Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemos

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos 2:11-12, the Torah discusses how an adolescent Moshe leaves Pharaoh's palace and sees an Egyptian man strike a Jew, one of his brethren. The Torah writes that Moshe looked this way and that and saw that there was no man, so he struck the Egyptian man and killed him.

Rashi explains that Moshe did not look around to see if there were any witnesses. Instead, Moshe looked in the future to see if any geirim would come from this man. Rashi further explains that Moshe killed him by reciting the hidden name of Hashem.

Rabbi Frand then asked in the name of the Brisker Rav - if the Egyptian was already chayav missa, why did Moshe first look to see whether any geririm would come from this man before killing him?

The Brisker Rav answered by making reference to a Kessef Mishna to the Rambam in Hilchos Melachim who writes that while striking a Jew is a crime for which the perpetrator is chayav missa - it is missa biydei shamayim.

With this background, we can understand the steps Moshe took. Moshe caused the Egyptian's death by reciting the Heavenly name and as such left the Egyptian's fate in the hands of Hashem - if this person was truly chayav missa then the missa would come from Shamayim, if not, he would live.

This also explains why an examination was performed into whether there were any future geirim which could have come from this man. An earthbound Beis Din does not look into such factors before determining whether a person must suffer capital punishment. However, when the punishment is meted out by Hashem, there is room to examine whether the missa would prevent the birth of future righteous people.

Rabbi Frand closed the vort by mentioning a story about a boy who was learning in Lakewood and became a chassan. During the sheva berachos following the wedding, the boy's grandfather who was an am haaretz, asked whether he could speak. After being granted permission to address those gathered at the sheva berachos, the grandfather told a story about a young boy who was a "cut up" when he was in cheder. One day, the boy took a goat and hid it in the aron kodesh. When the men came to take out the Torah, they opened the ark and found the goat! It was soon discovered that the boy was responsible and they threw him out of cheder.

The boy then came to Beis Din and announced that he wanted to take the principal of the cheder to a Din Torah. At the Din Torah the boy stated - I may be worthy of being tossed out of the school for my act - but what will happen to me? There is no other cheder in town. What will become of me and my children and grandchildren if I am prevented from continuing my Jewish education? The principal relented and allowed the boy to stay in cheder.

The grandfather then said that he was the boy from the cheder. And look at my grandchild - see he has turned out well and is a Yeshiva Bochor.

In this case it was good that they considered whether there could be an Ish when they contemplated the punishment for placing the goat in the ark.

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Anonymous said...

I live in Moshav Matisyahu in Israel. On Friday morning we get together to watch the recording of Rav Frand's shiur Thursday night shiur. I often have my computer open with your notes in front of me, to help me follow the shiur and remember it. Also, it saves me having to take notes. I can therefore pay more attention, just adding to your notes where I deem it appropriate.

I believe you made a mistake, that is germane to the story at the end. Rav Frand did not say the boy's grandfather who not frum. Rather he said the grandfather was an "am haaretz"-- not learned. This is an important point in understanding the story.

Thank you, and Shabbat shalom.

ShlomoZalman Jessel

Neil T said...

Thanks for your comment. I am glad that my posts are useful to you.

I have made the correction as per your more recent viewing of the shiur.