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Friday, July 9

The Weekly Shtikle - Matos / Mas'ei

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Opa, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, a'h.

The gemara (Rosh HaShanah 3a) explains that the juxtaposition of Aharon's death to "Vayishma haC'naani melech Arad" teaches us that it was the death of Aharon that Sichon heard and he then realized that the "ananei haKavod" had gone away and he thought that it was now permissible to wage war with B'nei Yisroel and that he would win. Therefore, when the pasuk says "Vayiru kol ha'eidah ki gava Aharon", the literal translation is that they saw that Aharon died, but it may be allegorically interpreted as "and they were revealed" by the disappearance of the "ananei haKavod". The juxtaposition of Aharon's death to Sichon's hearing appears in both Parshas Chukas (Perek 21) and in Parshas Mas'ei (33:39). Tosafos points out that the gemara must be learning from the pasuk in Mas'ei because in Chukas, the pasuk says outright what the C'naani heard - that Yisrael had come by way of the "asarim". It is only in Masei where nothing is said of what the C'naani heard that the gemara may learn its drasha. Tosafos then says Rashi was not precise in his peirush on Chumash for he brought this gemara in Chukas.

I believe that the following may be the defence for Rashi: First, Rashi does again bring this gemara in Mas'ei as well. That already lessens the difficulty. Secondly, the pasuk in Mas'ei makes absolutely no mention of any war whatsoever. Thirdly, the pasuk that the gemara learns from that B'nei Yisroel became 'revealed' appears only in Chukas. Even if the gemara is learning what the C'naani heard from the pasuk in Mas'ei as Tosafos suggests, the drasha would still have no standing without the pesukim in Chukas and therefore, it is just as relevant there.

The sefer Asifas Zekenim, however, learns that Tosafos are of the opinion that the war in Chukas was a different war altogether which would explain why Tosafos still had a difficulty with Rashi but I do not understand how to reconcile that view with the above.

Chazak chazak, venischazeik!

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: Splitting up the Animals
AstroTorah: 48s and 7s by R' Ari Storch

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