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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sotah 13

SOTAH 13 - dedicated by Larry and Marsha Wachsman l'Iluy Nishmas their aunt, the late Mrs. Rachel Potack, Z"L -- a true "Eshes Chayil" and "Ba'alas Midos" -- who passed away b'Seivah Tovah in Yerushalayim on 2 Kislev 5761.


(a) She said, my mother will have a son that will save Yisrael.
(b) When Moshe was born, the house filled with light; her father kissed her on the head - 'Your prophecy has been fulfilled'.
1. When they put Moshe in the river, he hit her on the head - 'Where is your prophecy?!'
2. "His sister stood afar, to know what will happen to him" - to know, what will be the end of her prophecy.
(a) (Mishnah): Yosef merited ...
(b) Question: When they went to bury Yakov, it says "... went up with (Yosef) all Par'oh's servants ...and the whole house of Yosef and his brothers and his father's house;
1. On the return, the order is "Yosef ... his brothers ... all that went up with him"!
(c) Answer (R. Yochanan): On the way up, Par'oh's servants had not yet seen the honor of Yisrael, so they did not honor Yosef's brothers; on the way back, after they saw the honor of Yisrael, they honored them.
1. Question: "They came to the threshing floor of thorns" - does one really pile up thorns?!
2. Answer (R. Avahu): This teaches, they surrounded Yakov's coffin with crowns, as a threshing floor is surrounded by a fence of thorns.
i. The children of Esav, Yishmael, and Keturah all came.
(d) (Beraisa): They came to make war; when they saw Yosef's crown on Yakov's coffin, they put their crowns on it, too.
1. (Beraisa): 36 crowns were hung on his coffin.
(e) (Beraisa): "They had a great, honorable eulogy there" - even horses and donkeys.
(f) When they got to the Ma'aras ha'Machpeilah (his burial cave) Esav stopped the burial.
1. Esav: Kiryat Arba is Chevron.
i. (R. Yitzchak): Kiryat Arba (city of the four) - 4 couples were buried there - Adam and Chavah, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivkah, Yakov and Leah.
2. Esav: Yakov buried Leah in his share of the cave - the rest belongs to me!
3. Yakov's children: You sold your portion!
4. Esav: I sold my extra portion as the first born - I did not sell my standard portion.
5. Yakov's children: You did sell it! "In the grave that Karisi (I dug)".
i. (R. Yochanan): Karisi is a language of acquisition - "on overseas islands, selling is called 'Kirah'.
6. Esav demanded to see the document. It was in Egypt, Naftali was sent to get it, for he is swift as a deer - "Naftali is a sent deer, which gives words of Shefer (beauty)".
i. This may be read, 'words of SoFER (the scribe, i.e. the document)'.
7. Chushim, Dan's son, was hard of hearing. He asked why the burial is being delayed; he was unwilling to leave Yakov unburied until Naftali returned. He hit Esav on the head with a stick (killing him); Esav's eyes fell to Yakov's lap.
8. Yakov opened his eyes and smiled - "A Tzadik rejoices when he sees vengeance, he will wash his feet in the blood of the evil one".
i. This fulfilled Rivkah's prophecy - "Why should I lose both of you in 1 day?" - Even though they died on different days, they were buried the same day.
(g) Question: If Yosef didn't bury Yakov, his brothers would not have?!
1. "His children carried (Yakov) to the land of Kena'an"!
(h) Answer: They preferred to let Yosef bury him - it was more honor to Yakov to be buried by a king.
(a) (Mishnah): Who is greater than Yosef ...
(b) (Beraisa): See how dear Mitzvos are to Moshe - all of Yisrael were engaged in despoiling Egypt, but Moshe engaged in Mitzvos - "A wise heart will take Mitzvos".
(c) Question: How did Moshe know where Yosef was buried?
(d) Answer #1: They told him that Asher's daughter Serach was still alive; he asked her.
1. Serach: The Egyptians buried him in a metal coffin; he was buried in the Nile, so its waters would be blessed.
2. Moshe stood on the bank. 'Yosef - the time has come to fulfill Hash-m's oath to redeem Yisrael; also, the time to fulfill your oath (that we return your bones to Eretz Yisrael). If you do not reveal yourself, we are clean of your oath.'
3. Immediately, his coffin floated to the surface.
i. Do not be surprised that iron floated - Hash-m did a miracle through Elisha, to make iron float.
ii. Elisha was a Talmid of Eliyahu, who was a Talmid of Moshe - all the more so, Hash-m would do such a miracle through Moshe!
(e) Answer #2 (R. Nasan): He was buried where the Egyptian kings are buried.
1. Moshe stood outside. 'Yosef - the time has come to fulfill Hash-m's oath to redeem Yisrael; also, the time to fulfill your oath (that we return your bones to Eretz Yisrael). If you do not reveal yourself, we are clean of your oath.'
2. Immediately, his coffin moved. Moshe took it.
(f) All 40 years in the wilderness, 2 Aronos (chests) traveled together - Yosef's coffin and the Aron of the Divine Presence (which holds the tablets).
1. Passers-by would ask about the 2 chests; they could not fathom that the Aron of the Divine Presence traveled with the Aron of a dead person.

2. Yisrael: It is fitting that they travel together - the deceased fulfilled all that is in the other Aron.
(g) Question #1: If Moshe didn't bury Yosef, Yisrael would not have?
1. "The bones of Yosef which Benei Yisrael brought from Egypt, they buried in Shechem."
(h) Question #2: If Moshe didn't bury Yosef, Yosef's children would not have?
1. "They were an inheritance to the children of Yosef".
(i) Answer (to both questions): Yosef's children reasoned, we will let Yisrael bury Yosef - it is more honorable that a multitude engage in his burial;
1. Yisrael reasoned, we will let Moshe bury Yosef - it is more honorable that the great engage in his burial than the small.
(j) Question: "In Shechem" - why specifically there?
(k) Answer (R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): He was kidnapped in Shechem, so it was fitting to return him there.
(l) Contradiction: 1 verse says "Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him"; another says, "The bones of Yosef which Benei Yisrael brought from Egypt"!
(m) Answer (R. Chama b'Rebbi Chanina): Anyone that starts a Mitzvah and does not complete it, and another completes it, the Mitzvah is attributed to the one that completed it.
1. (R. Elazar): The one that did not complete it (if through negligence) is lowered from his greatness - "At that time, Yehudah (who started saving Yosef, but did not complete this) went down".
2. (Rav Shmuel bar Nachmani): He even buries his wife and children - "Bas Shu'a, Yehudah's wife, died"; "Er and Onan died".
(n) Question (Rav Yehudah): Why was Yosef called bones ("You will take my bones with you") in his lifetime?
(o) Answer (Rav Yehudah): Because he did not stand up for his father's honor.
(p) Question (Rav Yehudah): Why did Yosef die before his brothers?
(q) Answer (Rav Yehudah): Because he conducted himself with authority.
(r) (R. Elazar): "Yosef Hurad (was taken down) to Egypt" - this may be read HoRiD (he lowered), for he lowered Par'oh's astrologers from their greatness (when he interpreted the dreams they could not interpret).
(s) (Rav): "Potifar, the eunuch of Par'oh, bought him" - because he wanted to have homosexual relations with him.
1. Gavri'el came (and castrated) and exposed Potifar.
i. Originally, he is called Potifar; later, he is called PotiFeRA (PaRA, exposed).
(a) (Mishnah): Who is greater than Moshe ...
(b) (R. Levi): "Hash-m said to me, Rav Lecha (it is much) for you" - Moshe told others "It is much for you", therefore Hash-m told him "It is much for you".
1. Another explanation: "Rav Lecha (You have a teacher)" - Yehoshua.
2. Another explanation: "Rav Lecha (you have prayed enough)" - so people will not say, the Rebbi is stubborn and the Talmid is patient.
(c) Question: Why was Hash-m so exacting with Moshe?
(d) Answer: According to the camel's ability to bear, a load is placed on it (i.e. according to Moshe's merit, Hash-m was exacting with him).
(e) Question: "I am 120 years old today" - why must he say "today"?
(f) Answer: Today completes my 120th year - this teaches that Hash-m fulfills a Tzadik's years from day to day and from month to month - "The number of your days I will fulfill".
(g) Question: "I cannot leave and come anymore" - what does this mean?
1. Suggestion: If as the simple meaning (I cannot walk) - but it says, "His freshness did not wither"; "Moshe ascended from Arvos Mo'av to Har Nevo";
i. (Beraisa): There were 12 steps, and Moshe jumped them in one leap.
(h) Answer (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): I cannot debate in Torah.
1. The verse teaches, the gates of wisdom were closed to him.
(i) (Beraisa): "Moshe and Yehoshua stood in the Tent of Meeting" - that was the Shabbos of the 2 - authority was taken from 1 and given to the other.
(j) (R. Yehudah): If not for the verses, we would not be allowed to say the following!
1. Moshe died in the portion of Reuven - "Moshe ascended from Arvos Mo'av to Har Nevo"; "The children of Reuven built ... Nevo";
2. Moshe was buried in Gad's portion - "(Gad) saw (that Moshe would be buried in Ever ha'Yarden, therefore he desired that portion)".
i. Question: The portions of Reuven and Gad are 4 Mil apart; who took him?
ii. Answer: Moshe was in the wings of the Divine Presence; angels were saying "The righteousness of Hash-m he did, and his judgments with Yisrael";
iii. Hash-m was saying "Who will stand for me against evildoers?"
iv. (Shmuel): Hash-m was saying, "Who is as the Chacham, that knows how to mediate (between me and Yisrael)?"
v. (R. Yochanan): "Where will Chachmah be found?
vi. (Samalyon): "And Moshe died - the great Sefer (Torah) of Yisrael".
(k) (Beraisa - R. Eliezer ha'Gadol): A voice from Heaven proclaimed to the whole camp of Yisrael, "And Moshe died - the great Sefer (Torah) of Yisrael".
1. Others say, Moshe did not die.
i. It says here, "He died there"; by Har Sinai, it says "He was there with Hash-m".
ii. Just as there, Moshe was standing and serving Hash-m - also, here.
(l) (R. Brachyah): "He buried him in the valley, in the land of Mo'av, opposite Beis Pe'or" - in spite of all these signs, no one knows where he was buried.
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