Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 3, v. 23: "Leimore" - Rashi comments that this is one of THREE places where Moshe requested a response from Hashem. However, Rashi on Bmidbar 12:13 says that Moshe requested a response in FOUR places. As well, Rashi on Shmos 17:4 yields another place where Moshe asked Hashem for a response to his question. Why didn't Rashi add this FIFTH place to his list? Actually, the Sifri says that Moshe requested a response from Hashem in FIVE places.

2) Ch. 3, v. 24: "Atoh hachilosoh" - The M.R. Dvorim chapter 2 says that when Moshe beseeched Hashem for permission to enter Eretz Yisroel, Hashem responded with "Rav loch" (3:26), meaning that you Moshe have a master, Yehoshua. Since it was destined for Yehoshua to become the leader at a certain time, Moshe could no longer continue as the leader, as this would encroach upon Yehoshua's reign. Moshe then requested to enter the land as a common man. To this Hashem responded with "Al asher m'altem bi" (Dvorim 32:51) - You may not enter since you have disobeyed Me. Why didn't Hashem immediately respond with the second remark, which preempts Moshe's second request?

3) Ch. 3, v. 26: "Va'yisa'beir Hashem bi l'maanchem" - And Hashem was angered in me by virtue of you - Rashi says that we find that this is so in T'hilim 106:32, "Va'yaktzifu al mei m'rivoh va'yeira l'Moshe baavurom." Why does Rashi bring this verse and not cite a verse in the Torah itself, Bmidbar 20:12, "Yaan lo he'emantem bi l'hakdisheini l'einei bnei Yisroel lochein lo sovi'u es hakohol ha'zeh el ho'oretz?"

4) Ch. 4, v. 15: "V'nishmartem m'ode l'nafshoseichem" - This is the mitzvoh of caring for one's health. Why is this expressed as guarding one's SOUL rather than one's BODY?

5) Ch. 5, v. 15, "V'zocharto ki eved ho'yiso b'eretz Mitzrayim va'yotziacho" - And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and He took you out - Shabbos of the Ten Commandments in parshas Yisro is a reminder that Hashem created the world in six days and desisted from creation on the seventh day (Shmos 20:11). We mention both ideas in our Friday night kiddush, "zikorone l'maa'sei vreishis," and "zeicher litzias Mitzroyim." Why do we say "zikorone" in relation to the creation of the world and "zeicher" in relation to being taken out of Egypt?



1) The Eimek HaN'tzi"v answers that Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh only lists the places where LEIMORE covertly indicates that Moshe asked for a response. His direct statement was not a question, but by virtue of his saying LEIMORE, "to say," there is an indication that Moshe requested a response. From the context of the subject matter we derive what his question was. The verse in Shmos 17:4 is an overt question to Hashem. Therefore, Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh does not include it in his list. This brings the total down to four.

2) The Sifsei Chachomim answers that Rashi is pointing out a different matter. Indeed, in four places we find that inherent in Moshe's words was a question that elicited a response. However, here Moshe asked for a specific positive response. The same is true in Bmidbar 12:13, where he requested that Miriam be healed of her affliction, as well as in Bmidbar 27:15 where he requested that Hashem bestow a proper leader upon the bnei Yisroel. This took place three times only. However, in both Shmos 6:12 where he asked if Hashem would personally redeem the bnei Yisroel without an intermediary, and in Shmos 17:4 where he asked how to handle the nation, Moshe only requested a response to his question, but did not ask that he receive an affirmative response. This is indicated in the words of Rashi on Dvorim 3:24, where Rashi quotes Moshe as saying, "Shetodi'eini im taa'seh sh'eilosi," - that You should let me know if You will COMPLY with my request.


The P'ninim Y'korim answers that we find the Medrash Tanchumoh Dvorim #6 relates the following dialogue: Moshe, upon hearing that his sin would not be forgiven and that he would in turn not be allowed entry into Eretz Yisroel, asked Hashem, "Behold the bnei Yisroel have sinned numerous times and You decreed negatively upon them, and yet You have forgiven them. If so, why won't You forgive me as well, and retract the edict that I may not enter the land?" Hashem responded that one cannot equate an edict issued against a lone person to an edict issued against a congregation. The edict issued against a congregation is more readily rescinded.

The gemara Taanis 9a says that Moshe is equated to a congregation since he is needed by them. If so, Moshe, as their leader, rightfully claimed that he should be forgiven, as is the precedent when dealing with a congregation. To this Hashem responded that upon entry to the land Yehoshua will be bnei Yisroel's leader, and Moshe will no longer have the status of being needed by the congregation, "rabim tzrichim lo." Therefore the sin of "Asher m'altem bi" will not be forgiven, and Moshe rightfully will not merit entry to the land.


1) Y'dei Moshe answers that Hashem does not punish on this world for not fulfilling a positive command. The exception is that at a time of Hashem's anger He punishes even for this. Moshe's not speaking to the rock was only a lack of fulfilling Hashem's positive command. Only the verse in T'hilim tells us that Hashem was angered, "va'yaktzifu."

2) Possibly, this question can be answered very simply. In our verse Moshe states that Hashem was angry with him BECAUSE OF the bnei Yisroel, "l'maanchem." The verse in Bmidbar does not state this, while the verse in T'hilim adds "baavurom." (Nirreh li)


Perhaps it is an indication that if one is ill it reflects a spiritual malady as well. Possibly the spiritual malady is the underlying cause for the physical disorder, and rectifying it can be helpful in the physical healing process.

We have a strong corroboration to this from the text of the prayer for the well-being of a sick person, "mi shebeirach l'choleh," in which we pray that the sick person should have a healing of his SOUL and his BODY, "r'fuas haNEFESH u'r'fuas haGUF." As well, we see that the prayer for the spiritual healing is mentioned first, indicating its being the underlying cause for the physical disorder.


Obviously, we must first explain the difference between these two words. Based on the Rada"k in his Sefer Hashoroshim entry "ish," who writes that the word "ishon," the pupil of the eye, is sourced from "ish," a person, and the Vov-Nun suffix indicates the diminutive form, we can say that "zikorone" is a small remembrance and "zeicher" is a full-fledged remembrance.

The Mahara"l of Prague in Gvuros Hashem chapter #44 writes that if Shabbos would be limited to being a remembrance of the creation of the world only, it would follow that all mankind would be required to sanctify the day. It is only because it is also a remembrance that Hashem took the Jewish nation out of Egypt to serve Him, and this created a unique relationship, limited to the bnei Yisroel to the exclusion of others, that Shabbos is to be kept only by the bnei Yisroel. Not only that, but a ben Noach may NOT keep the Shabbos even on a voluntary basis.

We now understand why as a commemoration of the creation of the world Shabbos is a minor theme, "zikorone," and as a commemoration of the exodus from Egypt it is a major theme, "zeicher." (Nirreh li)



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

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