ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Sotah 12
SOTAH 12 (7 Teves) - Dedicated by Josh Daniel of Efrat, Israel, in memory of
Yitzchok Yisroel Daniel, on his Yahrzeit.
(a) The Pasuk writes "ve'Kalev ben Chetzron Holid es Azuvah Ishah ve'es
Yeri'os". The Navi refers to Miriam as Azuvah because, following an illness
in her younger years, everyone forsook her. He ...
1. ... calls her "Yeri'os" - because her face was pale like the color of
curtains (which presumably, tended to be colorless in those days).
(b) The Pasuk continues "ve'Eileh Banehah Yashar, ve'Shovav, ve'Ardon ben
Chetzron". "ve'Eileh Baneheh" means - "These are her builders" (referring to
her husband Kalev, as if it had written "ve'Eileh Bonehah").
2. ... states that Chetzron bore Miriam, when really he married her -
because whoever marries a woman for the sake of the Mitzvah (and not for her
beauty [and Miriam at that time, looked sickly]), it is as if he had given
birth to her.
(c) The Navi refers to Kalev as "Yashar" because he remained straight (and
did not adopt the error of his fellow spies), and "Ardon", either because he
rebelled against his Yeitzer ha'Ra or because his face was red (aflame) like
a rose. He also calls him ...
1. ... "Shovav" - for the same reason (because he rebelled against the
Yeitzer ha'Ra or against the other spies).
(d) And he also refers to him as "Avi" because he was like a father to
Miriam, and "Tako'a" - because his heart cleaved to Hashem (from 'Taka',
meaning 'to stick').
2. ... "Ashchur" - because his face turned black from all the fasts that he
initiated followed the episode with the spies.
(a) Kalev did not really have two wives called Chal'ah and Na'arah, like the
Navi says - but one, who was first called 'Chal'ah' because she was sick,
and then, 'Na'arah', when she recovered and regained her youthful beauty.
(b) And he continues "u'Venei Chal'ah Tzaras, Tzochar ve'Esnan". He
referred to Miriam as Tzaras because she became so beautiful that all her
contemporaries were jealous of her (like one Tzarah [rival wife] is jealous
of another), and as ...
1. ... "Tzochar" - because her face then shone like the midday sun.
(c) We Darshen from the Pasuk "va'Yetzav Par'oh *le'Chol Amo*" - that, on
the day that Moshe was born, he decreed even on the new-born Egyptian
babies - because his astrologers announced that the savior of the Jews was
born on that day, but they did not know whether he was a Jew or an Egyptian.
2. ... "Esnan" - because every man who saw her would immediately bring his
wife an Esnan (a gift), as a result of the desire that had been aroused.
(d) Par'oh issued three decrees regarding new-born babies - that the
midwives had to kill all new-born Jewish baby boys; that they must all be
thrown into the Nile, and that even the new-born Egyptian babies must suffer
the same fate.
(a) The man from Beis Levi - who followed the advice of his daughter, was
(b) His little daughter (Miriam) 'rebuked' him - for reacting to Par'oh's
second decree by divorcing his wife (Yocheved - an act which all of his
tribe emulated). She argued that - his decree was worse than that of Par'oh,
causing him to retract.
(c) Amram's decree she pointed out, was worse than Par'oh's on three scores.
Firstly, because whereas Par'oh's decree affected only boys, his affected
girls too, and secondly, because his decree incorporated both worlds,
whereas Par'oh's was confined to this world only - meaning that Par'oh could
throw the babies into the Nile, but that would not prevent them from later
receiving a portion in the World to Come, whereas if nobody would marry, the
potential babies would be deprived of life in both worlds.
(d) Her third argument based on the Pasuk "ve'Sigzar Omer va'Yakam Lach"
was - that whereas the decree of Par'oh, who was a Rasha, was not certain to
come into effect, her father's decree was (since a Tzadik's decree is bound
to materialize), as the Pasuk "ve'Sigzar Omer va'Yakam Lach" teaches us.
(a) The result of Miriam's rebuke was - that Amram remarried Yocheved, and
all the other Levi'im took their cue from him, and took back their wives
(b) The Torah writes "Va'yikach es bas Levi" (as if he was marrying her for
the first time), rather than "Va'yachzir" - because they arranged a proper
wedding (to publicise his mistake) as if it was a first one.
(c) Aharon and Miriam - danced in front of the Chasan and Kalah.
(d) The angels commented - "Eim ha'Banim Semeichah".
(a) The Torah refers to Yocheved as "Bas Levi'' - because (like Sarah) she
regained her youth at that time.
(b) We extrapolate from the Pasuk "Asher *Yaldah* Osah le'Levi
be'Mitzrayim" - that although Yocheved was born in Egypt, she was not
pregnant in Egypt (meaning that she was born as they entered the walls).
(c) We can work out from here that Yisrael stayed in Egypt two hundred and
ten years, because Moshe was born at this stage and he took Yisrael out of
Egypt eighty years later (130+80=210).
(d) Despite the fact that Yocheved was already pregnant with Moshe, the
Torah nevertheless writes that she became pregnant and gave birth after
Amram re-married her - to compare her pregnancy to the birth (to teach us
that Nashim Tzidkaniyos enjoy a special blessing inasmuch as they do not
suffer birth pains [just as they do not suffer pains during pregnancy],
because they are not included in the curse of Chavah).
(a) The Tana'im argue whether "Ki Tov Hu" mentioned with the birth of Moshe
refers to his name, the fact that he was born circumcised or to his
eligibility to be a prophet. Based on the Pasuk "Va'yar Elokim es ha'Or Ki
Tov" the Chachamim learn - that when he was born, the entire house was
filled with light.
(b) Yocheved managed to hide Moshe for three months - because as we
explained, she had already been pregnant for three months prior to the
second marriage, and the Egyptians counted nine months from the time of the
(c) In spite of having hidden Moshe for those three months, she could not
continue to hide him - the Egyptians would soon have discovered him; because
they used to bring Egyptian babies (referred to in Shir Hashirim as "little
foxes"), whom they would cause to cry, causing other babies in the vicinity
to cry too.
(a) Some say that she made the casket into which she eventually placed
Moshe of cheap reeds and not of a stronger material because Tzadikim are
more concerned about their money than about their bodies - because all their
money is honestly earned.
(b) Others attribute it to common sense. The advantage of using reeds for
that purpose is - that it can stand up to both hard and soft substances
(making it virtually indestructible).
(c) She overlaid the casket with pitch on the outside but lime on the
inside - so that the Tzadik Moshe should not smell the unpleasant smell of
(d) "Va'tasem ba'Suf" might refer to the Yam-Suf - or it might mean that she
placed him among the reeds.
(a) The deeper meaning of ...
1. ... "Va'teilech Bas Par'oh Li'rechotz al ha'Ye'or" is - that she went to
cleanse herself of the idolatry of her father (which Chazal refer to as
(b) Gavriel knocked them to the ground and killed them - because they
accused their mistress of disobeying her own father, and tried to prevent
her from saving Moshe.
2. ... "ve'Na'arosehah Holchos ... " is - that they were going to their
(c) In the Pasuk "Va'tishlach es Amasah Vatikachehah", Rebbi Yehudah and
Rebbi Nechemyah argue over the meaning of the word "Amasah". Because the
Torah uses the word "Amasah" rather than "Yadah", one of them explains it to
mean her maidservant. Even though Gavriel had killed her maidservants - he
kept one alive, because it is undignified for a princess to walk alone.
(d) On the other hand, in spite of the fact that "Amasah" means 'her hand',
the Torah uses this word and not "Yadah" - to teach us that her hand
stretched to the length that was required to pull in the casket from the
reeds (from which we can learn that a person must never decline to perform a
good deed on the grounds that it is too difficult. Invariably, like Bas
Par'oh, one receives Divine assistance beyond one's expectations and
(a) In light of the previous D'rashah, Chazal explain the Pasuk "Shinei
Resha'im Shibarta" to mean that Hashem stretched the teeth of Og Melech
ha'Bashan, to encircle the hugh rock he was holding to hurl at K'lal
(b) A similar miracle occurred - to Esther ha'Malkah, when her scepter
stretched until it reached Achashverosh.
(c) We explain the Pasuk "Va'tiftach *Va'tir'eihu* es ha'Yeled" (when it
would have sufficed to have written "Va'tir'eh ... " - to mean that she saw
the Shechinah with the boy.
(d) Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Nechemyah argue over the word "Ve'hinei *Na'ar*
Bocheh" when the Pasuk should have written "Yeled". One explains that he was
crying like a lad - to which the other one objects, on the grounds that that
would make him blemished (a blemish which would invalidate Moshe, a Levi,
from singing together with the other Levi'im - Rashi [see Agados Maharsha]).
So he explains that Yocheved had placed in the casket the materials to make
a Chupah for when he grew up and got married, in case she would not see his
(a) "Va'tomer, mi'Yaldei ha'Ivrim Zeh"! Par'oh's daughter knew that Moshe
was a Jewish child - because she saw that he had been circumcised.
(b) "Zeh" implies - that this child had been cast into the water, but that
no other child would be (in other words, the decree had ended).
(c) Par'oh's decree ended then - because the astrologers, who had read in
the stars that Yisrael's savior would be smitten by water (which they
interpreted to mean by drowning, but which really referred to the 'Mei
Merivah'), now no longer saw a sign that he would be smitten, so they
thought that the threat to them was over (because the baby concerned must
(d) The connection between the astrologer's error and the Pasuk ...
1. ... "*Heimah* Mei Merivah ... " is apparent in the words of the Pasuk
"*Those* were the waters ... " - which implies that *this* was the
punishment to which the stars referred and not drowning in the Nile, as the
astrologers had thought.
2. ... "Sheish Mei'os Elef Ragli ... " (when they complained about not
having meat) lies in the "Ragli" (which means 'due to me') - because Moshe
was telling Yisrael that it was due to him that the babies were no longer
drowned in Egypt, and that that was why they had now reached a total of six
(a) According to those who hold that Moshe was thrown into the Nile on ...
1. ... the twenty-first of Nisan - the angels beseeched Hashem to save from
drowning the one who would sing Shirah at the Yam-Suf on this very day.
(b) According to our tradition that Moshe was born and died on the seventh
of Adar - the three months refer, not to three complete months, but to the
best part of three months. That year was a leap year, leaving us with most
of Adar Rishon, the whole of Adar Sheini, and most of Nisan.
2. ... the sixth of Sivan - they beseeched Him to save the one who would
receive the Torah (which is compared to water) from drowning.
(c) Given that Yisrael cried for Moshe thirty days, and that they crossed
the Jordan River on the tenth of Nisan, we know that Moshe died on the
seventh of Adar - because Yehoshua told Yisrael that they would cross the
Yarden in another three days, and thirty-three days before the tenth of
Nisan is the seventh of Adar.
(a) Miriam offered Paroh's daughter to go and fetch specifically a *Jewish*
'wet nurse' to feed Moshe - because he refused to feed from the Egyptian
wet-nurses who first tried to feed him.
(b) Moshe was fussy from whom he fed - because the mouth which would speak
with Hashem could not bring itself to feed from a woman who had eaten that
(c) "Va'teilech ha'Almah" (following bas Par'oh's permission to fetch a wet
nurse) might teach us that Miriam went with alacrity. Alternatively - it
has the connotation of hiding, hinting at the fact that she hid from bas
Par'oh the fact that Yocheved was Moshe's mother.
(d) bas Par'oh's words (to Yocheved) "Heilichi es ha'Yeled ... " contained
an unintentional prophecy - inasmuch as they can be read as 'Hey Yeled
she'Lichi' ('Here is your own boy').
(a) What is remarkable about the Pasuk "va'Ani Etein es S'charech" - is
that, not only did Yocheved get to feed her own beloved Moshe, but that she
even received reward for doing it (one of Hashem's ways of dealing with
(b) The Pasuk in Beshalach refers to Miriam as the sister of Aharon (and not
of Moshe) - because that was when she prophesied.
(c) She prophesied - that her mother was about to give birth to a child who
was destined to save Yisrael.
(d) When Moshe was born and the house lit up, Amram kissed his daughter on
the head and praised her. Following the decree to throw all the new-born
babies into the Nile, however, he tapped her on the head and asked her what
had happened to her prophesy. That is why the Torah writes "va'Teisatzav
Achoso me'Rachok le'Dei'ah Mah Ye'aseh Lo" - because, after Moshe was placed
in the Nile, she stood nearby to see what would happen to him (and to her