The Weekly Shtikle Blog

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Friday, December 29

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayigash

A hearty Weekly Shtikle Mazal Tov goes to my cousin, Meyer Seliger of London on his engagement to Shifra Schwartz of Manchester. Mazal Tov to Meyer, Shifra, and the ganse mishpachah.
This past Tuesday was the Yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, Rabbi Dr Israel Frankel, o"h. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso,
Yisroel Aryeh ben Asher Yeshayahu.
The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my dear Zadie and Bubbie, HaRav Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak and Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.
    Question: How many males are counted as coming to Mitzrayim with Yaakov? One thing is for sure, it wasn't 70. I still have not been able to figure out how all the numbers worked - who were the 66 mentioned in 46:26 and the 70 in 46:27? 66+3 = 69, the last time I checked. If you add up all of the children and grandchildren, it does come out to 70 but then it should have been 67 and then 70. All that aside, it was not only males who were counted. Dinah is counted along with her brothers which is understandable. Serach bas Asher is counted as well which is slightly more puzzling. One must assume she was not the only granddaughter. From Rashi (46:27) it seems Yocheved was somehow part of the 70 as well.
    While I was not able to find anything explaining why these particular women figured in the count as opposed to others, I did see an interesting insight into the pesukim in consideration of that fact. Tzeror HaMor and Emes L'Yaakov both point out a discrepency in the per-wife tallies found in the pesukim. The numbers for Rachel ("arba'ah asar") and Bilhah ("shiv'ah") are of the masculin form. The numbers for Leah ("sheloshim veshalosh") and Zilpah ("sheish esreih") are feminine. They both explain that Leah and Zilpah both had women counted among their offspring - Dinah from Leah and Serach from Zilpah. Therefore their numbers are delivered in feminine. Rachel and Bilhah had no feminine offspring counted and thus their numbers are in masculine.
    One might wonder why this is so, considering that the generic plural is usually masculine by default. However, Emes L'Yaakov points out that the word "nefesh" which the number is qualifying is feminine. So the default gender of the number for "nefesh" should be feminine. Rachel and Bilhah were the exceptions.
Have a good Shabbos.

Friday, December 15

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeishev

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my dear Zadie and Bubbie, HaRav Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak and Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.
When Tamar sends to Yehudah to inform him that she is pregnant from him, the pasuk says (38:25) "And she sent to her father-in-law saying by the man to whom these are, I am pregnant. And she said 'Please recognize to whom these belong.'" The gemara in Sotah 10b learns from here that it is better for one to have himself thrown in a burning fire than to embarrass his friend, from the fact that Tamar did not say outright that she is pregnant with his child.
Mahari"l Diskin is bothered by two points. Firstly, considering the exact form of the message, it does not leave much to figure out that Yehudah is the father. She specifically sent to Yehuda that the father is the owner of these items, and please recognize to whom they belong. That makes it quite obvious. Why would she be begging Yehudah to recognize them if not that she knew that they belonged to him. Secondly, the word 'vatomer' in the middle of the pasuk seems superfluous.
He answers that Tamar put together a very clever plan. She sent two messengers. With the first she simply sent a message "by the man to whom these are, I am pregnant," without sending the actual items. Then she sent a second messenger with the items and a message "please recognize to whom these belong." This way, neither of the two messengers could figure out on his own that it is Yehudah who is the father. Only Yehudah could figure it out and thus, she succeeding in saving him from embarrassment.
Have a good Shabbos.
Eliezer Bulka

Friday, December 1

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeitzei

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my dear Zadie and Bubbie, HaRav Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak and Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.
    As it turned out this past Simchas Torah, when I finally got my hakafah, I was holding my daughter. I had no choice but to hold the sefer Torah in one arm and my daughter in the other. As I carried them both around the bimah a friend came up to me and said, "I now understand the meaning of Levi's name."
    When Levi, Leah's third son, was born, she said (29:34) "Hapa'am yilaveh ishi," this time my husband will accompany me. When Leah had but one son, she was certainly capable of tending to his needs on her own. Even when the second was born very soon after, she was still plenty capable. After all, if she had two arms, she could hold two babies. However, once the third was born the babies out numbered the arms. Leah couldn't possibly take care of the three boys on her own. Certainly, it would be necessary at this point for her husband to lend a hand. She therefore named him Levi.
    It was seeing me with my two hands full and the inability to handle anything else that inspired my friend to come up with this interpretation of Leah's words.
Have a good Shabbos.
Eliezer Bulka