Friday, July 20, 2012

posts so far for parashat Masei


1. What about the yerach ben yomo?

3. Masei Sources, 2012 edition


  1. Encoding the masaot to prove the miracles -- Ramban brings together many different opinions.
  2. Masei as the last sidra in the Torah -- Yes, I know there is a whole sefer in front of us, sefer Devarim, but that is Mishneh Torah. We should still consider the first four sefarim as a unit, such that we should expect some closure to the Torah.
  3. Masei sources -- further expanded. For instance, many more meforshei Rashi.
  4. How did Hashem judge the Egyptian deitiesIdols melting, judges judged, or national guardian angels getting their comeuppance
  5. The megillat hamasaot and the parasha of Bilaam -- According to Rav Gifter, both were written separately. The list of  masaot as they made their way through the midbar, and the parasha of Bilaam as something separate. Themasaot were added to the Torah, but the parasha of Bilaam was not, and is not the same as our parashat Balak. I consider this idea.
  6. YU Torah on parshas Masei.
  7. Why exile, and why until the Kohen Gadol's deathWhy should the accidental killer receive a punishment of exile? And why should he go free when the Kohen Gadol dies? It seems a bit strange, and some reason behind these details would be nice. Chazal have a machlokes whether darshinan taamah dikra. Do we try to find the reason behind mitzvos. Even though we decide against, that is only as it impacts halacha, such that we do not say that where the reason fails, the commandment fails. But it still is a mitzvah of Talmud Torah to engage in such inquiry.

    Rambam and Ibn Caspi discuss what the motivation behind these details might be, from (what seems to me to be) a rationalist perspective.  Plus, I offer my own suggestion, based on a parallel to Kayin and Hevel, based on Ancient Near Eastern law, and based on the idea of the Kohen Gadol having a ritual role.


  1. Masei sources -- revamped.
  2. Harmonizing the order of the Bnos Tzelophchad -- Yet another instance of the Samaritan Torah going about its program of harmonizing texts to make them consistent or solve problems.

  1. Masei sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online Mikraos Gedolos, plus a variety of meforshim on the parsha and haftara. Plus a bunch of meforshim commenting upon Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra, Targum, Midrash, and the Masora.
  2. Mizrachi's map -- I make no interesting points here, but show an image of a map from Mizrachi in explaining a Rashi. I note this map in this post, about a chassidic school that forbids using / drawing of maps. And see this post at Menachem Mendel about Rashi's maps and drawings.

  1. What did the king of Arad hear? Did he hear that they were coming, or did he hear of the death of Aharon and that the Israelites were vulnerable?
  2. "And Moshe Wrote" -- does this indicate extra material tacked on? And how this relates to the dispute between Ibn Ezra and Ramban whether al-pi Hashem is connected to the Israelites' travels or with Moshe's writing.
  3. Furthermore, Ibn Ezra's reading is against the trup. But is it possible that Ibn Ezra did not realize this? I think it likely.
  4. Did Joshua add the section about Arad? Why would we think that, and how we can resolve this.
  5. The Egyptians, occupied with burial. And how that may easily translate to Rava's midrash about why "the land which consumes its inhabitants" was a good thing for the spies.

  1. Was any daughter of Tzelaphchad smarter than any other? The dispute between Rashi and Rashbam, in interpreting the relevant gemara.
  2. The marriage of the daughters of Tzelaphchad, and marrying in birth order.
  3. *If* Yovel comes -- can Yovel cease?
  4. Moshe Rabbenu's Beis Medrash. Was Torah not in Shamayim, even in the days of Moshe?

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