פ’ בא תשע”ז
Volume 17, Issue 3
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 Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ויאמר ה’ אל משה בא אל פרעה
“Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Come to Pharaoh…’” (10:1)
Many Sages wonder why it is written come to Pharaoh and not go to Pharaoh. Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk remarks that one never leaves Hashem’s presence and one can never further himself from Hashem’s proximity as it states: The Fullness of the whole earth declares His glory (Isaiah 6:3). Thus Hashem calls to Moshe: “Come with me to Pharaoh, I am with you wherever you go and you will not come alone!”
The word בא in gematria is 3, to allude to the fact that there are another 3 plagues. The words בא and פרעה together add up to 358, the same as the word משיח, as a hint to the coming redemption that began with the redemption from the Egyptian bondage. (Ba’al HaTurim)
החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים
“This month (Nissan) shall be for you the head of the months.” (12:2)
QUESTION: The word “lachem” – “for you” – seems extra?
ANSWER: Nissan was and always will be the month of miracles and redemption (Rosh Hashana 11b). With the word “lachem” the Torah is emphasizing that the coming of Mashiach and ultimate redemption depends on you – the Torah study and good deeds of each and every individual Jew. (Iturei Torah)
The last letters of the words “Hachodesh hazeh lachem” – החדש הזה לכם – “this month shall be for you” – spell the word “Moshe,” which is the name of the person through whom Hashem gave us the Torah. Moreover, the words “Hachodesh hazeh lachem” have the numerical value of 424, which is also the numerical value of the word “kadat” – כדת, meaning in the fullest accordance with halachic requirements.
In the first mitzvah Hashem gave the Jewish people, He emphasized the importance of fulfilling kadat – properly – the Torah which He gave us through Moshe. This will merit them the ultimate redemption through Mashiach ben David – משיח בן דוד – whose name is also numerically equivalent to 424. (Chidah)
ומושב בני ישראל אשר ישבו במצרים שלשים שנה וארבע מאות שנה
“The Jewish people resided in Egypt for four hundred and thirty years.” (12:40)
All the commentaries strive to explain how Hashem’s prophecy to Avraham that the Jews would be in Egypt for four hundred and thirty years was fulfilled, considering that the Jews were in Egypt for only two hundred and ten years.
The MIdrash (Shemos Rabbah 18:7) records that the Egyptians coerced the Jews into working days and nights. Generally slaves work only by day (Kiddushin 15a). If one takes into account all the nights that the Jews worked in addition to the days, Hashem calculated that this equaled the full term of work. (Shabbat Delights)
והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא לאמר
“You must tell your children on that day.” (13:8)
Interestingly, the commandment to retell the story of the Exodus – which is the source for the annual Pesach Seder – is given in the context of describing “the child who does not know how to ask,” the most immature of all the four types of children to whom we must tailor our description of the Exodus. This teaches us that our duty to retell the Exodus applies mainly to this uninitiated child. We must find the words to inspire even this type of child with gratitude to G-d for liberating us from Egypt and from all past, present, future, personal and collective “Egypts”.
This is so because the Exodus from Egypt was absolute: not one Jew remained in Egypt. Since the Exodus was so all-encompassing, the transmission of its message must also encompass each and every individual that can possibly understand it, even if this takes extraordinary effort.
BY ensuring that even “the child who does not know how to ask” understands the meaning of the Exodus, we ensure that the other children will understand it, too, much as lifting up the bottom of any structure automatically raises the rest of the structure, as well. (Likutei Sichot)
בעבור זה עשה ה’ לי בצאתי ממצרים
“On account of this that Hashem acted on my behalf when I left Egypt.” (13:8)
Perhaps the word “zeh” – with a gematria of 12 alludes to the 12 commandments connected with the Pesach observance. The first three are the lamb, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs. There is the telling over of the story – Haggadah – followed by the seven days of the festival and the blessing said over the wine on the night of the Holiday. The Torah has to phrase it as בעבור זה עשה because the seven days if the festival do not count as seven separate commandments in the list of 613 commandments.
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