Friday, June 18, 2010

some parsha points to ponder

I generally do shenayim mikra too fast. Here are a few random points worth slowing down and thinking in Rashi (answers can be found in various meforshim):

1) Rashi (20:1) explains that the parsha of parah is juxtaposed to the death of Miriam to teach that the death of tzadikim is mechapeir like the offering of korbanos. Why then not juxtapose one of the many parshiyos of korbanos that appear in VaYikra with Miriam's death -- why is specifically the parsha of parah adumah chosen?

2) Rashi writes (20:12) that Moshe failed to do a kiddush Hashem because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. Yet Rashi in Parshas Be'ha'alosecha (12:22) implies that it was Moshe's exclamation of "Shimu na ha'morim" that was the sin. Which was it?

3) "VaYishma haKena'ani ki ba Yisrael derech ha'atarim." (21:1) Rashi explains that the Kena'ani heard that Aharon had passed away. Why does the text require any interpretation beyond its plain meaning, namely that the Kena'ani heard that Bnei Yisrael were travelling in their direction?

4) Why does Rashi (21:21) give a reason for Sichon objecting to Bnei Yisrael crossing his territory (namely, he was paid by the rules of Kena'an to keep them out) but Rashi doesn't give a reason for Edom's earlier objection?

5) Rashi (21:35) comments on the pasuk, "Vayaku oso v'es banav v'es amo", that Moshe personally killed Og. The word "vayaku" is written in the plural -- why does Rashi ascribe the killing of Og to Moshe alone?


  1. Anonymous10:20 PM

    1)It's the Panim Yaffos question he answers while it is good for Reshaim as he is Mechaper on the other hand it has a negative aspect in that the Tzaadik is no longer available to defend his generation and Be the Tzinor of SHefah (kol haolam Nizon Bshvil Chaninah Bni) so it is similar to Parah Adumah as it to has a negative and positive aspect in that it Purfies the un-pure and Is Metameh the Pure.

  2. Anonymous10:21 PM


  3. 1) Others ask this as well, e.g. Gur Arye, the Netziv.

  4. 1) perhaps there is something inexplicable, beyond rationality -- just as the chok of parah aduma is beyond rationality -- that effects the kapara through the death of tzadikim. Korbanos do not have a din of a chok
    2) His words belied the fact that he was not acting calmly and deliberately but out of frustration. That could be the actual error of the act.
    3) why would that then lead to an attack were it not for the fact that the protective clouds would have been removed as a result of Aharon's death? (A problem with that is the fact that the clouds were to return in the zchus of Moshe alone, just as the water did, though there likely was a lapse of time.)
    4)As we mentioned on Shabbos, Edom (like Moav) could have been secure in the knowledge that Yisrael was directed not to attack them, no matter what. The Emori had no such assurance and so needed an extra motive for courting the danger of a possible attack from B"Y.
    5)Of course, Rashi is adopting the position state in the Gemara. It is indicated by the text 21:34 where Hashem tells Moseh "ki beyad'cha nthati otho" [for in your hand I have given him] literally, that would mean in Moshe's hands. Also the language differs slightly in recounting the victory over Og than the account of the victory over Sichon. 21:22" vaykehu Yisrael lefi charev"
    [Yisrael smote him with a sword]. Yisrael is clearly identified as the subject of the action here but not in the case of Og. 21:35" vayaku otho ve'es banav. . "[and they smote him and his sons . . ]. I don't know if there is any linguistic significance in the for of 'vayakehu' vs. 'vayaku,' but combining Hashem "beyad'cha" to Moshe with the lack of identification of Yisrael as the subject of the action with respect to killing Og, etc., can lead the conclusion that Moshe himself did it.

  5. You were mechavain to most of the answers in various meforshei Rashi. My only quibble is with this one:

    >>>3) why would that then lead to an attack

    Who says the pasuk is explaining the reason for the attack? The reason may be natural belligerance or some other unstated reason; the pasuk is merely explaining what gave rise to the opportunity for the attack -- namely BN"Y were headed that way. How did Rashi know to read it as a reason and not an explanation of opportunity?

    Some meforshim ask why the clouds did not return immediately.

    Re: #1 - I like the point, though we both know someone who would (and did, in fact, on Shabbos) say that the kaparah of misas tzadikim is not an irrational idea but has to be explained away as leading to tshuvah, etc.