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Friday, November 4

The Weekly Shtikle - Lech Lecha

    This week's parsha features the epic battle between the short-handed four kings, Amrafel, Aryoch, Kedarla'omer and Tid'al and the five kings, Bera, Birsha, Shin'av, Sem'ever and... wait, was the name of the fifth king?  When the five kings are mentioned, the last is "melech Bella, hi Tzo'ar." Rashi explains that the city of Bella was also known as Tzo'ar. The pasuk could not be naming Tzo'ar as the king of Bella because of the feminine "hi." If Tzo'ar were the name of the king of Bella, it would have read "melech Bella, hu Tzo'ar." So what was his name and why is it left out?
 
    A number of answers are suggested. Ramban states that Bella was a small city and so the name of its king was left anonymous due to his relative insignificance. Sha'arei Aharon points out that the names of the four other kings are apparently nicknames alluding to each one's wickedness as Rashi thoroughly explains. From the story of the destruction of Sedom in next week's parsha we learn that Tzo'ar was the least wicked of the five wicked cities slated for destruction. Thus the king's name is left out due to his relatively insignificant wickedness.
 
    Suprisingly, however, Chomas Anach and Sefer HaYashar actually write that the name of the king was Bella. I am not sure how the grammar of the pasuk works and why this king is differently introduced than the others but this is the only offering we have as to the actual name of the king.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

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