CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS SHMOS 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 1, v. 6: "Va'yomos Yoseif" - Why did Yoseif die first and at the
youngest age of all the brothers?
Ch. 2, v. 10: "Vayigdal ha'yeled vatvi'eihu l'vas Paroh" - Why did Hashem
bring about that Moshe should be raised in the home of Paroh?
3) Ch. 3, v. 18: "V'shomu l'kol'echo" - And they will hearken to your voice -
Rashi says that as soon as they would hear Moshe say the double expression
"pokode pokadti" (verse 16), they would believe that he was the true agent for
their redemption and exodus. Yaakov told his children, "v'Eilokim pokode
yifkode es'chem" (Breishis 50:24), (I do not understand Rashi, as the verse there
clearly says that Yoseif said this.) and Yoseif (the next verse) similarly
said, "pokode yifkode Elokim es'chem." How is this a conclusive sign, since Rashi
himself says that this was a tradition handed over by both Yaakov and Yoseif?
Anyone could come by and claim to be Hashem's agent as the expression was
4) Ch. 4, v. 11: "I'leim o cheireish o FI'KEI'ACH o i'veir" - Why is the
seeing person included in this list of handicapped people?
5) Ch. 5, v. 16: "V'chotos a'mecho" - And it is the fault of your nation -
What is the antecedent of "v'chotos"?
Answer to questions on parshas Va'yichi:
1) Ch. 47, v. 31: "Va'yishova lo" - Why did Yaakov extract a promise from
Yosef to bring his body back to Canaan? Hadn't Hashem already promised Yaakov
that he would be returned to Canaan (46:4)?
The Rivo in the name of Rabbeinu Tam answers:
1) Hashem's promise might be fulfilled only after he was reduced to being
bones. Yaakov wanted to be returned and interred while his complete body was
2) Hashem's promise might be fulfilled after a lengthy passage of time.
Yaakov wanted to be returned and interred shortly after his death.
2) Ch. 48, v. 5: "Efrayim uMenasheh kiReuvein v'Shimon yi'h'yu li" - Why did
Yaakov give Yoseif the privilege of having tribal status bestowed upon his two
1) The Chizkuni, based on the gemara B.B. 123a, answers that this was in
response to Yoseif's sustaining him during the famine.
2) or because Yaakov intended to marry Rochel first and foremost, so he gave
the double portion privilege to Yoseif
3) or for the honour of Rochel, so that she should have three tribal-head
descendants, thus having more than his handmaids Zilpoh and Bilhoh.
3) Ch. 48, v. 7: "Vaani b'vo'i miPadan meisoh olai Rochel b'eretz
Canaan......vo'ek'b're'hoh shom" - Rashi says that Yaakov told Yoseif that he did not
bring Rochel "lo'oretz," into Beis Lechem to bury her in "the land." The location
of Rochel's burial plot is in Eretz Yisroel, as this verse clearly states,
"meisoh olai Rochel b'eretz Canaan." Is this not plainly contrary to Rashi's
1) The Moshav Z'keinim offers is that this particular spot was not Eretz
Yisroel, although the surrounding area was.
2) He also offers that "b'eretz Canaan" means on the way to Canaan, as is
well known from the writings of the Maharal of Prague that when a person is
headed to a certain location, it is considered as if he has already reached his
destination, thus the angels of Eretz Yisroel met Yaakov upon his return outside
the borders of Eretz Yisroel (Breishis 32:2, see Rashi).
3) Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh answer that "lo'oretz" means "to a populated
area," and he buried Rochel away from a populated area, but it was in Eretz
4) The Sforno on the words "Va'yi'ken es chelkas haso'deh, Va'yatzev shom
mizbei'ach" (Breishis 33:19-20), says that Yaakov first purchased the site
before building an altar and offering praise to Hashem because without purchasing
it, it had the status of chutz lo'oretz (until Yehoshua's conquest). Yaakov did
not want to build an altar and sing Hashem's praises in chutz lo'oretz, in
keeping with "Eich noshir es shir Hashem al admas neichor" (T'hilim 137:4). The
Moshav Z'keinim on parshas Shmos by the story of Moshe's being asked to remove
his footwear because of the hallowed ground he tread upon, also says that
there was no Eretz Yisroel sanctity until after Yehoshua's conquest.
Had Yaakov taken Rochel's body to Beis Lechem, which was populated, he could
have purchased a plot for her burial, thus investing it with the sanctity of
Eretz Yisroel, as Avrohom did when he purchased the M'oras Hamachpeiloh. At the
time of Rochel's interment the burial plot was considered outside of Eretz
Yisroel. The Chasam Sofer says the same as the Sforno, but in a more elaborate
fashion, on our verse.
4) Ch. 48, v. 14: "Sikeil es yodov KI Menasheh ha'bchor" - If Ki is
translated here as "because" then the explanation given for Yaakov's switching his
hands is contrary to what he did. How do we explain this verse?
1) Rashi (according to one opinion) and Ibn Ezra say that it is like "af
ki," - even though.
2) Rashbam, Rivo, and the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explain that Yaakov switched
his hands BECAUSE Menasheh was the first-born. Because Menasheh was the
b'chor and was placed in the position of greater prominence, to Yaakov's right,
Yaakov switched his hands, enabling him to give Efraim the blessing with his
3) Chizkuni says that BECAUSE Menasheh was the first-born, Yaakov switched
his HANDS, so that Menasheh would at least be on Yaakov's right side when
receiving his blessing. Had Menasheh not been the first-born, Yaakov would not
have switched his hands, but would have switched his grandsons' positions.
4) Because Menasheh was the first-born he absorbed all the impurities
imparted to Osnas from Sh'chem and therefore Yaakov favoured Efrayim to receive the
dominant blessing. (Rama miPanu in Asoroh Maamoros)
5) Ch. 48, v. 22: "Sh'chem ached al achecho" - Rashi offers that this refers
literally to the city of Sh'chem. We must then say that taking Sh'chem took
place with Yaakov's sword and bow, "asher lokachti b'charbi uvkashti," but the
verse in Breishis 35:5 says that the surrounding communities did not attack
because they feared the bnei Yisroel.
1) Tosfos Sho'leim explains that Rashi offers a second explanation exactly
because of this difficulty.
2) He alternatively offers that the word "sh'chem" means a portion, and that
it refers to Yoseif's meriting that his two sons become separate tribes.
3) Rabbeinu Ovadioh of Bartenura resolves this by saying that the
surrounding communities did not attack after they left the city of Sh'chem, but while
there they did fight
4) or that Yaakov girded himself with his sword and bow in preparation for
war, but it never took place.
5) Rabbeinu Yehudoh Chalavah offers that even though the communities
abutting Sh'chem fought them, but "svivosei'hem," those that were further afield, did
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