CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS MATOS-MASSEI 5772 - BS"D
1) Ch. 31, v. 2: "Mei'eis haMidyonim" - From the Midyanites - Why doesn't the verse say "mei'haMidyonim?"
2) Ch. 31, v. 3: "Heicholtzu" - Arm - This is Rashi's translation. What other translations do you have?
3) Ch. 31, v. 6: "Osom v'es Pinchos" - They and Pinchos - "Osom" seems to be superfluous.
4) Ch. 33, v. 4: "U'Mitzrayim m'kabrim eis asher hikoh Hashem bohem kol b'chor uvei'loheihem ossoh Hashem shfotim" - And the Egyptians are burying those whom Hashem smote every firstborn and in their gods Hashem extracted punishment - The verse should have said, "U'Mitzrayim m'kabrim kol b'chor asher hikoh Hashem bohem."
5) Ch. 33, v. 6: "Va'yachanu v'Eisom asher biktzei hamidbor" - And they rested in Eisom which was at the edge of the desert - Compare this with "B'Eisom biktzei hamidbor" (Shmos 12:37). Why do we have the added word "asher" here?
The word "es" expands the war to include others who are not Midyonites, but are found among them at the time of the war. This is Bilom, from Aram, who was there to collect his wages, as is explained in the gemara Sanhedrin 106a. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
M.R. Vayikra #34 says that this word form has four meanings, arming with weapons, as in our verse and "chalutzim taavru" (Dvorim 3), remove, as in "v'choltzoh naalo" (Dvorim 25), save from harm, as in "chaltzeini Hashem" (T'hilim 140), and leave to rest, as in "v'atzmosecho yachalitz" (Yeshayohu 58).
This is the basis for Rashi's (Sifri) deriving that Pinchos was equal to all those who were sent to war. The gemara Sanhedrin 43a says that "osom" refers to the court judges. These two opinions are in tandem with two opinions in the Sifri in parshas Pinchos. One opinion is that Pinchos on his own killed Bilom in this war (as is the opinion of Targum Yonoson ben Uziel). Rabbi Noson posits that court judges went out with the army, and when they captured Bilom, only with the empowerment of a court were they able to rule that a prophet should be killed. The first opinion is that of the Sifri that Pinchos was equal to all those sent to war, and was surely an equal to a court of judges. He therefore undertook to kill Bilom on his own. (Malbim)
The order of words indicates that they buried everyone that Hashem smote, who was a person with the title of "b'chor." Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor therefore translates "eloheihem" as their prestigious people, such as a judge, called "elohim." "U'veiloheihem" is a continuum of "kol b'chor," explaining that not only a firstborn, but also an "elohim," whom Hashem smote was also being buried.
The reason it is more defined here is because there is the possibility that there is another Eisom, so our verse tells us that they rested at an Eisom that was located at the edge of the desert. In parshas B'shalach the intention of the verse is just to tell us that they were about to enter the desert and not to pinpoint the exact location of entry, hence no "asher." (N'tzi"v in Haameik Dovor)
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