CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VA'YEIRO 5771 - BS"D
1) Ch. 18, v. 9: "A'yei Soroh ishtecho" - Where is Soroh your wife - Why did the angels ask where Soroh was? Is this not contrary to the rule of the gemara Kidushin 70b, that one should not ask about the welfare of a woman even from her husband?
2) Ch. 19, v. 37: "Vatikra shmo Moav" - As Rashi points out, the daughter who gave birth to Moav was much less modest than the other one who gave birth to Amon. If so, why did the nation of Amon merit having the family of malchus Beis Dovid, and eventually Melech Hamoshiach come from her?
3) Ch. 21, v. 9-10: "Ben Hogor haMitzris asher yoldoh l'Avrohom m'tza'cheik, Lo yirash ben ho'omoh hazose" - Why does the Torah tell us that Avrohom was the father of Yishmoel, and why does Soroh point out that Yishmoel will not share in the inheritance with Yitzchok?
4) Ch. 22, v. 2: "Kach noh es bincho" - How old was Yitzchok at the time of the Akeidoh?
5) From the Haftorah: M'lochim 2, Ch. 4, v. 23 - "Madua at ho'leches eilov hayom lo chodesh v'lo Shabbos" - Why are you going to him it is not the new month nor is it Shabbos - The gemara Brochos 51b, P'sochim 114a, Sukoh 54b, and Megiloh 29b states that "todir v'she'eino todir todir kodem," when we have two items, one which is more often than the other, the one that is more often has priority. If so, why didn't the husband of the Shunamite woman mention Shabbos first and say that it is not Shabbos nor is it Rosh Chodesh?
1) When a group of people ask, it is permitted. Here all three asked. (Rabbeinu Menachem)
2) They intended to let Soroh know that she would bear a child. This would bring her to give thanks to Hashem. (Sforno)
3) It is only prohibited when sent in written form, but when verbally through her husband it is permitted. This answers the seeming contradiction to the above gemara from B.M. 87a that says that through her husband is permitted. (Rabbeinu Avigdor of Tzrofas)
4) It is only prohibited to send well-wishes, but to ask about her welfare is permitted. (Rabbeinu Avigdor of Tzrofas)
5) It is prohibited because there is a fear that it can bring to intimacy. There is no such fear with angels. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
6) Indeed, they behaved improperly. (Rabbi Shmuel of Sanot)
7) They only asked where she was. This is permitted. (Tur)
8) They were angels and really knew where she was. They only used this as an opener to their conversation, as we find that Hashem said "a'yekoh" to Odom (Breishis 3:9). (Rashbam)
9) Because their report was a prophecy, it is appropriate to tell it to whom it impacts, so that that person may endeavor to do his part to bring it to fruition. (Ralbag)
10) They knew that she regularly greeted guests. Since this was a departure from her normal behaviour, they inquisitively asked where she was. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)
11) Because they did not see her they feared that she might not be well. They therefore asked for her so that they might be able to affect a cure. (Abarbenel)
I heard in the name of haGaon R' Moshe Feinstein zt"l that in his youth, he visited a sick person in a hospital near his home town of Luban, Russia. The ill person told R' Moshe that the previous night he had a dream in which a woman appeared to him and said that she was the daughter of Lot who gave birth to Moav. She went on to say that if you wonder how she merited that through her offspring the Melech HaMoshiach would come, considering the very negative overtones of the birth of her son Moav, the response is, through her selflessness. Knowing that her father was the leader of the community of S'dom, no one would have suspected him of committing incest with his daughter. Having become pregnant and given birth to a child, she feared that people might consider this an act of immaculate conception, and that they might give her child the status of a god. To avoid this misconception, she specifically gave her son the name Moav, "from my father." This clearly lets the world know that this child was born from a union with her father, to her great embarrassment. This constant humiliation which she brought upon herself merited Melech HaMoshiach coming from her offspring. If you find this concept contrary to your line of thinking, as Rashi and others point out that the older daughter who gave birth to Moav was on an even lower level than the one who gave birth to Amon, and ONLY ridicule and scorn are heaped upon her, it is not so. The gemara Nozir 23b says that the older sister, mother of Moav, had the merit of having the mitzvoh of reproducing earlier than her sister by one day, and was rewarded by having royalty descend from her four generations before her younger sister.
The Mahari"l Diskin asks this. He answers that there was a rumour spreading that Avimelech sired Yitzchok, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. When someone was of the opinion that Avrohom was Yitzchok's true father, Yishmoel would mock that statement. "Asher yoldoh l"Avrohom," when someone would offer this opinion,"m'tza'cheik," Yishmoel would ridicule him. He would say that he is the only true son of Avrohom. Therefore Soroh stressed that Yishmoel would not inherit with Yitzchok, as Yitzchok is truly the son of Avrohom, and his only son from his wife. Yishmoel, being the son of a maid-servant, would not share in the inheritance left by Avrohom.
1) 37 years old (Seder Olom, M.R.)
2) 36 years old (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on 22:1)
3) 5 years old (Opinion mentioned in the Ibn Ezra, seemingly the opinion of the Rambam as mentioned in the writings of his son Rabbi Avrohom)
4) under 13 years old (Ibn Ezra's own opinion)
1) Since he said that it IS NOT R. Ch. NOR Shabbos, it is more often NOT R. Ch. than it is NOT Shabbos. (mipi hashmua b'sheim Reb Chaim'ke Soloveitchik z"l Brisk-Kamenitz)
2) Perhaps her personal history of traveling to Elisha was more often for R. Ch. than it was for Shabbos, thus R. Ch. was more often.
3) The gemara R.H. 16b derives from these words that "chayov odom l'hakbil pnei rabbo b'Shabbos u'v'regel - a person is required to visit his teacher on Shabbos and Yom Tov. This deserves clarification. Yom Tov does not seem to be mentioned in our verse, only R. Ch. and Shabbos. Commentators answer that Shabbos means Yom Tov, as we find Pesach referred to as Shabbos in Vayikroh 23:11 and 23:15. Thus R. Ch. comes more often than Yom Tov. However, this seems to not be a proper answer as R. Ch. only came 12 times a year since the ruling of one and two day Roshei Chodoshim was not yet instituted. There are 18 days of Yom Tov in Eretz Yisroel. If we say that the term Shabbos when used to mean Yom Tov refers specifically to the days that are "mo'eid-chag," i.e. days that have major work restriction, then we have 7 day that are Yom Tov and 12 days that are R.Ch., so R. Ch. is mentioned first. Alternatively, even if there are 18 days of Yom Tov and only 12 days that are R. Ch., R. Ch. is considered more "todir," if we understand "todir" to mean STEADY rather than OFTEN. Yomim Tovim appear at times of the year that are not spread out with equal intervals, while Roshei Chodoshim are.
4) As just mentioned, we can say that Shabbos means Yom Tov. If so, he mentioned the holier (Yom Tov) ahead of the less holy (R. Ch.), as per the dictum "kol hamkudosh meichaveiro kodem es chaveiro" (gemara Z'vochim 89a).
5) The Rada"k says in his father's name that the meaning of these words is "it has not passed a Chodesh nor Shabbos that you haven't seen him, so why go now?" Thus if it was just after R. Ch. he spoke in order of closeness of her most recent visit.
6) As per the Rada"k just mentioned, perhaps it was just before R. Ch. and Shabbos would take place after R.Ch. He said to her that it is not R. Ch., which is just about to come and she would see him then, nor is it Shabbos, which would come a bit later.
7) Perhaps it was just before R. Ch. and a few days after R. Ch. would be Shabbos. His intention was "wait a few days for R. Ch. or a few more days for Shabbos." (Very similar to the previous answer but without the Rada"k component)
8) We cannot say that he meant "it is not Shabbos so why are you going now." If it were Shabbos she surely wouldn't be going. We see from verse22 that it was a distance to Elisha, as she asked for a youth and a donkey to travel. Traveling beyond the Shabbos boundary, "t'chum," is prohibited. We must say that his intention is that it is not before Shabbos. If so, he mentioned R. Ch. ahead of a day or so before Shabbos, a perfectly proper order with the rule of "kol hamkudosh meichaveiro kodem es chaveiro" mentioned earlier in answer #4.
9) He mentioned the day that it was easier to get away ahead of the day that it was harder to get away. R. Ch. is a day that women are exempt and even restricted from doing many types of work. On the eve of Shabbos (as per answer #8) women are usually very busy with preparation for Shabbos.
10) The original question raised has no basis. The rule of "todir v'she'eino todir todir kodem" does not apply to the order of items mentioned in one's speech, but rather to prioritizing when doing an action, for example to sacrifice the "tomid" ahead of the "musof" offering.
Once we are involved with this verse I would like to take the opportunity to mention a most thought provoking "vort" I heard from one of my Rebbeim zt"l. The Shunamite's response to her husband was "sholom." Similarly, we find that she said the same one word response to Geichazi when asked about her welfare and that of her husband and child (verse 26). Can we understand this word to mean "peace" or "good-bye" in our verse and as "all is well" in verse 26? Obviously not, since her child had died. My Rebbi said that her intention was "sholom," - I find myself totally at peace with myself, not feeling that I lack anything in my spiritual pursuits. This is indeed a powerful response to "Why are you rushing off to see Elisha?" and likewise she didn't really answer Geichazi's question, but only gave the reason for her wanting an immediate audience with Elisha.
A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH. FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY.
FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. TO SUBSCRIBE, KINDLY SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM
See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh
V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights