Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Parshas Mikeitz 5777

The Meaning of Joseph's Egyptian Name

The Torah writes (Genesis 41:45):
Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him for a wife Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. Thus Joseph emerged in charge of the land of Egypt.
According to Targum Jonathan:
And Pharoh called the name of Joseph, The man who reveals mysteries
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explains (in the Living Torah):
Many authorities state that this is a Hebrew translation of the Egyptian name that he was given, and that it means 'revealer of secrets' (Targum; Rashi; Septuagint; Josephus 2:6:1). Others say that it is an Egyptian name (Ibn Ezra; Radak, Sherashim). In Egyptian, Tzaphnath is tza-pa-neth meaning, 'the Neth speaks' or 'the god speaks.' Paaneach is pa-anakh, meaning 'the life,' where anach or ankh is the symbol of life. Hence the name can be translated as, 'Lord of life,' 'Neth speaks life,' or 'The God speaks and [this man] lives.'
Daas Zekeinim has a different opinion:
This name is an acronym, describing a person who is steadfast in the presence of strong urges. Potiphar had had no reason to believe that Joseph could not withstand such temptation. [Pharaoh wanted the world to know that Joseph had been completely innocent of any accusation. Ed.]
Shadal also explains:
It means "the savior of the world"

What is On?

The Torah writes (Genesis 41:45):
Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him for a wife Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. Thus Joseph emerged in charge of the land of Egypt.

Targum Onkelos implies this was a city (ibid):
Potiphera, the prince / master of On
So does the Rashbam:
A minister in the city of that name as know from Samuel II 7:18 - "and the sons of David were priests". The meaning of the word must be that they were high positions (but not actual priests)
(the city of On / Aven is also mentioned in Ezekiel 30:17)

Targum Jonathan (ibid) learns this was a different city:
Potiphera, the prince of Tanis
Rav Saadiag Gaon in his Tafsir (ibid) learns it was a different city:
Potiphera, the prince of Alexandria
Shadal explains:
On is Heliopolis, the city of the sun where they worship the sun and every year make a celebration of the sun, and some way the word "On" means the city of the sun in Egyptian
(see also Jeremiah 43:13 where the "city of the sun" in Egypt is mentioned and see also Isaiah 19:18)

Ramban (ibid) explains differently:
It is possible that "On" was the name of his deity [i.e. Potiphera's]

The Man Who Persecuted the Brothers

The Torah writes (Genesis 43:14):
And may El Shaddai dispose the man to mercy toward you, that he may release to you your other brother, as well as Benjamin. As for me, if I am to be bereaved, I shall be bereaved.”
The simple explanation of the verse is that the man referred to by Jacob is Joseph

However, Sefer leMakesi Atik cites a Midrash (see Otzar HaMidrashim Vol 1, pp. 224) that originally Joseph want to greet the brothers in happiness and reveal himself but a person came and accused them of trying to kill him. That was the angel that originally found Joseph in the field and that was the man referred to in this verse.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Parshas Vayeshev 5777

Who Spoke to Joseph in Shechem?

The Torah writes (Genesis 37:14-17):
And he said to him, “Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron. When he reached Shechem, a man came upon him wandering in the fields. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?” He answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing?” The man said, “They have gone from here, for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers and found them at Dothan.

Rashi (ibid) explains based on a Midrash:
AND A MAN FOUND HIM — This was the angel Gabriel (Genesis Rabbah 84:14) as it is said, (Daniel 10:21) and the man (והאיש) Gabriel” (Midrash Tanchuma 1:4:22).
Sefer Mekasei Atik cites Baalei Tosfos al haTorah that this was the angel Rephoel

However, the Midrash cited by Rashi (Genesis Rabba 84.14) has another opinion:
Rabbi Yannai said - three angels appeared to him as it says "and the men found him", and "he asked the man", and "the man said"
(this is similar to what Rashi writes regarding Hagar earlier by the well)

HaEmek Davar (ibid) implies this was a prophet:
My brothers. And from where would he know who he [Joseph] was and who his brothers were? And furthermore, what is this question "tell me please where they are pasturing"? From where would he know? Rather, [it must be] one of the two these possibilities: Either he was a well-known man to them in his importance, or, he recognized him as an angel or prophet that knew everything to do with his brothers. And in truth, the Torah should have said "and he [Joseph] found a man", for it was Joseph that was wandering alone searching and found the man, not the man whow as walking on his way. Rather, the text comes to teach that the man was a messanger from Heaven, to encounter Joseph and bring him to such, and the man went and found him in that place.
Ibn Ezra (ibid) disagrees:
The simple explanation is that this was a random traveller
Additional notes:
  • The Rosh (ibid) discusses why Jacob send Joseph to the brothers if he knew that they hated him, and answers that it wasn't for sure that they would harm him but being in a dangerous place like Shechem was more of a concern
  • Some commentators explains that the field they went to was the field Jacob bought from Chamor, others (Rosh) say it was a random field

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Parshas Vayishlach 5777

Humans or Angels?

The Torah writes (Genesis 32:4):
Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom
Rashi (ibid) explains:
Rashi's source is the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 75:4):
Messengers - these were of human flesh and blood and the Rabbis learned that these were actual angels
(Josh Waxman's parshablog explains the disagreement further and also links to Sefer haYashar that says these were Laban's messengers trying to provoke Esau)

Why Was Jacob Left Alone?

The Torah writes (Genesis 32:23-25):
That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After taking them across the stream, he sent across all his possessions. Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.

Radak (ibid) writes:
after having transferred the children, wives, etc, he transferred his property, inert objects, the animals having swum across. After he had safely seen to it that everything had crossed he remained solitary on the far bank to check if anything had been left behind inadvertently. Our sages in Chulin 91 explain that the righteous who are so concerned with not laying claim to anything which is not absolutely theirs, are also careful not to waste any hard earned acquisitions, even if small.
However, the Rashbam (ibid) disagrees:
after he had transferred all his belongings to the other side of the river, so that the only one still to be brought across was he himself. The reason that he wanted to cross only after everyone else had already crossed was that he intended to flee in a different direction so as to avoid a face to face encounter with Esau. An angel engaged him in a physical fight, his purpose being to prevent Yaakov from fleeing. Only in this way could G’d’s promise to Yaakov that Esau would not harm him be fulfilled.

Esau, the Vampire

The Torah writes (Genesis 33:4):
Esau ran to greet him. He embraced him and, falling on his neck, he kissed him; and they wept.
Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer (37:1) writes:
When he came back to the Land of Canaan, Esau came to him from Mt. Seir in extreme anger to kill him ... Esau said that I will kill Jacob with my teeth and my mouth and will suck out his blood as it says "and he ran to kiss him", don't read it as kiss but as bite but Jacob's neck became as hard as marble and Esau struck his teeth on it...
(Midrashim also discuss that Esau was born with teeth - see also Rabbi Nosson Slifkin's post)

(See also our post last year about Benjamin being a werewolf)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Parshas Vayeitzei 5777

Why was the well covered with a rock?

The Torah writes (Genesis 29:2-3):
There before his eyes was a well in the open. Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for the flocks were watered from that well. The stone on the mouth of the well was large.When all the flocks were gathered there, the stone would be rolled from the mouth of the well and the sheep watered; then the stone would be put back in its place on the mouth of the well.
The Shadal explains (29:8):
Because of the agreement they made among themselves that no one is allowed to use the water from the well alone
Radak explains further (29:2):
seeing that there was no other source of water nearby to water the flocks of the people of Charan, the local people had placed an extremely large and heavy rock on top of it so that only in the presence of all the shepherds would the flocks be watered so as to ensure a fair distribution of the available water. This would also help to avoid wasting water remaining in the troughs when no other flock had already lined up at the troughs. Placing such a large stone on the well then was a device designed to help everyone entitled to this water to receive his fair share in the presence of all the shepherds.
Chizkuni provides another reason (ibid) [see also Rashbam]:
And the large stone was placed on the mouth of the well so nothing alive or utensils fall into it and also so others don't draw water from it
HaEmek Davar (29:3) adds another reason:
First that would place it on the mouth of the well and then move it around to make a good cover - all of this because of magic

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Parshas Toldos 5777

Whom Did Rebecca Ask for Advice?

The Torah writes (Genesis 25:22):
But the children struggled in her womb, and she said, “If so, why do I exist?" She went to inquire of the LORD
Rashi explains:
AND SHE WENT TO ENQUIRE at the school of Shem
Radak explains why:
Some of our sages (quoted by Rashi) say that she went to the academy of Shem in order to inquire from him about the meaning of such strange goings on inside her. The truth is that Shem was still alive at that time for he survived Avraham by 31 years. If Shem was identical with Malki Tzedek he would have resided in Jerusalem at that time. Why are we told all this? To draw our attention to the fact that she bypassed her father-in-law Avraham, who we would think, was better qualified than Shem to answer her question. Avraham remained alive until Esau and Yaakov were 15 years of age.
Ibn Ezra gives two other answers:
Through a prophet
(see also Chizkuni and Rashbam)

or through Abraham himself for he did not die until his grandsons were 15
Ralbag (ibid) explains slightly differently:
And she went to ask G-d from prophets - His servants - which were there in those days like Shem, Eber and their students ... and He answered her through prophecy
Ramban answers that she prayed:
We don't find [the language of] "inquiry" except in regards in regards to G-d that it is prayer
Shadal explains slightly differently:
She prayed to G-d and the word of G-d came to her either through a prophecy or a dream
The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 63 as quoted in LeMakesei Atik) explains:
through an angel

Who Gave Jacob His Name?

The Torah writes (Genesis 25:26):
Then his brother emerged, holding on to the heel of Esau; so they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.
Rashi provides two answers:
The Holy One, blessed be He, thus named him
Another explanation is: his father called him Jacob because he was grasping Esau’s heel
Rokeah (as quoted in LeMakesei Atik) says it was Abraham

(see also Josh Waxman's parshablog on this)

(see our earlier post about who named Esau with the name Edom)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Parshas Chaye Sarah 5777

The Giants of "Kriath Arba"

The Torah writes (Genesis 23:1-2):
Sarah’s lifetime—the span of Sarah’s life—came to one hundred and twenty-seven years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan; and Abraham proceeded to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her.  
Rashi (ibid) explains:
literally, the city of the Four, and it was so called because of the four giants who lived there: Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai and their father (Numbers 13:22).
The verse referenced by Rashi (Numbers 13:22) states as follows:
They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron, where lived Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites.—Now Hebron was founded seven years before Zoan of Egypt.—
Rashi's explanation is revolves around the term "four" that this was the city of four people. The Radak adds (ibid):
Arba was the name of a man whose was known by this “nickname” as he had three sons, and they, just as he himself were giants, so that there were four giants.

However, others explain differently that this is a name of a person, as explained by the Rashbam (ibid):
Tthe name of the person who founded or owned this town was Arba. We know this from Joshua 15:13 where he is described as the father of a giant. The reference to a town by mentioning an outstanding citizen is familiar to us from Numbers 21:27-29 where the capital of the Emorites is described as קרית סיחון, the city of Sichon
The verses in Joshua (15:13-14) explain further:
In accordance with the LORD’s command to Joshua, Caleb son of Jephunneh was given a portion among the Judites, namely, Kiriath-arba—that is, Hebron. ([Arba] was the father of Anak.) Caleb dislodged from there the three Anakites: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, descendants of Anak.  
We find similarly later on (Genesis 33:18) in the Rashbam:
ויבא יעקב שלם, to the city named Shalem. The construction is similar to ותבאנה בית לחם, “they arrived at Bet Lechem.” (Ruth 1:19) - עיר שכם, the city of Shechem. The description parallels Numbers 21:26 where Cheshbon is described as the city of Sichon, King of the Emorites. Anyone who explains Shechem as being the name of the city errs. We do not find anywhere that a city is described in such terms, i.e. as עיר ציון, or as עיר ירושלים. Invariably such cities are described with the appropriate definitive article ה i.e. as the word העיר following the name of the city in question. et al.

See also - Targum Jonathan (Deuteronomy 1:28) identifies the giants as the sons of Ephron:
and the sons of Ephron the giant were also there
Tosefta deTargum (Joshua 15:13) identifies the father of the "Anak" as Tzohar, the father of Ephron, and "Anak" as Ephron. 

Why was Sarah in Hebron?

According to Rashi (Genesis 23:19) Abraham and Sarah lived in Hebron at this time (also see Ramban):
AND ABRAHAM DWELT AT BEER-SHEBA — This does not mean really dwelling there but merely staying there on his way home, because he was, as a matter of fact, living at Hebron. Twelve years before the Binding of Isaac he had left Beer-Sheba and had gone to Hebron, as it is said, (21:34) ‘‘And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days”, i.e. exceeding in number the earlier days when he had resided at Hebron — altogether 26 years, as we have explained above (21:34).
and above (21:34) in Rashi:
Now, here it is written that he sojourned in the land of the Philistines ימים רבים more days, which means more than the preceding days in Hebron. Scripture does not intend by these words to leave the number indefinite, but to state it explicitly, for if the “more days” exceeded the former period in Hebron by two years or more, it would have said so plainly, so that you must admit that the excess was only one year — that gives 26 years in the land of the Philistines. He immediately left there and returned to Hebron, and that year was 12 years before the Binding of Isaac. All this is explained in Seder Olam (See Note on Genesis 10:25).
(There are other opinions that place Abraham and Sarah in Beer Sheba at this time)

According to Sefer HaYashar (ibid) Sarah went to Hebron to find out about her son after Satan told her about the Akeidah. When she came to Hebron, Satan told her that he lied and she died from the shock.

Why Did Sarah Die?

According to Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer (33) she died because Satan told her about Isaac being sacrificed on the Altar

According to Vayikra Rabbah (20:2) she died when Isaac told her the story of the Akeidah (some learn this was Satan in the form of Isaac)

According to Bereishis Rabbah (45:5) she was supposed to live until the same age as Abraham but her time was cut short by 31 years because she told Abraham "May G-d judge between me and you" (see above 16:5)

[Published at]

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Parsha Vayera 5777

The Difference between Sodom and Gibeah

The Torah writes (Genesis 19.4-10):
They had not yet lain down, when the townspeople, the men of Sodom, young and old—all the people to the last man—gathered about the house. And they shouted to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may be know them them.”  So Lot went out to them to the entrance, shut the door behind him, and said, “I beg you, my friends, do not commit such a wrong. Look, I have two ... but do not do anything to these men, since they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
and later on (Genesis 19.23-25):
As the sun rose upon the earth and Lot entered Zoar, the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulfurous fire from the LORD out of heaven. He annihilated those cities and the entire Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation of the ground.
As the result of the sin of Sodom, it was destroyed. However, we find a similar case later on during the time of the Judges which did not end that way. We find in Judges (19:22-26):
While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the town, a depraved lot, had gathered about the house and were pounding on the door. They called to the aged owner of the house, “Bring out the man who has come into your house, so that we may know him him.” The owner of the house went out and said to them, “Please, my friends, do not commit such a wrong. Since this man has entered my house, do not perpetrate this outrage. Look, here is my ... ; but don’t do that outrageous thing to this man.”
The question is why wasn't Gibeah destroyed by G-d the same way?

The Malbim (Judges 19:22) answers that the people of Sodom did this because they setup laws to keep away strangers and not because they wanted to fulfill their own desires. On the other hand, in Gibeah, they did those solely because of their desires. He cites several proofs:

1. Lot invited the angels into his house in secret while but in Gibeah the guest was invited in public.

2. In Sodom all the people of the city attacked Lot's house while in Gibeah it was just the coarse / evil people of the city which were a minority and rebels, and not because they were complying with the law.

3. In Sodom they wanted to attack Lot and his house, while in Gibeah they surrounded the house to make sure the guests don't run away but they did not plan to attack the owner. This is also why they knocked on the door, as opposed in Sodom where they tried to break down the door. (They also called instead of shouting like in Sodom)

4. In Gibeah the owner called it an "outrage" - "נבלה" but not in Sodom for their it was accepted and according to their laws.

5. In Gibeah, they were satisfied with something else but not in Sodom because in Sodom the point of their attack was against the guests not to fill their desires.

(Additionally this may also have been why they complained about Lot coming to judge among them since he was asking them to ignore the laws of Sodom)

The Righteousness of the Daughters of Lot

Famous story with Rabbi Moshe Feinstein related to the daughters of Lot - can be found in introduction to Igros Moshe, volume 8, pp. 15.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Parshas Lecho Lecho 5777

Abraham and the Fugitive

After the war of the four kings and five kings, and the capture of Abraham's nephew, Lot, a fugitive brought the news to Abraham as the Torah writes (Genesis 14:13):
The fugitive brought the news to Abram the Hebrew, who was dwelling at the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, kinsman of Eshkol and Aner, these being Abram’s allies.
The question is who was that person? The simplest explanation is that it was a someone escaping from the war who knew of a relationship or some connection between Abraham and Lot. This is the explanation that Ibn Ezra (ibid) cites:
"The fugitive" - for he escaped and fled from the among the people Sodom, like it says "and a fugitive came from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 33:21)
However, the verse uses the word "הפליט" - "THE fugitive" instead of "fugitive" implying that this refers to a specific fugitive that we know about. This is why other commentators try to connect this verse with a fugitive known elsewhere. The Pesikta deRabbi Eliezer as cited by the Chizkuni (ibid) explains this was the angel Michael:
For at the time G-d throw down Samael and his side from the holy place, he [Samael] grabbed at the Michael's wings to make him fall with him, and G-d saved him and therefore his name is called "fugitive" and about him Ezekiel writes that a fugitive came to him (see Ezekiel 33:21)

Og, the Fugitive

Alternatively, Rashi (ibid) and the Talmud (Niddah 61a) identifies this person as Og, the king of Bashan:
According to the real meaning this was Og who had escaped from the battle with the Rephaim (see Genesis 5:5) and it is to this that the text refers (Deuteronomy 3:11) “For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim”, and this is what is meant by נשאר “left”, for Amraphel and his allies did not kill him when they smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim. So is the statement in the Tanchuma (Chukat).

The Sifsei Chachamim (ibid) says that the reason why Og came to Abraham was to get revenge against the four kings that killed out his people

But according to the Midrash Genesis Rabbah (Genesis Rabbah 42) it refers to Og in allusion to him as the only one of the generation of the Flood who escaped that catastrophe, and this is what is meant (Deuteronomy 3:11) “of the remnant of the Rephaim”, for it is said. (Genesis 6:4) “The Nephilim (= Rephaim cf. Genesis Rabbah 26) were in the earth etc.” His intention in telling Abraham that his nephew was captured was that Abraham should wage war against the kings and that he should be killed so that he, himself, might marry Sarah.
As explained further in Sifsei Chachamim (ibid), in the first explanation of Rashi, the reason why Og is identified with the fugitive here is identified as a fugitive from the Rephaim later on in Deuteronomy. However, why do we identify Og as a fugitive from the Flood?

Genesis Rabbah (26:7) explains that giants are referred to with seven different names:
"And Nephilim were on earth in those days" - they are called seven names: Eimim, Rephaim, Giborim, Zamzumim, Anakim, Avim, Nephilim.
Thus, the Rephaim in Deuteronomy from which Og was a remnant are the same as the Nephilim before the Flood. Therefore we end identifying Og as having escaped from the Flood.

Og and the Flood

The question is how did Og escape the Flood?
Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer (23) describes one such answer:
And except for Og, the King of Bashan, for he sat on one of the beams of the Ark and swore to Noah and his children that he would be their slave forever. What did Noah do? He made a hole in the Ark and gave him [Og] food every day and he was also saved
According to this opinion. Noah saved him because Og agreed to be his slave.

It is also interesting to note that Matnas Kehunah (Genesis 32:8) cites a variant reading in a Midrash that Cain held on to the door of the Ark until the Flood washed him away which is similar to Og's story. It may be possible that there was a tradition that someone was outside the Ark but different Midrashim name different people as to who that was.

However, the Baalei Tosfos (Moshav Zekeinim, end of Chukas) writes that Sihon was the son of Noah and Og was Noah's stepson:
Noah's wife died before the Flood, and Noah married the mother of Og. Og was already born when her first husband was alive, and she married Noah once Og's father died. And she conceived Sihon from Noah before the flood and he was born in the Ark
According to this opinion, it would seem to imply the Noah would have saved him since Og was his stepson, although it does not describe how exactly.

[There is a third opinion that Og survived by going on top of a mountain or living in Israel, but I haven't been able to track down the sources for that yet]

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Parshas Noach 5777

Why Do We Need to Know About Noah's Wife?

The Torah writes (Genesis 4:22):
And Zillah, she also bore Tubal-cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah
The Midrash (cited by Rashi, see Genesis Rabbah [23:3]) explains:
"And the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah" - Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: Naamah was the wife of Noah .... and the Rabbis said: this was a different Naamah (not Noah's wife)
There are also multiple other sources that state her name as being something else - see our earlier posts here and here
The Ikar Sifsei Chachamim (ibid 4:22) provides two explanations why we need to know that she was Noah's wife:
"For she was called Naamah because of the beauty of her deeds - if so why did she died in the Flood, therefore it must be that she was Noah's wife and was saved from the Flood"
(it's a bit problematic because she could have easily died before the Flood, especially if according to Rashi Lamech had children less than 120 years after Creation and the Flood happened in 1656) 

"why was this woman mentioned more than other women? Only it must be that we find that Naamah had three brothers: Tubal Cain who was an evildoer, ... Yoval who was righteous ... , and Yuval was righteous... Therefore we find that two of them were righteous and one was an evildoer, and Noah also had three children of which two were righteous ... and one was an evildoer, and therefore it is not a question why that happened if you explain that Naamah was Noah's wife for most sons take after the maternal uncles (Baba Kamma 110). "
The Ramban (ibid) adds:
And therefore the Scripture mentioned her so a seed remained for Cain and a small memory in this world and if you say that she wasn't the wife Noah had three children from, why mention her?
(it is interesting to note that according to these two explanations, it does not say that she survived the Flood - only that she had children with Noah.)

He also explains the other side of the argument:
There is another Midrash of our rabbis that she was a beautiful wman through whom the angels sinned and she is alluded to in the verse "and angels saw the daughters of man"... And others says that she was the wife of Asmadon, the mother of Asmadai and from her demons were spawned ...
The Radak (ibid) explains:
The reason the Torah mentions this is to inform us that Tuval Kayin did not have a brother, as opposed to his half-brother יבל, but that the sibling he did have, i.e. a sister, was called נעמה
Why do we need to know who Noah's wife was? The reasons therefore are either why she is needs to be mentioned at all since women are not normally mentioned, or that she is connected to some other story within the Torah (either Cain, Noah's family, the angels or her brothers).

Additionally, the Torah writes (Genesis 7:7):
And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, before the waters of the flood
We do not have proof that she was not necessarily Noah's wife at the time of the Flood which would also fit with a lot of the other sources that state her name as being different. While we know that Noah had only one wife at the time he entered the Ark, there is no proof from the Torah that this was his only wife ever, and that this particular woman was the mother of his existing children.

This brings us to another interesting set of stories surrounding the lineage of Og and Sihon, and whether their father or step-father was Noah. See our post here and we hope to continue next week.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Parshas Bereishis 5777

The Sons of G-d

The Torah writes (Genesis 6:1-2):
When men began to increase on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of G-d saw how beautiful the daughters of men were and took wives from among those that pleased them.
And later on (Genesis 6:4):
It was then, and later too, that giants appeared on earth—when the sons of G-d cohabited with the daughters of men, who bore them offspring. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.
Different opinions explaining this:
SourceSons of G-dDaughters of Men
Midrash Rabbahsons of judgescommoners
Midrash TanchumaangelsNaamah, daughter of Lamech
Ibn Ezradescendants of Sethdescendants of Cain
Rashisons of rulers and judgescommoners
Ibn Ezraastrologistscommoners

The first argument revolves around whether the term "G-d" in "sons of G-d" is divine or not. On one hand, the book of Job (Job 1:6) seems to indicate that it is divine:
One day the sons of G-d presented themselves before the LORD
As clear from the context and explained by Metzutzas Zion (ibid) it is clearly referring to angels. We also find similar terminology in the Rambam (Yesodei haTorah 2:7):
The different names with which the angels are called reflect their [spiritual] levels. Thus, they are called: 1) The holy chayyot, who are above all the others; 2) the ofanim; 7) the elokim; 3) the er'elim; 8) the sons of the elokim; 4) the chashmalim; 9) the keruvim; 5) the serafim; 10) the ishim. 6) the mal'achim; These ten names which are used to refer to the angels reflect their ten [different spiritual] levels.
According to these opinions, the verses here clearly refer to angels which ended up mingling with humans. Similarly, we find the tales of two angels who fell from Heaven and mingled with men - see Rashi (Numbers 13:33 and Niddah 61a) and Targum Jonathan (Genesis 6:4):
Schamchazai and Uzziel, who fell from heaven, were on the earth in those days; and also, after the sons of the Great had gone in with the daughters of men, they bare to them: and these are they who are called men who are of the world, men of names.
According to these opinions, the opposite term "daughters of men" then refers to regular human beings. However, there are also midrashim that this refers to a specific woman as opposed to all humans. This seems to revolve around whether the term "daughters of men" is referring to someone mentioned earlier or not. As cited in Yalkut Shemoini (Torah 161:2) [also in Midrash Tanchuma Chukas]:
For then to him appeared a beautiful woman whose beauty was like Naamah the sister of Tuval Kain, through whom the angels sinned as it says "And the sons of G-d saw the daughters of men"
On the other hand, at least one opinion in Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 26:8) is clearly against calling them angels:
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai used to curse anyone that called them (i.e. "the sons of G-d" here) divine
According to these opinions, disagreement then exists about defining what "sons of G-d" means in a non divine manner. All of the opinions revolve around a definition of a higher and lower sets of people, with the higher ones oppressing the lower. According to Rashi (ibid), this refers to people of power and authority - judges and princes:
Wherever the word אלקים occurs in the Scriptures it signifies authority, and the following passages prove this: (Exodus 4:16) “and thou shalt be his (אלקים) master”, and (Exodus 7:1) “See, I have made the (אלקים) a master.”
According to the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 26:8), this refers to judges:
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai called them (i.e. the sons of G-d) judges ... and any breach that does not come from great people is not called a breach
As explained by Matnas Kehuna (ibid) and Eitz Yosef (ibid), we find that this can refer to judges (Exodus 22:7-8, see Targum and Rashi there):
If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall depose before G-d that he has not laid hands on the other’s property. In all charges of misappropriation—pertaining to an ox, an ass, a sheep, a garment, or any other loss, whereof one party alleges, “This is it”—the case of both parties shall come before G-d: he whom G-d declares guilty shall pay double to the other.
Ibn Ezra (ibid) explains slightly differently:
The sons of judges who do on earth the judgement of G-d 
The Ibn Ezra (ibid) cites another opinion referring to these as the sons of Seth and the sons of Cain. In Sefer Imrei Sheifer (ibid) a fuller explanation is provided:
And Ramban says that Adam and Eve are called the "sons of G-d" since they were created by His hands, and they had many children but the ones that were born initially were born identically to them as it says referring to Seth "and he borne him in his image and appearance". Perhaps, the children of Seth are all called "sons of G-d"  for the first three were all in his image and appearance, and once they started serving idols then their appearance and form became weaker.
The Ibn Ezra (ibid) has one additional explanation:
And it seems to be a proper explanation in my eyes, that the term "sons of G-d" refers to people who had the knowledge of the High to choose wives through astrology, each one matching them, and that their offspring would be like them. Therefore, from them came out giants and they also took women by force.
((there is also another possible explanation that the people in power were being worshipped as G-ds, but I don't have a source for that)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Parshas Bamidbar (5776)

When is the "Wilderness of Sinai"?

The Torah writes (Numbers 1:1):
AND THE LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after the were come out of the land of Egypt, saying
Rashi (ibid):
... for on the first day of Nisan the Tabernacle was erected (Exodus 40:2) and shortly afterwards, on the first day of Iyar, He counted them.
Rashbam (ibid):
all the communications, instructions, we heard about in the first year of the Israelites’ wanderings, before the Tabernacle had been erected, were characterised by the words בהר סיני, at Mount Sinai. Once the Tabernacle had been erected on the first day of the first month of the second year, the words בהר סיני as the source of the legislation do not appear again, but are replaced by the words במדבר סיני באהל מועד.

Who are the Princes?

The Torah writes (Numbers 1:4-15):
And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur. Of Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. Of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab. Of Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar. Of Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon. Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. Of Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni. Of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. Of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran. Of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel. Of Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.’
Elizur was one of the 250 men with Korach (Bamidbar Rabbah 11:26).
There are opinions that all the princes ended up among the 250 men with Korach (Shnei Luchos haBris, Korach, Torah Ohr 29 in the name of Rabbeinu Bachya; see also Sefer Taamei deKrah)
Shelumiel was Zimri (Talmud Sanhedrin 82b) 

Nachshon died during the same (second) year (Seder Olam).
Nachshon was also the father of Elimelech, Salmon, Ploni Almoni and Naomi's father in Megilas Ruth (Talmud Baba Bathra 91a)

Nethanel was the person who advised the princes to bring their offerings (Rashi Number 7:18 in the name of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan) 

Eliasaph, son of Deuel is called "son of Reuel" in Numbers 2, and Deuel here, and in Numbers 7 and 10 (see Josh Waxman's parshablog)

(see also Sefer Shaarei Aharon for alternative explanations for all of the names of princes, which are nicknames, and not real names)

Related posts:

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Parshas Behukosai (5776)

What is "The Pride of Your Power"?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 26:19):
And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.
Rashi (ibid) explains:

This is a reference to the Temple; for thus does it state, (Ezekiel 24:21) “Behold I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength”.
Sforno (ibid) explains:

by the destruction of the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Compare Psalms 78:60 “He forsook the Tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had set among men.”
Rashbam (ibid) explains:
as we read in verse 26 בשברי לכם מטה לחם, “when I will break your proud glory,” (economic independence)
Baal Haturim (ibid) explains:
"pride" - numerical value of "that is the Temple"; "the pride of your power" - numerical value of "Jerusalem"
The Talmud (Gittin 37a) explains (as per Rashi):
Rabbi Yosef learns - these are the rich people of Judah

Whom did G-d make a covenant with?

The Torah (Leviticus 26:45) writes:
But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
Rashi (ibid) explains:
THE COVENANT OF THE ANCESTORS — i. e. of the twelve Tribes (cf. Sifra)
Haemek Davar (ibid) explains:
... the covenant which was made with Moses was on behalf of all future generations and now [the Torah] adds that regarding their livelihood in the land of their enemies He will also watch them because of the remember of the covenant with the first generation which was taken out from the Land of Egypt
(see Sefer Shaarei Aharon for further discussion of these opinions)

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Parshas Emor (5776)

Who Was the Blasphemer?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 24:10-12):
And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and the son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. And the son of the Israelitish woman blasphemed the Name, and cursed; and they brought him unto Moses. And his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in ward, that it might be declared unto them at the mouth of the LORD.
Rashi writes (ibid):
THE SON OF AN EGYPTIAN MAN — It was the Egyptian whom Moses had killed ... AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL — This teaches us that he had become a proselyte
Rashi above (Exodus 2:11) explains further:

AN EGYPTIAN MAN — This was one of the taskmasters appointed over the Israelite officers and he used to rouse them from their beds at cock-crow that they might proceed to their work ...  SMITING A HEBREW MAN — beating and flogging him. The latter was the husband of Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri (see Leviticus 24:11), and the Egyptian taskmaster had set his fancy upon her. During the night he compelled him (her husband) to rise and made him leave the house. He, however, returned, entered the house and forced his attentions upon the woman, she believing it was her husband. The man returned and became aware of what had happened, and when the Egyptian perceived that he was aware of it he beat him and flogged him the whole day long
The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 1:28) explains that she was the wife of Dathan

The Zohar (Vayikra 106a) also states that the blasphemer was either fighting with another son of Dathan from a different wife, for Dathan divorced Shelomith or he was fighting with Dathan himself

However, Pirkey deRabbi Eliezer (48:1) cites another opinion:
Bedijah, the grandson of Dan, married a wife from his tribe, Shelomith, daughter of Dibri,' and in that night the taskmasters of Pharaoh came to her, for they slew him and came to her, and she conceived and bare a son.
[There are also some opinions that he was the son of an Egyptian convert, whose name isn't known]

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Parshas Kedoshim 5776

What is Molech?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 20:1-2):
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: Moreover, thou shalt say to the children of Israel: Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
Rashi explains (above 18:21):
This was an idol the name of which was "Molech", and this was the manner in which it was worshipped: that he (the father) handed his child over to the priests of the idol. These lit two large pyres one opposite the other and made the child to pass on foot between the two pyres (based on Sanhedrin 64)
Ibn Ezra (ibid) based on the Talmud adds:
And our Rabbis taught that this includes anything [i.e. any idol] that one makes a king over him
Rashi (Kings II 23:10) explains the process further:
the Tofeth: This was the Molech. Since priests would bang on drums so that the father would not hear the groans of the child when he would be burned by the hands of the pagan image, Molech, they called it Topheth. 
(other commentaries ibid say that the child was burned between the two sets of fires and not the hands of the idol, see also Rashi on Jeremiah 7:31 that elaborates that they placed the child in the hands of the idol which were heated up)

Sefer HaChinuch (208) explains a disagreement as to what the exact worship of Molech was:
Rashi and Rambam learn that they did not burn the child only that the worship of this idol was to pass the child in front of it, and once the child has passed the parents are liable. However, the Ramban learns that they would pass the child into the fire until his/her soul left [and he/she died]
Ibn Ezra (ibid) cites a similar opinion:
And some say that they would pass the child through the fire, and some children lived and some died
Ramban (ibid) cites opinions connecting this with other idols in Tanach:
It is an idol named "Molech" and it is mentioned by name for it was well known in Egypt and thus known to them, and Rabbi Abraham says that this was probably "Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon" (Kings II 23:13) and "then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the detestation of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestation of the children of Ammon" (Kings I 11:7) and it was also known to them
(see also our earlier post)

However, the Talmud cites another opinion that Molech was not an idol - as explained by Rashi (ibid):
For Molech specifically was mentioned in the verse ... and not because it is an idol only because it is a decree (חוק) for them and the Torah punishes this decree with stoning
 Sforno (ibid) explains the reasoning behind this:
the difference between offering sacrifices to the Moloch and to G’d respectively is that to G’d only animals are sacrificed, whereas to the deity known as Moloch, human beings, specifically one’s son, is sacrificed. This would indicate that the worshipper of the Moloch considers him as more powerful than G’d, for why else would he sacrifice his dearest possession, his son, to him and not to G’d?

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Parshas Acharei Mos (5776)

What is Azazel?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 16:8):
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for Azazel.
Rashi (ibid) explains (based on the Talmud Yoma 67b):
עזאזל AZAZEL — (The word is taken to be a compound of עזז "to be strong" and אל "mighty"). It was a precipitous and flinty rock — a towering peak, for it is said (v. 22) "[and the goat shall bear upon it their iniquities into] an גזר) "ארץ גזרה means to cut) — into a craggy land (Yoma 67b).
(see also Ibn Ezra ibid that explains that this refers to a name of a mountain, and it was a mountain near Mt. Sinai)

Daas Zkenim (ibid) explains this is referring to the Satanic forces:
גורל אחד לה' וגורל אחד לעזאזל, “one lot for the Lord and one lot for Azazel.” Ibn Ezra, [at the conclusion of his commentary on this verse, Ed.], writes that when we get to thirty three, we will be able to understand the meaning of this procedure. [At the beginning of his commentary, he had already hinted that there is a mystical element, kabbalah, in all this. Ed.] What he meant was that when we count the next thirty three verses in the Torah and we get to Leviticus 17:7 the Torah will explain that the procedure described here is meant to teach us not to sacrifice to Satanic forces in the universe anymore. These Satanic forces are symbolised by the scapegoat. Just as the bird released into the air by the priest performing the ritual of the person afflicted with tzoraat is perceived as taking away his former sins, so the scapegoat is supposed to do this on behalf of the whole Jewish nation on the day of Atonement. Ibn Ezra understands the word עזאזל as a combination of two words, similar to גלעד in Genesis 31:47 or to בנימין in Genesis 35:18 or ראובן in Genesis 29:32 and many others. Whereas the first male goat is offered to the Lord as a burnt offering, the second one is symbolically tendered of the Satanic forces, the complete destruction of that animal pointing at the uselessness of idolatry The two words לעז אזל, “it went to waste, to destruction ” symbolise this concept.
Shadal (ibid) explains in a similar fashion:
It seems that this used to be a name of an evil god - Satan ... and for those who believe in the oneness of G-d do not believe in the existence of an evil god, this simply refers to complete evil, similar to the way today we say "Satan" to talk about a great evil and destruction, and this goat was sent to its destruction in the desert for it died from hunger ... however after the land was settled and there was not enough wilderness left it was then necessary to pus hthe goat off a cliff so it does not wonder into another city
Kli Yakar (ibid):
It seems that these two goats were similar to the two goats that Jacob made for Isaac, and one was made into good foods that he loved and that is the portion of Samael...
Yalkut Shemoni (44:1) explains that this refers to angels:
[At the time of the Flood] two angels stood up and said in front of G-d ... gives us permission to go down and walk among mortals and see how we will sanctify your name. G-d told them to descend and they sinned with the daughters of men ... Shamchazai repented ... but Azael did not repent ... and therefore the Jews sacrifice sacrifices on the Days of Atonement - one to G-d to atone for the Jewish people, and one to Azazel
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (The Living Torah ibid) cites other opinions:
... others say that azazel means 'to be sent away' (Septuagint), or 'to carry away sins' (Symachus; Vulgate) ... Some say that Azazel represents the forces of nature (Hirsch)

Where Did the Sons of Aaron Die?

The Torah writes (Lev. 16:1):
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD, and died;
Sifra / Toras Kohanim (Shemini, Milum 35) writes:
Rabbi Eliezer said: they did not die but outside, in a place Levites are permitted to enter as it said: "they drew near and carried them by their tunics". If so, why does it say "they died in front of G-d"? An angel obstructed them, and pushed them out, and they went out. Rabbi Akiva said: they died inside as it says "and they died in front of G-d". If so, why does it say "they drew near and carried them by their tunics"? - to teach us that they took hooks of iron and dragged them out.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Parshas Tazria (5776)

Why Aaron was Chosen?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 13:1-2):
And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, or a scab, or a bright spot, and it become in the skin of his flesh the plague of leprosy, then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests.
Ibn Ezra (ibid) explains that this includes the High Priest, regular priests that are not outside the Temple, and not priests that are disqualified from service

Rashi (ibid) explains:
It is an enactment of Scripture (גזרת הכתוב) that the uncleanness and purification of leprous plagues are pronounced only by the mouth of a priest (Sifra).

Meshech Chochma (ibid) explains further:
The subject of afflictions being given over to Aaron, the Priest, is one of the mysteries of the Torah that holy and profane is dependent on the priest ... However, it is possibly to answer differently that these afflictions are a sickness that attaches itself ... and it is necessary to have extreme providence for the one who busies himself with it in order to be saved from it and to be separated from it so the afflication does not attach itself to him, and therefore the Torah choose the descendents of Aaron who are separate from the rest of the Jewish nation and have more direct providence ...
Kli Yakar (ibid) also explains that Aaron had three good traits which counteracted the three sins causing tzaaras: he loved peace which counteracted evil speech, he was humble which counteract haughtiness, and he did not have any land in Israel which counteracted the sin of desire for money

Who Inspected Tzaraas on Miriam?

The Talmud (Zevachim 102b-103a) states as follows:
Rab said: Our teacher Moses was a High Priest, and received a share of the holy sacrifices ... An objection is raised: Who shut Miriam [outside the camp]? If you say, Moses shut her up, surely Moses was a non-priest, and a non-priest cannot inspect plagues [of leprosy]. If you say that Aaron shut her away, Aaron was a relation, and a relation cannot inspect [leprous] plagues. Rather, the Holy One, blessed be He, bestowed great honour upon Miriam in that moment, and declared, I am a priest: I will shut her away, I will declare her a definite [leper], and I will free her. He teaches at all events, ‘Moses was a non-priest and a non-priest cannot inspect plagues’? — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: The inspection of leprosy is different, because Aaron and his sons are specified in that section.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Parshas Shemini (5776)

Why did Nadab and Abihu Die?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 10:1):
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.
Rashi (ibid):
Rabbi Eleizer said: the sons of Aaron died only because they gave decisions on religious matters in the presence of their teacher, Moses (Sifra; Eruvin 63a)
Rabbi Ishmael said: they died because they entered the Sanctuary intoxicated by wine.
Vayikra Rabbah (20:9):
Because they did not wear the proper garments for it says (Exodus 28): "and it should be on Aaron and his sons", and what were they missing? The robe (מעיל)
And because they entered without washing their hands and feet, for it says (Exodus 30): "and they should wash their hands and feet, and not die", and it says: "when they come to the Tent of Meeting, they should wash with water"
And because they did not have children
Aba Hanin says: because they did not have wives for it says: "He should atone for himself and his household", household means "wife"
The Midrash adds (ibid 20:10):
Rabbi Levi said: they were arrogant, for many women sat unmarried because they wanted to marry them. What did they say? Our paternal uncle is king, our maternal uncle is a prince, our father is the High Priest, and we are two deputy High Priests, where would there be a woman that is fit for us!
Another reason (ibid, Talmud Sanhedrin 52a):
Moses and Aaron were walking, Nadab and Abihu were walking behind them, and all the Jews behind them. They said to each other: "When these two elders will die, then we will rule over everyone". G-d said back to them:  "Let's see who buries who"
Another reason (ibid):
"And to the nobles of the Children of Israel He did not lay His hand" (Exodus 24:10) ... for they looked at G-d like someone who looks at his friend while eating and drinking
Another reason (ibid 20:8):
For coming close, for they entered inside and inside [i.e. into the Holy of Holies]
And for bringing, for they brought a sacrifice that was not commanded
And for strange fire, for they brought it from a stove [i.e. not from the outer Altar]
And because they did not seek advice
(see the Sifra that explains that they did not seek advice from Moses or from each other)
Another answer (cited by Kli Yakar ibid):
And some say for the sin of the Golden Calf that Aaron made caused this to happen to them
Another answer (Meshach Chochmah 19):
The simple explanation is that they brought incense on the outer Altar
Another answer (Rashbam ibid):
Even though on ordinary days the rule of “the sons of Aaron will place in these pans fire on the altar” (Leviticus 1:7) was in effect, this rule did not apply to the day of inauguration, and Moses had not wanted any man made fire to be introduced into the Tabernacle. This was because he expected heavenly fire to manifest itself so that the addition of man made fire would have completely ruined the impact of the miracle.
Another answer (Shadal 10:1):
They did not intend to bring the morning incense for if so there would be not need for two pans, only they brought incense not commanded by G-d and they sinned because of arrogance: It was not enough for them to help their father serve ... they also wanted to show that they were also priests like Aaron, and since Moses did not assign any specific service for them to do they chose a service for themselves and brought in front of G-d a foreign fire...
Another answer (Abarbanel ibid):
the two of them sacrificed together and that was a great sin for incense is a service done by one person only, and not two people together
On the eighth day Moses served as the High Priest and only he was allowed to bring incense

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Parshas Tzav (5776)

Moses, the High Priest

The Torah writes (Leviticus 8:28):
And Moses took them from off their hands, and made them smoke on the altar upon the burnt-offering; they were a consecration-offering for a sweet savour; it was an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Rashi (ibid) explains:
Moses (though a non-priest) was officiating during the seven days of installation
We also find in Psalms (99:6):
Moses and Aaron among His priests, And Samuel among them that call upon His name, Did call upon the LORD, and He answered them.
Rashi's source is the Talmud (Zevachim 102b):
The Sages maintain: Moses was invested with priesthood only for the seven days of consecration. Some maintain: Only Moses’ descendants were deprived of priesthood, for it is said, "But as for Moses the man of God, his sons are named among the tribe of Levi"; and it says, "Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His name"
Sefer Keren Orah (ibid) explains that Moses retained his status as the High Priest for the rest of his life but because he was busy with other matters, he let his brother Aaron serve as the High Priest

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Parshas Vayikra (5776)

Who is the Anointed Priest?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 4:3):
if the anointed priest shall sin so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin-offering.
Targum Onkelos (ibid) explains that this is the Kohen Gadol

Mishnah (Horyaot 3:4) explains further:
Who is the anointed? The one anointed with the oil of anointing, not the one with many clothes. There is no difference between the priest anointed with the oil of anointing and the one with many clothes except for the bull offered for [the violation of] any of the commandments.
(Barternura explains that after the flask of oil was hidden, Kohen Gadol was appointed by wearing his garments. Rambam explains that this was the case in the Second Temple.)

The Talmud (Horayos 12a) cites an opposing view:
We learned: [Kohen Gadol] who wears extra garments brings a bullock over sinning, these are the words of Rabbi Meir
The Talmud (ibid) also excludes another case:
If anointed, maybe this refers to the one anointed for war? No, for it says "and the priest that was anointed", referring one who has no other anointed one above him

Who is the Ruler?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 4:22):
When a ruler sinneth, and doeth through error any one of all the things which the LORD his God hath commanded not to be done, and is guilty
The Mishna (Horyaot 3:3) explains this is a king:
Who is the prince? This is the king, as it says (Leviticus 4:22): "And he did one of the commandments of Hashem his God," [this refers to] a prince, because there is no one above him besides Hashem his God.
The Talmud (Horayos 10a) excludes a ruler with leprosy:
Our Rabbis taught: When in ruler sinneth excludes a sick man. Should he, because he is, sick, be removed from his rank? — R. Abdimi b. Hama replied: The exclusion refers to a ruler who became leprous; as it is said, And the Lord smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in the house of freedom,' and Jotham the king's son wins over the household.
The Tamud later on (ibid 11b) includes the kings of both Israel and Judah, and excludes the princes of tribes

(There is uncertainty regarding the Nasi at the time of the Mishnah and the exliarch in Babylon, whether they would have been included in this)

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Parshas Pekudei (5776)

Lineage of Oholiab

The Torah writes (Exodus 38:23):
And with him was Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman, and a skilful workman, and a weaver in colours, in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (Sefer Lemakesi Atik) cites in the name of Eldad haDani that Oholiab was the son of Ahisamach, son of Hushim, son of Dan

Kli Yakar (Exodus 35:30) explains that the meaning of this name meant that he build the house of the Heavenly Father (אהלי אב). His father's name (Ahisamach) alluded to the story of the two brothers who owned the location where the Temple would be built.

The Talmud (Arachin 16b) states that Oholiab's descendent was Hiram, who was hired by King Solomon to the built the Temple [i.e. the same job was passed down in his family]
Yalkut Shemoni (Nach 185) says that just like the Tabernacle was built by a partnership between the tribes of Judah (Betzalel) and Dan (Oholiab), the Temple was built via a partnership between Judah (King Solomon) and Dan (Hiram)

How Many Tents?

The Torah writes (Exodus 40:1-2):
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: ’On the first day of the first month shalt thou rear up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.
However, earlier we find the following (Exodus 33:7):
Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it without the camp, afar off from the camp; and he called it The tent of meeting. And it came to pass, that every one that sought the LORD went out unto the tent of meeting, which was without the camp.
There seem to have been two tents, one used by Moses before the Tabernacle was built and the Tabernacle itself.

Rashi (ibid) explains that this continued only until the Tabernacle was built:
After God had conversed with him, Moses used to return to the camp and teach the elders what he had learned. This Moses practised from the day of Atonement until the Tabernacle was set up, but no longer
The Midrash (Sifri Zutah Numbers 18:4) disagrees:
Rabbi Shimon said: we learn that there were two tents: a tent for serving and a tent for speaking
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