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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) Why, on the way to bury Ya'akov, does the Torah give precedence to the Egyptians who accompanied the cortege, whilst on the return journey, it lists the sons of Ya'akov first?

(b) "Va'yavo'u ad Goren ha'Atad".
What is meant by "Goren ha'Atad"? Since when does a thorn-bush have a granary attached to it?

(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.
How do we arrive at this figure?

(d) Did the above-mentioned tribes come in order to pay homage to Ya'akov Avinu?

(a) What do we Darshen from the Pasuk in Va'yechi "Va'yispedu Sham Misped Gadol ve'Kaved *Me'od*"? Which unusual participants joined in the eulogies?

(b) On what basis did Eisav protest when they came to bury his brother in the Me'aras ha'Machpeilah? Had he not sold him his rights?

(c) Why did they choose specifically Naftali to return to Egypt to fetch the deeds of the sale?

(d) On what grounds did Chushim ben Dan bludgeon Eisav to death with a cudgel?

(a) What happened to Eisav's eyes?

(b) What does the Pasuk in Tehilim "Yismach Tzadik Ki Chazah Nakam" have to do with this episode?

(c) At that moment, Rifkah's prophecy came true.
Which prophecy?

(d) Why does the Pasuk attribute the burial of Ya'akov to Yosef, when it is clear that all the brothers participated?

(a) In what connection does the Pasuk in Mishlei praise Moshe Rabeinu with the words "Chacham Leiv Yikach Mitzvos"?

(b) According to the Tana Kama, Yosef's coffin was buried in the River Nile. How did Moshe discover its exact location?

(c) Why did the Egyptians bury the coffin in the Nile?

(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.
What did he add to that, to encourage Yosef's coffin to float to the surface?

(b) How do we explain the phenomenon that a metal coffin should be able to float?

(c) According to Rebbi Nasan, Yosef was buried in a royal sepulcher.
How did Moshe discover which was Yosef's coffin?

(a) What is noteworthy about the way in which Yosef's coffin traveled during the forty years in the desert?

(b) Is it befitting for the coffin containing a deceased person to travel alongside the Aron containing the Shechinah (and the Torah)?

(c) What is 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"?

(d) Which other two Mitzvos concerning man and man does Rashi list among those that Yosef observed, besides "Lo Sikom ve'Lo Sitor"?

Answers to questions



(a) Why does the Torah once record that Moshe saw to Yosef's bones, once that it was K'lal Yisrael, and once, that it was his family?

(b) Why did they make a point of burying Yosef in Sh'chem?

(c) And how will we reconcile the Pasuk in Yehoshua "ve'es Atzmos Yosef Asher He'elu B'nei Yisrael ... " with the Pasuk in Beshalach "Va'yikach Moshe es Atzmos Yosef Imo"? Why, in the former Pasuk, is Moshe not credited with the role that he played in the latter?

(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.
From where do we learn that a person who begins a Mitzvah without finishing it, also buries his wife and children?

(a) Why did Yosef deserve ...
  1. ... to be called 'bones' even whilst he was still alive (as the Torah writes in Va'yechi "Ve'ha'alisem es Atzmosai mi'Zeh Itchem")?
  2. ... to die before all his brothers?
(b) How do we interpret the Pasuk "ve'Yosef Hurad Mitzraymah"?

(c) What was Potifar's chief motive in purchasing Yosef?

(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).
Why does the Torah first refer to him as "Potifar" and then as "Potifera"?

(a) What is 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)?

(b) Others explain the Pasuk to mean that Moshe should stop praying to enter Eretz Yisrael, because he had a Rav.
Who was that?

(c) And according to yet others, Hashem had 'personal' reasons in insisting that Moshe stop asking to enter Eretz Yisrael.
What were they?

(d) They ascribe Hashem's strict treatment of Moshe to the principle 'Lefum Gamla, Shichna'.
What does this mean?

(a) Moshe Rabeinu said "ben Me'ah ve'Esrim Shanah Anochi ha'Yom" (Va'yeilech).
What does the word "ha'Yom" imply?

(b) What do we learn from the Pasuk in Mishpatim "es Mispar Yamecha Amalei"?

(c) Seeing as the Torah testifies that on the last day of his life he had not aged, what did Moshe mean when he said "Lo Uchal Od La'tzeis ve'La'vo"?

(d) What did he do that supports the Torah's testimony?

(a) What do we learn from the Pasuk in Va'yeilech "Va'yeilech Moshe vi'Yehoshua Va'yisyatzvu be'Ohel Mo'ed"?

(b) In whose territory is ...

  1. ... Har Nevo (the mountain on which Moshe died) situated?
  2. ... Moshe buried?
(c) How far is it from one to the other?

(d) Who buried Moshe? Who accompanied the cortege?

(a) Who declared ...
  1. ... "Tzidkas Hashem Asah, u'Mishpatav im Yisrael" (ve'Zos ha'B'rachah)?
  2. ... "Mi Yakum Li Im Merei'im, Mi Yisyatzev Li Im Po'alei ha'Aven" (Tehilim)?
(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'.
What is the meaning of ...
  1. ... "Mi Yakum Li Im Merei'im"?
  2. ... "u'Mi Yodei'a Pesher Davar"?
(c) One opinion maintains that Moshe did not really die.
What does he learn from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Va'yamas Sham Moshe", "Va'yehi Sham Im Hashem" (Ki Sisa)?
(a) What is remarkable about the Pasuk "Va'yikbor Oso ba'Gai, be'Eretz Mo'av Mul Beis Pe'or" and the phrase that follows it in ve'Zos ha'B'erachah?

(b) What extensive efforts did the Romans (with the help of the local governors) make to discover the exact location of Moshe's grave? To what extent did they succeed in locating it?

Answers to questions

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