Let me begin with Rav Moshe’s Vort which is at the end of the Parsha 9:33. At the end of the Parsha we find the last Makkah in Parshas Va’eira the Makkah of Barad. When it comes to an end the Posuk says (וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה, אֶת-הָעִיר, וַיִּפְרֹשׂ כַּפָּיו, אֶל-יְרוָר; וַיַּחְדְּלוּ הַקֹּלוֹת וְהַבָּרָד, וּמָטָר לֹא-נִתַּךְ אָרְצָה). The hail came to an end and the rain did not hit the ground. Rashi explains (ואף אותן שהיו באויר לא הגיעו לארץ). Even the rain drops that were already in midair did not hit the ground. Moshe was Mispalel for the Makkah to end and it came to an abrupt end.
The question naturally is what is the purpose of this extraordinary Nais this is more of a miracle than the rain and Barad just stopping on its own. It is sort of a Neis B’soch Neis, a double miracle. What is the purpose? Why did Hakadosh Baruch Hu do this extra miracle and make it not hit the ground and what is the lesson for us?
Rav Moshe says that this comes to teach us a lesson. Hakadosh Baruch Hu behaves or Kavayochel the way Hashem reveals himself to us as behaving in a way that human beings should emulate. Moshe Rabbeinu made a request and said let the Makkah come to an end. The Ribbono Shel Olam showed that when the Tzaddik is Gozer, Hakadosh Baruch Hu is Mikayeim. That when the Ribbono Shel Olam does what is asked of him he does it completely and totally. He does it in a way that the request is formulated. Just as the request was formulated for it to come to an end which implies that even that which is in midair not hit the ground, the Ribbono Shel Olam did so despite the fact that it was not a necessary piece or necessary part of the request.
Rav Moshe brings another example that the Ramban says there was never another locust infestation in Mitzrayim of the type that happened here. That was for the same reason, because Moshe Rabbeinu Davened that the Arbe (the Makka of locusts) come to an end and it came to an end totally even for future generations. Again, Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t mean it, but nevertheless since that is what he requested that is what took place. The lesson is to be Mikayeim to do the words of the Tzaddik as they were requested even though it wasn’t meant to that degree.
Says Rav Moshe, it is meant to teach us that that is the way we too should behave. This small Vort of Rav Moshe actually touches on an extraordinary Yesod which it says in a number of sources. There is a Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra. That even when Torah She’bal Peh teaches us regarding certain Mitzvos that they don’t have to be done precisely in the way that it is spelled out in the Torah, nevertheless Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra.
A source for this is a Ritva in the last Perek of Yevamos. The Ritva there refers to a Gemara regarding the shoe that is used during Chalitzah. The Posuk says in Devarim 25:9 (וְחָלְצָה נַעֲלוֹ מֵעַל רַגְלוֹ). She removes his shoe from his foot. The Gemara says does it have to be his shoe? It doesn’t have to belong to him. It is adequate that it fit his foot. On that the Ritva comments that even though during the Chalitzah ceremony it is not necessary that the shoe belong to the man, nevertheless Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra. The simple meaning of the Posuk is that it be his shoe and that is the way it should be done. That is indeed what we do. We are Makneh the shoe to the man and the man is the technical owner of the shoe until after the ceremony.
We find a similar idea in Yoreh Dai’a in the Halachos of Shiluach Hakan. The Mitzvah of sending away a mother is found in Devarim 22:6 -7 (ו כִּי יִקָּרֵא קַן-צִפּוֹר לְפָנֶיךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּכָל-עֵץ אוֹ עַל-הָאָרֶץ, אֶפְרֹחִים אוֹ בֵיצִים, וְהָאֵם רֹבֶצֶת עַל-הָאֶפְרֹחִים, אוֹ עַל-הַבֵּיצִים–לֹא-תִקַּח הָאֵם, עַל-הַבָּנִים ז שַׁלֵּחַ תְּשַׁלַּח אֶת-הָאֵם, וְאֶת-הַבָּנִים תִּקַּח-לָךְ, לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ, וְהַאֲרַכְתָּ יָמִים). Taking the pigeon or the eggs. There is a Teshuva from the Chacham Tzvi which is brought in Yoreh Dai’a and in the Meforshim of Yore Dai’a. He was asked if it is necessary to take the babies or the eggs or is it enough to just send away the mother. He answered that the Mitzvah is just Shiluach, to send away the mother. Nevertheless it is a Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra. It is good to be Mikayeim the simple meaning of the Posuk and to pick up the eggs and acquire them. You can put them back afterwards. (וְאֶת-הַבָּנִים תִּקַּח-לָךְ), to acquire that which is in it. Again, Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra.
A third source is in the Mikraei Kodesh which is in the volume on Sukkos where it talks about the well-known Halacha that when one has Hadasim the leaves are supposed to be in groups of three. How much of the Hadas have to have Hadasim Mishulash (groups of three)?
The Halacha is Ruba K’kula, it is enough if most of the Hadas have it and you don’t need all of it. Nevertheless the Halacha says it is M’hudar (better) if the entire Hadas is Mishulash. Why? Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank in Mikraei Kodesh brings the same idea and he quotes the Ritva and says the same thing here. He says, the simple meaning of a Hadas is something that is Mishulash, something that is in 3’s and Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra.
By Hilchos Shechita we learn that it is enough to cut most of the Simanim, the required parts of the animal but L’chatchila we try to cut it entirely. Even though Ruba K’kula, Mitzvah L’kayeim the Pashtus of the Mitzvah which is to do it without an exemption of Ruba K’kula.
And so Rav Moshe’s Vort on the lesson of the Parsha ties in well with something that we do indeed find in Halacha, the idea of Mitzvah of Mitzvah L’kayeim Pashtei Dik’ra. Just as Hakadosh Baruch Hu showed us with his behavior towards Moshe Rabbeinu, he kept the words that Moshe Rabbeinu asked even though that wasn’t the intention of Moshe Rabbeinu to make the rain stop in midair, the same thing in our behavior and in our Hanhaga.
Rav Yaakov’s Vort is from the beginning of the Parsha. Right in the beginning before Sheini the Posuk says in 6:9 (וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, מִקֹּצֶר רוּחַ, וּמֵעֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה). Klal Yisrael did not believe Moshe. Why? Because of the difficulties that they were facing. Actually in the last Parsha they did believe Moshe Rabbeinu as it says in 4:31 (וַיַּאֲמֵן, הָעָם). Something changed in between. Posut Pshat is that in between Paroh had the Yidden making their own straw which was previously given to them and they thought that the Yeshua was not at hand. Rav Yaakov adds a tremendous insight to this idea. Rav Yaakov says that we find that Klal Yisrael in Mitzrayim did not work on Shabbos.
In the Medrash it says they had a type of a (Megillah) scroll on which holy words were written that taught them that the Geulah was forthcoming. What was on that scroll? Rav Yaakov explains that it had on it some of the paragraphs of Tehillim that Moshe Rabbeinu had authored. It had on it different words that they had B’mesorah. For example, Mizmor Shir L’yom Hashabbos which is one of the Perakim of Tehillim (92). Of course, the entire chapter does not discuss Shabbos at all. So what is going on? Why is it called Mizmor Shir L’yom Hashabbos? Rav Yaakov says that that was on the scroll that the Yidden had. Mizmor Shir L’yom Hashabbos talks about the concept of (לְהַגִּיד, כִּי-יָשָׁר יְרוָר; צוּרִי, וְלֹא-עלתה (עַוְלָתָה) בּוֹ). The chapter discusses that the Geulah will come. That Hakadosh Baruch Hu is straight and there is no Avlah and that ultimately there will be a Geulah. It was a Chizuk for Klal Yisrael to have these scrolls and say these Perakim of Tehillim and get a Chizuk from it.
What happened at the end of Parshas Shemos. Moshe Rabbeinu requested a Geulah and Paroh replied make them work harder. 5:9 (תִּכְבַּד הָעֲבֹדָה עַל-הָאֲנָשִׁים, וְיַעֲשׂוּ-בָהּ; וְאַל-יִשְׁעוּ, בְּדִבְרֵי-שָׁקֶר). Let them not spend their time with the false words. Paroh was referring to these scrolls. He knew that these scrolls gave Chizuk to Klal Yisrael and caused them to yearn for the Geulah and to believe that a Geulah would come. Therefore, he wanted to stop this behavior. He made them work harder in a way that they would not have Shabbos off and in that way they would not be in his words (יִשְׁעוּ, בְּדִבְרֵי-שָׁקֶר) hoping for the Geulah. This is why here (וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, מִקֹּצֶר רוּחַ, וּמֵעֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה). They didn’t have that Chizuk and therefore, that caused Klal Yisrael to come to Yiush. This is a beautiful Vort from Rav Yaakov and at the same time it should be a Chizuk to us in our own lives to see Chizuk in the words of Tehillim. The beautiful words of the Kapittilach of Tehillim which talk to every Jew in every generation. The Kapittilach of Tehillim which we say in Davening, those that are well known by most Jews, they give us Chizuk.
Let me mention that those of us who Daven Nusach Sfard know that before Maariv there is a custom to say Shir Hamalos. Actually people say just that, Shir Hamalos, those two words. Actually there are 3 Pesukim of a Perek of Tehillim which is only 3 Pesukim. The last Shir Hamalos which is Kapittal 134, those are the first 3 Pesukim of the Nusach of Shir Hamalos. If you don’t say the entire Shir Hamalos at least let us try to buckle down and say the first 3 Pesukim of the Shir Hamalos (א שִׁיר, הַמַּעֲלוֹת:
הִנֵּה בָּרְכוּ אֶת-יְרוָר, כָּל-עַבְדֵי יְרוָר–
הָעֹמְדִים בְּבֵית-יְרוָר, בַּלֵּילוֹת ב שְׂאוּ-יְדֵכֶם קֹדֶשׁ; וּבָרְכוּ, אֶת-יְרוָר ג יְבָרֶכְךָ יְרוָר, מִצִּיּוֹן: עֹשֵׂה, שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ). Something to give Chizuk in, in the understanding and appreciation of the words of Tehillim which have given a Chizuk to Klal Yisrael throughout.
Now for a quick Vort. For the first time I picked up a Maharshag Al Hatorah. The Maharshag was a Posek who was a Talmid of the Maharam Shik inHungaryat the turn of the previous century. He has a quick Vort on the Parsha which too applies to a general Yesod.
We find in the Parsha that Hakadosh Baruch Hu promises in 6:4 (וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אִתָּם, לָתֵת לָהֶם אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן–אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם, אֲשֶׁר-גָּרוּ בָהּ). The promise to give Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish people. The way that it is phrased is that it is the land of the Avos who lived there (אֲשֶׁר-גָּרוּ בָהּ). Why is it important if the Avos lived there? What is the difference if they lived there or not, Hakadosh Baruch Hu promises it to Klal Yisrael, so we will get it, does it matter that it is (אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם, אֲשֶׁר-גָּרוּ בָהּ)?
The Maharshag answers with a Yesod of the Nevuos of Nach. There are two levels of promise. There is a level where the Navi is told that something will happen. Then there is another level where the Navi is told something will happen and he is told to do something. Some physical action which symbolizes that which is going to take place. Whenever there is an act that symbolizes that which is going to take place it is to show the certainty with which it is going to happen and that subsequent events will not delay it. (אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם, אֲשֶׁר-גָּרוּ בָהּ). The Avos lived, they resided in Eretz Yisrael and not only that, but we find by Avraham Avinu that he was told to walk the length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael in order to make a Kinyan. The Ramban on Parshas Lech Lecha in 12:6 mentions this idea. That that walking was to make the Haftacha (the promise) all the more certain. Therefore, it fits well (אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם, אֲשֶׁר-גָּרוּ בָהּ). Because the Avos lived there that made it all the more certain of (הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אִתָּם).
The question of the week is: In Bentching by the second Bracha we know that there are certain portions of the second Bracha that are M’akeiv (which must be part of Bentching). They include a reference to Eretz Yisrael, Bris Milah, and to Torah. The order though seems to be incorrect. (נוֹדֶה לְּךָ ר אֱלרינוּ. עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה. וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ ר אֱלרינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם. וּפְדִיתָנוּ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים. וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ. וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ. וְעַל חֻקֶּיךָ שֶׁהוֹדַעְתָּנוּ. וְעַל חַיִּים חֵן וָחֶסֶד שֶׁחוֹנַנְתָּנוּ. וְעַל אֲכִילַת מָזוֹן שָׁאַתָּה זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָנוּ תָּמִיד. בְּכָל יוֹם וּבְכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה). We thank Hashem for giving us Eretz Yisrael as a Nachala and then that Hashem took us out ofEgypt.
We all know that Hashem is taking us out ofEgyptin Parshas Va’eira, Bo, and Beshalach but we don’t go into Eretz Yisrael until Sefer Yehoshua. The order seems to be incorrect. (עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה). Then we say (וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ ר אֱלרינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם) which happened earlier?
We then refer to the Bris Milah which is on a Jew’s body (וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ). That also seems to be out of order because that was commanded to Avraham Avinu. So it seems to be in reverse order. Here you may argue that Bris refers to after Matan Torah when all of Klal Yisrael are obligated. That may be, however, there is still a problem. (. וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ. וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ) Why is the Bris mentioned after the giving of the Torah? The giving of the Torah was given before that aspect of Bris which Klal Yisrael was obligated. So the order here in the (נוֹדֶה לְּךָ) Node Lecha certainly needs some sort of explanation. Tzorech Iyun!!