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.

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