Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Chanaiah Mishael Azariah results of passing test

Daf 93a (Art Scroll 93a2 discusses the three options regarding what happened to Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah after Hashem saved them from the furnace.

Rav says they died through the "evil eye".

Note 14 discusses the idea of ayin hara based on the Chazon Ish, Maharal, Rabbi Dessler in Michtav MeEliyahu, and Rabbi Avigdor Miller. The basic idea is that the evil results can be triggered by good things that cause anguish to other people. This means that

Sanhedrin daf 93 a (Art Scroll 93a2) discusses the fate of Chananiah Mishael and Azariah after they were saved from the furnace.
Rebbi Eliezer (tanna) and Rav (amora) say they died from ayin hara.

 Note 14 discusses the idea of ayin hara based on the Chazon Ish, Maharal, Rabbi Dessler in Michtav MeEliyahu, and Rabbi Avigdor Miller. The basic idea is that the evil results can be triggered by good things that cause anguish to other people. This means that when the people saw that the test could be surmounted the anger and grief that they felt for failing was turned on the three of them, This is what we see nowadays in those who resent the fact that "orthodox" Jews actually follow the torah and Hashem as well as those who push the BDS and ant-semitic and anti-Israel agenda while claiming to be "Jewish". This is like what Rabbi Akiva said about his attitude towards talmidei chachamim (scholars) when he was still an am ha'aretz (ignorant).

A modern story (I think about Rabbi Twerski) is told that he was once sitting next to a not (yet) religious Jew who castigated him for his dress and beard and following the old fashioned customs and behaviors of Judaism. When he turned and said *I am Amish*, the person fell all over himself saying what respect he has for the Amish because they maintain their traditions.

Rebbi Yehoshua (tanna) and Shmuel (amora) say "they drowned in spittle" (as explained in note 15). Earlier the daf explains that when the three came out of the furnace unharmed, the goyim spit on Bnai Yisrael, saying how could you have bowed to the idol when you have such a powerful G0d. This shows the reaction of those not subject to the test when seeing people fail it. The humiliation of this was felt by the three of them because they felt it as if it was their humiliation and injury. Nowadays, it is like those who have contempt for the non-religious and anti-religious Jews. Indeed, it is the left who show their anti-Semitism and contempt for the Jews who try to deny their Judaism and join them in their activities.

The chachamim (tannaim) and Rav Yochanan (amora) say that they went to Eretz Yisrael, married, and raised their families. This is from the viewpoint of the heroes themselves. They did not regard themselves as having done anything extraordinary, but just did what they were required to do. As a result, they continued their lives in the same way, raising their children to continue in the same way. This is like the bracha Hashem gave Avraham when he said that Avraham would continue and teach his children how to live. It is why the Bnai Yisrael at Sinai are described as everyone who would be born in the future is treated as having accepted the torah. It is the way the "orthodox" built frum communities after World War II and are continuing in our current day.

This is what we see in the shuls and yeshivahs of the current day and the way that the "Orthodox" are increasing while the non-religious and anti-religious groups are dwindling.

Friday, July 07, 2017

How Bil'am tried to foment a war by adding one letter

Balak told Bi'am that  הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, while Bil'am reported the conversation to Hashem as
הִנֵּה הָעָם הַיֹּצֵא מִמִּצְרַיִם

Rashi, reports on the other obvious strengthening of the words of the report in order to inflame matters, but we see that just changing one letter can cause the impact of the report to be completely different.

According to Rav Hirsch, Balak said the main situation was not that this was a particular people, but that a people who had been completely submerged in the power of the Egyptian Empire had wrested themselves free and were now going to completely destroy the surrounding nations (even if they are not going to attack Moav directly).
Balak 22:5
הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם The repetition of הִנֵּה shows that with עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם a separate thought is given for his consideration. The fact that עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, that a mass of people politically and socially submerged in the power and nationality of Egypt could go out of Egypt as a socially united people to freedom and independence, marks this people as something unique. And it is to the cause which could have effected this remarkable unheard-of event which your mind must concentrate on, if you are willing to help my purpose to be achieved.
On the other hand, Bil'am knew who they were and what was occurring as a result of Hashem's specific will. He knew that it was not some random people showing the breakout from Egypt, but was the people, the specific people that Hashem had taken out גוי מקרב גוי and the answer to Balak's request as asked would be Tell Balak not to worry, they are moving at my explicit command and will not invade you. Bil'am, on the other hand wanted to see them destroyed and actually tried to get Balak to fight them. As Rashi says on Balak 22:11
curse it: Heb. קָבָה לּי. [This expression used by Balaam] is stronger than אָרָה לּי [used by Balak in verse 6], for it specifies and details [the curse]- [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:9]
and drive it out: of the world. Balak said only, “and I will drive him out of the land” (verse 6). [His intention was:] I want only to get them away from me, but Balaam hated them more than did Balak. — [Mid. Tanchuma Balak 5, Num. Rabbah 20:9]
Thus, Bil'am referred to this people in order to avoid any possibility of it being someone or something other than Bnai Yisrael as well as to avoid the possibility of being told to reassure Balak that they would not invade Moav and would not need to be fought off.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why does Hashem show different reactions while Balaam insists on going to Balak

Rav Hirsch among others explains that if someone insists on trying to disobey Ahashem's will, Hashem will allow him to destroy himself. For example, in the explanation of Balak 22:12-13  Rav Hisrch points out

  Now had Balaam been a prophet of the Truth he would faithfully have transmitted this declaration of Hashem to the envoys of Balak and the purpose of Hashem's intervention would have been achieved without the whole following episode. Balak, andMoav, instead of fearing the attacking and conquering might of this People, would have been induced to know the moral factor which was innate in it to which Hashem had promised His blessing and to befriend them to their own advantage. But

 Balaam suppressed the second part, the really essential part of Hashem's warning. He just speaks in general terms מאן השם, which forthwith allows it to be understood tat he himself would be pleased to curse the people, only מאן השם לתתי להלוך עמכם, the Hashem Whose prophet I am does not finnd it befitting for me to go with *you*. After all, they were only, as remarked above, זקני מואב not שרי מואב, only plebeans, not really princes.

As a result of this,

 Balak knew his man and did not let himself be put off from his by the first refusal

As a result of Balaam attempting to work around Hashem, Hashem says, that if it for your personal honor that they came for you, go ahead and try to go with them. However, do not forget that you were categorically forbidden to curse the Bnai Yisrael, even though you hid that from Moav.


  We have already remarked on verses 16 & 17) that Balak's request had two points (a) that Balaam come at his invitation and (b) that he curses Israel. For the first part he was given permission, regarding the second part, whic constituded the real intended purpose of Balak, it had in verse 12, already at the first mission had been peremptorily denied to him.

As we see, Hashem is telling Balaam that if he insists on going, he will only be able to convey the blessing, the exact opposite of what Balak intends.

The question now arises, why was Hashem angry? The reason given by Rav Hisrsch is that while Balaam was given permission to go with the messengers (אתם) he actually went with the intention to somehow bring about their purpose.

 no כי הלך that he went with Balak's messengers, ... But he did not just go with them, הולך הוא, he was "goer" with them, one striving to reach his own end. In spite of the definite warning he had received from Hashem, his mind was still obscured by the obsession that he would be able to achieve the purpose so desired by Balak and himself.

As a result, the מלאך is sent to point out the result of what he is attempting to do. It is actually a final attempt to show mercy to Balaam and get him do do teshuvah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Modern Politics and the meraglim

When the meraglim came into Kena'an, Hashem caused a number of deaths so that the meraglim would be ignored. A possible suggestion about the political turmoil throughout the world is to keep the nations so stirred up that they cannot focus their attention on Eretz Yisrael.

Also as a result of the terrorist actions, the nations are being forced to fight against those who would otherwise be actively attempting to destroy us.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Bonus Gematriah for Purim

A Bonus Gematriah for Purim

1) 500 people were killed in Shushan, everywhere else, they killed 75,000 people

2) Achshveirosh ruled over 127 countries and if we assume Shushan was one of them, then it comes out that in the remaining 126 countries, they killed 75,000 people.

3) If you do the math (175,000/126), we see each country killed 595 people , which equals 74,970.

4) In Shushan they killed 500 + Haman. Haman is gematriah 95. So in every other country they needed to kill 595 to match what happened in Shushan.

5) You still have to account for an extra 30 people killed. (75,000‐74,970=30). The Medrash says Haman had 30 sons. 10 were hung, 10 were killed and 10 were beggars. We know a poor person is like a dead person. In order to make up the 30 sons killed, an extra 30 people were killed.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Count of Pesukim in each Parsha

The counts were taken from the Art Scroll Chumash notes at the end of each parsha. Note that while the masoretic count of Tzav is 96, A physical count of Pesukim shows 97.

 Pekudei does not have a note at the end of the parsha but the Art Scroll commentary says the edition of the Chumash printed with the Malbim's it as 92 (which matches the physical count in the chumash)

Yisro appears to use the taamei elyon count (10 pesukim) instead of the taamei tachton count (13 pesukim) for the total given at the comment at the end. This is based on comparing the note to the physical count as printed in the Chumash.

The mesorah note for Vayeilech of 70 appears for the combined parshiyos of Nitzavim and Vayeilech. This means 40 in Nitzavim and 30 in Vayeilech

 The Art Scroll Chumash on the page right after Vzos Haberachah give the total count according to the Mesorah for each sefer and for the total number of pesukim in the Torah.

Total 5845

However, These numbers do not appear to match the totals calculated from the numbers given at the end of each parsha


It appears that the difference in Shmos is the Aseres Hadibros in Yisro between the Taamei Elyon and Taamei Tachton (3 pesukim) The difference in Vayikra is the mesorah note in Tzav and the physical count in Tzav. Vaeschanan starts the Taam Tachton at 5:6 and ends at 5:18, also for a count of 13. This accounts for the three total difference. However the mesorah count at the end says 118 while the printed count shows 7+49+30+25+11 = 122  However, the sefer total differs by 3 rather than 4 so there must be another difference in the sefer.

 Double AA points out: In an answer on I show that the correct mesorah note in old manuscripts for Vaeschanan is 119 which solves the issue in that parsha, but the book total issue remains for Artscroll. However, in Mechon Mamre's edition based on the old manuscripts, Yisro has only 74 verses and Vaeschanan has only 121 verses (counting both with taamei tachton, unlike how the individual parsha mesorah does) which gives the correct traditional book totals below of 1209 and 955. So the individual parsha mesorah uses the taamei elyon while the book total uses the taamei tachton, and there are no issues remaining when we use the manuscript versions.

I found a blog at eSefer - Aseres Hadibros which discusses the differences and  has a comment

all bible texts published by mosad harav kook are based on the edition prepared by r. mordechai breuer

on breuer, see

he explains the trop to the first two pesukim in depth in his "dividing the decalogue into verses and commandments" in The Ten Commandments In History and Tradition, ed. Ben Zion Segal (1990), pp. 291-330.

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The Kesav Ve'hakabalah has a fascinating discussion of the different verse totals of the Decalogue reflected in the various masoretic notes. He claims that there are actually four versions of the division of the decalogue into verses: a) 12 verses - our tahton b) 9 verses - our elyon c) 13 verses - our tahton but with anochi and lo yiheh split into two d) 10 verses - our elyon but with anochi and lo yiheh combined into one. He maintains that the four masoretic totals (end of yisro, end of shemos, end of va'es'hanan and end of devarim) actually reflect the four versions; do the arithmetic and you'll see that he's apparently correct. [I first came across this dicussion of his in an issue of the Ihud Be'hidud weekly ...] Note that this is at the end of the sefer after Devarim.

Another difference is that the mesorah count at the end of Parshas Bo shows 105 pesukim. However the count of the numbers in each perek (29+10+51+16) shows 106. However, it is possible that based on the trop for Bo 13:1, that the first pasuk was counted with the second pasuk leaving the last perek with 15 pesukim so that 29+10+51+15 = 105.

וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־משֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר

Note that the English translation ends that pasuk wit a comma and not a period.

ParshaCountSefer TotalTotalSecular Year
Lech Lecha126425425
Chayei Sara105677677
Ki Sisa1399922526
Acharei Mos805353275
Behar57780 3520
Bamidbar15915937571 CE is 3761
Ki Seitzei11066855541794
Ki Savo12279056761916
Vezos Habrachah4195358392079

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bechukosai: Seven sins Six punishments

Rashi in Bechukosai shows seven steps of degradation leading to complete destruction. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin in אזנים לתורה (Insights in the Torah) in his commentary on Bechukosai 26:15 connects the seven steps of transgression to the sections of the Tochacha. Rav Hirsch shows how each of the terms that prededed this pasuk show an increasing level of sin.  Abarbanel and Alshich go into detail and expand on this point showing how each of the punishments fit midah k'neged midah. Alshichshows how each group consists of seven types of suffering and how eac type of suffering is midah k'neged midah.
in verse 18, the Torah states, "I shall punish you further, sevenfold for your sins", and Rashi explains: "Seven punishments [will be given] for the seven transgressions mentioned above." Rashi is referring to seven sets of punishment, each set consisting of seven types of suffering. In the course of the section on curses, Rashi points out several more times that the punishments come in groups of seven.
After contemplating these passages, I found that although there are seven transgressions, The Torah only mentions six levels of punishment.
Transgression 1: He did not study

Punishment: The first level begins with pasuk 16 "I will assign upon you panic" and ends with verse 17. "you will flee with no one pursuing you".

Transgression 2: He did not perform

Punishment: Pasuk 18 - 20, "... I will break the pride of your might ..." through "... the tree of your land will not give its fruit."

Transgression 3: He disapproves of others who do perform.

Punishment: Pasuk 21 - 22 "... I will incite the wildlife of the field against you ... and your roads will become desolaye"

Transgression 4: He hates the Sages

Punishment: Pasuk 23 - 26. " ... I will bring upon you a sword ... you will eat and not be sated."

Transgression 5: He prevents others [from performing mitzvos]

Punishment: Pasuk 27 - 40. "... You will eat the flesh of your sons ... the land of your foes will devour you ... the will disintegrate.

Pasuk 40 appears to be a statement of teshuvah. The question is why is this treatedas part of the fifth level of punishment and not even part of the beginning of the sixth level (as a restatement of the levels of transgression as seen with the previous punishments).

Many meforshim do indeed regard this pasuk as part of the next set of punishments.

Rav Hirsch translates this as a command  ("Until they confess") and not a statement of action ("They will confess"). Thus until they confess properly, and acknowledge what they have been doing (traeting Hashem and the Torah as a secondary consideration) Hashem, will continue to treat them in a "off hand" manner.

See the comment on 26:40 - 41 in the Art Scroll Stone Chumash.

Chizkuni states that this is not really a sincere repentance but is actually just going through the motions in order to cover all the bases, just in case. [my comment] I would consider it like someone going to Yom Kippur services and "repenting" and then going to a nonkosher dinner/dance afterwards.

Vilna Gaon (Aderes Eliyau) says that while it might be sincere at the moment, it is not complete and would not cover the sins of the past. [my comment] It might be sufficient to cover the current set of sins, but it will not be sufficient to raise them back up to the previous levels.

Ohr Hachaim explains that both pasuk 40 and 41 are part of the confession and list the truths that must be acknowledged. One of the problems is that while people may acknowledge that they have sinned, they would continue in the "tradition" of their ancestors and think that the sins of the previous generation were in fact correct actions. [my comment] consider the idea of driving to shul on shabbos. Someone may admit that driving to the mall or a baseball game is incorrect, but think that driving to shul is correct. Similarly, some people have acted as if "resting on the Sabbath"includes painting pictures, going to concerts, etc.

Transgression 6: He denies [that] the mitzvos [were commande by Hashem]

Punishment:Pasuk 41 - 43 "I, too, will behave towards them with casualness, ... because their spirit rejected My decrees."

Rabbi Sorotzkin states that the "remembrance of the Avos is given in reverse order in order to state that Hashem will still accept the teshuvah even itf it its on a lower level. The three pillars of the world are תורה ועבודה וגמילות חסדים which corresponds to the Avos in the order given in the Pasuk. Rabbi Sorotzkin explains that Avraham was faced with a world of uncontrolled idolators. He could only reach them through chesed. It was impossible to begin teaching them about the service of Hashem much leass Torah. Yitzchak had people who knew about Hashem via Avraham and were ready to learn about the next level. Yaakov was able to teach the students of Avraham and Yitzchak, and was able to teach them the highest level of knowledge of Hashem and His existence.
Therefore, when this verse speaks about the beginning of return to Hashemin this verse, it promises that if the Bnai Yisrael in their repentance achieve the level of Torah study, then certainly "I will remember my covenant with Yaako", the covenant I made with him over the Torah. And even if they reach only the level of service and there are people who know how to servce Hashem among Israel, even though they havenot yet reached the level of Torah-study, Hashem will redeem them on the merit of the covenant He made with Yitzchak: "An also My covenant with Yitzchak." And if they do not reach either of these levels but there are people among the them who know how to do kindness, then Hashem will redeem them on the merit of the covenant He made with Avraham: "And also My covenant with Avraham will I remember."
No further punishments are mentioned in this parsha

Transgression 7: He denies Hashem's existence.

Rabbi Sorotzkin asks "Where, the, is the sevenths set of punishments? This matter is rather puzzling.

Answer: Rabbi Sorotzkin points out that the transgression as stated in the parsha is "to annul My covenant". The corresponding punishment (by midah k'neged midah) would, G-d forbid, be the annulment of Hashem's covenant with us and the total destruction of the Jewish people. After all, if we attempt to deny Hashem's existence, noting will happen. It is like someone jumping off a cliff and trying to fly through denying the law of gravity. The person will still fall to his death. However, what Hashem decrees is what happens. What Hashem denies cannot exist.

As Hashem said to Yechezkel (20:32-33):

That which has come into your minds shall certainly not be, for you say: 'We shall be like the nations ... to servewood and stone. By My life, says Hashem Elokim, I swear that with a strong hand I shall rule over you." 

Thus the Torah does not say the appropriate punishment for sinking to the seventh level of sin, for this is impossible. Instead pasuk 44 says
But despite all this, while they will be in the lands of their enemies, I will not have been revolted by them nor will I have rejected them to obliterate them, to annul My covenant with them - for I am Hashem their G-d

After he wrote this comment, he found a nearly identical interpretation in Divrei Chaim, a commentary on the Chumash by his grandfather Rav Chayim Sharin , זצ"ל