Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 6, v. 6,7: "V'hotzeisi, v'hitzalti, v'go'alti, v'lokachti" -

1) Rashi and Rashbam in the gemara P'sochim 99b say that these four expressions of redemption are the source for drinking four goblets of wine on the night of the Seder. This is stated in the Yerushalmi P'sochim (10:1) and in the M.R. Breishis (88:4) as the opinion of Rav Huna.

2) The above two sources also bring the opinion of Rav Shmuel bar Nachmeini that the four goblets correspond to the four times the word "kose" is mentioned in the butler's dream and Yosef's interpretation at the end of parshas Va'yeishev.

3) The above two sources also bring the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi that the four goblets correspond to the four bitter goblets of punishment that Hashem will mete out to the nations of idol worshipers (Yirmiyohu 25:15, 51:7, T'hilim 11:6, 75:9).

4) The above Yerushalmi also brings that the four goblets correspond to the four salvations mentioned in T'hilim: Hashem m'nos chelki v'CHOSI (16:5), KOSI r'voyoh (23:5), and KOS y'shuos (116:13). This last verse alludes to two goblets, as the word, "y'shuos," salvations, is plural.

5) The four goblets correspond to the four times the word "goviah" is mentioned in parshas Mikeitz (44:2, 12, 16, 17). "Gvi'i" in verse 2 is not included, but might allude to the fifth goblet of Eliyohu. (Tosfos Hasholeim)

Many commentaries question Rashi and the Rashbam who say that four "EXPRESSIONS" of redemption are mentioned. The M.R. and the Yerushalmi actually say "FOUR REDEMPTIONS" and leave out the words "expressions of." Rashi and Rashbam's source is the Yalkut Shimoni (Yirmiyohu #307) which clearly says "four expressions of redemption."

There are numerous explanations of four stages of redemption:

1) Ramban: a) no severe workload, b) no work at all, c) Hashem takes revenge on the Egyptians, d) bnei Yisroel become a chosen nation upon coming to Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah.

2) Sforno: a) no more servitude, b) coming to Raamses, which is beyond the border of Egypt, c) splitting of the sea, d) standing at Mt. Sinai.

3) Aderres Eliyohu (GR"A): a) no severe workload, b) no work at all, c) free of being slaves, d) standing at Mt. Sinai.

4) Eitz Yosef on M.R. Shmos: a) no severe workload, b) no more throwing Jewish children into river, c) no more slaughtering Jewish children for Paroh's baths, d) retracting edict of no more straw being supplied for brick making.

5) MESHECH CHOCHMOH: a) extraction of a nation from within a nation, b) being saved from the murderous Egyptians, c) not enslaved, d) becoming Hashem's chosen nation.

6) Torah T'mimoh: a) lightening of workload, b) no work at all, c) complete redemption and leaving Egypt, d) spiritual redemption.

Ch. 6, v. 13: "L'hotzi es bnei Yisroel" - Earlier (6:6,7,8,) Hashem told of much more than just departing from Egypt. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that after the bnei Yisroel did not hear Moshe's words which included telling of their glorious future, Hashem said that they are in such difficult straits that they only can relate to the situation at hand, which is their bondage. Therefore they should only be told that they will be freed and will leave Egypt.

Ch. 6, v. 14-16: "Ei'leh roshei veis avosom bnei Reuvein, Uvnei Shimon, V'ei'leh shmos bnei Levi" - The M.R. on parshas Noso 13:8 explains that the tribes of Reuvein, Shimon, and Levi were mentioned here to the exclusion of any other tribes, because these three tribes had mastery in Egypt. Rashi on Shmos 5:4 says that the tribe of Levi was not subject to slavery, as clearly indicated by Moshe and Aharon's ability to come and go to Paroh. In turn, the tribe of Levi did not merit having a parcel of land in Eretz Yisroel, but rather, were limited to have Levite cities spread out throughout the land. Reuvein also did not have a portion in Eretz Yisroel, but rather received land on the Trans-Jordanian side. Although Shimon had a portion of land in Eretz Yisroel, this was limited, swallowed into Yehudoh's portion, as explained by the Ramban on Breishis 49:5 d.h. "Shimon v'Levi." As well, Shimon was subject to "vaafitzeim b'Yisroel" (Breishis 48:7), the members of Shimon's tribe were not able to reside within their allotted portion, as they became teachers, and as such, were spread out throughout the land.

In which manner were the bnei Reuvein and bnei Shimon masters over others in Egypt? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH offers that they had sufficient wealth to purchase some of their fellow Jews from the Egyptians and use them as their own slaves. This would explain the juxtaposition of verse 26, "Hu Aharon u'Moshe asher omar Hashem lo'hem hotziu es bnei Yisroel mei'eretz Mitzrayim al TZIVOSOM." After mentioning the tribes that had their brethren as slaves, Aharon and Moshe were commanded to bring the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt, "al tzivosom," - each as a self-sovereign tribe. As well, the gemara Yerushalmi R.H. 3:5 derives from the verse immediately before the counting of these three tribes, "va'y'tza'veim el bnei Yisroel v'el Paroh melech Mitzroyim l'hotzi es bnei Yisroel," that the bnei Yisroel should be commanded to let their slaves free. This is commonly understood as referring to a later time, when the bnei Yisroel would own slaves when they were themselves free people in Eretz Yisroel. Of course, there is some difficulty with this. Why would this law be mentioned now, when they were far from being owners of slaves, being enslaved themselves? However, if we say that some of the bnei Yisroel were slave owners in Egypt, this is very well understood.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that we can say that this was the intention of Yirmiyohu in 34:13,14, where the verse states that Hashem stipulated with our ancestors on the day they left Egypt to release their Hebrew slaves. I have much difficulty in understanding this, as the verse clearly states that the slaves should be sent away after 7 years. If Yirmiyohu is recounting the responsibility to send away those of their brethren whom they enslaved in Egypt, how does the seven-year time factor shine in?

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH most insightfully explains why Hashem allowed matters to evolve so that these three tribes had an easier life in Egypt than their brethren had. The Mechilta on parshas Bo, mesechta d'Pis'cha #5 says that in the merit of 4 matters the bnei Yisroel deserved to be redeemed from their exile in Egypt. They did not change their names, nor their language, they were conspicuous and visible, and they behaved as aliens and not as citizens, permanent inhabitants. The reason they were able to retain their national identity was because they held hope in leaving Egypt and residing again in Eretz Yisroel, as per the blessings accorded them by Yaakov, where we find that many of the blessings gravitated around geographic Eretz Yisroel (see Breishis 49:10,13,15,20). Since Reuvein, Shimon, and Levi were rebuked at the time of the blessings, their outlook towards a far-off bright future in Eretz Yisroel was dissipated. Since they felt this way, had they also been subject to slavery without a hope for a positive national future, they might have ch"v merged with the Egyptians, totally losing their bnei Yisroel identity.

Ch. 9, v. 20: "Ha'yorei es dvar Hashem MEI'AVDEI Paroh" - Paroh commanded his Egyptian slaves to stop people from seeking refuge for their livestock. He wanted no one to show concern for the words of Moshe. If someone attempted to bring his cattle into his home for refuge, he might incur the wrath of Paroh's police force. We now interpret our verse to say, "He who feared the word of Hashem, "MEI'AVDEI Paroh, MORE THAN HE FEARED THE SLAVES OF PAROH," brought his slaves and livestock to the safety of his home. (MESHECH CHOCHMOH)


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