Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 18, v. 3,4: "Sheim ho'echod Geirshome ki omar geir hoyisi b'eterz nochrioh, V'sheim ho'echod Eliezer ki Elokei ovi b'ezri va'yatzi'leini meicherev Paroh" - Wasn't Moshe first saved from the sword of Paroh when being judged for killing the Egyptian (2:12,15) before being a sojourner in the foreign land of Midyon where Yisro resided?

1) At the time of the birth of his first son Moshe was still a fugitive and on Paroh's most wanted list. He was not yet free of the sword of Paroh. However he was already in a foreign land, not being among his brethren.


2) At the time of the birth of his first som, Moshe was still relatively new to the community in Midyon. Had he named his first son Eliezer as a praise to Hashem for saving him from the sword of Paroh, he feared that the Midyanites and even his father-in-law would banish him from the community, or even have him turned over to Paroh, since he had killed an Egyptian. His second son was born after he had lived there for a while and at that point he felt confident that he had built up a reputation as an upright person and they would not evict him. (Abarbanel)

3) If one has experienced a number of experiences which have made a profound impression upon him, he should not name his child after a more distant happening, but rather after the most recent. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh and Imrei Noam)

4) "Geir hoyisi b'eretz nochrioh" refers not to Moshe's feeling as a foreigner in the land of Midyon, but rather to his sojourning in this ephemeral world. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

5) Moshe knew that a descendant of his firstborn son, Y'honoson ben Geirshome, would become a functionary for idol worship. He therefore did not want to give him a name that would incorporate the name of Hashem in it. (MESHECH CHOCHMOH)

6) Along the lines of the previous answer, perhaps Moshe was reluctant to give a name to his first son which incorporated Hashem's name in it since he had agreed to Yisro's condition upon marrying Tziporoh, that he would allow his first son to be raised with the theological training of idol worship as per the Mechilta #67 and Yalkut Shimoni remez #268.

7) Although chronologically being a sojourner in the foreign land of Midyon was experienced after being saved from the sword of Paroh, being away from his brethren who suffered inhuman servitude under Paroh was foremost in his mind, this in spite of human nature to first care about saving one's own skin, which was Moshe's being saved from the sword of Paroh. His extreme concern for his brethren is accentuated even more by virtue of his not having been brought up among them, as he was raised in the palace of Paroh. As well, his first experience of involvement with them was very short-lived as after smiting the Egyptian he was to be executed and escaped, leaving Egypt. In spite of his limited involvement with his brethren, he took to heart first and foremost their suffering, thus naming his first son after his situation of being away from them. This is the quality of a true and caring leader. (MESHECH CHOCHMOH)

8) "Geir hoyisi b'eterz nochrioh" refers not to Moshe's feeling as a foreigner in the land of Midyon, but rather to his feeling as a foreigner in the land of Egypt. He yearned to live in Eretz Yisroel, in spite of never having been there, being born and having only lived in Egypt, and having ALL the bnei Yisroel living in Egypt. (Rabbi Uri Meir Kahanov in Mishmeres haKohanim)

Ch. 20, v. 3: "Lo yi'h'yeh l'cho elohim acheirim AL PONOY" - The Rambam in his list of negative mitzvos lists as the first, second, fifth, and six mitzvos "Lo yi'h'yeh, Lo saa'seh l'cho fessel, Lo sishtacha'veh, and V'lo so'ovdeim." The Ramban says that all of these are to be considered one mitzvoh. He proves this from the gemara Makos 23b-24a that derives from the words "Torah tzivoh lonu Moshe" (Dvorim 33:4) that Moshe taught the bnei Yisroel 611 mitzvos, the numeric value of the word TORAH, while the TWO mitzvos "Onochi" and "Lo yi'h'yeh," the bnei Yisroel heard directly from Hashem. If we count the negative commands that are found in the verse that begins with "Lo yi'h'yeh" as separate mitzvos, we have a total of five mitzvos that we heard directly from Hashem. This leaves us with only 608 mitzvos that we heard from Moshe, totally contrary to the words of the gemara. The Ramban, in asking his question, assumes that along with "lo yi'h'yeh" we must include the complete verse with the cantellations of "taam ho'elyone" as being heard directly from Hashem or this complete parsha until the next paragraph space. Indeed, the Megilas Esther, a commentator on the Sefer Hamitzvos l'hoRambam, answers the Ramban's difficulty by saying that only the first words of the verse "Lo yi'h'yeh" were heard directly from Hashem, leaving us with only two mitzvos, "Onochi" and "Lo yi'h'yeh."

However, the MESHECH CHOCHMOH gives a most interesting answer based on the words of the Rambam himself, in Moreh N'vuchim 2:33. The Rambam writes that hearing "Onochi" and "Lo yi'h'yeh" does not mean that the bnei Yisroel actually heard the words of these two mitzvos articulated. Rather, they heard a most awesome celestial sound.

(Perhaps this is indicated in Dvorim 4:12, "Kole dvorim a'tem shomim," - You hear a voice of words, but not the words themselves. Another allusion to this might be in Dvorim 4:35, "Atoh horeiso lodaas," - You were SHOWN to know, but did not hear it, since the verse does not say "Atoh SHOMATO lodaas," "ki Hashem hu ho'Elokim," this is "Onochi," "ein ode milvado," this is "Lo yi'h'yeh.")

The sound emanating from heaven left the bnei Yisroel with the clear knowledge that "Onochi" and "Lo yi'h'yeh," - I am your G-d and there shall be no other besides me. This is what is meant by the gemara Makos. Since they did not grasp the other three mitzvos from this sound, only two were heard (understood), and Moshe taught them 611 mitzvos including the three following "Lo yi'h'yeh." Moshe, on the other hand, was able to discern the actual words conveyed with the sound and heard the articulated five mitzvos in the verse of "Lo yi'h'yeh l'cho."


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

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