Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 20, v. 5: "Lo m'kome zera u's'einoh v'gefen v'rimone" - Since this was a complaint about the lack of fruit types that the bnei Yisroel were looking forward to upon entering Eretz Yisroel, why did they leave out "zeis shemen u'd'vash," olives and honey-dates, which are also among the species that grow in abundance in Eretz Yisroel? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that although it was wrong for them to complain, they did not use fabricated claims. The flavours of oil and honey were readily available to them in the manna, as the verse says, "V'taamo k'tzapichis biDVOSH" (Shmos 16:31), and "K'taam l'shad ha'SHO'MEN" (Bmidbar 11:8).

Ch. 20, v. 14: "Atoh yodato es kol hatlo'oh" - Why did the bnei Yisroel give this preamble of all their travail and their miraculous departure from Egypt as a lead in to their request to traverse the land of Edom? The Meshech Chochmoh answers that had the Edomites thought that the bnei Yisroel exited Egypt after a hard fought rebellion, they surely would have been reluctant to allow the bnei Yisroel ingress to their land for fear that they might fight them as well and attempt to take over the land of Edom. Once they would hear that they left without a fight and that Hashem had miraculously intervened for them, there was no fear that the bnei Yisroel had any such intention.

Perhaps there is a simpler explanation. To avert the above-mentioned fear the bnei Yisroel sent a message that they were originally from the land of Canaan, having descended to Egypt many year earlier, as per the next verse, "Va'yeirdu avoseinu Mitzraymoh," and were on their way back, having no intentions of conquest along the way.

Ch. 21, v. 9: "V'hoyoh im noshach hanochosh es ish v'hibit el n'chash hanchoshes vochoy" - And it would be if a snake bit a man and he would stare at the copper snake and he would live - These words begin with "v'hoyoh," which connotes happiness (see gemara Megiloh 2 and M.R. Breishis 42:3). What great joy is there in being bitten by a venomous snake? In the previous verse it says, "V'hoyoh kol hanoshuch v'ro'oh oso vochoy." We derive from "KOL hanoshuch" that even if a person was not bitten by a snake in this incidence, but rather, was suffering from an animal bite, a donkey or the like, and was also ill, if he were to look (no need to stare, "v'ro'oh" and not "v'hibit") at the copper snake, he would also be healed. For him the snake attack was advantageous as he now had a medium through which he would be healed. (Meshech Chochmoh)


See also Sedrah Selections, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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