah connects it with a second sin in the same parsha to soften its impact, since Reuvein was not guilty of this sin in a literal sense, as per the gemara Shabbos 55b.
2) Rabbi Chaim Kanievski shlit"a in his work "Taama Dikra" answers that these two curses correspond to the tribes of Yisochor and Zvulun. (He has a different order of corresponding tribes to curses than will be mentioned in the next offering in the name of the Pnei Yehoshua.) Since these two tribes were so strongly connected in their work-study partnership, their "arurim" are not separated into different parshios.
1) See this week's Sedrah Selections for an answer from the Holy Alshich and the Chasam Sofer.
2) Rabbi Dr. Ezriel Hildesheimer explains the difference as follows: The basic nature of a physical object is to be subject to gravity. Even if a force is used which propels it upwards, this is only a bit by bit change. For example, a stone is thrown upwards. Even though for a while it will fly upwards, it will shortly slow down and come crashing to the earth quickly, subject to the laws of gravity.
The bnei Yisroel are a spiritual people, rooted in the upper spheres. When they behave properly they are "rok l'maloh," totally above, as is their nature. When they act in an earthy manner and sin, against their nature they are drawn downwards, bit by bit, "matoh motoh." On the other hand, the pagan nations living among the bnei Yisroel had a very sinful earthy nature. Even when the opportunity arises for them to be elevated above the bnei Yisroel, it is like a rock being propelled upwards, which only ascends bit by bit against the force of gravity. Hence their ascent is expressed as "maloh moloh."
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