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Friday, January 13

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemos

After hiding Moshe for three months, Yocheved is forced to send her away for she can no longer hide him from the Egyptians. Rashi (2:3) writes that Moshe was born after six months of pregnancy and that is what gave Yocheved the three-month period in which she was able to hide him. This is the traditional understanding we seem to all learn as children.


What bothered me about this Rashi is that throughout the entire parsha, Rashi quotes from the gemara in Sotah that deals with this parsha. The gemara (12a) writes that Yocheved actually became pregnant before Amram divorced her and then he took her back three months later. The Egyptians made a mistake and counted from when Amram took her back. It seems quite clear from the gemara that Moshe was born after a nine-month pregnancy but it was the three-month error that the Egyptians made at the beginning of the pregnancy that gave her the time. For some reason, Rashi chose to neglect the gemara and instead quote the Midrash HaGadol on this pasuk. Why?


The Da'as Zekeinim MiBa'alei Tosafos acknowledge the discrepancy and attempt to reconcile the two midrashim. Moshe's conception was indeed before the divorce. The Egyptians did err in counting from when Amram remarried Yocheved but they were also aware that a baby could be born at six months and so they checked six months after the second marriage. And of course, this was already three months too late.


This question is also dealt with in the sefer Rashi HaShaleim. They answer there that in the order of the pesukim, the conception of Moshe is recorded after Amram takes Yocheved. Therefore, it is in greater accordance with peshat to explain the chronology of events as chronicled Midrash HaGadol. The gemara's interpretation, conversely, requires reading the pesukim out of order.  

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikduian: Bas Paroah
DikduianFrom the Children of the Hebrews
DikduianThe Strange Thing about Straw

Dikduian: Dikduk Observations on Shemos by Eliyahu Levin

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