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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sotah 13

SOTAH 13 - dedicated by Larry and Marsha Wachsman l'Iluy Nishmas their aunt, the late Mrs. Rachel Potack, Z"L -- a true "Eshes Chayil" and "Ba'alas Midos" -- who passed away b'Seivah Tovah in Yerushalayim on 2 Kislev 5761.



(a) On the way to bury Ya'akov, the Torah give precedence to the Egyptians who accompanied the cortege, whilst on the return journey, it lists the sons of Ya'akov first - because it was only after they arrived in Cana'an that the Egyptians came to realize the esteem in which the B'nei Yisrael were held (and that was when they began to show them respect).

(b) "Va'yavo'u ad Goren ha'Atad". A thorn-bush does not have a granary attached to it - but the Pasuk is referring to Ya'akov's coffin, which they surrounded with crowns (as we shall now see) until it resembled a granary which is surrounded by thorn-bushes.

(c) The three tribes that hung their crowns on Ya'akov's coffin were the B'nei Yishmael, the B'nei Eisav and the B'nei Keturah (though Rashi does not seem to have the B'nei Keturah in his text). All in all, there were thirty-six crowns hanging on the coffin - those of the twelve princes of the B'nei Yishmael, of the twenty-three rulers of the B'nei Eisav (because the two extra ones [Teiman and K'naz] are mentioned twice), and of Yosef.

(d) The above-mentioned tribes came - not in order to pay homage to Ya'akov Avinu, but to fight with the brothers. However, when they saw Yosef's crown hanging on his father's coffin, they followed suit.

(a) We Darshen from the Pasuk in Va'yechi "Va'yispedu Sham Misped Gadol ve'Kaved *Me'od*" - that even the horses and the donkeys mourned for Ya'akov.

(b) When they came to bury Ya'akov in the Me'aras ha'Machpeilah, Eisav protested vehemently - on the grounds that, although he had sold him the birthright, he had not sold him his rights as Yitzchak's son and joint heir together with Ya'akov. Consequently, he argued, if Ya'akov had kindly buried Le'ah in his own grave, the remaining grave was his (Eisav's).

(c) They chose Naftali to Egypt to fetch the deeds of the sale - because he was an exceptionally fast runner (in keeping with his father's B'rachah "Naftali Ayalah Sheluchah" [Va'yechi]).

(d) Chushim ben Dan bludgeoned Eisav to death with a cudgel - because he considered it a gross disrespect to allow Ya'akov to remain unburied until Naftali's return.

(a) When Chushim beat Eisav on the head, his eyes dropped out of their sockets and rolled onto Ya'akov's feet.

(b) The Pasuk "Yismach Tzadik Ki Chazah Nakam" - refers to Ya'akov Avinu, who then opened his eyes and smiled (because he had been avenged).

(c) At that moment, Rifkah's prophecy came true - the prophecy that she would be bereaved of both her twins on the same day (since they were both buried on that day).

(d) The Pasuk attributes the burial of Ya'akov to Yosef, despite the fact that all the brothers participated - because Yosef was a king, and the brothers themselves authorized him to play the major role in their fathers burial, since this would be a greater Kavod for Ya'akov.

(a) The Pasuk praises Moshe Rabeinu with the words "Chacham Leiv Yikach Mitzvos" - in connection with his pursuit of the Mitzvah of seeing to the transportation of Yosef's remains whilst everybody else went to 'borrow' money (admittedly, that was a Mitzvah too, but the former was a 'Meis Mitzvah').

(b) According to the Tana Kama, Yosef's coffin was buried in the River Nile. Moshe discovered its exact location - by consulting Serach bas Asher, who had been alive at the time of Yosef's death.

(c) The Egyptians buried the coffin in the Nile - so that its waters should be blessed.

(a) Moshe stood on the banks of the Nile and announced that the time had arrived for Hashem to keep his promise and to redeem Yisrael from Egypt, and for Yisrael to keep their promise to Yosef to carry his bones out with them from Egypt. To encourage Yosef's coffin to float to the surface - he added that unless Yosef would show himself, they were exempt from their oath to him.

(b) If a metal object was able to float for Elisha, who was a disciple of Eliyahu, who was, in turn, a disciple of Moshe (who learned from his works, or, if Eliyahu was Pinchas, from Moshe directly) - then we reckon, it could certainly float for Moshe.

(c) According to Rebbi Nasan, Yosef was buried in a royal sepulcher. Moshe discovered which was Yosef's coffin - when, after Moshe had applied the same tactics as described by the Tana Kama, the coffin shuddered.

(a) What is noteworthy about the way in which Yosef's coffin traveled during the forty years in the desert - is the fact that it traveled alongside the Aron of the Shechinah which housed the Luchos.

(b) It is perfectly befitting for the coffin containing a dead person to travel alongside the Aron containing the Shechinah (and the Luchos) - as long as it can be said that 'The one kept was written in the other.

(c) The significance of the following Pesukim (all written in connection with Yosef) "ha'Sachas Elokim Ani"; "es ha'Elokim Ani Yarei"; "Chei Par'oh", and "u'Tevo'ach Tevach ve'Hachein" is - that they are the first four of the ten commandments, which Yosef kept scrupulously (together with the remaining six).

(d) The other two Mitzvos concerning man and man that Rashi lists among those that Yosef observed, besides "Lo Sikom ve'Lo Sitor", are "Lo Sisna es Achicha bi'Levavecha" and "ve'Chei Achicha Imach".




(a) Once the Torah records that Moshe saw to Yosef's bones - because even K'lal Yisrael agreed that it would be a greater Kavod for such a great man to do so; once that it was K'lal Yisrael - because when Moshe died, even his family agreed that it would be a greater Kavod for the community at large to take over the Mitzvah; and once, that it was his family - because, presumably, when it came to the actual burial, it was up to the family to perform the Mitzvah.

(b) They made a point of burying Yosef in Sh'chem - because that is where they stole him from (not as appears in Va'yeishev, from Dosan, because Dosan is not the name of a place, but has connotations of legal plans).

(c) The Pasuk in Yehoshua writes "ve'es Atzmos Yosef Asher He'elu B'nei Yisrael ... " giving the credit of the burial to Yisrael rather than to Moshe, like it does in Beshalach ("Va'yikach Moshe es Atzmos Yosef Imo") - because a Mitzvah is always ascribed to the one who concludes it.

(d) According to some, he is also demoted, as we find with Yehudah, who lost his leadership of the brothers, for saving Yosef from death by suggesting that they rather sell him, but who did not complete the Mitzvah by returning him to his father. We also learn that a person who begins a Mitzvah without finishing it also buries his wife and children - from Yehudah, because, as the Pasuk writes in Va'yeishev (shortly after the sale of Yosef) "Va'tamas bas-Shu'a Eishes Yehudah" and "Va'yamas Er ve'Onan".

(a) Yosef deserved ...
1. ... to be called bones even whilst he was still alive (as the Torah writes "Ve'ha'alisem es Atzmosai mi'Zeh Itchem") - for hearing the brothers refer to their father as "Avdecha Avinu" a number of times, and not reacting.
2. ... to die before all his brothers - before he conducted himself like a ruler (see Agados Maharsha, B'rachos).
(b) We interpret the Pasuk "ve'Yosef *Hurad* Mitzraymah" - as if it had written "ve'Yosef *Horid* Mitzraymah", which we explain to mean that he lowered the prestige of the astrologers (through his ability to interpret Par'oh's dream, which they were not able to do).

(c) Potifar's chief motive in purchasing Yosef - was for immoral purposes.

(d) "S'ris Par'oh" means Par'oh's valet (see Agados Maharsha), or that he was a eunuch (already before Yosef arrival upon the scene).
The Torah first refers to Par'oh's valet as "Potifar" and then as "Potifera" - because the angel Gavriel protected Yosef by castrating Potifar still further (as is implied by the word 'Pera').

(a) The connection between "*Rav Lachem* B'nei Levi"(that Moshe said to Korach and his men), and "*Rav Lach*, Al Tosef Daber Elai Od ba'Davar ha'Zeh" (that Hashem said to him) is - that Hashem confronted Moshe with the latter due to the fact that he confronted the B'nei Levi with the former.

(b) Others explain the Pasuk to mean that Moshe should stop praying to enter Eretz Yisrael, because he had a Rav - Yehoshua, whose time had arrived to succeed him.

(c) And according to yet others, Hashem had 'personal' reasons in insisting that Moshe stop asking to enter Eretz Yisrael - because (since for reasons that only He knows, Moshe could not possibly have entered Eretz Yisrael) He did not want people to remark 'how patient is the Talmid and how cruel is the Master'.

(d) They ascribe Hashem's strict treatment of Moshe to the principle 'le'Fum Gamla, Shichna' - meaning that one loads a camel according to its strength. Similarly, Hashem treats Tzadikim much more harshly than he does ordinary people (because they can carry the load), That is why He sometimes deals with them with the Midas ha'Din without a trace of mercy (in return for which they receive a full measure of reward in the World to Come).

(a) Moshe Rabeinu said "ben Me'ah ve'Esrim Shanah Anochi *ha'Yom"* - implying that that day was his hundred and twentieth birthday.

(b) We learn from the Pasuk "es Mispar Yamecha Amalei" - that 'Hashem fills the years and the months of Tzadikim from day to day'.

(c) Seeing as the Torah testifies that on the last day of his life he had not aged, when Moshe said "Lo Uchal Od La'tzeis ve'La'vo" - he meant that he was no longer able to 'come and go' in words of Torah, because the fountains of wisdom were now closed to him.

(d) In support of the Torah's testimony - he climbed the twelve steps from the Plains of Mo'av to Har Nevo in one step (see Agados Maharsha).

(a) We learn from the Pasuk "Va'yeilech Moshe vi'Yehoshua Va'yisyatzvu be'Ohel Mo'ed" - that that was the Shabbos when Yehoshua attained equality with Moshe (because it was the first time that he was allowed to enter the Ohel Mo'ed [see Agados Maharsha]).


1. Har Nevo (the mountain on which Moshe died) is situated - in Reuven's territory ...
2. ... whereas Moshe is buried - in the territory of Gad.
(c) The distance from one to the other is four Mil.

(d) Hashem buried Moshe and the angels accompanied the cortege.

1. The angels declared "Tzidkas Hashem Asah, u'Mishpatav im Yisrael".
2. Hashem declared "Mi Yakum Li Im Merei'im, Mi Yisyatzev Li Im Po'alei ha'Aven".
(b) According to others, Hashem declared "Mi ke'ha'Chacham, u'Mi Yodei'a Pesher Davar" (Koheles) or "ha'Chochmah me'Ayin Timatzei" (Iyov) or "va'Yamas Sham Moshe Eved Hashem" (ve'Zos ha'Berachah), and some add to that 'Safra Raba de'Yisrael'.
1. "Mi Yakum Li Im Merei'im" - means 'Who will (now) rebuke the sinners le'Shem Shamayim'?
2. "u'Mi Yodei'a Pesher Davar" - means 'Who (like Moshe) knows how to arbitrate between Hashem and Yisrael?
(c) One opinion maintains that Moshe did not really die. He learns from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Va'yamas Sham Moshe", "Va'yehi Sham Im Hashem" - that he continues to serve Hashem (studying Torah as diligently as ever).
(a) What is remarkable about the Pasuk "Va'yikbor Oso ba'Gai, be'Eretz Mo'av Mul Beis Pe'or" is - the fact that in spite of such detailed instructions, the Torah continues "ve'Lo Yada Ish es Kevuraso ad ha'Yom ha'Zeh".

(b) The Romans (with the help of the local governors) went to great lengths to try to discover the exact location of Moshe's grave. However, when they stood on top of Har Nevo, it appeared to be at the bottom, when they stood at the bottom it appeared to be at the top, and when they divided into two groups, each one seemed to see it at the other extremity.

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