In this week’s Parsha we have Yetzias Mitzrayim and the Mitzvos that have to do with Pesach evening. I would like to start with a Dvar Halacha and then a Dvar Machshava both relating to the Mitzvos that the Torah gives us regarding the eating of Matzah on Pesach. The Meshech Chochmoh (which is not found in his writings on this week’s Parsha) says that it says in the Posuk 12:17 (וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-הַמַּצּוֹת), that it is a special Mitzvah to have Shmura Matzos. As you know it is a Mitzvah to have Matzah that is Shomer (watched) L’sheim Mitzvah which applies only to the Matzah that is being eaten on the first night of Pesach at the Seder. The rest of Pesach however, it is enough that it is not Chometz, it doesn’t have to be Matza that is Shomer (Shmura Matzah).
The question is (וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-הַמַּצּוֹת) what type of a Shemira is the Torah obligating? Rashi says (ושמרתם את המצות: שלא יבאו לידי חמוץ) It is an obligation to be careful in guarding the dough to not turn into Chometz. The prohibition of not eating Chometz is the same the first night of Pesach as it is on the entire Yom Tov of Pesach. The question then is why should the Torah give a different level of obligation in Shemira on the first night of Pesach then on the rest of the days of Pesach? Besides for the prohibition of eating Chometz they are identical.
The Meshech Chochmoh answers with a Yesod. We know that when it comes to Mitzvos we are allowed to rely on Rov. The Torah allows us to rely on Rov. What would happen if someone were to rely on Rov, for example you Shecht an animal properly and eat the meat. Unbeknownst to him, there is a hole in the heart thus rendering the animal a Treifah. The Halacha is that Ones K’man D’lo Ovid Dami. If someone does something B’ones he is not guilty at all and then K’man D’lo Ovid, it is as if he did not eat Nivaila. There is no Aveira at all. A person should be perfectly comfortable relying on Rov in that the animal is not a Treifah and indeed we never check for any Treifos outside of the lungs where finding them to be Treif is more common.
When it comes to a Mitzvas Asei however, the same thing is not true. Let’s say someone would buy an Esrog in a manner in that he was relying on Rov that it is a Koshera Esrog and it would turn out that it is not a Koshera Esrog. Well he wouldn’t be punished for failing to take an Esrog because he was an Ones but he would not get Schar for taking an Esrog because in fact he did not actually take an Esrog. Which means to say, when you have a good excuse it helps for a Lo Sasei. Somebody violates a prohibition then Unsa K’man D’lo Ovid, if someone does something B’ones he is not guilty at all because he did not do the Lo Sasei. However, when it comes to a Mitzvas Asei even if one is guiltless in failing to do it, he still doesn’t benefit from having done the Mitzvah.
With this Yesod the Meschech Chochmoh explains beautifully. All Pesach we don’t have to guard the flour that it not turn into Chometz. We are permitted to rely on Rov. Normally, kernels which are ground into flour make flour that is not Chometzdik. Normally if you make dough by mixing flour and water and bake it within 18 minutes it will not turn into Chometz. There is no special need to watch it although occasionally things may happen, but in a typical case the Torah allows us to rely on Rov. Therefore, all of Pesach we are perfectly comfortable relying on that Rov. The reason is even if it would turn into Chometz Unsa K’man D’lo Ovid and there is no violation. The first night of Pesach is different because it is a Mitzvas Asei so if we would eat something that we think is Matzah and B’ones it really is not Matzah you wouldn’t be punished for failing to eat Matzah on the first night of Pesach but you would be missing the benefit of eating Matzah as the MItzvas Asei. Therefore, the Torah is teaching us that when you come to a Mitzvas Asei (a Mitzvah that one does actively) a person should be extra careful (וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, אֶת-הַמַּצּוֹת).
When we relied on Rov?
This is a beautiful explanation and with this the Meshech Chochmo goes on to explain that the Halacha is that a person is obligated to check his Mezuzas twice every seven years. The Bedika is an obligation despite the fact that as we know most of the time the Mezuzas are Kosher. They were Kosher originally and they stay Kosher. When it comes however, to checking Treifos, checking the lungs, a Treifa that is common, there is no biblical obligation to check, we rely on Rov. Checking the lungs is a Chumrah which we do Mid’rabban. Why is checking Mezuzas different than checking the lungs?
When it comes to Treifos we come to relying on Rov, and therefore, we can eat without checking. Unsa K’man D’lo Ovid, the Torah allows us to rely on Rov. If we accidently eat something that was Treif there is no consequence. However, when it comes to Mezuza which is a Mitzvas Asei, if we relied on Rov and in fact the Mezuza was Posel indeed we wouldn’t be punished for failing to do the Mitzvah but still we would be failing from having benefit of a Kosher Mezuza. This is a beautiful Vort based on a very basic Yesod.
עַל-כֵּן, יַעֲזָב-אִישׁ, אֶת-אָבִיו, וְאֶת-אִמּוֹ; וְדָבַק בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ
The next thought which is from Rav Schwab is not from his Sefer on Chumash but it is from his Sefer on Tefillah by Kriyas Shema where he discusses Yetzias Mitzrayim at the end of Kriyas Shema. I will start with a basic concept and then go to a Kasha and answer.
When Klal Yisrael left Mitzrayim we went from being slaves to Paroh to being Avdei Hashem. There was no in between stage where we were free agents so to speak. The truth is that it is a healthy thing. The healthiest thing is when a person goes from one obligation to another. By marriage we say (Beraishis 2:24) (עַל-כֵּן, יַעֲזָב-אִישׁ, אֶת-אָבִיו, וְאֶת-אִמּוֹ; וְדָבַק בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ). It is healthy to go from a home where you live with parents and you are obligated to follow their wishes to a certain degree and then to get married. It is going from one Avdus so to speak to another. When a person lives alone for a period of time it is very difficult to adapt to living and having to put up with other people. So the healthy relationships go directly to directly to their next obligation and that is what the Ribbono Shel Olam did. They went straight from being Avdei Paroh to being Avdei Hashem.
מַצָּה זוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מָה?
Now let’s turn to the Parsha. In the Parsha we learn about the Mitzvah of Matzah. (מַצָּה זוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מָה). Why do we eat Matzah we ask at the Seder? (עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא). That when we leftEgyptour dough did not have time to rise. There are two difficulties with this? First of all it is hard to understand that the dough did not have time to rise. It takes only 18 minutes for the dough to rise. Certainly Yetzias Mitzrayim took longer than 18 minutes. In addition, Chazal say that once one works on the dough, once one is actually kneading the dough it becomes Chometz quickly afterwards and it does not need 18 minutes. 18 minutes is when you are mixing flour and water. However, once it is made into a dough it becomes Chometz more quickly. So what does it mean that there wasn’t enough time? It must be that there was some miracle involved. What was the purpose of the miracle?
Kasha # 2 (הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם). At the outset of the Seder we say this. The Matzah is the same bread that we ate in Mitzrayim because it takes a long time for the Matzah to digest. The Mitzrim fed their slaves Matzah so that they wouldn’t have to feed them again. So that Matzah is the food of Avadim. Now, that is a second reason for Matzah. At the outset of the Seder we give that reason. Then when it comes to (מַצָּה זוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מָה) we give the reason of (עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא) that we went out so quickly that it didn’t have time to rise. They seem to be 2 totally different reasons.
Rav Schwab answers that they are not 2 reasons they are one. InEgyptas slaves we ate Matzah. When Klal Yisrael left Mitzrayim they must have been thinking that this dough is going to rise and now we no longer are going to eat the bread of Avadim. (הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא) caused a miracle for a reason. (הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא) caused it not to rise and indeed they were continuing to eat the bread of Avadim because Hashem was saying to Klal Yisrael Avadai Heim, a human being is not a free person. A human being is obligated to do the Ratzon Hashem. This is the Machshava thought on the Parsha.
Sof Maaseh B’machshava Techila
Let me turn now to answer the question that I left off with last week. 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. (This is what we left off with at the end of last week’s Shiur.)
I would like to offer an answer by way of telling you a Vort from Rav Moshe who was saying this regarding something else, however, it answers this as well. Rav Moshe asks in Parshas Shemos why it was that Moshe Rabbeinu gave names to his children out of sequence. His first child is called as we see in 2:22 (גֵּרְשֹׁם: כִּי אָמַר–גֵּר הָיִיתִי, בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה). I was a stranger in a foreign land (Midyan) and his second child was Eliezer as we see in 18:4 (וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד, אֱלִיעֶזֶר–כִּי-אֱלֹרי אָבִי בְּעֶזְרִי, וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה) because Moshe was saved from the sword of Paroh. The problem is that first he was saved from the sword of Paroh and only subsequently was he a stranger in a foreign land? So there the two names seem to be out of order?
Rav Moshe answers, there is a concept of Sof Maaseh B’machshava Techila, that the purpose of something is the end. What I mean to say is the following. Hashem saved Moshe from the sword of Paroh and after that there was going to be an offering of thanks. But wait, you can’t thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu for saving his life without saying what he did with his life. Hakadosh Baruch Hu saves someone life and the person goes and assimilates with the non-Jews, there is no thanks to be offered for saving the life. This is because nothing good came from it. So Moshe Rabbeinu said first I give thanks because (גֵּר הָיִיתִי, בְּאֶרֶץ נָכְרִיָּה) I was able to withstand the temptation to assimilate. I remained a stranger in a foreign land despite being there and not being in Mitzrayim for so many decades. Only then do I give thanks for (וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה) Hashem saving me from the sword of Paroh. So that the purpose of the Hatzalah is mentioned first.
The same thing here. Hakadosh Baruch Hu took us out of Mitzrayim (. וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ ר אֱלרינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם. וּפְדִיתָנוּ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים). What was the purpose of this? To enter Eretz Yisrael. Had Klal Yisrael sinned in the Midbar to the extent that they would have been destroyed there, then there would be no purpose in giving thanks for taking us out of Mitzrayim. So first we give thanks to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for bringing us to Eretz Yisrael which was the purpose and then we thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu for taking us out of Eretz Mitzrayim and make that purpose possible. So we have 3 thoughts for today, the Meshech Chochmo’s Dvar Halacha, Rav Schwab’s Dvar Machshava and Rav Moshe’s answer which I think answers our question.
מִבְּכוֹר פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל-כִּסְאוֹ, עַד בְּכוֹר הַשִּׁפְחָה
The question of the week is: in this week’s Parsha we are told that all the Egyptian firstborn were killed as it says in the Posuk 11:5 (מִבְּכוֹר פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל-כִּסְאוֹ, עַד בְּכוֹר הַשִּׁפְחָה). Rashi says (עד בכור השבי: (שמות יב כט) למה לקו השבויים, כדי שלא יאמרו, יראתם תבעה עלבונם והביאה פורענות על מצרים) that even a Bechor of a captive of a different nation that was in Mitzrayim died. Rashi says so that the captive shouldn’t say it was my god that killed all the firstborn, he was doing it to rescue me. Therefore, even this Bechor died.
It seems from Rashi that if not for this reason the ( בכור השבי) would not have died. This is a Pele. One of the facts of the night of Makkas Bechoros is that even the Jewish (Bechorim) people were in danger and therefore they had to put blood on the doorposts. Why were the Jewish firstborn in danger?
So we are told Kivan Shenitan Rishus L’mashchis L’hashchis there is no difference if you are a Tzaddik or Rasha. If the Malach Hamaves is told to kill every first born he kills every first born and it doesn’t matter who you are. If so, it would seem simple that the Bechor Hashvi was killed because of this reason. Kivan Shenitan Rishus L’mashchis L’hashchis there is no difference if you are a Tzaddik or Rasha he killed everybody. Why then does Rashi say a new reason that the firstborn captives were killed? Tzorech Iyun Gadol!!