The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

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Friday, January 25

The Weekly Shtikle - Yisro

    At the beginning of the parsha, we learn that Yisro was so inspired by the news of the great miracles of the Jews' exodus from Egypt that he felt compelled to join them in the desert. Rashi discusses what it was that triggered this decision. Whatever it was, it seems Yisro was quite well-informed in current events. Yet, when Moshe comes out to greet his father-in-law, he tells him (18:8) all about everything that had happened. Rashi writes that this was done to allure him and stimulate his desire to follow the ways of the Torah. Nevertheless, this appears somewhat superfluous as Yisro was seemingly already aware of all this information.
    This might be explained merely as repetition, as suggested by some commentaries, as the repetition of a story always makes a deeper impression, especially when it comes from a first-hand witness. However, based on Malbi"m's approach, there was indeed much purpose in Moshe's repetition of the events. Rashi points out on the first pasuk that Moshe is seemingly equated with all of Yisroel. The pasuk certainly puts strong emphasis on Moshe with regards to the miracles performed by HaShem. It is possible that Yisro was driven to join B'nei Yisroel slightly out of a sense of pride in the accomplishments of his son-in-law. To avoid such a misconception, Moshe, in his infinite humility, had to retell the story with the focus on B'nei Yisroel, as the pasuk clearly indicates, "al odos Yisroel." This in turn justifies Rashi's statement on this pasuk. Had Yisro come to join B'nei Yisroel simply out of appreciation of Moshe's accomplishments as a leader, he would have lacked the proper reverence for the merit of B'nei Yisroel and thus, been less likely to follow in the path of their Torah. Moshe had to impress these ideas on his father-in-law in order for him to grasp the true significance of the nation he was about to join.

Friday, January 18

The Weekly Shtikle - Beshalach

    At the end of the parsha, after the defeat of Amalek, Moshe is told to instruct Yehoshua about the eventual destruction of Amalek. Rashi (17:14) comments that here it was hinted to Moshe that he would not bring B'nei Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel but rather Yehoshua would bring them in. What bothered me was where do we see anything here pertaining to the entrance into Eretz Yisroel? Is it not possible that Moshe is just instructing Yehoshua because he is the general? Where exactly is the hint?

    I suggest that when HaShem told Moshe "K'sov zos zikaron baseifer, vesim be'oznei Yehoshua," it is not simply referring to the words that followed but he was told to give over to him the parsha of Amalek that we find at the end of Ki Seitzei, the text of Parshas Zachor. There it speaks specifically about the events following the entrance into Eretz Yisroel, (Devarim 25:19) "It shall be that when HaShem, your God, gives you rest from all your enemies..." Perhaps, there was the hint, that Yehoshua alone will witness those events and not Moshe.

    This approach (that Moshe gave over the parsha of "zachor" at this time) is supported by Kol Eliyahu on this pasuk. He writes that Moshe was told to "place in the ears of Yehoshua" the proper pronunciation - zeicher Amaleik, as opposed to Yoav's erroneous mesorah, zachar Amaleik. [As a side point, it was deciphered in "Peninim MiShulchan HaGR"A" that the GR"A did not actually say that piece but rather, it came from R' Chaim of Volozhin.]

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! The Dikdukian turns 1 !

Friday, January 11

The Weekly Shtikle - Bo

    The pasuk in Bemidbar 3:13 states "Ki li kol bchor byom hakosi kol bchor b'eretz mitzrayim". In the hakdama to Maseches S'machos (found in the back of maseches Avodah Zarah) it is asked that the pasuk in this week's parsha states "vayehi bachatzi halayla v'HaShem hika kol bchor..." If the maka occurred at night, why does the pasuk in Bemidbar say "b'yom"? The answer given there is that the maka was initiated at night, and they were struggling until the morning when they died. The Maharsham states that it is because of this that we find that Pidyon HaBen is usually done during the day, because the actual death of the first born was during the day.
    Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurebach zt"l points out that this concept may answer an interesting discrepency between the Birchos Kriyas Shema of the morning and of the night. In the morning we say (after Shema) "mimitzrayim gealtanu... v'chol bechoreihem haragta". At night we say,"hamakeh v'evraso kol bchorei mitzrayim, vayotze es amo Yisrael mitocham..." At night, the term haka'ah is used, whereas in the morning, hariga is used. Furthermore, at night the exodus is mentioned after the killing of the first born, whereas in the morning it is mentioned before. The explanation is that at night we refer to what happened at night. The initial "haka'ah" took place at night and the exodus followed after. The actual death is what happened in the morning and that is what we refer to. By then, the geula had already begun because Bnei Yisroel were on their way out.
Have a good Shabbos.

Friday, January 4

The Weekly Shtikle - Vaeira

    As we all know, we drink four cups of wine at the seder. These four cups are traditionally connected with the four exodus-related verbs found at the beginning of this week's parsha. Moshe is commanded to assure B'nei Yisroel (6:6-7) "vehotzaisi," I will bring you out, "vehitzalti," I will save you, "vega'alti," I will deliver you, "velakachti," I will take you for a nation. However, as the pesukim continue, we find a fifth verb used, "veheiveisi," and I will bring you to the land. Traditionally, this fifth verb is matched up with the extra cup that we pour for Eliyahu HaNavi. What is it that sets this assurance apart? Why do we consider 4 principal promises and the fifth is merely extra. And what is the specific connection to Eliyahu's cup?

    R' Shmuel Wagner, Mashgiach of Ohr Yerushalayim in Eretz Yisroel where I attended, offers the following thought: After enduring centuries of hardship, it was clearly time for B'nei Yisroel to be delivered from Egypt. The first four steps were inevitable. The time had come and that was that. However, between step four and five, there was a condition. After HaShem's promise to take us for a nation, Moshe declares "And I (HaShem) will be for you a God and you will know that I am HaShem, your God..." B'nei Yisroel reaching step five was contingent upon their acceptance and recognition of HaShem. Only when they reach that hight would they merit to be brought into Eretz Yisroel. This clearly separates "veheiveisi" from the rest. Furthermore, we now see a connection to Eliyahu HaNavi. The fifth step is the ultimate redemption, when we are brought into Eretz Yisroel on our merits. We are now constantly striving to reach that goal, to merit the coming of Moshiach, may he come speedily in our day. When Eliyahu comes in and has a taste of our wine, he gives us but a little taste of that final redemption.

Have a good Shabbos.