THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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SOTAH 12 (7 Teves) - Dedicated by Josh Daniel of Efrat, Israel, in memory of his
brother, Yitzchok Yisroel [ben Refael Noach Yosef] Daniel, on his Yahrzeit.
1) WHEN WAS MOSHE CONCEIVED
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes the verse that says that after Amram remarried Yocheved,
she "became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son" (Shemos 2:2). The Gemara asks why
does the verse say that she became pregnant after Amram remarried her? We know that
she became pregnant three months earlier, before they separated! The Gemara answers
that, indeed, she did not become pregnant at this time, but she became pregnant
earlier. The reason why the verse mentions that she became pregnant is to compare her
birth to her pregnancy: just like her pregnancy occurred painlessly, so, too, the
birth of the child occurred painlessly. This teaches that righteous women, such as
Yocheved, were not included in the decree of Chavah.
The Gemara proves that Yocheved was pregnant with Moshe three months before Amram
remarried her from the fact that they hid the baby in their home for three months
(ibid.). Why did they hide him for only three months? The Egyptians knew that Amram
and Yocheved had become remarried, and thus they would be coming to check the home
for newborn babies nine months after the remarriage. The fact that Amram and Yocheved
hid Moshe for three months shows that at the end of those three months the Egyptians
would be coming to search the house -- which would be nine months after their
remarriage. Hence, it must be that Yocheved gave birth *six* months after remarrying
Amram, which means that she became pregnant three months before that.
Why, then, does RASHI on the verse say that Yocheved gave birth prematurely, after
only six months of pregnancy, and not nine? Rashi there seems to be contradicting our
(a) The simple answer is that the Midrash ("Midrash ha'Gadol") that Rashi is quoting
argues with the Gemara here in Sotah.
(b) The MAHARSHA though, quoting the CHIZKUNI, suggests that both explanations are
true. It is true that Yocheved gave birth after six months and not nine months.
However, the Egyptians knew that it is possible for a woman to give birth after only
six months. Therefore, they checked *six* months after she came back to Amram to see
if she had given birth, assuming that she had only become pregnant upon her return
home six months earlier.
In truth, though, she gave birth three months earlier, because she had become
pregnant before she separated (three months earlier), and she gave birth after six
months of pregnancy (three months after remarrying Amram)! When the verse says that
they hid him for three months, it is referring to the months four to six after their
remarriage (and not months seven to nine, as Rashi explains).
2) AGADAH: THE SHECHINAH THAT WAS SEEN WITH THE CHILD
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes the verse, "va'Tir'ehu Es ha'Yeled" -- "... and she (Bas
Pharaoh) saw him, the child (Moshe)" (Shemos 2:6), and asks that the verse should
say, "*va'Terei* Es ha'Yeled" ("and she saw the child"), like it says earlier (2:2
and 2:5). Rebbi Yosi bar'Rebbi Chanina answers that the verse is saying that she saw
the Shechinah with him.
RASHI (DH she'Ra'ashah) says that the word "Es" in the verse is to be understood to
mean "with" as we find in many places.
What indication is there in the verse, though, that she saw the *Shechinah* with the
child? Moreover, the Gemara seems to be making this inference from the use of the
word "va'Tir'ehu" instead of the word "va'Terei," and not from the word "Es." How
does this imply that it was the Shechinah that she saw?
ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON (Kol Eliyahu #225) answers that the letters "Heh Vav"
together represent the name of Hashem, like the Gemara in Shabbos (104a) states, as
well as the Gemara in Sukah (45a). Hence, the suffix "Hu" in the word "va'Tir'ehu"
refers to Hashem! The verse, therefore, is saying clearly, "and she saw ('va'Tir'e-')
Hashem ('-Hu') with ('Es') the child."
(See also MAHARSHA who gives a similar explanation; see also RASHI Bereishis
We might add that this name of Hashem is particularly appropriate according to what
Tosfos in Sukah writes (ibid. DH Ani). Tosfos explains that the Holy Name "Hu"
alludes to the fact that when Klal Yisrael or a Tzadik is suffering, Hashem, as it
were, "suffers with him" (as is evident from its usage in Yirmeyah 40:1). As infant
Moshe floated in his makeshift "boat," at the mercy of the rushing waters of the Nile
River (see Rashi 12a DH she'Chaviv), the Presence of Hashem accompanied him and
shared in his pain. (M. Kornfeld)