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Sotah 37

SOTAH 37 (3 Shevat) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas: R' Zvi ben R' Zev zt'l -- HaRav Hirschel Milner, who passed away on 3 Shevat 5755 (January 4, 1995), by his granddaughter, Chani (Pogrow) Shaw and family.


(a) The tribe of Binyamin entered the sea first - "There, Binyamin, the youngest, Rodem (rules over them)" - this may be read, "Red Yam (descended into the sea); the officers of Yehudah were stoning them".
(b) Therefore, Binyamin merited to be host to the Divine Presence (the holiest part of the Beis ha'Mikdash) - "Between (Binyamin's) shoulders he will dwell."
(c) R. Yehudah: No - Rather, each tribe refused to be the first to enter; Nachshon ben Aminadav jumped into the sea first - "They surrounded me with the denial of Efrayim, and the deception of Beis Yisrael, and still, Yehudah descended (into the sea) with (faith in) Hash-m"
(d) "Save me Hash-m, for the waters have come to the point of taking my life"; "Do not let the depth swallow me". Moshe was praying at length.
1. Hash-m: My dear ones are drowning in the sea, and your are praying to me at length?!
2. Moshe: What can I do?
3. Hash-m: Tell Bnei Yisrael to go (in the sea); take your staff and stretch your hand ...
(e) Because (Nachshon of) Yehudah entered first, Yehudah merited to rule over Yisrael - "Yehudah sanctified Hash-m, and became rulers over Yisrael" - because "The sea saw and fled".
(a) (Beraisa - R. Eliezer ben Yakov) Question: You cannot say that the Leviyim stayed below, for the Torah says that they will be on the mountain (Grizim); you cannot say that they ascended, for in Sefer Yehoshua, it says that they stayed below!
(b) Answer #1 (R. Eliezer ben Yakov): The elders of the Kohanim and Leviyim stayed below; the rest ascended.
(c) Answer #2 (R. Yoshiyah): All fitting to serve (carry the Aron) stayed below, the rest ascended.
(d) Answer #3 (Rebbi): All the Leviyim remained below. They faced Har Grizim for the blessings, and faced Har Eival for the curses.
(e) Question: But it says that they will be Al (on) the mountain!
(f) Answer: Al can mean near.
1. (Beraisa - Rebbi): You will put Al (on) the set of breads pure frankincense - this means, near it.
i. Suggestion: Perhaps it really means on!
ii. Rejection: It says, (the curtain) will shield Al (on) the Aron - we see, Al (can) mean near.
(g) (Beraisa): They faced Har Grizim for the blessings ...
(h) (Beraisa): The blessings were said in general and in particular; also, the curses; they were said regarding those that will (or will not) learn, teach, guard and fulfill.

(i) In summary, each Mitzvah was said 16 times. This is also true at Har Sinai and in Arvos Mo'av - "These are the words of the covenant"; "You will guard this covenant".
1. In total, there were 48 covenants on each Mitzvah.
2. R. Shimon excludes covenants on Har Sinai, but includes those in the tent of meeting.
(j) The 1st Tana and R. Shimon argue as R. Akiva and R. Yishmael.
1. (Beraisa - R. Yishmael): The basics of the Mitzvos were given on Har Sinai; the details were given in the tent of meeting;
2. R. Akiva says, the basics and the details were given on Har Sinai and repeated in the tent of meeting;
i. Every Mitzvah in the Torah had 48 covenants on it.
3. R. Shimon bar Yehudah citing R. Shimon says, every Mitzvah had 48 covenants, each of which had 603,550 covenants on it.
4. Rebbi says, according to R. Shimon bar Yehudah, every Mitzvah had 48 covenants, each of which had 603,550 covenants on it; for each Yisrael, 603,550.
(k) Question: On what does Rebbi argue with the previous Tana?
(l) Answer: Rebbi holds that each Yisrael is responsible for each Yisrael's responsibility for each Yisrael (to keep the Mitzvos); the previous Tana holds that each Yisrael is only responsible for each Yisrael (to keep the Mitzvos).
(m) (R. Yehudah Ban Nachmani): All the curses refer to adultery.
1. Support: "Cursed is the man that will make a graven or molten image (for idolatry)" - the punishment for idolatry is much greater than a mere curse!
2. Rather, we must say that the verse speaks of an adulterer who fathered a Mamzer, and the Mamzer served idolatry; the parents are cursed for having caused this.
(n) (Beraisa) Question: "You will give the blessing on Har Grizim, and the curse..." - what does this teach?
1. Suggestion: If that the blessing will be on Har Grizim, and the curse on Har Eival - that is already explicit in the Torah!
(o) Answer: Rather, that the blessing precedes the curse.
1. Suggestion: Perhaps all the blessings precede the curses!
2. Rejection: "Blessing (singular)... curse (singular)" - 1 blessing precedes a curse, not all the blessings before all the curses.
(p) The verse also equates the blessings to the curses.
1. Just as the Leviyim say the curses, in a loud voice, in Hebrew, in general ("That will not stand up all the words of this Torah") and in particular, and all the people answer Amen - all of these also apply to the blessings.
(a) (Mishnah): The blessing of the Kohanim: outside the Mikdash, it is said as 3 blessings, in the Mikdash, as 1 blessing;
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