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פ’ ב א תש”ף
Volume 32, Issue 2
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, The Vilna Gaon, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
לא ראו איש את אחיו ולא קמו איש מתחתיו שלשת ימי ם
“No man could see his brother nor could rise from his place for a three-day period…” (10:23)
The Midrash says that the darkness was as thick as a golden dinar. When one becomes obsessed with chasing after money, it causes him to become totally self-centered and makes him blind to the needs of everyone else around him. This person is plunged into darkness where he sees no one but himself. (Avnei Ezel)
החדש הזה לכ ם
“This month shall be for you…” (12:2)
When the verse states “This month shall be for you the beginning of the months,” it teaches us that Nissan is the beginning of the year for counting the months. If the verse wanted to say that Nissan is the first month in every respect, it could have simply said, “This month shall be the beginning of the months.” The additional “for you,” tells us that Nissan is only the start of the years regarding the months, but it is not the beginning of the year when determining other laws.
Why, then do we count the years of a Jewish king from Nissan? This is based on the fact that the Torah here uses two exclusions, one after the other. It says, “this month shall be for you…it shall be for you the first of the months. The second exclusion comes to include that Nissan is the beginning of the year for counting the reign of Jewish kings. (Teachings of the Talmud, Yerushalmi Rosh Hashana 1:1)
צלי א ש
“Roasted over fire…” (12:9)
If someone used natural hot springs, such as those in Teveria, to cook on Shabbat, he is not liable for violating Shabbat, because these springs are heated by the sun, not by a fire or other humanly created heat sources. However, when it comes to the pesach-offering, Rav Chisda rules that if someone were to cook the meat in such hot springs and eat it, he would be liable to receive malkus for having violated this verse. Although meat cooked in such water is not considered boiled at all, eating it does violate the prohibition in our verse, which forbids eating the meat unless it was roasted over fire. (Teachings of the Talmud, Pesachim 41a)
בערב תאכלו מצ ת
“In the evening, you shall eat unleavened bread…” (12:18)
The word מצת , unleavened bread, in this verse is written in the abbreviated form, without a vav. Some commentaries suggest this is because this shorter form constitutes the acronym of the
words צדקה תציל ממות , the giving of charity protects one from death. This close link between the
mitzvot of matzah and giving charity finds expression in the universal custom of giving ma’ot chitin,
money given to the needy for matzot and food for Pesach. (Otzar Chaim)
שבעת ימים תאכל מצ ת…מצות יאכל את שבעת ימי ם
“Seven days you shall eat matzot…matzot shall be eaten for seven days.” (13:6-7)
QUESTION: 1) Why does the first verse say “tochal” – “you shall eat” – while the second
verse says “yei’acheil” – “shall be eaten” in the passive form? 2) Why in the first verse is matzot
written without a vav and in the second verse with a vav?
ANSWER: It is incumbent upon each person to give ma’ot chitin before Pesach so that the
poor will be able to properly celebrate the Yom Tov (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429). The first
verse is referring to the giver and commands “tochal” – that he eat matzot to celebrate Pesach. The
second verse is teaching that in addition to your celebrating, you must make sure that “yei’acheil” –
“matzot shall be eaten” by those who cannot afford it. They too must celebrate the festival for
seven days.
A person may skimp on his own portion of matzah, but he has no permission to skimp on
the poor man’s portion. The poor must be provided with everything in the fullest measure in order
to have a happy and joyous Yom Tov. Consequently, when the Torah mentions your eating (tochal),
the word “matzot” is written without a vav. However, to indicate that a person should make sure
that the poor are able to eat (yei’acheil), the word “matzot” is spelled with a vav, alluding that the
needs of the poor must be provided in the fullest measure. (Vilna Gaon)
וכי ישאלך ב נך מחר לאמר מה זאת ואמרת אלי ו
“If your child asks you tomorrow ‘what is this? You should say to him’”… (13:14)
QUESTION: The word machar, tomorrow – seems superfluous?
ANSWER: Rashi explains “sometimes the word machar means now, and sometimes it means
in a time to come. Rashi is teaching an important lesson about rearing children. The term machar is
not just a relative period of time, but a description of two types of bincha – sons.
There is a son who is “achshav” – now – he lives in the same spirit that you do and is a Torah
observing Jew as yourself. There is also another son, who is of a later time. He considers his Torahobservant
father an “old-timer” and considers himself a progressive denizen of a different spiritual
era. The Torah is instructing every father, even if you have a son who presently does not agree with
your Torah way of thinking, you must bear in mind that he is bincha – your son. Moreover, you as a
father have to help him and give him the answers which will make him “achshav” – a Torah
observant Jew like yourself. (Likutei Sichot)