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Sotah 12

SOTAH 12 (7 Teves) - Dedicated by Josh Daniel of Efrat, Israel, in memory of Yitzchok Yisroel Daniel, on his Yahrzeit.



(a) The Pasuk writes "ve'Kalev ben Chetzron Holid es Azuvah Ishah ve'es Yeri'os". The Navi refers to Miriam as Azuvah because, following an illness in her younger years, everyone forsook her. He ...
1. ... calls her "Yeri'os" - because her face was pale like the color of curtains (which presumably, tended to be colorless in those days).
2. ... states that Chetzron bore Miriam, when really he married her - because whoever marries a woman for the sake of the Mitzvah (and not for her beauty [and Miriam at that time, looked sickly]), it is as if he had given birth to her.
(b) The Pasuk continues "ve'Eileh Banehah Yashar, ve'Shovav, ve'Ardon ben Chetzron". "ve'Eileh Baneheh" means - "These are her builders" (referring to her husband Kalev, as if it had written "ve'Eileh Bonehah").

(c) The Navi refers to Kalev as "Yashar" because he remained straight (and did not adopt the error of his fellow spies), and "Ardon", either because he rebelled against his Yeitzer ha'Ra or because his face was red (aflame) like a rose. He also calls him ...

1. ... "Shovav" - for the same reason (because he rebelled against the Yeitzer ha'Ra or against the other spies).
2. ... "Ashchur" - because his face turned black from all the fasts that he initiated followed the episode with the spies.
(d) And he also refers to him as "Avi" because he was like a father to Miriam, and "Tako'a" - because his heart cleaved to Hashem (from 'Taka', meaning 'to stick').
(a) Kalev did not really have two wives called Chal'ah and Na'arah, like the Navi says - but one, who was first called 'Chal'ah' because she was sick, and then, 'Na'arah', when she recovered and regained her youthful beauty.

(b) And he continues "u'Venei Chal'ah Tzaras, Tzochar ve'Esnan". He referred to Miriam as Tzaras because she became so beautiful that all her contemporaries were jealous of her (like one Tzarah [rival wife] is jealous of another), and as ...

1. ... "Tzochar" - because her face then shone like the midday sun.
2. ... "Esnan" - because every man who saw her would immediately bring his wife an Esnan (a gift), as a result of the desire that had been aroused.
(c) We Darshen from the Pasuk "va'Yetzav Par'oh *le'Chol Amo*" - that, on the day that Moshe was born, he decreed even on the new-born Egyptian babies - because his astrologers announced that the savior of the Jews was born on that day, but they did not know whether he was a Jew or an Egyptian.

(d) Par'oh issued three decrees regarding new-born babies - that the midwives had to kill all new-born Jewish baby boys; that they must all be thrown into the Nile, and that even the new-born Egyptian babies must suffer the same fate.

(a) The man from Beis Levi - who followed the advice of his daughter, was Amram.

(b) His little daughter (Miriam) 'rebuked' him - for reacting to Par'oh's second decree by divorcing his wife (Yocheved - an act which all of his tribe emulated). She argued that - his decree was worse than that of Par'oh, causing him to retract.

(c) Amram's decree she pointed out, was worse than Par'oh's on three scores. Firstly, because whereas Par'oh's decree affected only boys, his affected girls too, and secondly, because his decree incorporated both worlds, whereas Par'oh's was confined to this world only - meaning that Par'oh could throw the babies into the Nile, but that would not prevent them from later receiving a portion in the World to Come, whereas if nobody would marry, the potential babies would be deprived of life in both worlds.

(d) Her third argument based on the Pasuk "ve'Sigzar Omer va'Yakam Lach" was - that whereas the decree of Par'oh, who was a Rasha, was not certain to come into effect, her father's decree was (since a Tzadik's decree is bound to materialize), as the Pasuk "ve'Sigzar Omer va'Yakam Lach" teaches us.

(a) The result of Miriam's rebuke was - that Amram remarried Yocheved, and all the other Levi'im took their cue from him, and took back their wives too.

(b) The Torah writes "Va'yikach es bas Levi" (as if he was marrying her for the first time), rather than "Va'yachzir" - because they arranged a proper wedding (to publicise his mistake) as if it was a first one.

(c) Aharon and Miriam - danced in front of the Chasan and Kalah.

(d) The angels commented - "Eim ha'Banim Semeichah".

(a) The Torah refers to Yocheved as "Bas Levi'' - because (like Sarah) she regained her youth at that time.

(b) We extrapolate from the Pasuk "Asher *Yaldah* Osah le'Levi be'Mitzrayim" - that although Yocheved was born in Egypt, she was not pregnant in Egypt (meaning that she was born as they entered the walls).

(c) We can work out from here that Yisrael stayed in Egypt two hundred and ten years, because Moshe was born at this stage and he took Yisrael out of Egypt eighty years later (130+80=210).

(d) Despite the fact that Yocheved was already pregnant with Moshe, the Torah nevertheless writes that she became pregnant and gave birth after Amram re-married her - to compare her pregnancy to the birth (to teach us that Nashim Tzidkaniyos enjoy a special blessing inasmuch as they do not suffer birth pains [just as they do not suffer pains during pregnancy], because they are not included in the curse of Chavah).

(a) The Tana'im argue whether "Ki Tov Hu" mentioned with the birth of Moshe refers to his name, the fact that he was born circumcised or to his eligibility to be a prophet. Based on the Pasuk "Va'yar Elokim es ha'Or Ki Tov" the Chachamim learn - that when he was born, the entire house was filled with light.

(b) Yocheved managed to hide Moshe for three months - because as we explained, she had already been pregnant for three months prior to the second marriage, and the Egyptians counted nine months from the time of the wedding.

(c) In spite of having hidden Moshe for those three months, she could not continue to hide him - the Egyptians would soon have discovered him; because they used to bring Egyptian babies (referred to in Shir Hashirim as "little foxes"), whom they would cause to cry, causing other babies in the vicinity to cry too.

(a) Some say that she made the casket into which she eventually placed Moshe of cheap reeds and not of a stronger material because Tzadikim are more concerned about their money than about their bodies - because all their money is honestly earned.

(b) Others attribute it to common sense. The advantage of using reeds for that purpose is - that it can stand up to both hard and soft substances (making it virtually indestructible).

(c) She overlaid the casket with pitch on the outside but lime on the inside - so that the Tzadik Moshe should not smell the unpleasant smell of pitch.

(d) "Va'tasem ba'Suf" might refer to the Yam-Suf - or it might mean that she placed him among the reeds.




(a) The deeper meaning of ...
1. ... "Va'teilech Bas Par'oh Li'rechotz al ha'Ye'or" is - that she went to cleanse herself of the idolatry of her father (which Chazal refer to as 'converting').
2. ... "ve'Na'arosehah Holchos ... " is - that they were going to their death.
(b) Gavriel knocked them to the ground and killed them - because they accused their mistress of disobeying her own father, and tried to prevent her from saving Moshe.

(c) In the Pasuk "Va'tishlach es Amasah Vatikachehah", Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Nechemyah argue over the meaning of the word "Amasah". Because the Torah uses the word "Amasah" rather than "Yadah", one of them explains it to mean her maidservant. Even though Gavriel had killed her maidservants - he kept one alive, because it is undignified for a princess to walk alone.

(d) On the other hand, in spite of the fact that "Amasah" means 'her hand', the Torah uses this word and not "Yadah" - to teach us that her hand stretched to the length that was required to pull in the casket from the reeds (from which we can learn that a person must never decline to perform a good deed on the grounds that it is too difficult. Invariably, like Bas Par'oh, one receives Divine assistance beyond one's expectations and capabilities).

(a) In light of the previous D'rashah, Chazal explain the Pasuk "Shinei Resha'im Shibarta" to mean that Hashem stretched the teeth of Og Melech ha'Bashan, to encircle the hugh rock he was holding to hurl at K'lal Yisrael.

(b) A similar miracle occurred - to Esther ha'Malkah, when her scepter stretched until it reached Achashverosh.

(c) We explain the Pasuk "Va'tiftach *Va'tir'eihu* es ha'Yeled" (when it would have sufficed to have written "Va'tir'eh ... " - to mean that she saw the Shechinah with the boy.

(d) Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Nechemyah argue over the word "Ve'hinei *Na'ar* Bocheh" when the Pasuk should have written "Yeled". One explains that he was crying like a lad - to which the other one objects, on the grounds that that would make him blemished (a blemish which would invalidate Moshe, a Levi, from singing together with the other Levi'im - Rashi [see Agados Maharsha]). So he explains that Yocheved had placed in the casket the materials to make a Chupah for when he grew up and got married, in case she would not see his wedding.

(a) "Va'tomer, mi'Yaldei ha'Ivrim Zeh"! Par'oh's daughter knew that Moshe was a Jewish child - because she saw that he had been circumcised.

(b) "Zeh" implies - that this child had been cast into the water, but that no other child would be (in other words, the decree had ended).

(c) Par'oh's decree ended then - because the astrologers, who had read in the stars that Yisrael's savior would be smitten by water (which they interpreted to mean by drowning, but which really referred to the 'Mei Merivah'), now no longer saw a sign that he would be smitten, so they thought that the threat to them was over (because the baby concerned must have drowned).

(d) The connection between the astrologer's error and the Pasuk ...

1. ... "*Heimah* Mei Merivah ... " is apparent in the words of the Pasuk "*Those* were the waters ... " - which implies that *this* was the punishment to which the stars referred and not drowning in the Nile, as the astrologers had thought.
2. ... "Sheish Mei'os Elef Ragli ... " (when they complained about not having meat) lies in the "Ragli" (which means 'due to me') - because Moshe was telling Yisrael that it was due to him that the babies were no longer drowned in Egypt, and that that was why they had now reached a total of six humdred thousand.
(a) According to those who hold that Moshe was thrown into the Nile on ...
1. ... the twenty-first of Nisan - the angels beseeched Hashem to save from drowning the one who would sing Shirah at the Yam-Suf on this very day.
2. ... the sixth of Sivan - they beseeched Him to save the one who would receive the Torah (which is compared to water) from drowning.
(b) According to our tradition that Moshe was born and died on the seventh of Adar - the three months refer, not to three complete months, but to the best part of three months. That year was a leap year, leaving us with most of Adar Rishon, the whole of Adar Sheini, and most of Nisan.

(c) Given that Yisrael cried for Moshe thirty days, and that they crossed the Jordan River on the tenth of Nisan, we know that Moshe died on the seventh of Adar - because Yehoshua told Yisrael that they would cross the Yarden in another three days, and thirty-three days before the tenth of Nisan is the seventh of Adar.

(a) Miriam offered Paroh's daughter to go and fetch specifically a *Jewish* 'wet nurse' to feed Moshe - because he refused to feed from the Egyptian wet-nurses who first tried to feed him.

(b) Moshe was fussy from whom he fed - because the mouth which would speak with Hashem could not bring itself to feed from a woman who had eaten that was forbidden.

(c) "Va'teilech ha'Almah" (following bas Par'oh's permission to fetch a wet nurse) might teach us that Miriam went with alacrity. Alternatively - it has the connotation of hiding, hinting at the fact that she hid from bas Par'oh the fact that Yocheved was Moshe's mother.

(d) bas Par'oh's words (to Yocheved) "Heilichi es ha'Yeled ... " contained an unintentional prophecy - inasmuch as they can be read as 'Hey Yeled she'Lichi' ('Here is your own boy').

(a) What is remarkable about the Pasuk "va'Ani Etein es S'charech" - is that, not only did Yocheved get to feed her own beloved Moshe, but that she even received reward for doing it (one of Hashem's ways of dealing with Tzadikim).

(b) The Pasuk in Beshalach refers to Miriam as the sister of Aharon (and not of Moshe) - because that was when she prophesied.

(c) She prophesied - that her mother was about to give birth to a child who was destined to save Yisrael.

(d) When Moshe was born and the house lit up, Amram kissed his daughter on the head and praised her. Following the decree to throw all the new-born babies into the Nile, however, he tapped her on the head and asked her what had happened to her prophesy. That is why the Torah writes "va'Teisatzav Achoso me'Rachok le'Dei'ah Mah Ye'aseh Lo" - because, after Moshe was placed in the Nile, she stood nearby to see what would happen to him (and to her prophesy).

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