Author Topic: 1/5, 1/50, 1/500 ?  (Read 1502 times)

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Offline Tag-MehirTzedek

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1/5, 1/50, 1/500 ?
« on: February 14, 2014, 03:23:50 PM »
  The Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael interpreted the word translated as “armed” (חֲמֻשִׁים, chamushim) in Exodus 13:18 to mean that only one out of five (חֲמִשָּׁה, chamishah) of the Israelites in Egypt left Egypt; and some say that only one out of 50 did; and others say that only one out of 500 did.[55]
 [55]^ Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael Beshallah 19:1:19.

  Please discuss or possibly explain.
.   ד  עֹזְבֵי תוֹרָה, יְהַלְלוּ רָשָׁע;    וְשֹׁמְרֵי תוֹרָה, יִתְגָּרוּ בָם
4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked; but such as keep the law contend with them.

ה  אַנְשֵׁי-רָע, לֹא-יָבִינוּ מִשְׁפָּט;    וּמְבַקְשֵׁי יְהוָה, יָבִינוּ כֹל.   
5 Evil men understand not justice; but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

Offline muman613

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Re: 1/5, 1/50, 1/500 ?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 03:58:32 PM »
There are many interpretations to this pasuk... Some of them do not interpret it to mean only 1/5th left. A recent discussion claimed that every Jewish family which left Mitzrayim went with five children... I will explain more after Shabbat...

But the Pshat is that they left the land of Egypt with weapons (armed)...
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14

Offline edu

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Re: 1/5, 1/50, 1/500 ?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 12:58:34 PM »
Rashi in one comment on the Torah understood that a miracle took place that the Israelites gave birth to 6 children each time their women were pregnant.
If you want to minimize the miracle, you could rely on another comment of Rashi, that the Israelites married women from other nations as wives.
In the course of 7 years Yaakov (Jacob)  had 6 sons and 1 daughter from his wife Leah.
If most of the 70 that went down to Egypt, married multiple wives and married at a young age, and had highly productive wives, if you do some math calculations, you will find that the population could have grown rapidly.
The first 90 to 100 years in Egypt were relatively good years for the Israelites, where they could have had massive population growth with the help of multiple wives from other nations, given the influence of Yosef (Joseph).

Offline muman613

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Re: 1/5, 1/50, 1/500 ?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 02:54:01 AM »
Here is the explanation I was referring to...

Parshas B'shalach-Shabbos Shira-Tu B’shvat

we have Bnei Yisrael leaving Egypt in daylight not to give the impression that it was an escape. After three days Pharaoh realized Israel was fleeing. Pharaoh chased after Israel and caught up to them on the 7th day. After some back and forth, up and down, to and fro, within the waters of the closing sea, Egypt is not heard from again and is a threat to Bnei Yisrael no more.

13:18>"Hashem turned Bnei Yisrael the way of desert, towards the Suf Sea and Bnei Yisrael went chamushim out of Egypt." Rashi says chamushim means 'armed' as with weapons. To travel by way of the desert means they have to take with everything they need. Weapons were for conquering Israel when the time came. Rashi then brings another famous explanation of chamushim, from the root chamaish- 5. Only 1/ 5 of the Jews came out of Egypt. Oy!

Not as famous is the translation of the Targum Yonasan ben Uziel, who learns from Chamushim, also based on the root chamaish, that every family left Egypt with 5 kids!

Two questions should come to mind. Three, if you include, "What???" We learned back in Parshas Shemos that Hashem’s response to Pharaoh’s plans was, "Pharaoh thinks to deal wisely with Bnei Yisrael LEST they multiply? They will SURELY multiply!" Hashem caused every birth to be sextuplets! Infant mortality rate, zero! So how does each family leave with only 5 kids? Maybe we could say infants were being thrown in the river, used for bricks, killed so Pharaoh could bathe in their blood. They were born miraculously and healthy but many didn’t make it after that, r'l. Even if we buy that as an answer, still we have to ask the other question; every single family ended up with 5 children? Exactly 5?

The B’air Yoseph, whose dvar Torah this is, asks one more question. The Targum Yerushalmi has another tradition on chamushim. He starts like Rashi, saying it means 'armed' but he claims Bnei Yisrael were armed with a good deed! “Good deed”? Another two questions leap off the page! 1) What??? 2) We were just taught last parsha that a reason Hashem commanded the slaughter of the paschal lamb was that since the Jews were on the 49th level of tumah- spiritual impurity, the angels asked Him, "Why are You saving them from the others? They're both idolators?!" So Hashem gave Israel a mitsva to have some merit for being saved. And now it sounds like Israel left with a spare tucked under their belts? So question #2 is what is the Targum Yerushalmi talking about??? (As was so mellifluously expressed by question #1.)

The B’air Yoseph offers an incredible answer which makes most all translations come together!!! The 1/5, the 5, the kids and the good deed!

Hashem looked into the hearts of all Bnei Yisrael and 4/5 didn’t want to leave Egypt. They are decreed to die during the Plague of Darkness. Who was that 4/5 of Israel? In other words, whom does Hashem hold accountable? ADULTS!

Of every 5 families, 4 sets of parents were killed off leaving 4/5 of the children, now orphaned! Each remaining couple decided to take upon themselves the responsibility for 4 families of orphans!. This means, as the Targum Yonansan says, that each couple left with 5 (families of) kids! G’valdik! But if we look back we have a verse in Parshas Bo (12:37) which says, "Bnei Yisrael traveled from Ramses to Sukos, 600,000 men, excluding the children." Wouldn’t that have been the ideal place to say Israel left chamushim and we’ll bring there all these oral traditions?

Re-enters the Targum Yerushalmi’s emphasis of the good deed. In Bo it says “Bnei Yisrael traveled from Ramses to Sukos.” So these parents suffered with these children along the interstate. How bad could it be for such a trip? Maybe in Sukos they had a KiddyLand and a few hundred thousand baby sitters? But what does the beginning of our verse say? "Hashem turned Bnei Yisrael the way of DESERT..."! Dozens of children to care for and it is just them and the sand dunes! Wow! What a chesed that was! That’s why the Torah waits till now to tell us what happened!

My own addition, fitting in Rashi’s first interpretation of chamushim, that Bnei Yisrael came out armed with weapons. BANG! “Now listen up! I told you 8 kids to get your feet off the coffee table!" "Eat your vegetables! I've got the 9mm. Don't make me use it!" "I'm loading the bazooka...get AWAY from the crystal cabinet, NOW!"

Rabbi Yechezkel Fox, who taught me that B’air Yoseph, later added something from the Ohr Gedalyahu. The Zohar says chamushim alludes to not 1/5 and not 5 but chamishim- 50! Although Bnei Yisrael physically left Egypt once, spiritually they had to leave 50 times. We briefly reviewed in the opening paragraph what we learned a while back, that Yaakov living by Lavan’s was Israel living in exile! Yaakov leaving Lavan was Israel leaving Egypt at the 49th level of tuma. But as the father of all Jews for all times, Yaakov also had to portend redemption from exile at the 50th level of tuma! Hashem had Lavan run after Yaakov and their last interaction set the stage for the final redemption. Like lavan, Egypt was also a precursor of all exiles. So even though we left from level 49, the Torah tells us we also left chamushim, out of the 50th. The Zohar says this is a message in the exodus being mentioned in the Torah 50 times.

A friend of mine with a Torah CD pushed a few keys and came up with the exodus mentioned more than 50 times. I saw it in a Rishone (a late first, early second millennia commentary) that the Zohar is only referring to the times the Torah mentions the exodus in a positive sense. I understand him to mean, for example, when Israel would complain saying, “Why did you take us out of Egypt to die in the desert” that would NOT qualify in the count. If anyone can check that out, I’d love to know what you find.

It seems likely that this is one idea behind the 50 days till the revelation Mt. Sinai. Each day was another spiritual exodus from Egypt. In some senses it absolutely was. Ridding oneself of any unG-dly traits instilled from a foreign country’s culture can surely be looked at as “leaving that country”. Every day that Israel was under Moshe’s physical and, more importantly, spiritual leadership was another exodus, out from all Israel absorbed from Egypt.

This seems integral to Hashem’s command of the counting of the Omer, 7 days times 7 weeks, from the first of Pesach till Shavuos, the receiving of the Torah. Each day and each week of the count parallels one of the 7 prominent s’firos- Divine traits which we try to emulate. The 7x7 reflects the idea that no trait stands alone but every one is part of every other one. Similar to these current weeks of Shovevim, when the Torah narrates the redemption, so to during those 7 weeks, the actual time of redemption, do we also work on elevating ourselves, bringing ourselves closer to Hashem, ridding ourselves of our foreign ways and emulating more of His ways.

The first sfirah is Chesed- kindness. The first day of the first week would be Chesed within Chesed. By each couple taking upon themselves to care for 4 additional families of orphans, in an unparalleled way did Israel show themselves people of Chesed within Chesed making them well on their way to achieving their goal of being fit for the Revelation at Mt. Sinai.

4:3> “And Pharaoh says to Bnei Yisrael, ‘They are wandering in the land the desert closed in them.’ ” That's a pretty good trick, Pharaoh, talking TO Bnei Yisrael about Bnei Yisrael wandering in the desert! Rashi says the word 'to' means ‘regarding’. Pharaoh spoke regarding Israel saying, “They etc.” The Targum Yonasan ben Uziel does it again! He informs us Pharaoh IS indeed talking TO Bnei Yisrael- sons of Israel. 2 sons, to be exact! Dasan and Aviram!!!

We learned the 4/5 of Bnei Yisrael who died during the plague of Darkness were the ones who didn’t want to leave. Here are two of those Jews! Why weren't Dasan and Aviram killed during the darkness? One tradition is that when Moshe found out what was to occur during the Plague of Darkness he prayed to Hashem on behalf of the 4/5 of Jews who were to die. Hashem saved two to give Moshe an idea of what he would have been in for. Dasan and Aviram are a repeating source of trouble for Israel. Why did Hashem to save these two? Maybe we can apply the Maharil Diskin’s explanation to this question. He says Dasan and Aviram had some tremendous merit going for them.

Back in Shemos, when Pharaoh’s decree went out that straw would not be provided to the Jewish slaves but the same number of bricks were expected, production did drop off and babies were used for bricks. This barbaric substitution for bricks did not stop the Egyptians from beating the Jewish taskmasters for the shortage. One would expect this 'motivation' to be passed on to the slaves. The Jewish taskmasters, however, would NOT beat their fellow Jews. They took it all themselves. Their merit for this m'siras nefesh- self sacrafice, was so great that later on, when Hashem will tell Moshe to gather men to receive Divine inspiration to become the first Sanhedrin, Moshe will chose from these men.

After the aforementioned decree, we read that Moshe and Aharon came out from Pharaoh's palace and were met by two taskmasters who greeted them with, "Thanks but no thanks! We'd like to say you're doing fine job, but you’re not! Go back to shepherding rather than making our lives miserable!" Who would speak this way to Moshe and Aharon? Rashi says it's Dasan and Aviram (5:20). For their fellow Jew they'd be beaten and beaten again. Show them an authority figure, a Divinely appointed authority figure, forget it! "Ma'asay Avos simin l'banim"- They survived then and their ilk survive till this day.
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14