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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sotah 11

SOTAH 11 - Dedicated in memory of Max (Meir Menachem ben Shlomo ha'Levy) Turkel, whose Yahrzeit is 5 Teves, by his wife Jean and sons Eddie and Lawrence Turkel.


(a) (R. Chanina bar Papa): "(Yakov) sent (Yosef) from the Emek of Chevron - the deep (Amukah) plan (told to) the Tzadik buried in Chevron - "Know that your seed with be a stranger ..."
(b) Question: "For (Avshalom) said 'I do not have a son'" - but it says, "3 sons and a daughter were born to Avshalom"!
(c) Answer #1 (R. Yitzchak bar Avdimi): He did not have a son fit to be king.
(d) Answer #2 (Rav Chisda): We have a tradition - anyone that burns someone else's grain does not leave a son to inherit himself.
1. Avshalom had his servants burn Yoav's grain.
(e) (Mishnah): Similarly, good deeds are rewarded (measure for measure) - Miryam ...
(f) Question: That was not measure for measure - she waited a short time, and Yisrael waited a week for her!
(g) Answer #1 (Abaye): The Mishnah should say, reward is not measure for measure.
(h) Objection (Rava): But the Mishnah says 'similarly'!
(i) Answer #2 (Rava): The Mishnah means, similarly, the reward for good deeds resembles the deed - but (Hash-m's) attribute of rewarding is greater than that of punishing.
(j) (R. Yitzchak): "His sister stood from afar" - this entire verse hints at the Divine Presence.
1. "She stood" - "Hash-m came and stood".
2. "His sister" - "Say to Chachma, you are my sister".
3. "From afar" - "From afar, Hash-m appeared to me".
4. "To know" - "For Hash-m is a G-d of knowledge".
5. "What" - "What does Hash-m ask of you".
6. "Will be done" - "Hash-m will not do"
7. "To him" - "He called Him Hash-m of Shalom".
(a) (Rav or Shmuel): "A new king arose" - this is literally true.
(b) (The other of Rav or Shmuel): He (was the same king, just he) made new decrees.
1. He learns this way because it does not say, "the king died".
(c) "That did not know Yosef" - he acted as if he did not know him at all.
(d) (Beraisa): "He said to his nation - Benei Yisrael..." - since he began the counsel, he was punished first - "(The frogs will come) in you and your nation and all your servants".
(e) Question: "Let us deal wisely with him" - it should say, 'with them'!
(f) Answer: (R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): "Let us deal wisely with the savior of Yisrael".
1. How should we kill him? If in fire - "Hash-m will judge in fire".
2. If by the sword - "All flesh with his sword".
3. Rather, we will kill him in water - Hash-m swore not to bring another flood.
i. They did not know that he swore not to flood the entire world, but he may flood 1 nation;
ii. Alternatively - he will not bring a flood, but he may make them fall into the water - "The Egyptians fled into the water".
(g) (R. Elazar): "In the matter that they Zadu (plotted) against them" - the pot they cooked in, they were cooked in.
(h) Question: How do we know that Zadu is a language of a pot?
(i) Answer: "va'Yazed (cooked) Yakov Nezid (cooked food)".
(j) (R. Chiya bar Aba): 3 people were present at the counsel to drown the savior: Bil'am, Iyov and Yisro.
1. Bil'am gave the counsel - he was killed.
2. Iyov was silent - he was punished with afflictions.
3. Yisro fled - he merited that his descendants sit in the great Sanhedrin - "From the families of Chachamim, that sit by Ya'avetz - Tir'asim, Shim'asim, Suchasim - these are the Kinim that come from the father of the house of Rechav";
i. "The sons of the Keini, the father-in-law of Moshe".
(k) Question: "They will fight with us, and leave the land" - it should say, and we will leave the land!
(l) Answer (Rav Aba bar Kahana): This is as a person that curses himself, but euphemistically attributes the curse to someone else.
(a) Question: "They put on him ministers of Misim (taxes)" - it should say, 'on them'!
(b) Answer (Tana d'Vei R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon): They placed a mold (for making bricks) on Par'oh's neck;
1. If a Yisrael would say, 'I am too delicate to work', they would say - 'you are not more delicate than Par'oh!
2. "Ministers of Masim" - the placing of the mold Sam (put) (lordship over them).
(c) Question: "In order to afflict him with their burdens" - it should say, 'them'!
(d) Answer: "(They put the mold) to afflict Par'oh, (in order to) put burdens on Yisrael.
(e) (Rav or Shmuel): "He built Miskenos (storage) cities for Par'oh" - they Mesaknos (endanger) their owners;
(f) (The other of Rav and Shmuel): They Memaskenos (impoverish) their owners.
1. Anyone that builds waxes poor.
(g) (Rav or Shmuel): "Pisom and Ra'amses" - the real name is Pisom; it is called Ra'amses, for each bit that is built Misroses (falls);
(h) (The other of Rav and Shmuel): The real name is Ra'amses; it is called Pisom, for each bit that is built is swallowed into the depths (Pi Tehom).
(i) Question: "As they afflicted them, so he increases and overflows" - it should say, so they increased and overflowed!
(j) Answer (Reish Lakish): A Divine spirit informs them - thusly (Yisrael) will increase and overflow.
(k) "va'Yakutzu (they were disgusted) because of Benei Yisrael" - Benei Yisrael were as thorns (Kotzim) in their eyes.

(l) (R. Elazar): "They made Benei Yisrael work b'Farech" - with a soft mouth (Peh Rach);
1. (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): with crushing labor (b'Frichah).
(m) (Rava): "They embittered their lives with harsh work in mortar and bricks" - first they worked with mortar and bricks; in the end, in all work in the field.
(n) (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): "All the work they made them do was b'Farech" - they made men do women's labors, and women do men's labors.
1. R. Elazar, who explained the previous "b'Farech" to mean with a soft mouth, will explain this "b'Farech" to mean with crushing labor.
(o) (Rav Avira): Yisrael were redeemed from Egypt in the merit of the righteous women of that generation.
1. When they would go to draw water, Hash-m would send fish into their buckets; they would draw half water, half fish.
i. They would warm up 1 pot of fish and 1 of water; they would take them to their husbands in the field, wash and anoint their husbands, give them to eat and drink, and have relations with them in ridges between the fields.
ii. "If you will lie between the ridges..." in the merit of lying between the ridges, Yisrael merited the spoils of Egypt - "Dove's wings covered with silver, and its pinions with fine gold."
2. When the women became pregnant, they came to their houses; when they were ready to deliver, they would go to the field, under the apple tree - "Under the apple tree I aroused you".
3. "Those that gave birth to you did not cut your cord, you did not wash in water" - Hash-m would send from Heaven someone to clean and straighten the baby as a midwife.
4. "He nursed him honey from the rock and oil" -he gathered for them 2 cakes, one of oil, and one of honey.
5. When the Egyptians found out about the birth, they would come to kill the babies; miraculously, they were swallowed into he ground.
i. The Egyptians brought cattle to plow the ground - "They plowed furrows on me".
ii. When the Egyptians left, the babies emerged from the ground as herbs - "I made you grow as the herbs of the field".
6. After they grew up, they would come home in flocks - "You increased and grew and you came ba'Adi Adayim (adorned)" - this should be read 'b'Edrei Adarim' (in flocks).
7. When Hash-m revealed himself at the splitting of the sea, they recognized him first - "This is my G-d, I will glorify him".
(a) (Rav or Shmuel): "Par'oh said to the Hebrew midwives" - they were a woman and her daughter - Yocheved and Miryam;
1. (The other of Rav and Shmuel): They were a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law - Elisheva and Yocheved.
(b) A Beraisa supports the first opinion.
1. (Beraisa): Shifra - this is Yocheved; she is called Shifra for she straightens (Mishaperes) the baby; also, Sheparu v'Ravu (that Yisrael were fruitful) in her days;
2. Pu'ah - this is Miryam; she is called Pu'ah, for she amuses the baby; also, she was Po'ah (spoke) with Divine inspiration, and prophesized that her mother would give birth to a savior of Yisrael.
(c) Question: "And he said, when you help the Hebrews to give birth...(you will see on the stone)" - what is the stone?
(d) Answer #1 (Rav Chanan): Par'oh gave them a great sign - when she is about to give birth, her thighs become as cold as stone.
(e) Answer #2: "I went to the potter's house; he was working on the stone".
1. Just as a potter spreads his thighs and has the wheel in the middle, a woman giving birth spreads her thighs, and the baby is in the middle.
(f) (R. Chanina): "If it is a son, you will kill him" - Par'oh gave them a great sign - if the baby is born facing the ground, it is a boy; facing up, it is a girl.
(g) Question: "The midwives feared Hash-m and did not do as he spoke Aleihen (to them)" - (grammatically) it should say Lahen!
(h) Answer (R. Yosi bar Chanina): The word Aleihen suggests that Par'oh requested to have relations with the midwives, but they refused.
(i) (Beraisa): "And they kept the children alive" - not only they did not kill them, but they supplied them with water and food.
(j) Question: "The midwives told Par'oh, the Hebrew women..." - what does it mean, they are Chayos?
1. Suggestion: If it means they are as midwives - a midwife also needs a midwife when she herself gives birth!
(k) Answer: Rather, Yisrael are compared to animals (that need no midwives).
1. Yehudah is a young lion ...
2. Even the tribes which are not called animals in Yakov's blessing - "Your mother is a female lion lying among the lions".
(l) (Rav or Shmuel): "Because the midwives feared Hash-m, he made for them houses" - houses of Kehunah and Leviyah, which came from Aharon and Moshe;
1. (The other of Rav and Shmuel): Houses of kingship, for David also came from Miryam.
i. "Azuvah died, and Kalev married Efras, and she bore to him Chor";
ii. "David is the son of an Efrati man".
(m) "Kalev, son of Chetzron fathered Azuvah (his) wife and Yeri'os; these are (the names of) her children - Yashar, Shovav and Ardon".
(n) Question: Is Kalev the son of Chetzron? He is the son of Yefuneh!
(o) Answer: His father was Chetzron; he is called ben Yefunah, for he turned (Panah) from the counsel of the spies.
(p) Question: But another verse calls his the son of Kenaz - "Osni'el ben Kenaz, the brother of Kalev"!
(q) Answer (Rava): He was a half-brother of Kenaz (they had the same mother).
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