CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VO'EIRA 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 6, v. 12: "Hein bnei Yisroel lo shomu eilei v'eich yishmo'eini Paroh" - The "kal vochomer" seems to have a refutation. In verse 6 it says that the bnei Yisroel did not hearken to Moshe's words because of their shortness of spirit and difficult labour. These do not apply to Paroh, so he might listen.
2) Ch. 6, v. 14,15,16: "Bnei Reuvein, U'vnei Shimon, V'eileh SHMOS bnei Levi" - Why does the verse add the word SHMOS by the tribe of Levi and not by Reuvein or Shimon?
3) Ch. 7, v. 15: "Hi'nei yotzei hamaymoh" - Rashi (M.R. 9:8) says that Paroh went to the river early in the morning to relieve himself. Throughout the day he would not relieve himself, and thus claimed that he was a deity, very small d. We may assume that he justified his early morning aquatic activities as either being something enjoyable to start off his day, or that it was part of his physical fitness programme. (The Ibn Ezra on 8:16 gives us another reason.) Once the plague of blood came and the water became putrid and gave off a strong stench (7:21), how did Paroh justify his "hashkomoh," early morning, jaunt to the river? Did he give up this practice and admit that he was a plain human?
4) Ch. 8, v. 17: "V'GAM HO'ADOMOH asher heim o'lehoh." Since the plague is a mixture of wild animals, what does "the earth upon which they find themselves" have to do with the plague?
5) Ch. 9, v. 29: "K'tzeisi es ho'ir" - Why specifically by the plague of hail was it necessary for Moshe to leave the city before he could pray for it to cease?
Answer to questions on parshas Shmos:
1) Ch. 1, v. 6: "Va'yomos Yoseif" - Why did Yoseif die first and at the youngest age of all the brothers?
1) He caused his father to be called "av'd'cho" 10 (5) times. (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #39)
2) At the time of his being tempted by Poti Phera's wife, Yoseif emitted "zera" from his fingers. (as per gemara Sotoh 36b)
3) He had his father embalmed. (M.R. Vayichi)
4) He said, "I will sustain you." (Breishis 45:11).
5) He ministered over his family. (gemara Sotoh 13b)
6) He appeared in front of his father in such a regal manner that his father bowed down to him. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Breishis 46:29)
2) 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?
1) This gave him the opportunity to learn proper protocols of being a leader.
2) Moshe would be away from his people for many years. Upon his return they might not accept him as their leader. Hashem therefore orchestrated matters so that he be brought up in Paroh's household and the bnei Yisroel would later respect him.
3) We might say that when Moshe would later escape from an attempted execution he basically had nowhere to run, as who would take the risk of harbouring the top man on Paroh's most-wanted list. By being in the home of Paroh, he was privy to the council meeting among Paroh, Bilom, Iyov, and Yisro, regarding the Jewish problem (gemara Sotoh 11a). He was witness to Yisro's running away and not wanting to suggest anything negative be done to the bnei Yisroel. Thus Moshe knew that he had a safe haven in the home of Yisro.
4) By growing up in Paroh's home he developed the courage to stand up against him.
3) Ch. 3, v. 18: "V'shomu l'ko'lecho" - 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 public knowledge.
P'ninim Y'korim answers that since Moshe had a speech impairment, he was unable to properly pronounce the sound P. When he said it to the elder he pronounced it perfectly. This was for them a clear sign.
Perhaps we can add that this is why "v'shomu l'KOL'ECHO" is used rather than "v'shomu l'cho" or "l'imro'secho." They will hearken to your VOICE, the proper enunciation of the P sound.
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?
1) The Holy Baal Shem Tov answers that this teaches us that a person with no physical blemish of any of his senses should realize that he is also blemished, as he has numerous character flaws.
2) On a simple level this could be explained with the words of the M.R. 1:31 and the Medrash Tanchuma #10 that say that these words refer to what took place when Moshe was judged to receive the death penalty for killing an Egyptian. The mute refers to Paroh, whose death sentence could not be carried out, as if he was mute and never said to have Moshe executed. The deaf refers to his underlings, as they were like the deaf who cannot hear the edict of the king. The PI'KEI'ACH was Moshe who was sufficiently wise to escape, and the blind refers to the executor who seemed blind when Moshe ran away.
5) Ch. 5, v. 16: "V'chotos a'mecho" - And IT is the fault of your nation - What is the antecedent of "v'chotos"?
1) Moshav Z'keinim explains Rashi as either interpreting these words as "and the short-fall of bricks is the fault of your nation,"
2) or "hitting the supervisors, who are not at fault, is a sin perpetrated by your nation." This second explanation is also found in Targum Onkelos.
3) Mahari"k explains: The shortfall is not our doing. It is the shortfall of your nation because you no longer supply straw.
4) Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor explains: Your nation's asking us to fulfill an impossible quota is its sin.
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