Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shemini/Beshalach: "This Is That Which the LORD Hath Spoken"

Within parshat Beshalach, the man falls every day, and each person collects one portion for each member of his family. But on Friday somehow they end up with twice as much.
כב וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי, לָקְטוּ לֶחֶם מִשְׁנֶה--שְׁנֵי הָעֹמֶר, לָאֶחָד; וַיָּבֹאוּ כָּל-נְשִׂיאֵי הָעֵדָה, וַיַּגִּידוּ לְמֹשֶׁה. 22 And it came to pass that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
כג וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה--שַׁבָּתוֹן שַׁבַּת-קֹדֶשׁ לַה, מָחָר: אֵת אֲשֶׁר-תֹּאפוּ אֵפוּ, וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר-תְּבַשְּׁלוּ בַּשֵּׁלוּ, וְאֵת כָּל-הָעֹדֵף, הַנִּיחוּ לָכֶם לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת עַד-הַבֹּקֶר. 23 And he said unto them: 'This is that which the LORD hath spoken: To-morrow is a solemn rest, a holy sabbath unto the LORD. Bake that which ye will bake, and seethe that which ye will seethe; and all that remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.'
What is meant by הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה? The implication is that this situation is what Hashem said earlier, rather than this being a new speech, and that this is something they should know. But where did Hashem say it earlier?

Well, in pasuk 5:
ד וַיֹּאמֶר ה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הִנְנִי מַמְטִיר לָכֶם לֶחֶם מִן-הַשָּׁמָיִם; וְיָצָא הָעָם וְלָקְטוּ דְּבַר-יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ, לְמַעַן אֲנַסֶּנּוּ הֲיֵלֵךְ בְּתוֹרָתִי אִם-לֹא. 4 Then said the LORD unto Moses: 'Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or not.
ה וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי, וְהֵכִינוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יָבִיאוּ; וְהָיָה מִשְׁנֶה, עַל אֲשֶׁר-יִלְקְטוּ יוֹם יוֹם. 5 And it shall come to pass on the sixth day that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.'
Though when Moshe tells it over to the Israelites, he does not seem to mention what will happen on the sixth day. Rather, all we see is:
טז זֶה הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, לִקְטוּ מִמֶּנּוּ, אִישׁ לְפִי אָכְלוֹ: עֹמֶר לַגֻּלְגֹּלֶת, מִסְפַּר נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם--אִישׁ לַאֲשֶׁר בְּאָהֳלוֹ, תִּקָּחוּ. 16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded: Gather ye of it every man according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, shall ye take it, every man for them that are in his tent.'
יז וַיַּעֲשׂוּ-כֵן, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיִּלְקְטוּ, הַמַּרְבֶּה וְהַמַּמְעִיט. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some less.
Therefore, Rashi explains that Moshe only said earlier what we saw him say, and thus he did not mention the double portion on Friday. And so the people gathered up normally, a single portion. And when it reached their house, they discovered it was double. This surprised them, which impels the rulers of the congregation to come and inform Moshe. I would guess that one could read שְׁנֵי הָעֹמֶר לָאֶחָד as two omer to a single omer portion, though this is not necessary for saying this explanation. Rashi juxtaposes it with another explanation he labels as midrash aggada, so it stands to reason that he considers this to be peshat. And indeed, it fits in with other themes developed here, such as an explanation of וְלֹא הֶעְדִּיף הַמַּרְבֶּה וְהַמַּמְעִיט לֹא הֶחְסִיר as miraculous adjusting to be exactly the omer measure, and of the explicit melting of the leftovers.

Therefore, when encountering הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה, it makes sense to fit this into this theme of surprise on the part of the people and leaders. On pasuk 22, about the leaders' report:
and reported [it] to Moses They asked him, “Why is this day different from other days?” From here we can deduce that Moses had not yet told them the section regarding the Sabbath that he was commanded to tell them, [namely:] “And it will come about on the sixth day that they shall prepare, etc.” (verse 5) until they asked him this [question]. [At that point] he said to them, “That is what the Lord spoke,” (verse 23) which I was commanded to tell you. Therefore, [because Moses had waited to convey this commandment,] Scripture punished him that He said to him “How long will you refuse [to observe My commandments…]” (verse 28) and [in saying this He] did not exclude him [Moses] from the general community [of sinners]. — [from Exod. Rabbah 25:17]
And so he understands Hu Asher Dibber Hashem as referring to something Hashem said in the past, which they should have known of, and so we also need to explain that he omitted it, and thus explain the surprise. And it is the same command, because וְהֵכִינוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יָבִיאוּ in pasuk 5 is essentially the same as the instruction in pasuk 23.

Shadal follows the lead of Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel, and notes that לָקְטוּ implies action on their part, that they collected the double portion.

לקטו לחם משנה : יפה אמר ראב"ע שהכתוב אומר לקטו ולא אמר מצאו; א"כ בכוונה ורצון לקטו לחם משנה, א"כ משה אמר להם כן ע"פ מה שאמר לו ה' (פסוק ה') אלא שלא פירש להם ענין השבת, ע"כ באו הנשיאים ויגידו למשה כי העם עשו כדברו ושאלוהו מה יעשו בו אחרי שכבר אמר להם : איש אל יותר ממנו עד בקר, וכן כתב דון יצחק.

But collecting the double-portion implies they knew to do it. And indeed, Shadal points to pasuk 5, where Hashem tells Moshe to tell this over. Just because the Torah did not report that Moshe said this over does not mean that Moshe did not in fact say this over. So why did the leaders go to Moshe to report? They were reporting the successful carrying out of his actions, and then asked the why, and what is next, for Moshe did not elaborate about Shabbat, which is what he does now.

So how does Shadal treat הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה? It is unclear, at least in the local scope of Beshalach, for Shadal says nothing there on that actual pasuk. If it refers to pasuk 5, then why should he say this? The leaders already know. It would seem to be, rather, a way of introducing new information. But does this mean something that Moshe should have said, or did say, earlier? It does not really seem so. Rather, it seems to be new information, which was meant to be revealed at this point. So הוּא אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר ה would then assume a role similar to זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה.

This plays out in the local parsha of Shemini. In Vayikra 10:1-3:
א וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי-אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ, וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ, וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ, קְטֹרֶת; וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי ה, אֵשׁ זָרָה--אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה, אֹתָם. 1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.
ב וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה, וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם; וַיָּמֻתוּ, לִפְנֵי ה. 2 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
ג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, הוּא אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר ה לֵאמֹר בִּקְרֹבַי אֶקָּדֵשׁ, וְעַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָעָם, אֶכָּבֵד; וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן. 3 Then Moses said unto Aaron: 'This is it that the LORD spoke, saying: Through them that are nigh unto Me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.' And Aaron held his peace.
In pasuk 3, Moshe says הוּא אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר ה, and continues with בִּקְרֹבַי אֶקָּדֵשׁ, וְעַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָעָם, אֶכָּבֵד. This means that we should have seen Hashem say this earlier, to Moshe, or to Moshe and Aharon. But where?

Rashi explains:
This is what the Lord spoke But when did He speak? [It was when He said], “And I will meet with the children of Israel, and it will be sanctified through My glory (בִּכְבוֹדִי) ” (Exod. 29:43). Do not read בִּכְבוֹדִי, “through My glory,” but בִּמְכֻבָּדַי, “through My honorable ones.” Moses said to Aaron, “Aaron, my brother! I knew that this House was to be sanctified through the beloved ones of the Omnipresent, but I thought it would be either through me or through you. Now I see that they [Nadab and Abihu] were greater than I or you!”- [Vayikra Rabbah 12:2]
The reference is to Shemot 29:43:
מג וְנֹעַדְתִּי שָׁמָּה, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְנִקְדַּשׁ, בִּכְבֹדִי. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel; and [the Tent] shall be sanctified by My glory.

In contrast, Shadal writes:
ג הוא אשר דבר ה': אין צורך לבקש היכן דיבר, כי כמוהו ותהי אשה לבן אדניך כאשר דבר ה' (בראשית כ"ד נ"א); והכוונה: דע כי כך גזרה חכמתו ית' להתקדש להראות קדושתו וגדלותו בהענישו את בחיריו הקרובים אליו, וזה למען כל העם ישמעו וייראו וידינו ק"ו בעצמם (עיין רש"י); והנני מבטל מה שכתבתי על המקרא הזה ב"בכורי העתים" תקפ"ח עמוד קנ"ה.

In other words, it is not reflecting some prior statement. He compares it to Bereishit 24:51:
נא הִנֵּה-רִבְקָה לְפָנֶיךָ, קַח וָלֵךְ; וּתְהִי אִשָּׁה לְבֶן-אֲדֹנֶיךָ, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken.'
There, Lavan and Betuel did not hear Hashem say any such thing, but the situation shows that this was Hashem's decree. And so too here, this was Hashem's decree, and for the reason Moshe offers, though without Hashem's explicit word. (Personally, the poetry of it and the first person makes me somewhat unconvinced of this point.)

That does not need to transfer to the הוּא אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר ה in parshas Beshalach, because he is not saying something about the phrase in general, but rather about how phrases such as this can be used. But we might think about how, in the absence of this implication of decree, this phrase is to be used. By saying אין צורך לבקש היכן דיבר the message is that without this terutz, we would look for a pasuk elsewhere where Hashem says this. And similarly for parshat Beshalach.

I don't know what Shadal said in בכורי העתים that he is now retracting, but I believe you can find out here, by purchasing it.

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