Monday, June 05, 2006

The appelation of 'yelud isha' for Moshe Rabeinu (II)

My wife offered another explanation of why Moshe Rabeinu was called 'yelud isha' by the malachim (shabbos 88b). A survey of Moshe's early years shows that his entire upbringing was at the hands of women: Miriam prophesized his birth, his mother is described as a midwife with exceptional yiras shamayim, Miriam insures his basket is rescued, Bas Pharoah raises him in the palace, and finally, it is Tziporah who is responsible for his arriving at Yisro's home. Without the intervention of women, there would have been no Moshe Rabeinu to speak of. While the malachim may have considered this a negetive, it is the feminine traits which are associated with the power to be mekabeil and may have given Moshe the power to act as the conduit for kabbalas haTorah. Chazal tell us on the pasuk 'Ko tomar l'bais ya'akov' that the women were given the Torah before the men. Chazal also darshen on 'yom hashishi' that the sixth day of creation only came to completion on THE sixth day, meaning six sivan, the day of kabbalas haTorah. See MaHaRaSha (A"Z 3a) who discusses the letter 'hey' in that context, but I do not think it is far from the mark to suggest that the 'hey; is used because it refers to the feminine aspect of being mekabeil (ish=aish+yud, isha=aish+hey, see Maor v'Shemesh in P' Beshalach; also interesting is Sarah's name losing the yud and gaining the letter hey (see Maharal), also Yosef, who according to chazal was switched in the womb with Dina, is portrayed acting in a feminine manner, 'mesalsel b'sa'aro', and we find his name written as YeHosef, with the added 'hey'.)


  1. The Afikei Mayim has a piece on it. Without going into too much detail, he basically says that an Isha represents chomer and an Ish tzurah. The chiddush of the gemara is that even though Moshe was "chomer" he still was fitting to get the Torah.

  2. I don't know who the Afikei Mayim is, but chomer/tzurah is classic maharal jargon. Moshe is also heavily associated with water, which has no specific tzurah, only chomer.

  3. After a faxed you those sheets last week you don't know who it is ? :-)
    It is a sefer machshava written by a talmid of Rav Moshe Shapiro.

  4. Anonymous7:03 PM

    I don't know if this will ever be read... (although I guess it is now) but Moshe is not considered to be chomer, l'hefech! Min HaMayim MISHISIHU! He was completely removed from mayim (the classical representation of chomer), meaning he was only TZURAH!