9:24 (וַיְהִי בָרָד וְאֵשׁ מִתְלַקַּחַת בְּתוֹךְ הַבָּרָד), meaning there was fire miraculously in the Barad. A couple of thoughts on Makkas Barad which of course is the last Makka mentioned in this week’s Parsha. There is an absolutely wonderful Vort in the Sefer Davar Tov, a tremendous insight that comes from a Rashi here regarding the Barad.
Rashi on 9:24 says Neis B’soch Neis, it was a double miracle. Aish V’habarad M’uravin, V’habarad Mayim Hu, the fire and water are mixed. V’la’asos R’tzon Konam Asu Shalom Bainaihem, to do Ratzon Hashem, Shalom was created between them.
He makes a Diyuk here, Asu Shalom Bainaihem somehow implies that there was a new Shalom here. Now actually Kol Zman fire and water are in separate places there is no Machlokes between them anyway that they would need to make Shalom. By bringing them together you didn’t make Shalom, however, the miracle was that there was no fight between the fire and the water. Therefore, he suggests a tremendous insight into this.
What is Shalom, what is peace? Shalom is often thought of as a lack of Ketata, a lack of Machlokes, a lack of fighting. That would be a negative thing, a lack of something, something missing. Actually, Shalom is a Middah, a positive thing. The Gemara in Yevamos 62 mentions that a man who was not Zoche to get married is missing in joy, in Beracha, in Tovah. We understand those. Then the Gemara mentions that a man who does not marry is missing in Shalom. That is a Pliya? It would seem to us on the contrary, that marriage is an opportunity for dispute. The one thing a person who is not married and is living alone has is peace and Shalom. There are no 2 opinions in the house. So why does the Gemara say that one who is not married doesn’t live in Shalom? How does marriage create Shalom?
The answer is this Yesod. To have no dispute does not make Shalom. If a person is alone there is no one to fight with. It is not a Middah of Shalom, it is a lack of Ketata, but that is not what we are looking for as a Middah Tovah to have Shalom. On the contrary, the Middah Tovah of Shalom is possible only when there are two opinions, when there are 2 people. When there is a possibility of discord, then there can be Shalom. Then the Middah of Shalom can exist. Therefore, one who is not married is living without Shalom. Marriage is an opportunity for Shalom.
So too with the Barad and the Aish. When the Barad and the Aish are in two different locations that is not called Shalom as there is no dispute between the fire and the water. But that is not yet Shalom. To say Asah Shalom Bainaihem means to bring them together, there is a potential for one to be fighting the other, water and fire fighting each other. When they don’t fight that is Shalom.
A Raya to this that Shalom is not only a lack of discord, a lack of argument is from the following. There is a Chakira whether darkness is just the absence of light or is darkness a creation onto itself?
There are those that explain that Choshech is a creation. I believe the GRA in Parshas B’reishis says so. He brings a Raya from Yotzer Ohr U’vorei Choshech. The Posuk says that Hashem created light and created darkness. We see that darkness is not just an absence of light but it is also a creation. With that we can go on. The Posuk continues Yotzer Ohr U’vorei Choshech Oseh Shalom. We see from the same Raya that Shalom is a creation onto itself and not just an absence of argument. Shalom is something positive. Vayas Hashem. Hashem created something that is positive. Something that has to exist and places a potential for disagreement.
The Sefer Davar Tov adds a very nice thought. We have a rule that when a friend is leaving you say Leich L’shalom and when there is a Meis you say Leich B’shalom. The Gemara in Maseches Berachos says that the proper words with which to say goodbye to someone is Leich L’shalom, go to peace. If someone has passed away then the custom is to say Leich B’shalom, go in peace.
The explanation of the difference in wording is not to use the word Shalom as meaning peace. They talk about Shlaimus, go to Shlaimus. It is missing the literal translation of Shalom which means peace. In line of what we have been discussing he explains, Leich L’shalom, a living person can go to peace and still have a relationship with someone else and have Shalom. However, a Niftar who does not have a potential to have a disagreement with anyone, so it must be Leich B’shalom. Go to a place that there will be Shalom. This is a tremendous insight and a tremendous Mussar as well.
I remember seeing in the Maishiv Davar a Teshuvah that Shalom was created on the second day of creation. On the first day of creation when there is only an oneness, there is no potential for Machlokes and therefore, there is no Shalom. On the second day there is a potential for Machlokes so on the second day Shalom was created.
That is why the Shir Shel Yom Sheini is Shir Mizmor Livnai Korach in Kapittal 48. It was written by the children of Korach who were involved in Machlokes. The Posuk Yifei Nof M’sos Kol Ha’aretz is in this Kapittal. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah Darshuns that Yifei Nof, a good wife, M’sos Kol Ha’aretz, makes the whole world seem happy. Again that is the Inyan of Shalom. That is a beautiful thought that comes from this line here regarding Makkas Barad.
9:34 A second thought regarding the Makkas Barad which comes from the Tosafos Beracha. At the end of the Parsha when the Makkas Barad has come to an end, the Posuk says (וַיַּרְא פַּרְעֹה כִּי חָדַל הַמָּטָר וְהַבָּרָד וְהַקֹּלֹת וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹא וַיַּכְבֵּד לִבּוֹ הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו). Meaning Paroh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder came to an end and he continued to sin, and he made his heart stubborn, he and his servants. Why does it say that the rain came to an end? The rain is an incidental part of the Barad, it is not really the Makkah. In addition, it says it first, (וַיַּרְא פַּרְעֹה כִּי חָדַל הַמָּטָר) as if to say that the main thing he had seen is that the rain came to an end? This needs some sort of an explanation.
The Tosafos Beracha explains as follows. A few Pesukim earlier (9:27), Paroh calls in Moshe and Aharon and says (וַיִּשְׁלַח פַּרְעֹה וַיִּקְרָא לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם חָטָאתִי הַפָּעַם יְ־רוָ־ר הַצַּדִּיק וַאֲנִי וְעַמִּי הָרְשָׁעִים). He asks them to Daven to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and he asks for the thunder and the hail to stop. He doesn’t ask for the rain to stop.Egyptis a land that needs rain. We know that fields are irrigated from theNileRiverand that it involves a lot of Tircha and bother to schlep the water to the place that it has to irrigate the field. He didn’t want the rain to stop. He said 9:28 ( הַעְתִּירוּ אֶל יְ־רוָ־ר וְרַב מִהְיֹת קֹלֹת אֱ־לֹקֹים וּבָרָד וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא תֹסִפוּן לַעֲמֹד). Meaning, ask Hashem to stop the thunder and the Barad. Moshe responded in 9:29 (וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מֹשֶׁה כְּצֵאתִי אֶת הָעִיר אֶפְרֹשׂ אֶת כַּפַּי אֶל יְרוָר הַקֹּלוֹת יֶחְדָּלוּן וְהַבָּרָד לֹא יִהְיֶה עוֹד לְמַעַן תֵּדַע כִּי לַירֹוָר הָאָרֶץ) that when he leaves the city he will spread out his hands to Hashem that the thunder will stop and the hail will stop. He doesn’t say a word about the rain. Later Paroh sees that not only did the thunder and hail stop as Moshe Davened, but the rain stopped as well as it says 9:33 (וַיַּחְדְּלוּ הַקֹּלוֹת וְהַבָּרָד וּמָטָר לֹא נִתַּךְ אָרְצָה). Paroh is thinking to himself that maybe this is some sort of coincidence. Look at this, Moshe Rabbeinu knew when it was going to stop, so this was some sort of new natural phenomenon that has come to an end. The Matar was Paroh’s Kasha on Moshe Rabbeinu. Don’t think that this is something unusual because we know that had it been said that the Bechorim would die at midnight and the Bechorim died a few minutes off of midnight, Paroh would have seen some type of flaw in Moshe Rabbeinu. Here he saw the flaw as it says 9:34 (וַיַּרְא פַּרְעֹה כִּי חָדַל הַמָּטָר וְהַבָּרָד וְהַקֹּלֹת וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹא וַיַּכְבֵּד לִבּוֹ הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו) that Paroh saw that the rain stopped as well so that gave him the excuse to have a stubborn heart and to continue to sin. A beautiful Diyuk in the Seder of the Pesukim.
In Vayechezak Leiv Paroh, Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, that I will harden Paroh’s heart. Much has been written whether it is fair to harden Paroh’s heart. The Ramban discusses it and others do as well. What is often missed is the Rambam’s Chiddush in Hilchos Teshuvah 6:3. The Rambam says that this that happened to Paroh, his lack of Bechirah, is something that can happen to anyone. Rasha Chotei Ad She’yigramu Chata’av V’yistamu Dalfei Teshuvah. If someone sins enough, he can come to a point that his sins cause his ability to do Teshuva to be removed. That is the Chiddush of the Rambam. That is a Pliya. Because we believe that a human being always has Bechira. Why is the Rambam saying that Bechira can be taken away?
I saw in the Leiv Eliyahu a long footnote from Rav Sholom Schwadron who brought the Leiv Eliyahu to print. He inserted a long footnote to explain this Rambam. He has a beautiful explanation. He says sometimes a person sins to a degree that the sins causes that his heart is hardened. That is an Onesh that is a punishment. All punishments can be removed through Tefillah. Davening helps. Afilu Cherev Chada Munachas Al Tzavarei Shel Adom Al Yimna Atzmo Min Hatefilla U’min Harachamim. A person who asks Rachamei Shamayim can have an Onesh removed.
Therefore, says Rav Schwadron, the Rambam is not saying that he no longer has Bechira at all. He no longer has Bechira in this sin, however, if he Davens for the Yeitzer Hora to be removed that Davening will help that from Shamayim he will have Siyata Dishmaya that the Yeitzer Hora will disappear. This is important for each and every one of us. We all have some level of Avodas Hashem in which we to have reached the point of Yishui Leiv. There are things that we do that sometimes we can’t control. Playing on the internet too long. Bate’ling too long. Watching ballgames which is a total waste of time. There are things that we find very difficult to stop doing. We are so in the habit of doing it. We have reached the point of what the Rambam discusses. We are into something so much that it doesn’t go away.
In our Shemoneh Esrei we should Daven for Siyata Dishmaya, we should Daven to the Ribbono Shel Olam to help us overcome the Yeitzer Hora. That is the key to overcoming difficulties in Avodas Hashem, where those difficulties have reached such a point that we find it very hard to overcome.
So these are three points on the Parsha the Davar Tov’s point on Shalom, the Tosafos Beracha’s Diyuk in the Pesukim, and Rav Schwadron’s explanation of the Rambam regarding Yishui Leiv Paroh.
The question of the week is: we know that Moshe Rabbeinu wrote certain Perakim of Tehillim for Klal Yisrael. One of them is Tefillah L’Moshe, Kapittal 90 which is said in our Shabbos Davening. In this Perek of Tehillim it says Yimei Shenoseinu Shiv’im Shanah, V’im Big’vuros Shemonim Shanah. There it says that a person lives 70 years and if he is strong he can live 80 years.
The Gemara in Maseches Yoma says in the days of Dovid Hamelech the world came to a point that the average life expectancy was in the area of 70 years. I don’t understand, Moshe Rabbeinu lived at a time that people lived over 100 years. All the people we know who lived during the time of Moshe Rabbeinu and Yehoshua lived over 100 years. How can it be that Moshe Rabbeinu wrote this Posuk of Yimei Shenoseinu Shiv’im Shanah, V’im Big’vuros Shemonim Shanah?