Metzora/Pesach 5784: The Exile and Redemption of the “Mouth”

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Shiur presented in 5765 & 5782

Part 1: The Exile and Redemption of the “Mouth” (5765)
Part 2: Galus Mitzrayim and the Rise of Antisemitism (5782)

Part 1:  The Exile and Redemption of the “Mouth” (5765)

The Connection Between Pesach and Metzora

There is an interesting Ibn Ezra on the pasuk in our parsha: זאת תהיה תורת המצורע ביום טהרתו והובא אל הכהן, “this shall be the law for a metzora at the time of being purified, when he’s brought to the Kohen” (Vayikra 14:2). This is the law of the metzora and how he goes through his taharah ceremony. It says (v. 3), ויצא הכהן אל מחוץ למחנה, “the Kohen goes outside the machaneh,” וראה הכהן, “and the Kohen sees,” והנה נרפא נגע הצרעת מן הצרוע, “and behold the nega tzara’as has become healed from the tzarua.”וצוה הכהן ולקח למטהר שתי צפרים חיים טהורות ועץ ארז ושני תולעת ואזב, “the Kohen shall order two live, pure (i.e., kosher) birds, cedar wood, crimson thread, and hyssop to be brought for the one to be purified” (v. 4). They shecht one of the birds, and the pasuk says they take the blood into a vessel and then they dip the live bird in the dam of thebird that was shechted and they sprinkle it. It’s a process.

There’s a very interesting Ibn Ezra over here.[i] First, he points out that the העץ ארץ והאזב הוא הגדול וקטן במיני הצמחים, the eitz erez, the cedar tree, is the tallest among the trees, and the eizov, the hyssopis the smallest. והעד מדברי חכמת שלמה, this is testified from Shlomo Hamelech’s wisdom, ואין צורך לחפש על האזוב כי הוא ידוע בקבלה.

Now listen to this. והנה המצורע והבית המנוגע וטומאת המת קרובים, the metzora, the person who has tza’aras,and the house that gets nega’im are related. והנה גם הם כדמות פסח מצרים, and they are similarlyrelated to Pesach Mitzrayim. The Ibn Ezra tells us an amazing chiddush over here! He tells us that there’s a hekesh, a comparisonbetween the way the metzora becomes tahor from his own personal galus – after he is sent out of the machaneh – and the way Klal Yisrael prepared to get out of Mitzrayim. The korban that the Yidden brought to get out of Mitzrayim is described in Parshas Bo (12:22)ולקחתם אגודת אזוב, “you should take a bundle of eizov,”וטבלתם בדם, “you should dip it in the blood,” והגעתם אל המשקוף, “and apply it to the lintel.” The taharah of the metzora is similar to the korban Pesach that Klal Yisrael did in Mitzrayim. Both ceremonies involved eizov,  damtevilah bedam, and hazayah. The question is, what’s the shaychus? What’s the connection?

A Speaking Mouth

You have to know the following: Rav Tzadok Hakohen, and many others, bring down that the word pesach is really an allusion. It’s really two words. פה סח. Peh means ‘mouth’ and sach means ‘talking.’ It says the dibur (i.e. the Shechinah) was in galus. The Zohar says that before the Yidden got out Mitzrayim, the dibur was in galus. That’s why Moshe Rabbeinu said לא איש דברים אנכי, “I’m not a man of words” (Shemos 4:10). “I represent Klal Yisrael’s matzav of being in galus. The dibur is in galus. That’s why I cannot speak.” Al yedei the geulas Mitzrayim,the dibur went out of galus. What’s the pshat?

This is a very common theme. We’re going to try to explain this today.

What was the episode that Hakadosh Baruch Hu used in order to bring about the yeridah to Mitzrayim? Yosef being sold. That means it came about as a result of the sinas hashevatim (hatred of the brothers) to Yosef. What caused the sinah of the shevatim to Yosef? Because Yosef spoke ra about his brothers. That’s how it started. The pasuk says: ויבא יוסף את דיבתם רעה אל אביהם, “And Yosef brought bad reports of them to their father” (Bereishis 37:2). Similarly, the Bnei Yisrael were deserving of the slavery in Mitzrayim because they had ba’alei lashon hara among them. Moshe Rabeinu said אכן נודע הדבר, “now the matter is known” (Shemos 2:14). It says when Moshe Rabbeinu came on the second day and the Yidden said they’re going to go snitch on him, he said אכן נודע הדבר. Rashi over there brings down that Moshe was thinking למה הקב”ה משעבד את ישראל מכל האומות? What did Hashem do it for? Why did Hashem take them through such a difficult shibud? It says עד שראה בהם דלטורין, he saw amongst them malshinim, people who talk lashon hara. That’s why he said אכן נודע הדבר, “now the matter is known. The question that I had has now been answered.” It means the shibud Mitzrayim was mainly in the area of dibur, speech.It wasn’t stam. The essence of the galus Mitzrayim was considered a galus of the dibur. What’s the pshat?

The pshat is like this. Pharaoh, the melech of Mitzrayim represented the aspect of dibur ra in the world. Therefore, someone who became meshubad to him, fell under his “spell”. This notion was expressed by Pharaoh that even though he had many proofsthat Hakadosh Baruch Hu existed, what did he say? מי ה’ אשר אשמע בקולו, “who is Hashem that I should listen to His dibur?” (Shemos 5:2). I’ve told you this a number of times. The word Pharaoh is the letters of peh ra. Pharaoh is pei reish ayin hei. The first letter and the last letter is peh and the middle letters are ra. That was his essence. He was medaber ra al Hashem, he spoke against Hashem.

The Arizal says that “Pharaoh” (פרעה) is also the letters of the word הערף, (when spelled backwards) which means the “back of the neck.”There are two words we use to describe the connection between the head and the body. The front we call the throat, and the back we call the the “nape of the neck,” which in lashon hakodesh is ערף. Pharaoh was called הערף, the “neck,” which conceals the connection between his seichel (mind), and his heart. That’s why he was considered the “neck.” Because Pharaoh had a peh ra that’s why he was referred to as the oref, “the back of the neck.”[ii]

And that is why Pharaoh was able to be meshabed (subjugate) Klal Yisrael, since there was a pegam in their own koach hadibur. There was a defect in their koach hadibur. What was the defect? They were ba’alei lashon hara. When they were mesaken that cheit, Pharaoh didn’t have koach over them anymore.

Redemption and Shmiras Halashon

There’s a famous Chazal (Vayikra Rabbah 32:5) that many of you have heard. Maybe you didn’t hear the end of it. It says בזכות ד’ דברים נגאלו ישראל ממצרים, because of four things Klal Yisrael was redeemed from Mitzrayim. שלא שנו את שמותם, they didn’t change their names, שלא שנו את לשונם, they didn’t change their language and it says שלא שנו את מלבושם, they didn’t change their clothing and שלא נחשדו על לשון הרע, they didn’t speak lashon hora. So the medrash[iii] asks: ומנין שלא נחשדו על לשון הרע והיו אוהבים זה את זה, how do you know that at the time before the geula Klal Yisrael had come to a matzav where they loved each other and they weren’t talking lashon hara about each other? תלמוד לומר, it says, ושאלה אשה משכנתה, it says every woman should borrow from her neighbor. Klal Yisrael knew about this from the time Hashem spoke to Moshe by the sneh. Twelve months went by and nobody was malshin. No Jews revealed this secret to the Mitzri’im that they were planning on cleaning them out. The normal tendency is you get one Jew who wants to spill the beans to the goy so that he should ingratiate himself with the goyim, even though it’s bad for the other Jews. But the Yidden elevated themselves from that aspect of peh ra and they weren’t nichshal in the cheit of lashon hara during those last twelve months that they were in Mitzrayim. Then they were zocheh to be redeemed from Mitzrayim.

The problem with lashon hara is that it creates a separation. Lashon hara comes from sinah.

Speech is the Essence of the Geulah

It comes out then that the etzem nekudah of the geula is alluded to in the name of the chag, Pesach. It means from now the peh is enabled to relate the niflaos of the Borei, which it wasn’t able to do in the galus. That’s why on the night of Pesach there’s a mitzvah to lesaper! That’s the mitzvah. The mitzvah is sippur. You don’t have a mitzvah of sippur the rest of the year. Davka tonight there’s a mitzvah of sippur yetzias Mitzrayim – because we want to demonstrate that our peh became tahor from the shibud and it became opened and purified from its tumah!

The Sefas Emes writes that every day a person has to look back into yetzias Mitzrayim in order to be zocheh to proper speech. You know how we fulfill that? We’re סומך גאולה לתפילה. Every day we’re סומך גאולה לתפילה. We say ברוך אתה ה’ גאל ישראל. What’s the next thing we say? ה’ שפתי תפתח, Hashem open up my lips. It means you want to be zocheh to the pure dibur. You want to key in to yetzias Mitzrayim, and the geulas Mitzrayim is a freedom, a taharah on the peh. It’s a beautiful shtickel. The Sefas Emes says this.[iv]

Now let’s go back to what the Ibn Ezra says, that there’s a similarity between the korbon pesach the Yidden brought to get out of Mitzrayim, and the procedure of the taharas hametzora. Now we can understand what the common denominator is between geulas Mitzrayim and geulas hametzora! For the two geulos, the essenceis the galus of the dibur. Tzaras comes because of cheit halashon and the shibud came because of cheit halashon.

The slavery started from the loshon hara of Yosef and the brothers and it continued because of the lashon hora of the informers in Klal Yisroel. Yosef and the brothers brought about shibud Mitzrayim which continued as long as they were still malshinim among the people, and then Klal Yisrael were redeemed from Mitzrayim when they had a taharah on the peh.

The Kesher Between Pesach and These Parshiyos

Now, it’s interesting to note that every year the reading of the parshiyos of Tazria and Metzora always falls out in the time of Pesach. Generally, it falls out before Pesach. Sometimes it falls out right after Pesach. It’s not stam a mikra. There’s a kesher between them. It’s not a coincidence.

It says in the Navi Michah כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות, that in the geula ha’asidah, the geula we’re looking forward to, Hashem says, “I will show you niflaos like you saw in the days when you went out of Mitzrayim” (Micah 7:15). We have to learn from this that the geula ha’asidah will also be similar to the geulas Mitzrayim. Just like that geula came about from a tikun from the cheit halashon, שלא נחשדו על לשון הרע והיו אוהבים זה את זה (ibid), so too, as the Chafetz Chaim says in his preface to the Sefer Chafetz Chaim, when the chataim of sinas chinam and lashon hara – which was the cause of the churban Bayis Sheini – will be corrected, the geula which we’re waiting for the last two thousand years will finally come! That’s the same zach! It’s all connected! Mamash, you look back and you see how history repeats itself! You have the sinas chinam of the dibur of Yosef and his brothers, yetzias Mitzrayim, lashon hara, tikun of lashon hara, and coming out. Churban Bayis Sheini – the same thing! Sinas chinam, the gemara says, lashon hara is what caused it. The Chafetz Chaim says that this is what we need to be mesaken.[v]

A Question of how to Read Krias Shema

There is a famous Rambam that says a person who reads Krias Shema bechol lashon (in any language) has to be very careful that he reads it well in that other lashon,just like he’s medakdek belashon hakodesh. He has to have the right grammar and the right words and the right articulation when he does it in another language. Comes along the Ra’avid and he says אין זה מקובל על הדעת, it doesn’t sit well on the mind. לפי שכל הלשונות, he says, פירוש הוא, every lashon is a peirush, ומי ידקדק אחר פירושו, why do I have to be medakdek after the peirush? That means even though, surely, you have to be medakdek in Krias Shema, you have to say it without any mistakes and it has to be very articulate – that’s only if you’re reading it in lashon hakodesh! But if you’re reading it besha’ar leshonos, there’s no ma’alah of being perfect!

What’s the pshat in the Ra’avid’s ta’anah? The Ra’avid’s ta’anah is like this. Lashon kodesh is unique in that, I’m saying what the essence of the thing is. All the other leshonos – I’m not saying what the thing is in essence. I’m explaining what the superficial function of this thing is. It’s something about this thing. You can figure out what it is. That’s the chiluk. If a guy calls a beheimah a ‘ beheimah,’  the pshat is bah mah, ‘in this, what’s there.’ It’s the description of a zach. If I say you’re ‘an adam,’ איש מן האדמה, it means there is ‘amazing potential like adamah has potential.’ It’s the thing itself. But if I say you’re ‘a man,’ if I say you’re ‘an animal’ in English, that’s just a peirush hadevarim. So in the peirush hadevarim, as long as what I’m trying to explain is understood, that’s sufficient, even though I’m not saying it clearly. The fact that it wasn’t grammatically correct is irrelevant. But if I’m saying the essence of the thing itself, in lashon hakodesh, then if I’m not saying it properly, it is not good enough.

In other words, lashon hakodesh is a true description of what the thing actually is. But every other lashon is a peirush. That’s the secret of 70 languages. There is lashon hakodesh and there are shivim leshonos. Shivim leshonos are seventy different perushim based on each lashon’s explanationof how they perceived it and it gives you their own ‘shtickel Torah’ understanding.

Regarding the geulas Mitzrayim it says Hakadosh Baruch Hu took us out of Mitzrayim ורוממתנו מכל הלשונות, He elevated us above all the leshonos. In the Hallel today, we said בצאת ישראל ממצרים בית יעקב מעם לועז, “When Klal Yisrael went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech” (Tehillim 114:1). We describe Egypt as being an am loez, a nation that speaks a foreign language.We went out of an am loez. We were elevated to a bechinah of lashon hakodesh. It means Klal Yisrael became free. They became locked into lashon hakodesh.

Galus Always Starts with Cheit Hadibur

It’s amazing. What’s the first galus that the Yidden got after they were in the midbar? Where did the galus sprout its head again? By the meraglim. That also was caused by lashon hara, the cheit hadibur. It’s interesting how the galus always starts with the cheit hadibur. The mishnah in Eiruchin (15a)says: שלא נחתם גזר דין על אבותינו במדבר אלא על לשון הרע, “the sentence (of not entering Eretz Yisrael) imposed on our ancestors in the wilderness was sealed only due to the malicious speech (disseminated by the meraglim).” It says וינסו אותי זה עשר פעמים. They angered Hashem ten times, but it was only this tenth time, when their sin involved lashon hara, that it decreed that they would not enter Eretz Yisrael.[vi]

And Hashem said, “Now you cried. Now you’re going to lose the first Beis Hamikdash, the second Beis Hamikdash. אתם בכיתם בכיה של חינם, you’re going to cause a cry, a bechiyah ledoros.” It’s not only galus Mitzrayim. It’s all the galuyos. That’s why this negative dibur is a special destructive koach.

Tza’aras is mevatel the bad dibur. The dibur ra, lashon hora, destroys the penimiyus, the essence of the Yisrael, which causes a person to become detached from his shoresh and now he has to go into galus. So the advantages of avoiding cheit hadibbur applies in day to day living too.

Silence is Golden

The mishnah in Avos (1:17) states: וכל המרבה דברים מביא חטא. There’s a famous gemara (Megillah 18a) that says מילה בסלע, a word is worth a selah, משתוקא בתרין, silence is worth two selaim. It says (Avos, ibid.) שמעון בנו אומר כל ימי גדלתי בין החכמים ולא מצאתי לגוף טוב משתיקה. The healthiest thing that a person could do for his guf is shetikah. My grandfather (Rav Avigdor Miller) always used to tell us this. He lived by it. He used to always say, “It doesn’t say laneshamah. It says it’s bad laguf, for the body.” אל תתן את פיך לחטיא את בשריך, don’t let your mouth cause your basar to suffer. He used to say that’s what Chazal tell us לא מצאתי לגוף טוב משתיקה.

The Ohr Hachaim on the Makkos

There’s an interesting Ohr Hachaim (Shemos 8:4) on the asarah makkos.[vii]He says as follows. In the first makkah of dam, there was no sakanas maves. There was no danger to life because they had water. The Mitzri’im bought it from Yisrael. They didn’t feel death imminently. They were inconvenienced. Tzefardeiya was two things. It was the noise and the fact that it mamash went into their stomachs. This mamash got closer to sakanah. They got scared. That’s why you see when it comes to dam, Pharaoh told his chartumim to try to make the dam and they did so, as it says that Pharaoh turned around and said, “Ah, it’s nothing.” By the tzefardeiya they also replicated it, but here he already begged Moshe, ’העתירו אל ה, to, “Daven to Hashem to get rid of this maves.”

Now it’s interesting. It says, ויסר הצפרדעים ממני, “remove all the frogs from me” (Shemos 8:4). All he wanted was to get rid of the tzefardeiya from ‘within me.’ I could live with the tzefardeiya around me, but not in me. Get them away from me. That’s already getting too close to home.

Kinim again, there was a lot of pain but there was no sakanah that the kinim were going to pry up the stomachs and kill them. They knew it was etzba Elokim. They knew the chartumim couldn’t do it but ויחזק לב פרעה (Shemos 8:15).

Now, makkas arov, the wild animals already started to scare Pharoah. The Ohr Hachaim says: וירא עד מאד and he called Moshe and he said, לכו זבחו. It was the first time he’s saying, “Go and shecht. I’m ready to send you out. Daven for me.”

Makkas dever, the pestilence,when the animals started to die, since it was only in the animals, even though he saw in the mikneh Yisrael none of them died, he didn’t ask for rachamim to get rid of it.

Makkas shechin, boils. There was no sakanah even though it was extremely uncomfortable to have this, he didn’t ask Moshe again to daven to get rid of it.

Makkas barad taka caused big thunder from Hashem, kolos and eish came from shamayim. That put the fright of Hashem in him and he was afraid this was the beginning of the mahapeichas Sedom veAmorah. So Pharoah said, “Hashem Hatzaddik. Daven for me!”

Makkas arbeh, again. His own mouth said, “Get rid of it for me, ויסר מעלי רק את המות הזה.” He was concerned about this maves.

Makkas choshech, again,you don’t see that he was asking from Moshe to daven for him. The Ohr Hachaim says a very interesting chiddush. He says, maybe it’s because of the following. During the first three days, they lit lanterns and torches, which lit up the darkness. During the last three days, they couldn’t move, so they couldn’t call Moshe. They were stuck. Immediately after the seven days were over, Pharaoh told Moshe they could go, but he wanted a guarantee that they’re going to come back. The makkah was already gone, so he didn’t have to daven it should go away.

That’s all from the Ohr Hachaim. The fear of death is what got Pharoah motivated.

Escape At Your Peril

It says, there were ten doorways out of Mitzrayim. The Mitzri’im made the kishuf work so that near every doorway they put another form of a different animal. By one, they had a tzurah of a sus. By one, they had a tzurah of a chamor. By one, they had a tzurah of a kelev and so on and so forth. If somebody escaped from one of the doors, they would know exactly which door the guy left through, because using kishuf they made it that if a guy left by one door, that tzurah began to cry and all those beheimos from that min started to scream in Mitzrayim. So they knew which door the guy went through and they chased after him.

It says על פי הדיבור, they went out from the doorway that had a tzurah of a kelev because there were a lot of dogs in Mitzrayim. It was a big dog country. Also, they were big mechutzafim, so Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted to be mefarsem the nes that He rules over the dogs. Bnei Yisrael wentout from the doorwayof the kelev ולכל בני ישראל לא יחרץ כלב לשונו למאיש ועד בהמה, “but not a dog shall snarl at any of the Jews, at any man or beast” (Shemos 11:7).

The First International Flight

It says they traveled from Sukkos, and another passuk says they went from Ramses to Sukkos. Now, Klal Yisrael were living in Eretz Goshen. From Goshen to Ramses is quite a distance. So Hakadosh Baruch Hu took them from all over Goshen to Ramses and from Ramses they went to Sukkos and they did it in an extremely short time. That was the first international flight in history. By the seder you should ask, “When was the first international flight in Jewish history and how many stops did it make?” Your guests will tell you Orville Wright or your father will tell you about some guy in Morocco maybe. You’ll tell them, “No. The first flight was to Ramses. All the Yidden flew from Goshen to Ramses and from Ramses to Sukkos. ואשא אתכם על כנפי נשרים. It doesn’t mean literally, eagles. It means Hashem took them out ke’eilu on kanfei nesharim. But they flew with all their belongings, with all their assets.”

Let me share with you an interesting Talmud Yerushalmi. The Yerushalmi says in Pesachim (5:5): אמר רבי יעקב בר אחא בשם רבי יסא, ניתן כח בקולו של משה, Moshe’s voice was given koach, והיה קולו מהלך בכל ארץ מצרים, it was able to go מהלך ארבעים יום, a forty day distance. That’s forty times fifteen parsa. What did it say? ממקום פלוני על מקום פלוני כת אחת. Group A,are those situated from here to there, וממקום פלוני עד מקום פלוני כת אחת. Don’t be amazed, he says. If by the kinim it says that Hashem made a handful of avak spread out throughout the whole Mitzrayim, and it doesn’t usually do that, so a kol, which is the derech to go very far, certainly. So what’s the chiddush?

The Yerushalmi continues. It wasn’t only Moshe’s voice. אמר רבי לוי, just like Moshe Rabeinu’s voice became a ‘microphone,’ כך ניתן כח בקולו של פרעה, Pharaoh’s speech also, was heard by Klal Yisrael up to a forty days’ distance. What did it say? קומו צאו מתוך עמי, “Get up and get out from my people.” לשעבר הייתם עבדי פרעה, “In the past you were avadim of Pharaoh, but from now on, you’re avdei Hashem.” That’s when Klal Yisrael said ‘הללויה הללו עבדי ה, meaning and not עבדי פרעה. Hashem made the sound waves loud. This is another example of koach hadibbur featuring in the geula. Incredible!

Who was Happier than Who?

You want to hear an amazing thing? The passuk in Tehillim says: שמח מצרים בצאתם, “Egypt was happy when the Jews left” (Tehillim 105:38). The medresh Tehillim gives a mashal. A donkey has a man riding on its back. The donkey can’t wait until the guy gets off, and the man also can’t wait until he gets off the donkey. When the donkey stops and the man gets off, the donkey is happy and the man is happy, and you don’t know who is happier. They’re both happy. When Klal Yisrael were in Mitzrayim the makkos came upon the Mitzri’im and the worst part about it was that the Jewish avadim were watching. Klal Yisrael was hoping and waiting: “When are we getting out of here already? When will Hashem finish His business so we can get going?” Once they were redeemed, both were happy. ואין אנו יודעים מי שמח יותר, we don’t know who was happier. But since Dovid Hamelech said שמח מצרים בצאתם, that Mitzrayim was happy, אנו יודעים שמצרים שמחו יותר. Unbelievable! From the fact that Dovid Hamelech wrote that Mitzrayim were happy, that’s a ra’ayah that Mitzrayim were happier than the Jews to get rid of them.[viii]

It’s amazing. It says גם צידה לא עשו להם. They didn’t prepare anything for the trip. They knew they were leaving. They should have been packing up their picnic baskets. That’s takeh a pelah. It’s amazing. I never understood the medrash which discusses how many Yidden actually left Mitzrayim.  There are so many different cheshbonos about how many went out. One says one out of five. One says one out of fifty. One out of five hundred. One out of five thousand. Another medrash says two out of six hundred thousand left. Maybe they were combined neshamos, compressed neshamos.

It says eiruv rav came out with them. How many eiruv rav came out with them? One says a million and two hundred thousand. One says a million and four hundred thousand. One says a million and six hundred thousand. That’s an awful lot of eiruv rav. Rabbi Akiva says it was double six hundred thousand.

Part 2:  Galus Mitzrayim and the Rise of Antisemitism (5782) 

Connecting the Present Shibud to the Past Shibud

Today was the third terrorist attack in Eretz Yisrael since Rav Chaim left us, and each time, it was four people that perished.[ix] We’re talking about the month of Adar and the month of Nisan. That’s a time of החדש אשר נהפך מיגון לשמחה. This is in the other direction, r”l, where we’re taka witnessing the yagon ve’anachah, the sadness of this month. Hashem Yisbarach is definitely talking to us and He’s talking to us loud and clear. Hashem should have rachmanus. I would think that Hakadosh Baruch Hu doesn’t like our response to Rav Chaim’s petirah. Can we say it’s just another day in the life of the Jewish people? Perhaps we’re not carrying the torch. Maybe we’re not carrying on his legacy. It causes us to feel the tzaras hashibud. It is not a simple matter.

Mistaken Hishtadlus to Ease the Tza’ar of Galus

Now, one of the major factors in Mitzrayim was the shibud – being subjected to the will of the Egyptians. Chazal (Shemos Rabbah 1:8) tell us exactly how the shibud, and the suffering came, and we have to learn from that. There’s a lot to learn from it. It says when Yosef Hatzaddik died, Klal Yisrael began to tamper with how they did bris milah. אמרו, they said, נהיה כמצרים, let us be like the Mitzri’im. מכאן אתה למד שמשה מלן ביציאתן ממצרים, that’s why Moshe Rabbeinu had to circumcise them properly when they left Mitzrayim.[x]

Chazal tell us that when Klal Yisrael began to do that, there was an immediate response from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. What was the response? Once they were meifer their bris, Hakadosh Baruch Hu was הָפַךְ לִבָּם, Hashem turned the hearts of the Egyptians, לִשְׂנֹא עַמּוֹ, to hate His nation, לְהִתְנַכֵּל בַּעֲבָדָיו, to go and come up with terrible plans against the servants of Hashem (Tehillim 105:25). Two things. There’s amo, His nation in general became hated, and for the avdei Hashem,plans were made against them.

You know what you see in this Chazal? What did you just hear? That the Mitzri’im turned against Klal Yisrael precisely when Hashem was הפך ליבם לשנא, Hashem has to actively turn the hearts of the goyim to hate His people. If you study history, you see Jewish people who were highly respected among cultured nations, and suddenly there was a change of heart. If you read the nonsense from the umos haolam it’ll tell you because the economy went down. Whenever the economy suffers they look for a scapegoat, who to blame it on. But Chazal tell us there’s no such thing as a goy hating a Yid or turning against a Yid unless it’s הפך ליבם לשנא עמו!

Now the question is, why did the Jewish people do that? Why in the world when Yosef Hatzaddik died did they decide to do this crazy thing, to be meifer the bris? What happened?

The Beis Halevi explains that the Am Yisrael who were in Mitzrayim knew clearly that they were going to have to be subjected to Egyptian slavery. Hashem had told Avraham Avinu in the bris bein habesarim, וגם את הגוי אשר יעבדו, so they knew that they’re going to experience an avdus under the thumb of the Egyptians. That means, as respected as they were in Egypt, as respected as Yosef Hatzaddik was, as respected as Yaakov Avinu was – the history of Yaakov Avinu in Mitzrayim was gevaldig and they were the Shivtei Kah – still in all, they knew there was going to be a slavery. As unimaginable as it was rational, it had to happen. Now, why did they stop doing bris? It’s a pelah.

The Beis Halevi explains that since they knew they were going to face slavery, all these ‘chachamim’ got together, כי גר יהיה זרעך ועבדום וענו אותם, they knew this is going to be. They began to come up with eitzos of how to limit the shibud and limit the hatred. “You don’t have to just plunge in. Try to make it better.” So firstly, they came up with a plan to attempt to show that they’re, number one, loyal to the Mitzrim, they’re loyal to the Egyptians, and second of all, not only are they loyal but they’re similar. As if to say, “We’re not that different.” They felt that if you become close and you relate to the host nation and you minimize the differences between you and them, that will assist in minimizing the hatred.[xi]

Nowadays, it’s the exact same thing. A few years ago in France they had these terrible terrorist attacks. So what did they say? They came out with a thing: “No one should wear yarmulkes anymore. Don’t wear tzitzis. You won’t be as conspicuous.” It made sense. It makes a lot of sense actually. According to this logic, when people look different, people feel different toward you. But if you don’t look different, you don’t feel different toward that person.

They understood when Yosef Hatzaddik died, the time was arriving for the fulfillment of that prophecy; they’re going to be slaves in Mitzrayim for hundreds of years. They understood that. So they came up with an idea of how to avoid looking like strangers.

Now, the main difference between goyim and Yidden in their guf is in the bris milah. That sets the Jew apart, and it’s a sign. A Jew wears the sign on his body. Before matan Torahthere were no other mitzvos that Klal Yisrael had openly besides for bris milah. The bris milah set them apart as a descendant of zaro shel Avraham. So, they decided to minimize the bris milah.

Now, the Beis Halevi clarifies that they didn’t actually neglect the mitzvah entirely. Would Klal Yisrael for such a reason stop doing bris milah? How can that be? That sounds a little serious to mevatel bris milah, thirteen covenants! It’s from the big mitzvah that Avraham was given. Would they undo that mitzvah? It sounds preposterous. And the Beis Halevi says that it is preposterous. He explains that they weren’t mevatel the milah. You know what they were mevatel? Pri’ah. There are two parts to the milah. There’s the milah, the circumcision itself, where you cut off the orlah and then there’s the pri’ah where the remaining membrane is pulled back. Avraham Avinu was only commanded on milah. He wasn’t commanded on pri’ah. But Avraham Avinu did the pri’ah and Klal Yisrael emulated him. They also did the pri’ah – until that point in time. But in Mitzrayim, after Yosef died, they decided we’re not going to do pri’ah anymore. We’re going to start to hide our milah without doing pri’ah so the milah is not as recognizable. What makes the milah completely recognizable is when you do the pri’ah and you uncover the milah besides for cutting off part of the orlah. So they made the cut but they didn’t do the pri’ah. Even though the cut itself caused a difference between the Jew and the Mitzri, they wanted to stop doing the pri’ah in order to minimize the difference between them.

The Beis Halevi says that milah and pri’ah actually serve two different roles. He says milah, the cut, removes the orlah, the unwanted foreskin; it distinguishes the yid from the goy. But the pri’ah grants the person a tosefos kedushah, an additional level of kedushah. When we say וצאצאיו חתם באות ברית קדש, zugt the Beis Halevi, it’s referring to the pri’ah. That’s the chasimah. That’s the signature of the milah. In Mitztrayim they did the milah,but they wanted to find a medium of creating some safety measures. So they stopped doing the pri’ah. That way, they avoided attaining the tosefes kedushah in order to minimize the difference between themselves and the Mitzri’im.  But the plan didn’t work. When they did that Hashem turned the hearts of the Mitzri’im against the Am Yisrael. הפך לבם לשנא עמו.

This is so important, such a yesod from the Beis Halevi. My rebbi used to speak about this, how his zeida, the Beis HaLevi, explained that the Jew whose destiny was to be subjugated to the galus Mitzrayim and the other galiyos always seeks eitzos of how to minimize the galus. They come up with all kinds of rational eitzos which don’t work and amount to nothing because all the hatred comes from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. הפך ליבם לשנא עמו.

Imitating The Goyim Does Not Work

Sometimes you see chassidishe Yidden putting on baseball caps. They want to look like they’re cool. They think the goyim don’t chap that they’re Yidden. You have these guys with long beards who figured out some patent of folding, rolling, scrimping, crimping and tucking it under with rubber bands or other eitzos – and they end up looking like funny Jews. No one thinks that they’re ISIS and no one thinks that they’re a goy. If you’re not sure, I’ll tell you a little secret. When you want to break down the הבדלה בין ישראל לעמים, when you want to break down the difference that makes us stand out between us and them and you want to be mekarev yourself to them to look like them, so that they should think we’re not so different, in response to that, Hakadosh Baruch Hu makes you more separate. He turns their hearts against you to hate you. It’s not going to give you any safety. The person who thinks that’s going to give him safety doesn’t begin to know that Hashem runs the world and Hashem is the one who causes everything: אין אדם נוקף אצבעו מלמטה אלא אם כן מכריזין עליו מלמעלה, “a person injures his finger below, on earth, only if they declare about him on high that he should be injured” (Chullin 7b). Whatever the Germans did had nothing whatsoever to do with politics or the economy. It’s a pelah,because the Jews in Germany were all German. They were pure Germans. And then, as my grandfather used to say, one of the takanos they made was that if you were a Jew, you had to have on your passport, “Moshe.” If you called yourself Hans or Gretel or Adolf or Heinreich you had to first write Moshe, and a lady had to write, “Sarah.” They gave you that name. It was a havdalah. They didn’t let Jews act like regular goyim. They took away their businesses. פשטו ידם בממונם. They kicked them out of their schools. You would think that what they wanted was that you be more מעורב עם הבריות. That is absolutely not what happened.

The Beis Halevi says, it’s not even an onesh. It’s Hashem helping the Jewish people guard themselves. They should be shomer themselves that they shouldn’t mix with the goyim. It’s for their good. Hashem wants us to be separate. Hashem wants us to act separate. Hashem wants us to live separately. So don’t think, now if you go amongst goyim and you have your tzitzis out, that’s going to bring you any negativity. I’ll guarantee you it will bring you positivity!

Don’t Hide Your Yahadus and Kedushah

A number of years ago when they started checking planes after the shoe bomber, there was a place in the airport where they scanned you and gave you a whole security check. One of the security guys called me over and he said, “Are you a rabbi?” “Yes.” “Can I ask you a question? What are those strings? I saw a couple of people like you had those strings.” I said, “These strings? It’s Jewish power. People who wear them are people you should never start up with. They’ll never start up with you, but it’s a symbol of Jewish power.” The people who are stringless have no power.

You have to know you can’t imagine the kavod that they have for a person who is Jewish. As much as you think it’s the opposite, it’s not true. They have great derech eretz. And a person has to understand that the more he identifies with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, the more shemirah he is going to afford himself and the more shemirah Hakadosh Baruch Hu is going to give him.

The Beis Halevi says that when they were meifer the bris in Mitzrayim, they did it for a protective measure. But they made a mistake. It was an error. They thought it would help them. It did the opposite. But it wasn’t an aveirah. They weren’t rejecting Hashem by this. That’s why the passuk calls them amo and avadav. They’re called His nation. They’re called servants of Hashem. They’re called one with Hashem.

You have to know that we’re talking about the birth of the Jewish nation that transpired on Pesach. We have to understand that we’re kedoshim. Our difference is not just certain behavior. We are inherently kadosh. We are on a higher level than them and you have to conduct yourself like that.

I’ll tell you, I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life, where I saw that trying to tuck yourself in and looking like something you’re not resulted in Hashem being הפך ליבם לשנא. Hashem turns their heart. Hakadosh Baruch Hu should help us acquire an appreciation for having kedushas Yisrael. It’s a sign of loyalty to Hashem. Part of what Hashem wants from us as being loyal to Him. Not to be embarrassed by our association with Him but rather to be full of pride that we are associated with Hashem.

I’ve had a number of goyim ask me, “Are you the chosen nation?” and I said, “You betcha. Chosen nation, my friend.” I said, “That’s what the L-rd said. If you look in the bible it says, I chose you to be My treasured nation. That’s what we are.”

Now, what you have to add, however, is that chosenness doesn’t empower us to subjugate others, to put down others. It’s something that obligates us to act in an elevated manner. לפיכך אנחנו חייבים. The fact that we’re different makes us obligated.

The Judge and the Lawyer

I’ll never forget what happened with a judge we were mekarev to Yiddishkeit who struggled about wearing his yarmulke. You see, a lot of people who wear yarmulkes struggle with wearing yarmulkes at work. They don’t know if it’s a good idea or not a good idea. They think maybe customers won’t come. I was once at my dentist, and he walks into the room ‘rolling on the floor.’ I said, “Doc, what’s so funny? Share the joke with me.” He said, “You’re not going to believe this!” This doctor wears a yarmulke. He tells me, in the next room, a kid came in with his mother, a goyishe kid and his mother tells him, “Doc, you want to hear an interesting story?” She says, “This past Friday, there was a big mass, a big atzeres of goyim in the biggest church in downtown Cleveland and one of the big popes came. He was wearing a big yarmulke. He walked down and everybody was looking at him with awe. And suddenly my kid calls out, ‘Ma, he’s a dentist!’” Because he knew his dentist wears a yarmulke, so he was sure that this guy must be a dentist too. So I got a good laugh because a goyishe kid thought a dentist wears a yarmulke!

In any case, this fellow we were mekarev was a former federal judge who eventually became a regular lawyer. He was in a very big case in Columbus, Ohio, not a very Yiddishe place. It was a multi-multimillion dollar case and both sides were fighting and arguing it out. It was Friday afternoon, and this lawyer (who had become observant) wanted to get home for Shabbos. So he asked the judge for something. The judge was going to give them time. They were trying to buy time. He told the judge, “I’m short on time.” The judge said, “Why are you short on time? It’s Friday afternoon, early. What’s the problem?” He said, “I’m an observant Jew.” He said, “So what?” He explained it to the judge. He said, “I’ve never heard about that.” “Well, let me go.” So the judge called a recess. “I’m going to check it out.” He went and he called a rabbi and he found out that there is such a thing. He was shocked that you have to be home by a certain time. On Shabbos you can’t do any melachah. He came back and said, “This lawyer is telling the truth! I’m not going to hear your arguments,” he told the other side. They said, “Why not?!” He said, “Do you see that thing on his head? You know what that symbolizes?” And the Jewish guy is ready to die because he didn’t want anybody to see. Here, he tried to hide it inside his hair. The judge said, “Do you see that thing on his head? You know what that thing symbolizes? That he’s an upstanding, honest citizen, so I’m accepting his version of the events.” Bam! 

He called me up and he said, “Rebbi, my yarmulke saved me! Not only did it not destroy me, but it saved me!”

That’s the opposite of הפך ליבם לשנא עמו. So in case you think that you’re going to protect yourself by acting like a goy, you’re wrong. And that is one of the main lessons we have to come out with from yetzias Mitzrayim.

Have a wonderful Yom Tov!

The Bottom Line

The Ibn Ezra points out the similarities between the tahara process of the metzora and Klal Yisrael leaving Mitzrayim.  Both the tzaraas and the shibud Mitzrayim were caused by the cheit of lashon hora. That is why both the galus of the metzora and galus Mitzrayim were considered exiles of the dibur. Once Klal Yisrael was redeemed from Mitzrayim, the koach of dibur was also redeemed, as the Zohar tells us. The Arizal draws a powerful connection between the words פרעה and הערף, to show that Pharaoh is called a “neck,” to indicate the interference and nullification between his body and his seichel, which caused a pegam of his mouth, giving him the midah of peh ra. This enabled him to subjugate Klal Yisrael, who also had a pegam in their dibur. It stemmed from the lashon hora in the incident of mechiras Yosef and continued in galus Mitzrayim through the slanderous actions of the malshinim. However, as soon as Klal Yisrael corrected the cheit – as indicated by Klal Yisrael not informing the Egyptians about Hashem’s command to borrow gold and silver utensils – Pharaoh couldn’t continue to subjugate them anymore. We can now understand that the essence of Geulas Mitzrayim is connected to the word פסח (“peh-sach – a speaking mouth”). This mouth, which was previously enslaved and couldn’t relate the praises of Hakosh Boruch Hu, following Geulas Mitzrayim is commanded in the mitzvah of sippur yetzias Mitzrayim. This demonstrates that the dibur of Klal Yisrael has been redeemed and has become tahor! With this, we can understand the words of the Ibn Ezra, that dibur is at the core of the two geulos (Mitzrayim and the metzora), which first was subjugated and enslaved through the cheit of lashon hora, but then became liberated. May we all internalize this crucial lesson in our own lives, to continue to emphasize learning hilchos shmiras halashon, to eradicate sinas chinam, and be zoiche to witness the geula haasida, iy”H.

[i] ועץ ארז ואזוב. הוא הגדול וקטן במיני הצמחים והעד מדברי חכמת שלמה ואין צורך לחפש על האזוב כי הוא ידוע בקבלה. והנה המצורע והבית המנוגע וטומאת המת קרובים והנה גם הם כדמות פסח מצרים.

[ii] Ed. note: in mystical writings, the face (or panim, which also means “interior”), is what gives illumination and reveals the soul. The “back” represents that which is concealed, as little can be discerned by looking at one’s back. Based on the concept of sefiros, da’as corresponds to the throat – because it is what unites the mind and the heart (via speech), which is the function of da’as. Similar to the face then, the throat “illuminates” or reveals emotions through the power of speech. Pharoah is compared to the “back of the neck” – representing exile and concealment, which prevents the intellect (i.e. mind) in connecting with one’s emotions (i.e. heart). This is the ultimate constriction and the defect in the power of speech, which was “in exile” and this is what, on a deeper level, caused Klal Yisroel to be enslaved.

[iii] וּמְנַיִן שֶׁלֹּא נֶחְשְׁדוּ עַל לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, וְהָיוּ אוֹהֲבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: (שמות ג,כב) “וְשָׁאֲלָה אִשָּׁה מִשְּׁכֶנְתָּהּ”. כְּבַר הָיוּ בְיָדָם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ, וְאֵין אַתְּ מוֹצֵא בְאֶחָד מֵהֶם שֶׁהִלְשִׁין עַל חֲבֵרוֹ (מכילתא דרבי ישמעאל, מַסֶּכְתָּא דְפִסְחָא ה׳:ה)

[iv] בפסוק הן בנ”י לא שמעו כו’ ואני ערל שפתים ואמרו חז”ל כי הוא א’ מעשרה ק”ו שבתורה. דהנה איתא בזוה”ק ואני ערל שפתים כי הדיבור הי’ בגלות ע”ש. פי’ כמו שיש ערלה בפתח המילה שהוא ברית המעור שזכה אברהם אע”ה שיוסר הערלה ויתגלה לו ברית המילה. כן בברית הלשון שהוא פתח הדיבור בתורה יש ערלה כי ב’ בריתות אלו הם פתיחות הפנימיות. כי כל האברים סתומים. זולת ב’ אלו. וכל מקום שיש פתיחות פנימיות. יש ערלה והסתר. שלא כל הרוצה ליטול השם יבא ויטול. וכמו כן בכלל הוצרכו בנ”י לעבור כל מה שעבר עליהם במצרים לזכות להסיר ערלת הפה לזכות לברית הלשון והתורה. ולא עוד אלא שבכל יום צריכים להסתייע בזכירת יצ”מ כדי לזכות לפתיחות הפה. וזה סמיכות גאולה לתפילה. גאל ישראל ה’ שפתי תפתח. ואלו הם ב’ האותות שיש בכל איש ישראל. מילה ושבת ותפילין. ששבת ותפילין ב’ אלו הם זכר ליצ”מ וזוכין על ידיהם לתורה שהוא ברית הלשון. ובאמת כך הוא המדה סור מרע מקודם להיות זך מפסולת. אח”כ יפתח כח הפה בתורה. וכמו שהי’ מקודם גלות מצרים שיזכו לתורה כמ”ש בהוציאך כו’ תעבדון את האלקים וכן הוא לעולם. אכן משה רבינו ע”ה לימד זכות שיתן הקב”ה במתנה קצת פתחון פה בתורה לזכות עי”ז אל הגאולה. וכן הוא לעולם כמאמרם ז”ל המקבל עליו עול תורה מעבירין ממנו עול מלכות. הרי שאפי’ לא זכה לגאולה עדיין. מ”מ ע”י הרצון והתשוקה לקבל עול תורה. זוכה שיוכל לצאת לחירות להיות באמת מוכן אל התורה. וזהו הלימוד והק”ו שהוציא משה רבינו ע”ה מלבו כי הן בנ”י לא שמעו כו’ שא”א להעביר הפסולת בלי שיוקדם איזה הארה מן התורה. הגם שאיננה עדיין בשלימות. וכענין שאמרו חז”ל לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה אפי’ שלא לשמה. פי’ כשעדיין אינו מזוכך מפסולת שמתוך של”ש יבא לשמה (שפת אמת, שמות, וארא כ״ג)

[v] וְכַאֲשֶׁר נַחְפְּשָׂה דְּרָכֵינוּ וְנַחְקֹרָה, אֵיזֶה עֲוֹנוֹת הֵם מֵהָעִקָּרִים הַגּוֹרְמִים לַאֲרִיכַת גָּלוּתֵנוּ, נִמְצָּאֵם הַרְבֵּה. אַךְ חֵטְא הַלָּשׁוֹן הוּא עַל כִֻּלּוֹ מִפְּנִי כַּמָּה טְעָמִים. אֶחָד, כֵּיוָן שֶׁזֶּה הָיָה הָעִקָּר לְסִבַּת גָּלוּתֵנוּ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵבֵאנוּ מִגְמָרָא יוֹמָא וּמִירוּשַׁלְמִי הַנַּ”ל. אִם כֵּן כָּל כַּמָּה שֶׁלֹּא נִרְאֶה לְתַקֵּן זֶה הַחֵטְא, אֵיךְ תּוּכַל לִהְיוֹת גְּאֻלָּה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁזֶּה הַחֵטְא פָּגַם כָּל כָּךְ, שֶׁעַל יְדֵי זֶה גָּלִינוּ מֵאַרְצֵּנוּ, עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַנִּיחֵנוּ לָבוֹא לְאַרְצֵּנוּ. וְעוֹד הֲלֹא יָדוּעַ הוּא שֶׁנִּגְזַר עָלֵינוּ גָּלוּת מִכְּבָר מֵעֵת מַעֲשֵׂה הַמְרַגְּלִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בִּתְהִלִּים {פרק ק”ו, כ”ו-כ”ז}: “וַיִּשָּׂא יָדוֹ לָהֶם לְהַפִּיל אוֹתָם וְגוֹ’ בַּגּוֹיִם וּלְזָרוֹתָם בָּאֲרָצוֹת”, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ רַשִּׁ”י שָׁם וְהָרַמְבַּ”ן בְּחֻמָּשׁ פָּרָשַׁת שְׁלַח, (במדבר יד, א) וְחֵטְא הַמְרַגְּלִים הֲלֹא הָיָה עֲוֹן לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, וּכְמוֹ דְּאִיתָא בַּעֲרָכִין {דף ט”ו} אִם כֵּן אָנוּ מֻכְרָחִין לְתַקִּן זֶה הַחֵטְא קֹדֶם הַגְּאֻלָּה, וכו’. (חפץ חיים, הקדמה)

[vi] נמצא האומר בפיו חמור מן העושה מעשה שכן מצינו שלא נתחתם גזר דין על אבותינו במדבר אלא על לשון הרע שנאמר (במדבר יד, כב) וינסו אותי זה עשר פעמים וגו’.[רש”י מתני’ נמצא האומר בפיו חמור – דנותן מאה סלע והעושה מעשה דאונס בתולה לא יהיב אלא נ’; רש”י גזר דין – שלא ליכנס לארץ; רש”י זה עשר פעמים – גבי מרגלים כתיב דמשמע על זה נתחתם]

[vii] וזה סדר מכותיו, ראשונה מכת דם לא היה לו בה סכנת מות, ומים לצמאו מצאו לו סביבות היאור או היה קונה מישראל לזה לא נרגש ממנה. מכת צפרדע היו בו שני דברים הא’ הרעשת הקול והשני שהיו נכנסים במעיהם דכתיב (לעיל ז’ כט) ובכה ובעמך יעלו הצפרדעים, ומכה זו מבהלת הנפש ואין אדם בטוח בחייו, לזה אמר פרעה אל משה וגו’ ויסר הצפרדעים ממני פי’ מתוך בני מעיו וגו’. מכת כינים כי הגם שיצטער אבל אין שם סכנת מות כצפרדעים שתנקוב בני מעיו וגו’ ותעשנו טרפה, ולזה הגם שידע כי אצבע אלהים היא והעידו החרטומים כי אינם יכולים עשות אף על פי כן ויחזק לב וגו’. מכת ערוב אימות שן בהמות ששלח ה’ בו בהלוהו וירא עד מאוד ותיכף שלח אחריהם ואמר (פסוק כא) לכו זבחו וגו’ אנכי אשלח וגו’ העתירו בעדי. מכת דבר לצד שהיתה במקנה לבד הגם כי שלח וראה מקנה ישראל ולא מת א’ אף על פי כן לא שת לבו לבקש רחמים. מכת שחין לצד שלא היה בו סכנה גם אפשר שנתכבד במכה זו ממה שלא הזכיר ה’ בפי’ כי גם בו היה שחין ולא אמר אלא (לקמן ט’ יא) כי היה השחין בחרטומים ובכל מצרים לזה לא בקש ממשה להתפלל בעדו. מכת ברד לצד שהרעים ה’ משמים ונתן קולות ואש מן השמים נפלה עליהם אימתה ופחד שיעשה להם כמהפכת סדום ועמורה ופחד ורהב (ישעי’ ס’) לבבו ואמר ה’ הצדיק וגו’ העתירו אל ה’ וגו’ (ט’ כז). מכת הארבה פיו ענה בו כי מה שנתרגש הוא לצד שירא יראת מות דכתיב (י’ יז) ויסר מעלי רק את המות הזה. מכת חושך לא ראינו לו שבקש ממשה להתפלל, ואולי כי בג’ ימים ראשונים היה מדליק עששיות ופנסות גדולות ויאר את החושך ובג’ ימים שניים שהיה חושך ממושש ולא קמו איש מתחתיו לא היה מציאות לו שילך אדם לקרא למשה כי לא קמו איש מתחתיו, ואחר ששלמו שבעת ימי אפילה (ש”ר יד) תכף ומיד שלח אחר משה ואמר אליו שילכו אלא שיתנו בטחון מהם שיחזרו ולא קבל משה, ולצד שכבר פסקה המכה לא הוצרך לומר לו התפלל.

[viii] שמח מצרים בצאתם. אמר רבי ברכיה משל לבעל בשר שהיה רוכב על החמור. חמרא מסכי אימת נחית ליה מיניה ואיהו מסכי אימת ניחות מן חמרא. כיון דנחית ליה חדי גברא וחדי חמרא ולית אנן ידעי מאן חדי טפי. כך כשהיו ישראל במצרים היו המכות באות על המצרים והיו מקוים המצרים אימתי יצאו ישראל וישראל מקוים אימתי יגאלנו הקב”ה. כיון שנגאלו התחילו אלו ואלו שמחים ואין אנו יודעין מי שמח יותר. ממה שאמר דוד שמח מצרים בצאתם אנו יודעים שמצרים שמחו יותר. (מדרש תהילים ק״ה:ח)

[ix] Rav Brog was referring to the terror attack in Bnei Brak on March 29, 2022, eleven days after the petirah of Rav Chaim, z”tl.

[x]  וַיָּקָם מֶלֶךְ חָדָשׁ. רַב וּשְׁמוּאֵל, חַד אָמַר חָדָשׁ מַמָּשׁ, וְחַד אָמַר שֶׁנִּתְחַדְּשׁוּ גְזֵרוֹתָיו, שֶׁחִדֵּשׁ גְּזֵרוֹת וּפֻרְעָנֻיּוֹת עֲלֵיהֶם. טַעְמָא דְמַאן דְּאָמַר חָדָשׁ מַמָּשׁ, דִּכְתִיב: חָדָשׁ, טַעֲמָא דְמַאן דְּאָמַר שֶׁחִדֵּשׁ גְּזֵרוֹתָיו, דְּלָא כְתִיב וַיָּמָת וַיִּמְלֹךְ. אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַע אֶת יוֹסֵף, עַל דַּעְתֵּיהּ דְּמַאן דְּאָמַר חָדָשׁ נִיחָא, וְעַל דַּעְתֵּיהּ דְּמַאן דְּאָמַר שֶׁחִדֵּשׁ גְּזֵרוֹתָיו מַאי דָּרַשׁ בֵּיהּ, דַּהֲוֵי דָמֵי כְּמַאן דְּלָא יָדַע לֵיהּ לְיוֹסֵף כְּלַל. רַבָּנָן אָמְרֵי לָמָּה קְרָאוֹ מֶלֶךְ חָדָשׁ, וַהֲלֹא פַּרְעֹה עַצְמוֹ הָיָה, אֶלָּא שֶׁאָמְרוּ הַמִּצְרִיִים לְפַרְעֹה, בּוֹא וְנִזְדַּוֵּג לְאֻמָּה זוֹ. אָמַר לָהֶם שׁוֹטִים אַתֶּם, עַד עַכְשָׁו מִשֶּׁלָּהֶם אָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, וְהֵיאַךְ נִזְדַּוֵּג לָהֶם, אִלּוּלֵי יוֹסֵף לֹא הָיִינוּ חַיִּים. כֵּיוָן שֶׁלֹא שָׁמַע לָהֶם, הוֹרִידוּהוּ מִכִּסְּאוֹ שְׁלשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים, עַד שֶׁאָמַר לָהֶם כָּל מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רוֹצִים הֲרֵינִי עִמָּכֶם, וְהֵשִׁיבוּ אוֹתוֹ, לְפִיכָךְ כְּתִיב: וַיָּקָם מֶלֶךְ חָדָשׁ. רַבָּנָן פָּתְחִין פִּתְחָא לְהַאי קְרָא (הושע ה, ז): בַּה’ בָּגָדוּ כִּי בָּנִים זָרִים יָלָדוּ עַתָּה יֹאכְלֵם חֹדֶשׁ אֶת חֶלְקֵיהֶם. לְלַמֶּדְךָ, כְּשֶׁמֵּת יוֹסֵף הֵפֵרוּ בְּרִית מִילָה, אָמְרוּ נִהְיֶה כַּמִּצְרִים. מִכָּאן אַתָּה לָמֵד שֶׁמשֶׁה מָלָן בִּיצִיאָתָן מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁעָשׂוּ כֵן, הָפַךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הָאַהֲבָה שֶׁהָיוּ הַמִּצְרִיִּים אוֹהֲבִין אוֹתָן, לְשִׂנְאָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קה, כה): הָפַךְ לִבָּם לִשְׂנֹא עַמּוֹ לְהִתְנַכֵּל בַּעֲבָדָיו, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע ה, ז): עַתָּה יֹאכְלֵם חֹדֶשׁ אֶת חֶלְקֵיהֶם. מֶלֶךְ חָדָשׁ, שֶׁעָמַד וְחִדֵּשׁ עֲלֵיהֶם גְּזֵרוֹתָיו. אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַע אֶת יוֹסֵף, וְכִי לֹא הָיָה מַכִּיר אֶת יוֹסֵף, אָמַר רַבִּי אָבִין מָשָׁל לְאֶחָד שֶׁרָגַם אוֹהֲבוֹ שֶׁל הַמֶּלֶךְ, אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ הַתִּיזוּ אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ, כִּי לְמָחָר יַעֲשֶׂה בִּי כָּךְ. לְכָךְ כָּתַב עָלָיו הַמִּקְרָא, כְּלוֹמַר הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַע אֶת יוֹסֵף, לְמָחָר הוּא עָתִיד לוֹמַר (שמות ה, ב): לֹא יָדַעְתִּי אֶת ה’.

[xi] ובזה יבואר לנו דברי המדרש רבה פרשת שמות בה’ בגדו כי בנים זרים ילדו עתה יאכלם חדש חלקיהם כשמת יוסף הצדיק הפרו ברית מילה אמרו נהיה כמצריים מיד הפך הקב”ה האהבה שהיו המצריים אוהבים אותם לשנאה שנאמר הפך לבם לשנוא עמו כו’ לקיים מה שנאמר עתה יאכלם חדש את חלקיהם זה מלך חדש שמחדש עליהם גזירות עכ”ל המדרש, ובילקוט הושע מסיים עוד חלקיהם שנחלקו מאחרי הקב”ה. ויש להבין מה שאמר הכתוב חלקיהם ותאר חטאם בלשון זה שנחלקו מאחרי הקב”ה ולא מצינו תואר זה במקום אחר. גם יש להבין למה אמר חלקיהם בלשון רבים וה”ל לומר חלקם ולשון חלקיהם משמעו שני חלקים. גם עיקר הדבר קשה להאמר דתיכף יבטלו מהם מצות מילה דרק היא היה מצוה מיוחדת להם יותר משארי בני נח והיאך יבטלו אותה, ועוד דדרש הפסוק דהפך לבם לשנוא עמו להתנכל בעבדיו שהיה אחרי שביטלו מצות מילה דהיאך קראם הפסוק עמו ועבדיו והלא לא נשאר להם גם מצוה אחת יותר מהמצריים. רק הענין דכשמת יוסף הצדיק הבינו כולם דמעתה יותחל השיעבוד בהם דכולם ידעו מה שנאמר עליהם בברית בין הבתרים כי גר יהיה זרעך ועבדום וענו אותם ארבע מאות שנה והתחילו לטכס עצה להקל השעבוד והשנאה מעליהם ועלה בדעתם להתקרב להמצריים ולמעט ההבדל שביניהם כדי למעט ריחוק הלבבות דלפי שכל האנושי נראה דריחוק הגוף גורם לריחוק הלבבות וכשיתמעט ההבדל שבגוף ביניהם יתמעט גם שנאת הלב מהם, ואז היה עיקר ההבדל בין ישראל למצרים רק מצות מילה לא יותר ולפי מה דרוצה הגמרא לומר דלא נצטווה על הפריעה ומ”מ הרי קיים אותה וכמו שקיים אברהם אבינו כל התורה וכן נהגו אחריו האבות והשבטים ובניהם ואח”כ נתייעצו להניח מלפרוע אחרי שבעצם אינם מחויבים בה כלל ולא היו נזהרים בה רק בחיתוך לחודא שהיו מחוייבים בודאי דנזהרו בו. והגם דגם החיתוך גורם הבדל בינם להמצריים דאינם נימולים כלל ורק הפריעה שהוא זהירות יתירה לפנים משוה”ד אמרו להניחה כדי למעט ההבדל שביניהם. וזהו שדקדק המדרש בלשונו ואמר הפרו ברית מילה אמרו נהיה כמצריים, דהחיתוך הוא הסרת הערלה מקמי ברית והברית היא הפריעה כמבואר למעלה בזוה”ק. ונמצא דהיו מובדלים במקצת מהמצריים ע”י החיתוך ולהתקדש לגמרי לא הגיעו במניעת הפריעה. והנה איתא במדרש פרשה זו שאמר אברהם עד שלא מלתי היו באים הכותים ומזדווגים לי תאמר משמלתי יהיו באים ומזדווגים לי א”ל הקב”ה די שאני פטרונך. הרי מבואר כמש”כ דהמילה נותנת הבדל גדול בין ישראל לכותים והיא גורמת שנאה ביניהם והשיב לו הקב”ה די לך שאני פטרונך ולא ועילו ולא יפסידו לך לא בקרבתם ולא בשנאתם אחרי שאני אוהבך וברצות ה’ דרכי איש גם אויביו ישלים אתו בעל כרחם. אבל כשהניחו מלפרוע וע”י החיתוך היו מובדלים מהמצריים וגרמה להם שנאה ומהקב”ה נחלקו במה שלא פרעו, וזהו שאה”כ עתה יאכל חדש חלקיהם וע”כ אמר הכתוב בלשון רבים, שנחלקו משני הצדדים וע”כ נתחדש עליהם השיעבוד. ומ”מ שפיר קראם הכתוב עמו ועבדיו אחרי שלא עשו שום איסור גמור בזה כיון דלא נצטוו רק על החיתוך (בית הלוי על התורה

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