Geshmack Dvar Torah

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Geshmack Dvar Torah of the Week: March 2010

Friday, 26 March 2010

We've moved full time to . this blog is effectively closed.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

We're shutting down

nah not really! just moving to - catchy isn't it? :)

things are going to be a mess for a few days til we decide what it should look like!

Monday, 22 March 2010

And they embittered their lives

"וַיְמָרְרוּ אֶת חַיֵּיהֶם" - and they embittered their lives... (Shemos 1:14)

Hashem told Avraham that his children would be in Egypt for 400 years, and yet they left after 210! Where are the missing 190 years?

There is an answer suggested that Egypt treated the Jews much worse than they should have, so as we say in ברוך המקום:

ש"הקבה חשב את הקץ - Hashem reckoned the end. What is this talking about? Hashem hastened the גאולה and reckoned off קץ - 190 (from 400)- leaving us with 210!

The problem with the suggestion that the slavery was overly bad (if such a term can be used by slavery!) is that we don't see it anywhere - but the Vilna Gaon deals with this!

The notes on וַיְמָרְרוּ אֶת חַיֵּיהֶם are קדמא ואזלא, the numerical value of which is 190! They were embittered to a value of 190!

R’ Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld points out that the גאולה from Egypt was only completed 7 days after it began, when the Red Sea when Paroh and his army were destroyed, so where is this reflected in events?

He answers that Isaac was only circumcised 7 days after his birth – so only then he became Jewish, and only 400 years from then were the Jews really free.

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Sunday, 21 March 2010

False start

Looking at the 15 steps of the Seder, ורחץ- “and we wash our hands” – is out of step with the rest. It is seemingly linked to the previous step of Kadesh. But this results in a further problem – the order is wrong! Shouldn’t we cleanse ourselves of the negative, symbolised by washing our hands, before sanctifying ourselves with positive, through kiddush?

We can ask the same question about Matza and Maror, shouldn’t we get the negative (slavery) out of the way before commemorating the positive?

R’ Moshe Feinstein answers that sometimes we are in so deep that we can’t cleanse ourselves of the negativity. We have to jumpstart the process of growth by diving in and doing positive acts despite the fact we still have negative baggage. Then we build up the spiritual strength to be able to cleanse ourselves of and be rid of that baggage – which is exactly what happened in Egypt.

There is a Chassidic analogy of a man with dirty boots in a muddy field. He must walk to the end of the field before he can clean his boots.

This is an exceptionally deep משל, but on a basic level, what it means is that when we have a problem that we can’t avoid (dirty boots), we must change the situation we are in (leaving the field). Once we have changed and grown, when we find ourselves with “muddy boots” we will no longer be in the “muddy field”. We can even take this analogy further – people can look around at the world (muddy field) and wonder how they can have faith when there is so much evil (mud) in the world. The answer is that the muddy field isn’t the problem – your boots are!

The reason we start the Seder in this way is to show us that we just need to take the initiative – Kaddish - and then ורחץ – we will be cleansed!

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Pesach for Pesach’s sake

The eating of the Korban Pesach was meant to commemorate the great miracle of the firstborn in Jewish households being "passed over" in Egypt.

If we think about this, this makes no sense. The 10 plagues were punishments for the Egyptians who had enslaved the Jews, whom Hashem calls "the sons of My firstborn (Avraham)". If the punishments were for Egyptians, why should there have been any threat to the lives of the Jewish firstborn, to the extent that we celebrate that they were spared?

In addition, by the other plagues, the Pasuk explicitly mentions that the Jews were wholly unaffected. At the splitting of the sea this is the case too. The common denominator is that no special "sign" had to be made to G-d (כביכול) that He should leave them be, and no special sign is remembered today. So why is the salvation of the Jewish firstborn different, so much so that it required demonstrable acts that they were Jews by spreading blood on their doors, and later generations then had to remember this act by eating the Korban Pesach? (Abarbanel and R’ Yitzchak Meltzen)

(Our more hawkish readers will find this familiar, these questions having been asked here)

The Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 72:2) says: Alas for the wicked who turn מדת הרחמים (Mercy) to מדת הדין (Judgment).

R' Yitzchak Blaser, a student of R' Yisrael Salanter, explained this in the following way. The Gemara (Yuma 86a) states that even though repentance alone cannot atone for a violation of a מצות לא תעשה - (a negative commandment), nevertheless, on Yom Kippur the flood of מדת הרחמים - Mercy - is so great that if a person repents, he can hve a כפרה (forgiveness) - even if he might not be worthy!

R' Yitzchak Blaser explains that what the Midrash means is that if a person had this opportunity to obtain forgiveness for sins he couldn't erase the entire year, and he turned his back on this chance,  his disdain for מדת הרחמים rebounds back onto him, and it becomes מדת הדין.

Although the Jews had served the Egyptian idols, it hadn't been out of choice. But with the Exodus over, and Hashem having saved them countless times, they had the chance to throw off any trace of idol worship and show their commitment and dedication to Him by taking a lamb, an Egyptian deity, and in their faces, roast it, eat, and put it's blood on display.

If they turned their backs on this ideal opportunity they would have incurred Hashem's wrath and מדת הדין.

The other plagues were specific punishments that the Jews were not deserving of, but the 10th plague was not “just” a punishment for the Egyptians, unlike the previous plagues, as it had a secondary function. Whilst all the plagues were punishments in that they revealed Hashem’s hand in nature to the Egyptians, the Jews were not meant to be punished in this way. But here they had an opportunity to throw off the yoke of idol worship, and had they not used this opportunity, they would have incurred a מדת הדין, and the Korban Pesach we take is a remembrance of the kindness we were shown, that led to us being saved.

This explains why the Mechilta says that the Jews were as deserving of destruction in the final plague as the Egyptians, up until the final Korban Pesach was brought.

Also, in Pirkei d’R’ Eliezer, it says that some people would not undertake circumcision, the merit of which was needed for the גאולה as well (דם פסח ודם מילה). So Hashem told Moshe to make the Korban Pesach, and Hashem sent a breeze from Gan Eden, which caused people to faint at the irresistible aroma, at which point Moshe said כל הערל לא יאוכל , and they immediately underwent circumcision.

All this shows Hashem’s great mercy, as the Targum translates ופסחתי (Shemos 14:13) as a word meaning “compassion”.

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Thursday, 18 March 2010


The Pasuk says:

וְשִׁלַּם אֹתוֹ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וַחֲמִשִׁתָיו יֹסֵף עָלָיו – ….he shall pay its main, adding its fifths to it… (5:24)

Chazal teach us that all expenses are calculated and apportioned from Rosh Hashanah to Rosh Hashanah, with the the exceptions of monies spent towards: – Shabbos, –Yom Tov, –teaching one’s children Torah, and the Medrash Rabbah adds Rosh Chodesh to the list as well.

The Tzemach Tzvi says that this is alluded to in this Pasuk.  וְשִׁלַּם אֹתוֹ- all his money, whatever he pays and whatever he earns, is earmarked בְּרֹאשׁוֹ  - on Rosh Hashanah - וַחֲמִשִׁתָיו יֹסֵף עָלָיו – and his fifths will be added to him. What are these חֲמִשִׁתָיו of which which we speak? חוץ מהוצאות שבת, תורה, יו”ט, ור”ח - with the exception of expenses for Shabbos, Torah, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh. These will be יֹסֵף עָלָיו  - added to him as the year goes on, subject to his actions.

(This is my addition, feel free to disagree)

It is worth pointing out that the וְ of ור”ח is used as part of the initials, rather than the ר of Rosh chodesh, and the end result is that the initials are a perfect reflection of the way (diyuk) the Medrash Rabba explained this concept, that Rosh Chodesh too is part of the list.

(end of my addition)

There is a story told about the Pnei Menachem, who once sent his son to school with an envelope for his Rebbe. The Rebbe refused to accept the envelope, as he did not feel he could take money from the Pnei Menachem. A few nights later, the Pnei Menachem called up his son’s Rebbe, and said that he was obliged to accept it, as זה נהנה וזה לא חסר , (literally, this one gains, and the other does not lose) a mechanism that enables someone to use something that the owner is not using and had no use for, for free. He explained with this Dvar Torah that this money was not normal money and could come into reckoning, as money spent on teaching your son Torah is not included in your “annual salary”. Presumably, the Rebbe accepted the envelope.

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The significance of the Yamim Tovim

There is a Mishna in Pirkei Avos (4:28) that says:

רבי אליעזר הקפר אומר, הקנאה והתאווה והכבוד, מוציאין את האדם מן העולם – Rabbi Eliezer said: jealousy, lust and pride removes men from the world.

The Chiddushei Harim explains that the Shalosh Regalim atone for these three. Pesach makes up for תאווה , lust, as we eat לחם עוני , poor man’s bread, which is the basest (and therefore purest?) of all foods, which should theoretically be considered wholly undesirable, and yet it is all we eat for a week, showing how we marginalise our desires, because Hashem asks us to.

Shavuos atones for קנאה , jealousy, as we say that the Torah was given בעין טוב , with a good eye, as opposed to the evil eye, which caused the deaths of R’ Akiva’s students. The submission to keep the Torah shows how the Jews were not looking at what they could get from others, as this was a unique opportunity that Hashem had offered them.

Succos atones for כבוד , pride, as it commemorates our reliance on the ענני הכבוד , the clouds Hashem surrounded us with in the desert. This also shows how we are marginalising ourselves, in that we remember our reliance on Hashem, the opposite of pride, whereby someone tries to make out how independent and great he is.


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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Matza and Maror – chalk and cheese

The Chiddushei Harim (biography here) wonders why Matzah is done in the seder before Maror. Matzah is meant to remember that we were redeemed with such haste that the Jews’ bread did not have time to rise, and  the Maror is meant to remember the bitterness of the slavery. Why don’t we reflect the way events unfolded, and do Maror first, and then appreciate the redemption with Matzah? He explains with a parable.

There was a king who had an only son, the prince. One day, the prince was drunk in the royal court and embarrassed the king greatly, for which he was banished. Day after day, and week after week, the king’s grief at what he’d done – he’d banished his only son! He sent his ministers out into the kingdom to find the prince and bring him back. A minister finds the prince, dishevelled and a wreck, in a barn in the middle of nowhere, with torn clothes and dirt everywhere.  The minister says, “my prince, the king has requested your immediate return to the palace, are you missing anything?”

“You, know, I really miss my jacket, I sold it to buy some food,” says the prince.

What’s the prince talking about?! He’s the PRINCE! He’s missing EVERYTHING – he is living in a barn! His entire life is missing, and he only wants his jacket?

The Chiddushei Harim explains to us the nimshal. We can’t understand how bad the slavery was until we’d experienced redemption. This is simple to understand – if you put your face an inch from this text you can’t read it, you can only see the word right in front of your face. To appreciate something, we need to be away from it. From darkness we understand light, and vice versa. Light is brightest coming in from the dark, and dark is darkest when the lights go out.

We need to start with redemption, as that teaches us that anything but that is what we are really lacking.

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Chametz and Matza

שבכל הלילות, אנו אוכלין חמץ ומצה, הלילה הזה כולו מצה – Who on other nights do we eat chametz and matza, whereas tonight we only eat matza?

The Abarbanel (biography here)explains that this is question is deeper than it appears. With a normal קרבן תודה, a thanksgiving offering, the sacrifice is brought with chametz and matza as part of the offering. The Korban Pesach is also a thanksgiving offering, that our houses were “passed over” in Egypt. This being the case, why are we differentiating what we bring with the Korban, we should bring chametz with the Pesach, just as we do by a regular thanksgiving offering!

The Chasam Sofer (biography here) explains the answer, that chametz is compared to the bad, and matza to the good. When we give a regular thanksgiving offering, we are thanking Hashem for the G-d He has done to us, but also the bad from which we learn and appreciate the good. But by Pesach there is no such thing as bad; even being enslaved served a “good” purpose – and it would have to – as it wasn’t a punishment for anything the slaves had done! The purpose was so that when they were offered the Torah the Jews would be able to understand and accept the concept of service. Pesach is a night where כולו מצה – there is no such thing as bad, so there can only be good.

The Chafetz Chaim (biography here) in Tetzaveh asks why Moshe was unable to build the Menorah, a problem he had not had when building everything else he had been asked to. The Menorah is compared to to the Torah – and this where the phrase “the light of Torah” originates – and it’s eternity. Moshe’s problem was that he did not understand how he could create something that was meant to reflect the Torah , as he could not understand it’s eternity. How could the Jews keep the Torah forever? Won’t there be exiles, Holocausts, Inquisition, expulsions and pogroms?

Hashem’s  answer is a perfect piece of mussar about Jewish identity. “Put it in the fire, and look what comes out”. We always perform better as a nation when facing adversity – it is from the fire that something pure comes out.

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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Pleasant Aromas

Make sure you check the main page - we just added a new Parsha sheet link, you can't miss it!

The Pasuk says “ וְהִקְטִיר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַכֹּל הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עֹלָה אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לה…. - Then, the kohen shall cause to [go up in] smoke all [of the animal] on the altar, as a burnt offering, a fire offering, [with] a pleasing fragrance to the Lord” (1:9)

Rashi explains what a “pleasing fragrance” is

ניחוח: נחת רוח לפני, שאמרתי ונעשה רצוני - pleasing: Heb. נִיחוֹחַ [This word stems from the same root as the expression נַחַת רוּחַ, “contentment.” God says: “This sacrifice] gives Me contentment, for I said [My commandment], and My will was fulfilled!”

This leaves us with three questions on the logic in this Rashi.  Why specifically with the Korbanos (sacrifices) are we told that doing Hashem’s will gives a pleasing fragrance? If the mechanics of pleasing Hashem involve doing His will, then, why don’t all mitzvos give off a ’ רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לה – a pleasing fragrance?

Secondly, the sacrifice we are discussing is actually voluntary! If the pleasing fragrance is achieved by doing what Hashem commanded us, why would a voluntary sacrifice please Him, if He didn’t command us to bring it?

The final question is that when Noah offered sacrifices after the Flood, his offerings were called רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לה,  but he wasn’t commanded to bring sacrifices either!

We can ask another question on the language used – why does the expression change? It should remain consistent – it should say  שרציתי ונעשה רצוני or שאמרתי ונעשה אמרי – I wanted and My will was done or I said and My words were fulfilled. The language should remain constant, so why does it change?

To get the answer, we need to understand what  רצון - “will” – means. Every morning, women recite the blessing “ שעשני כרצונו – who made me according to His will”. This requires explanation, as clearly, everything exists because G-d wants it to. We know that every second, G-d is sustaining existence just by willing it - so each moment existence is being sustained, this is the same as it being re-created, as it would cease to be the moment this ceased to the case. R’ Tzadok Hakohen (biography here) points out that the word for “thing” in Hebrew - דבר or חפץ -  translate as say or desire – the Hebrew reflects it’s essence; things exist because Hashem desires them to and because He says so.

The Taz (biography here) in Orach Chaim explains that this blessing is praising the positive aspects of being a woman. This is perplexing - what specific aspects of being a woman is the blessing referencing as being more "virtuous" than other aspects of being a woman?

R' Moshe Shapiro (biography here) tells us that from the Patriarchs, we have חסד, אמת, וגבורה, but what do we have from their wives, the Matriarchs?  Sarah saw that her son was being negatively influenced by Yishmael, and she insisted that her husband send Yishmael and his mother back to the land she came from. Rivka was weary of Esav, and made sure that he did not receive the blessings from Isaac, as he was unworthy, whereas Yakov was righteous. Rachel and Leah both told Yakov it was time to return to Israel after years in Lavan’s house. There is a consistent theme. We say שמע בני מוסר אביך ואל תיתוש תורת אימך-  listen my son, to the advice of your father, and do not forsake the teachings of your mother. It’s a subtle point, but an inherent quality of women is that they preserve the way things ought to be.

We see this when Hashem created the first woman: וַיֹּאמֶרְ הֹ’ אֱ־לֹהִים לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂה לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ - And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man is alone; I shall make him a helpmate opposite him."

on which Rashi says: עזר כנגדו: זכה עזר, לא זכה כנגדו להלחם - a helpmate opposite him: If he is righteous, she will be a helpmate. If he is not worthy, she will be against him, to fight him (ie to return him to righteousness).

This essentially means that Eve was created to prevent a state of לֹא טוֹב. There is a novel explanation of this. If Adam had no “other” people would say G-d is not the only one, Adam was also only one of a kind! So he needed a mate to show he was fallible, so literally, our wives remind us we are not G-d! The Chiddushei Harim (biography here)writes that the only two you can’t bluff are G-d, and your wife.

But we see that the point of Creation was for the רצון ה , that Hashem wanted people to receive the Torah, and that the woman was created to preserve His רצון, literally, שעשני כרצונו , "I was created to preserve His will”.

Now that we understand what רצון means, we can see why Rashi said ונעשה רצוני. G-d created the world by saying it should (ברוך שאמר והיה העולם) and by doing His will, the world is becoming a מקום עבודת ה – a place for service of Hashem. This means the world is fulfilling it's purpose. This is actually a Rashi in Zevachim (2b). As such, it is clear that only by bringing sacrifices can we say it is a pleasing fragrance to Hashem, as the only thing called עבודה is the Korbanos! This explains why a voluntary sacrifice is also included, and Noah’s too! The Medrash Rabba points out that since no idol worship existed when Noah offered his sacrifices, his was the most pleasant of all.

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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Start your day...

For a cracker from our archives, click here

"נְדָבָה בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר every morning" (36:6)

The Sfas Emes (biography here) explains that sharing and giving has to be our first instinct, at the beginning of every day.

The Vilna Gaon (biography here) expounded further on this point. The final bracha in Tfilas HaShachar is Hamaavir Sheina - Who removes sleep from our eyes - and what follows is the Yehi Ratzon - May it be Your Will - that lists various mitzvos we would like to be able to do. We do not pause between them to say Amen. The Vilna Gaon explains that we must start as we mean to continue - we thank Him for removing sleep from our eyes, and immediately pray for opportunities to do mitzvos.

There is a story about R' Meir Schapiro (biography here), who was fundrasing for his yeshiva in pre-war Europe. He had made his way through a new town, and heard stories about a man who lived there, who was fabulously wealthy. He knocked on the door, and requested to meet with the gentleman. He was informed that the gentleman was asleep, so R' Meir requested to come inside and learn, until the owner arose. When he finally did wake up, he flatly refused to donate to the yeshiva, and R' Meir gave a sad smile, and said "You shouldn't have woken up then. I understand this pasuk now".

The emphasis on every morning is a clear piece of mussar and a lesson for us that we must strive to help, share and give at every opportunity, even (especially?) at times that are inconvenient.

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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Shabbos Kodesh

A fantastic piece from the Meshech Chochma, R' Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (bigraphy here).

The Pasuk says: וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הִוא לָכֶם מְחַלְלֶיהָ מוֹת יוּמָת כִּי כָּל הָעֹשֶׂה בָהּ מְלָאכָה וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִקֶּרֶב עַמֶּיהָ - Keep the Sabbath, for it is a sacred thing for you. Those who desecrate it shall be put to death, for whoever performs work on it, that soul will be cut off from the midst of its people. (31:14)

The concept of being put to death for breaking Shabbos is odd from a logical perspective - one is commanded to break Shabbos to save another Jew's life, and even in a case where there is only a possibility of there being a danger to someone, one is still commanded to break Shabbos. So it is clear that a human life is more precious than Shabbos, but this being the case, how can we put someone to death who breaks it? Isn't this counter-intuitive?

R' Meir Simcha explains the answer beautifully. Shabbos is less sacred than a Jew, as without a Jew observing Shabbos, Shabbos essentially isn't there. As such, everything about Shabbos, including the very purpose of Creation, is solely remembered by a Jew who observes it, and this means that Shabbos is "indebted" to the Jew, and we therefore forego it to save a Jew's life.

Not so by someone who desecrates Shabbos. Such a person cuts himself off from the the connection to Hashem and the Torah, and it is better for this person to die and get atonement like that than for him to survive and continue in his ways.

So this is what the Pasuk is telling us: "וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הִוא לָכֶם - Keep the Sabbath, for it is a sacred thing for you", ie it is vitally important for Jews to honour and observe Shabbos, because if they don't, who will? Therefore " מְחַלְלֶיהָ מוֹת יוּמָת - Those who desecrate it shall be put to death", because someone who desecrates it has lowered themselves to below the level of Shabbos, the sign Hashem gave us. "כִּי כָּל הָעֹשֶׂה בָהּ מְלָאכָה וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִקֶּרֶב עַמֶּיהָ - for whoever performs work on it, that soul will be cut off from the midst of its people" - this person has lowered himself beneath Shabbos by desecrating it, and has therefore alienated himself from what made his people special - that their lives were holier than Shabbos, by keeping it. Only a person who cuts himself off by desecrating Shabbos is suitable to be put to death in the name of Shabbos, so we see that it is not counter intuitive at all to put someone to death in the name of Shabbos.

This shows the level of detail in the Pasuk, that the Torah explains the mechanics of why someone is put to death for breaking Shabbos.


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Monday, 1 March 2010

Tribal lands

Twice in our history Hashem has said He wanted to destroy the Jews, and twice Moshe "argued" with Hashem and won: by the Golden Calf and the spies.

The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 44:9 + Bamidbar Rabba 16:22) have 4 stage conversations with Moshe and Hashem:
1. Hashem says He wants to destroy the Jews
2. Moshe says that Hashem made a promise to the Patriarchs
3. Hashem says that He will let Moshe be the sole survivor, and fulfil the promise through Moshe

Here is where they differ - at the Golden Calf Moshe says that he cannot become a nation, as he only represents one tribe - Levi! Moshe says that all the Tribes have an assurance, at which point Hashem concedes the argument and lets the Jews live.

By the spies, this fourth point is different - Moshe says that letting the nation continue through him would be a Chillul Hashem - a desecration of G-d's Name - that people would speculate that Hashem could not sustain them in the desert, and so they died. Hashem replies that these people will have heard of His miracles in Egypt, so this would have no basis! Moshe counters by saying that perhaps people will say that the kings of Canaan were too great for the G-d of the Jews, at which point G-d concedes the argument and lets the Jews live.

R' Yehoshua Hartman points out that it is clear that the Golden Calf argument was better - life continued as normal. The spies arguments clearly wasn't so great - all the Jews of that generation died out and they wandered in the desert for an additional 39 years as a result! Why didn't Moshe use the tried and tested winning argument, that the Tribes also had an assurance?

In our Parsha, Ki Sisa, Moshe says: זְכֹר לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לָהֶם בָּךְ וַתְּדַבֵּר אֲלֵהֶם אַרְבֶּה אֶת זַרְעֲכֶם כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם וְכָל הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי אֶתֵּן לְזַרְעֲכֶם וְנָחֲלוּ לְעֹלָם - "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your very Self, and to whom You said: 'I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens, and all this land which I said that I would give to your seed, they shall keep it as their possession forever'" (32:13)

Where is the assurance about the Tribes? And why mention the promise about the land, out of all the promises He had made to the Patriarchs?

The Gemara (Bava Basra 122a) discusses how the land was divided up, and concludes that it was divided up amongst the tribes. The Brisker Rov points out that mentioning the land is therefore a mention of the tribes, which answers a point that may be bothering the more astute reader - what assurance to the tribes were we referring to?)

Armed as we are with this knowledge, the Ramban (14:17) answers why Moshe could not winning argument that had worked so well by the Golden Calf again when he argued with GHashem about the spies - he could not mention the land - as the spies had explicitly stated that they did not want it!

R' Yehoshua Hartman points out the difference between the question and answer stage. When we asked why Moshe could not use the winning argument, we thought that the assurance was independent of anything, at the answer stage we realised that the assurance is tied and intrinsic to the land.

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