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Sotah 34

SOTAH 31-35 - These Dafim have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham-Fauer in honor of the first Yahrzeit (18 Teves 5761) of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing the study of the Talmud be l'Iluy Nishmaso.



(a) The moment the Kohanim 'dipped their feet' in the river - it stopped flowing downstream, running itself into a wall instead.

(b) According to Rebbi Yehudah, the water piled up to a height of twelve Mil (corresponding to the size of the Camp of Yisrael who crossed in the same formation as they camped). Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon objects to this - on the grounds that water travels more swiftly than people, in which case the water would have reached that height well before the people finished crossing, and would have crashed down on them and drowned them.

(c) According to him, it reached a height of over three hundred Mil, and could be seen by all the kings of Cana'an, whose hearts melted (out of fear).

(d) When Rachav said "Va'nishma Va'yimas Levaveinu ... " - she was referring to the miracle of K'ri'as Yam-Suf, which the people of Cana'an still remembered vividly (even though it had taken place some forty years earlier).

(a) Before they had finished crossing the Yarden - Yehoshua told Yisrael that they are only crossing the Yarden on condition that they undertake there and then to destroy the Cana'anim from the land. Otherwise, the water would crash down on them and drown them.

(b) When he said "ve'Im La'av, Ba'in Mayim ve'Shotfin *Oseichem*" (as quoted in the Beraisa) - he meant that if they did not accept the above terms, the water would crash drown on him as well as on them (as if the Pasuk had written "Osi ve'Eschem").

(c) Before they had finished crossing the Yarden - Yehoshua also instructed them to pick up twelve stones (one for each tribe) to take with them to Gilgal.

(d) We learn from the Pasuk " ... Hachein Sh'teim-Esrei Avanim ... Ve'hinachtem Osam ba'Malon *Asher Talinu Bah ha'Laylah*" - that they were to leave the stones in the first place they arrived at (Gilgal) and not from one location to the next.

(a) Rebbi Yossi quoting a number of Tana'im, gives the weight of each of the twelve stones - as forty Sa'ah.

(b) Bearing in mind that they lifted the stones from the Yarden on to their shoulders single-handedly, and based on a tradition that a person is able to carry a weight three times as heavy as one that he can pick up by himself, when others help him pick it up, the minimum weight that the cluster of grapes that the eight spies brought back with them would have been - nine hundred and sixty Sa'ah.

(c) Considering that every 'Mot' is carried by two people, "Va'yis'a'uhu ba'Mot *bi'Shenayim*" - must mean that they carried the grapes on two poles.

(a) When Rav Yitzchak said 'Turteni, ve'Turteni de'Turteni' - he meant that they actually carried the grapes on two pairs of poles, one on top of the other, crossed diagonally and carried on the shoulders of eight men (see also Tosfos).

(b) Rav Yitzchak has no source for this other than the fact that - since only one of the spies would have been required to carry a pomegranate and a fig (apparently, it was only the grapes that reached such astronomical proportions), the remaining eight must have been needed to carry the cluster of grapes (since it is to be assumed that all the spies wanted to participate in the Lashon ha'Ra involving the grapes, with the exception of ... ).

(c) We have accounted for ten of the spies. The other two were Kalev and Yehoshua, who declined to participate in carrying the fruit, either because of their eminence, or because they disagreed with the other spies motives for bringing it back.



5) We cited earlier Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon's Kashya, that if as Rebbi Yehudah maintains, the water ran itself into a wall twelve Mil tall, then, seeing as the camp of Yisrael was twelve Mil by twelve Mil, they would have drowned as the water crashed down on them before they had finished crossing. Rebbi Yehudah might disagree with Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon's theory that water always travels more swiftly than people, according to Rebbi Ami or Rebbi Asi. In addition (see Tosfos DH 'ba'Zeh') - Rebbi Elazar be'Rebbi Shimon might disagree with Rebbi Yehudah's statement that they did crossed the Yarden in the same formation as they camped, but in a long line (tribe after tribe). Consequently, it would have taken much longer for Yisrael to cross (see also Tosfos and Agados Maharsha).


(a) Resh Lakish interprets the Pasuk ...
1. ... "*Sh'lach-Lecha* Anashim" - to imply that this was not a command from Hashem (considering its disastrous ending), but permission for Moshe to send spies at his whim.
2. ... "Va'yitav be'Einai ha'Davar" - that although their request was good in the eyes of Moshe, it was not good in the eyes of Hashem.
(b) Rebbi Chiya bar Aba extrapolates from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "*Ve'yachperu* Lanu es ha'Aretz" and "*Ve'chafrah* ha'Levanah U'voshah ha'Chamah" - that the spies chief intention was to denigrate Eretz Yisrael.

(c) Rebbi Yitzchak cites a tradition - that the names of the spies describe their evil deed.

(d) In that light, he explains the name 'Sesur ben Micha'el' to mean demolished the words of Hashem, making himself poorer in the process. In similar vein, Rebbi Yochanan explains the name 'Nachbi ben Vafsi' to mean - that he hid the words of Hashem (from Heichavei - to hide), skipping over what He had said (from the word Pisei'a [to jump]).

(a) The Torah writes "Va'ya'alu ba'Negev *Va'yavo* ad Chevron" (in the singular) - because Kalev alone went to Me'aras ha'Machpeilah to prostrate himself at the graves of the Avos and to ask them to plead with Hashem on his behalf for Divine assistance, for the strength to withstand the pressure to participate in the plans of the other spies.

(b) Yehoshua did not join him - because he had already received Moshe's blessings, when he changed his name from Hoshei'a to Yehoshua.

(c) The change of name to Yehoshua implied - a prayer for Hashem to save him from the spies' plans.

(d) In reward for his trip to Chevron, Kalev received Chevron (for his descendants, and to be buried there).

(a) The spies related in awe how they had seen the three sons of the giant Anak, Achiman, Sheishai and Talmai. Sheishai and Talmai were so-called because the one made holes in the ground as he walked (from the word 'Shachas' - a pit) and the other, created furrows (Telamim). The first brother was called "Achiman" - because he was 'Meyuman she'be'Echav' (the strongest of the brothers).

(b) They were called "B'nei Anak" - because so tall were they, that the sun appeared like a necklace (Anak) around their necks.

(c) They also shared the distinction - that each of them built a town, Anas, Alash and Talbush respectively.

(a) Seeing as Cana'an, the son of Cham, was younger than Mitzrayim, it was considered unethical to build him a town before building one for his older brother. Consequently, when the Torah writes "ve'Chevron Sheva Shanim Nivnesah Lifnei Tzo'an Mitzrayim" - it means that its harvest was seven times as successful as that of Tzo'an.

(b) This is particularly remarkable - because, due to its relatively poor quality soil, it was the least productive area in Eretz Yisrael; whereas Tzo'an was the most productive area in Egypt.

(c) We know that ...

1. ... on the one hand, Chevron was the rockiest (and the least productive) part of Eretz Yisrael - from the fact that it was designated as a burial site.
2. ... on the other, Tzo'an was the most productive part of Egypt - because it was where the royal palace was built for the kings to live there.
(a) The best rams came from Mo'av - the best lambs from Chevron.

(b) Not only does this not clash with what we just said (that Chevron is particularly rocky), but it even supports it - because it is precisely because Chevron was not lucrative as regards produce-growing, that they designated it as grazing-ground.

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