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Daf Yomi

April 10, 2023 | י״ט בניסן תשפ״ג

  • Masechet Sotah is sponsored by Ahava Leibtag in honor of Dr. Bryna Levy who helped her fall deep in love with learning.

Sotah 12

More drashot are brought about the Jews in Egypt, including Moshe’s birth and Miriam’s role in his being conceived and watching out for him when he is sent off into the Nile and when he is taken by Pharoah’s daughter.

דיקא נמי דכתיב הקנזי שמע מינה


The Gemara comments: The language of another verse is also precise based on this explanation, as it is written: “And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said unto him” (Joshua 14:6). Although his father was Jephunneh, he is known as “the Kenizzite,” although he was not actually a son of Kenaz. The Gemara accepts this proof and states: Conclude from it that Rava’s explanation is correct.


עזובה זו מרים ולמה נקרא שמה עזובה שהכל עזבוה מתחילתה הוליד והלא מינסב הוה נסיב לה אמר רבי יוחנן כל הנושא אשה לשם שמים מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו ילדה


The verse states: “And Caleb, the son of Hezron, begot children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth, and these were her sons: Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon” (I Chronicles 2:18). The Gemara analyzes the verse: The verse refers to the wife of Caleb by the name Azubah. The Sages teach that this is Miriam. And why is she called Azubah? As everyone initially abandoned her [azavuha] and did not want to marry her because she was sickly and unattractive. The verse additionally states: “And Caleb, the son of Hezron, begot children [holid] of Azubah his wife” (I Chronicles 2:18). The Gemara asks: Why use the term “holid,” begot children? But doesn’t this verse state that he married her? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This teaches us that with regard to anyone who marries a woman for the sake of Heaven, as he married her due to her righteousness without concern for her appearance, the verse ascribes him credit as if he gave birth to her.


יריעות שהיו פניה דומין ליריעות


The same verse refers to Miriam additionally as Jerioth, which the Gemara explains was appropriate, for her face was like extremely pallid curtains [yeriot].


ואלה בניה אל תקרי בניה אלא בוניה ישר שישר את עצמו שובב ששיבב את יצרו וארדון שרדה את יצרו ואיכא דאמרי על שהיו פניה דומין לורד


The verse continues: “And these were her sons [vaneha].” The Gemara explains: Do not read it as vaneha, her sons; rather, read it as boneha, her builders. In other words, the rest of the names in the verse are not the names of her children, but rather appellations for her husband, whose marriage to her built her, as it were. The first appellation for Caleb, “Jesher,” is referring to his actions, as he set himself straight [yisher] and did not join in the counsel of the spies. The second appellation, “Shobab,” is referring to the fact that he broke [sibbev] his evil inclination by rebelling against the other spies. The third appellation, “and Ardon [veArdon],” is referring to the fact that he ruled [rada] over his evil inclination. And some say: Because the face of his wife Miriam became beautiful like a rose [vered] after they were married, she was also called Vardon, due to her rose-like complexion.


ולאשחור אבי תקוע היו שתי נשים חלאה ונערה אשחור זה כלב ולמה נקרא שמו אשחור שהושחרו פניו בתעניות אבי שנעשה לה כאב תקוע שתקע את לבו לאביו שבשמים


The Gemara interprets an additional verse as referring to Caleb. It is stated: “And Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah” (I Chronicles 4:5). Ashhur is Caleb. And why was he called Ashhur? Because his face became blackened [husheḥaru] from the extensive fasts that he accepted upon himself so that he would not be entrapped by the counsel of the spies. “The father of” is also referring to Caleb, as he became like a father to his wife. The next word in the verse, “Tekoa,” is an additional reference to Caleb, as he attached [taka] his heart to his Father in Heaven.


היו שתי נשים נעשה מרים כשתי נשים חלאה ונערה לא חלאה ונערה הואי אלא בתחילה חלאה ולבסוף נערה


The phrase in the verse “had two wives” actually means it is as if Miriam became like two wives, because she changed over the course of time. And therefore the two names written in the verse: “Helah and Naarah,” were not two separate women, Helah and Naarah. Rather, initially Miriam was sickly [ḥela] and forlorn, and ultimately she was healthy and beautiful like a young woman [na’ara].


ובני חלאה צרת וצהר ואתנן צרת שנעשית צרה לחברותיה צהר שהיו פניה דומין כצהרים אתנן שכל הרואה אותה מוליך אתנן לאשתו


The Gemara expounds the following verse as referring to Miriam: “And the children of Helah were Zereth [Tzeret] and Zohar and Ethnan” (I Chronicles 4:7). She was now called “Tzeret,” for she became so beautiful that she was like a rival [tzara] to other women, as they were jealous of her beauty. She is called “Zohar,” as her face shined like the sun does at noon [tzohorayim]. She is called “Ethnan,” as any man that saw her would be aroused so much that he would bring a gift [etnan] to his wife to entice her.


ויצו פרעה לכל עמו אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אף על עמו גזר ואמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שלש גזירות גזר בתחילה אם בן הוא והמתן אותו ולבסוף כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליכהו ולבסוף אף על עמו גזר


§ The Gemara returns to the discussion of the bondage in Egypt. “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying: Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22). Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: The use of the phrase “every son that is born” indicates that he decreed even on his own nation that all their male babies must be killed. And Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says further: He decreed three decrees. Initially, he commanded the midwives only with regard to Jewish infants: “You shall look upon the stones. If it be a son, then you shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live” (Exodus 1:16). And afterward, he decreed with regard to the Jewish infants: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river” (Exodus 1:22). And ultimately, he decreed even on his own nation that Egyptian infant boys should be cast into the river as well.


וילך איש מבית לוי להיכן הלך אמר רב יהודה בר זבינא שהלך בעצת בתו


The verse states: “And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took for a wife a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1). The Gemara asks: To where did he go? Rav Yehuda bar Zevina says: He went according to the advice of his daughter Miriam, as the Gemara will proceed to explain.


תנא עמרם גדול הדור היה כיון שראה שאמר פרעה הרשע כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליכהו אמר לשוא אנו עמלין עמד וגירש את אשתו עמדו כולן וגירשו את נשותיהן


A Sage teaches: Amram, the father of Moses, was the great man of his generation. Once he saw that the wicked Pharaoh said: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22), he said: We are laboring for nothing by bringing children into the world to be killed. Therefore, he arose and divorced his wife. All others who saw this followed his example and arose and divorced their wives.


אמרה לו בתו אבא קשה גזירתך יותר משל פרעה שפרעה לא גזר אלא על הזכרים ואתה גזרת על הזכרים ועל הנקיבות פרעה לא גזר אלא בעולם הזה ואתה בעולם הזה ולעולם הבא


His daughter, Miriam, said to him: Father, your decree is more harsh for the Jewish people than that of Pharaoh, as Pharaoh decreed only with regard to the males, but you decreed both on the males and on the females. And now no children will be born. Additionally, Pharaoh decreed to kill them only in this world, but you decreed in this world and in the World-to-Come, as those not born will not enter the World-to-Come.


פרעה הרשע ספק מתקיימת גזירתו ספק אינה מתקיימת אתה צדיק בודאי שגזירתך מתקיימת שנאמר ותגזר אומר ויקם לך עמד והחזיר את אשתו עמדו כולן והחזירו את נשותיהן


Miriam continued: Additionally, concerning Pharaoh the wicked, it is uncertain whether his decree will be fulfilled, and it is uncertain if his decree will not be fulfilled. You are a righteous person, and as such, your decrees will certainly be fulfilled, as it is stated with regard to the righteous: “You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto you” (Job 22:28). Amram accepted his daughter’s words and arose and brought back, i.e., remarried, his wife, and all others who saw this followed his example and arose and brought back their wives.


ויקח ויחזור מיבעי ליה אמר רב יהודה בר זבינא שעשה לו מעשה ליקוחין הושיבה באפריון ואהרן ומרים מרקדין לפניה ומלאכי השרת אמרו אם הבנים שמחה


The Gemara asks: If Amram remarried Jochebed, rather than say: “And took for a wife a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1), it should have stated: “And returned for a wife the daughter of Levi.” Rav Yehuda bar Zevina says: He performed an act of marriage just as one would do for a first marriage. He sat her on a palanquin [appiryon], and Aaron and Miriam danced before her, and the ministering angels said: “A joyful mother of children” (Psalms 113:9).


את בת לוי אפשר בת מאה ושלשים שנה הויא וקרי לה בת דאמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא זו יוכבד שהורתה בדרך ולידתה בין החומות שנאמר אשר ילדה אותה ללוי במצרים


The verse is referring to Jochebed as “a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1). The Gemara asks: Is it possible that this is Jochebed? Jochebed was then 130 years old and the verse still calls her a daughter? Jochebed’s age is established based on a tradition concerning the number of the descendants of Jacob who came to Egypt, as follows: While the verse states that Leah had thirty-three descendants (Genesis 46:15), only thirty-two were enumerated. This was explained as Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: The “daughter of Levi” is Jochebed, whose conception was on the road, as the family of Jacob descended to Egypt, and she was born between the walls, i.e., in Egypt, as it is stated: “And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt” (Numbers 26:59).


לידתה במצרים ואין הורתה במצרים אמר רבי יהודה שנולדו בה סימני נערות


This interpolation concerning her birth is interpreted: Her birth was in Egypt, but her conception was not in Egypt. Since the Jewish people were in Egypt for two hundred ten years and Moses was eighty years old at the time of the exodus, Jochebed was one hundred thirty years old when Moses was born. In light of this, the Gemara is asking how the verse can refer to her as a daughter. Rabbi Yehuda says: The signs of a young woman were born in her when her husband remarried her, and she became like a young girl again.


ותהר האשה ותלד בן והא הות מיעברא ביה תלתא ירחי מעיקרא אמר רב יהודה בר זבינא מקיש לידתה להורתה מה הורתה שלא בצער אף לידתה שלא בצער מכאן לנשים צדקניות שלא היו בפיתקה של חוה


§ The verse states concerning Moses: “And the woman conceived, and bore a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2). The Gemara asks: But Jochebed was pregnant with Moses for three months at the outset, before Amram remarried her, as will be explained further. Rav Yehuda bar Zevina said: The intention of the verse is to juxtapose her giving birth to her becoming pregnant. Just as her becoming pregnant was without pain, so too, her giving birth was without pain. From here it is derived concerning righteous women that they were not included in the verdict [pitkah] of Eve that a woman will suffer pain during childbirth (see Genesis 3:16).


ותרא אותו כי טוב הוא תניא רבי מאיר אומר טוב שמו רבי יהודה אומר טוביה שמו רבי נחמיה אומר הגון לנביאות אחרים אומרים נולד כשהוא מהול וחכמים אומרים בשעה שנולד משה נתמלא הבית כולו אור כתיב הכא ותרא אותו כי טוב הוא וכתיב התם וירא אלהים את האור כי טוב


The verse states with regard to the birth of Moses: “And the woman conceived, and bore a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly [tov] child, she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2). It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir says: “Tov” is his, Moses’, real name, as it was given to him by his parents when he was born. Rabbi Yehuda says: His name was Toviya. Rabbi Neḥemya says: They said he was good because they saw that he was fit for prophecy. Others say: They said he was good because he was born when he was already circumcised. And the Rabbis say: At the time when Moses was born, the entire house was filled with light, as it is written here: “And when she saw him that he was a goodly [tov] child,” and it is written there: “And God saw the light, that it was good [tov]” (Genesis 1:4).


ותצפנהו שלשה ירחים דלא מנו מצרים אלא משעה דאהדרה והיא הות מיעברא ביה תלתא ירחי מעיקרא


The verse continues: “And she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2). The Gemara explains that she was able to hide him for three months because the Egyptians counted the nine months of her pregnancy only from the time her husband took her back, but she was pregnant with Moses for three months from the outset of her remarriage.


ולא יכלה עוד הצפינו אמאי תצפניה ותיזיל אלא כל היכא דהוו שמעי מצראי דמתיליד ינוקא ממטו ינוקא התם כי היכי דלישמעינהו ומעוי בהדיהו דכתיב אחזו לנו שועלים שועלים קטנים וגו׳


The next verse states: “And when she could no longer hide him” (Exodus 2:3). The Gemara asks: Why couldn’t she hide him any longer? Let her continue to hide him. Rather, anywhere that the Egyptians heard that a baby was born and they wanted to locate the baby, they would bring another baby there in order that it could be heard crying, and the two babies would cry together, as it is written: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards; for our vineyards are in blossom” (Song of Songs 2:15). The infants who were used to uncover the hidden babies are referred to as little foxes.


ותקח לו תבת גמא מאי שנא גומא אמר רבי אלעזר מיכן לצדיקים שממונם חביב עליהן יותר מגופן וכל כך למה לפי שאין פושטין ידיהן בגזל


The verse states: “And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with bitumen and with pitch; and she put the child therein, and laid it in the willows by the river’s bank” (Exodus 2:3). The Gemara asks: What is different about bulrushes that she decided to use them? Rabbi Elazar says: From here it is derived concerning righteous people that their money is more precious to them than their bodies, as she took an inexpensive material to build the ark. And why do they care so much about their money? Because they do not stretch out their hands to partake of stolen property. Therefore, their own property is very precious to them.


רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר דבר רך שיכול לעמוד בפני דבר רך ובפני דבר קשה


Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says an alternative reason for her taking bulrushes for the ark: She took a soft material like bulrush, which is able to withstand an impact both before a soft item and before a hard item. She feared that if she would have made the box from a hard material like wood, if it were to collide with a hard item in the water it might break.


ותחמרה בחמר ובזפת תנא חמר מבפנים וזפת מבחוץ כדי שלא יריח אותו צדיק ריח רע


The verse continues: “And daubed it with bitumen and with pitch” (Exodus 2:3). A Sage teaches: She daubed bitumen on the interior and pitch on the exterior, so that righteous person, i.e., Moses, would not smell a foul odor, such as that of pitch.


ותשם בה את הילד ותשם בסוף רבי אלעזר אומר ים סוף רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר


The verse continues: “And she put the child therein, and laid it in the willows [bassuf]” (Exodus 2:3). Rabbi Elazar says: This means she placed him in the Suf Sea, i.e., the Red Sea. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says:


אגם כדכתיב קנה וסוף קמלו


She placed him in a marsh, as it is written: “The reeds and willows [suf] shall wither” (Isaiah 19:6).


ותרד בת פרעה לרחוץ על היאר אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי מלמד שירדה לרחוץ מגלולי אביה וכן הוא אומר אם רחץ ה׳ את צואת בנות ציון וגו׳


The verse states: “And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe [lirḥotz] in the river” (Exodus 2:5). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This teaches that she came down to the river to cleanse herself from the impurity of her father’s idols, as she was immersing herself as part of the conversion process. And similarly it states: “When the Lord shall have washed [raḥatz] away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of destruction” (Isaiah 4:4). This washing clearly refers to the purging of spiritual sins, rather than bathing for the sake of cleanliness.


ונערתיה הולכות וגו׳ אמר רבי יוחנן אין הליכה זו אלא לשון מיתה וכן הוא אומר הנה אנכי הולך למות


The verse continues: “And her maidens walked along [holekhot] by the riverside” (Exodus 2:5). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This walking is nothing other than the terminology of going toward death, and similarly it states: “Behold, I am going [holekh] to die” (Genesis 25:32).


ותרא את התיבה בתוך הסוף כיון דחזו דקא בעו לאצולי למשה אמרו לה גבירתנו מנהגו של עולם מלך בשר ודם גוזר גזירה אם כל העולם כולו אין מקיימין אותה בניו ובני ביתו מקיימין אותה ואת עוברת על גזירת אביך בא גבריאל וחבטן בקרקע


The verse continues: “And she saw the ark among the willows” (Exodus 2:5). Once her maidens saw that the daughter of Pharaoh was intending to save Moses, they said to her: Our mistress, the custom of the world is that when a king of flesh and blood decrees a decree, even if all the world does not fulfill it, at least his children and members of his household fulfill it, and yet you are violating the decree of your father. After the maidens tried to convince her not to save Moses, the angel Gabriel came and beat them to the ground and they died.


ותשלח את אמתה ותקחה רבי יהודה ורבי נחמיה חד אמר ידה וחד אמר שפחתה מאן דאמר ידה דכתיב אמתה ומאן דאמר שפחתה מדלא כתיב ידה


The verse concludes: “And she sent amatah to take it” (Exodus 2:5). Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Neḥemya disagree as to the definition of the word “amatah.” One says that it means her arm, and one says that it means her maidservant. The Gemara explains: The one who says that it means her arm explained it in this manner, as it is written “amatah,” which denotes her forearm. And the one who says that it means her maidservant explained it in this manner because it does not explicitly write the more common term: Her hand [yadah]. Therefore, he understands that this is the alternative term for a maidservant, ama.


ולמאן דאמר שפחתה הא אמרת בא גבריאל וחבטן בקרקע דשייר לה חדא דלאו אורחא דבת מלכא למיקם לחודה


The Gemara asks: And according to the one who says that it means her maidservant, didn’t you say earlier: Gabriel came and beat them to the ground and the maidservants died, so how could Pharaoh’s daughter send her? The Gemara answers: It must be that Gabriel left her one maidservant, as it is not proper that a princess should stand alone.


ולמאן דאמר ידה ליכתוב ידה הא קא משמע לן דאישתרבב אישתרבובי דאמר מר וכן אתה מוצא באמתה של בת פרעה וכן אתה מוצא בשיני רשעים דכתיב שני רשעים שברת ואמר ריש לקיש אל תיקרי שברת אלא שריבבתה


The Gemara asks: And according to the one who says that it means her hand, let the Torah write explicitly: Her hand [yadah]. Why use the more unusual term amatah? The Gemara answers: This verse teaches us that her arm extended [ishtarbav] many cubits. As the Master said in another context: And similarly you find with regard to the hand of Pharaoh’s daughter that it extended, and similarly you find with regard to the teeth of evildoers, as it is written: “You have broken [shibbarta] the teeth of the wicked” (Psalms 3:8), and Reish Lakish said: Do not read the word as shibbarta, rather read it as sheribbavta, you have extended.


ותפתח ותראהו את הילד ותרא מיבעי ליה אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שראתה שכינה עמו


The next verse states: “And she opened it and saw it [vatirehu], even the child” (Exodus 2:6). The Gemara comments: The verse states: “And she saw it”; it should have stated: And she saw. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: In addition to Moses, she saw the Divine Presence with him. This is indicated by the usage of “saw it.”


והנה נער בכה קרי ליה ילד וקרי ליה נער תנא הוא ילד וקולו כנער דברי רבי יהודה אמר לו רבי נחמיה אם כן עשיתו למשה רבינו בעל מום אלא מלמד שעשתה לו אמו חופת נעורים בתיבה אמרה שמא לא אזכה לחופתו


The verse states: “And saw it, even the child [yeled]; and behold a lad [na’ar] that wept” (Exodus 2:6). The verse calls him “a child [yeled],” and the same verse calls him “a lad [na’ar].” A Sage teaches: He is the age of a child but his voice is as loud and deep as a lad; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Neḥemya said to him: If that is so, you made Moses our teacher blemished, since his voice was unusually deep. Rather, this teaches that his mother made a canopy of youth, i.e., a small canopy, for him in the ark, as she said: Perhaps I will not merit to see his wedding canopy.


ותחמל עליו ותאמר מילדי העברים זה מנא ידעה אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שראתה אותו מהול


The verse concludes: “And she had compassion on him, and said: This [zeh] is one of the Hebrews’ children” (Exodus 2:6). The Gemara asks: From where did she know that he was a Hebrew child? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: As she saw that he was circumcised.


זה אמר רבי יוחנן מלמד שנתנבאה שלא מדעתה זה נופל ואין אחר נופל


The Gemara comments: The Pharaoh’s daughter said: “This [zeh] is one of the Hebrews’ children” (Exodus 2:6). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This teaches that she prophesied unknowingly, as the intention of the word “zeh” was: This one falls, i.e., is cast, into the water, but no other will fall by means of water, for on that day Pharaoh’s decree was canceled.


והיינו דאמר רבי אלעזר מאי דכתיב וכי יאמרו אליכם דרשו אל האבות ואל הידענים המצפצפים והמהגים צופין ואינם יודעין מה צופין מהגים ואינן יודעים מה מהגים


The Gemara explains: And this is what Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And when they shall say to you: Seek unto the necromancers and the diviners, that chirp [metzaftzefim] and that mutter [mahggim]” (Isaiah 8:19)? The explanation of their chirping and muttering is: They see [tzofin], but they do not know what they are seeing; they enunciate [mahggim], but they do not know what they are enunciating. Although necromancers and diviners do have some insight into the future, they do not see clearly enough to understand what they are actually seeing.


ראו שמושיען של ישראל במים הוא לוקה עמדו וגזרו כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליכהו כיון דשדיוה למשה אמרו תו לא חזינן כי ההוא סימנא בטלו לגזירתייהו והם אינן יודעין שעל מי מריבה הוא לוקה


The Gemara applies this to Pharaoh: Pharaoh’s astrologers saw that the savior of the Jewish people would be stricken by water. Therefore, they arose and decreed: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river” (Exodus 1:22); they thought that their vision indicated that Moses would be killed in the water. Once Jochebed cast Moses into the water, although he was protected in an ark, the astrologers said: We no longer see in the stars anything like that sign we saw as to the downfall of the leader of the Jews by water, and therefore at that moment they canceled their decree. But they did not know that what they saw foretold that Moses would be stricken on account of the waters of Meribah. They envisioned a downfall for Moses by water but didn’t fully comprehend their vision.


והיינו דאמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב המה מי מריבה אשר רבו המה שראו איצטגניני פרעה וטעו והיינו דקאמר משה שש מאות אלף רגלי וגו׳ אמר להן משה לישראל בשבילי נצלתם כולכם


And this is what Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “These [hemma] are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and He was sanctified in them” (Numbers 20:13)? The verse indicates that these are the waters that the astrologers of Pharaoh saw and on account of which they erred. And this is what Moses said: “The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand men on foot [ragli]; and yet You have said: I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month” (Numbers 11:21). Moses said to the Jewish people: On account of me, which is an alternative meaning of the word ragli, all of you were saved, as the decree to throw all males into the river was canceled on my account.


רבי חנינא בר פפא אמר אותו היום עשרים ואחד בניסן היה אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מי שעתיד לומר שירה על הים ביום זה ילקה ביום זה


Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: That day that Moses was placed in the river was the twenty-first day of the month of Nisan. The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, should the one who in the future will say the Song at the Red Sea on this day be stricken on this day? As this was also the date on which the Red Sea would be parted during the salvation of the Exodus.


רבי אחא בר חנינא אמר אותו היום ששה בסיון היה אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מי שעתיד לקבל תורה מהר סיני ביום זה ילקה ביום זה


Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina says: That day was actually the sixth day of the month of Sivan. The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, should the one who in the future will receive the Torah on Mount Sinai on this day be stricken on this day? As this was also the date on which the Torah was received.


בשלמא למאן דאמר בששה בסיון משכחת לה שלשה ירחי דאמר מר בשבעה באדר מת ובשבעה באדר נולד משה ומשבעה באדר ועד ששה בסיון תלתא ירחי אלא למאן דאמר בעשרים ואחד בניסן היכי משכחת לה


The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who says that Moses was placed in the water on the sixth of Sivan, you find that there can be three months during which Moses was hidden after his birth; as the Master said (Tosefta 11:7): Moses died on the seventh of Adar, and Moses was born on the seventh of Adar. And based on this, from the seventh of Adar until the sixth of Sivan there are three months, which correspond to the three months Moses was hidden before being placed in the water. But according to the one who says that it was on the twenty-first of Nisan, how can you find that he was hidden for three months?


אותה שנה מעוברת היתה רובו של ראשון ורובו של אחרון ואמצעי שלם


The Gemara answers: That year was a leap year in which there were two months of Adar. Moses was hidden most of the first month of the three, from the seventh day of the first Adar when he was born, and most of the last month of the three, i.e., all of Nisan until the twenty-first, and the entire middle one. All of this together is considered as three months.


ותאמר אחותו אל בת פרעה האלך וקראתי לך אשה מינקת מן העבריות ומאי שנא מעבריות


The Gemara now discusses the next verse in Exodus: “Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter: Shall I go and call you a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” (Exodus 2:7). The Gemara asks: And what is different that Pharaoh’s daughter would specifically want a nurse of the Hebrew women?


מלמד שהחזירוהו למשה על כל המצריות כולן ולא ינק אמר פה שעתיד לדבר עם השכינה יינק דבר טמא והיינו דכתיב את מי יורה דעה וגו׳ למי יורה דעה ולמי יבין שמועה לגמולי מחלב ולעתיקי משדים


The Gemara answers: This teaches that prior to this, they took Moses around to all the Egyptian wet nurses and he did not agree to nurse from any of them, as he said: Shall a mouth that in the future will speak with the Divine Presence actually nurse something impure? And this is as it is written: “Whom shall one teach knowledge? And whom shall one make understand the message?” (Isaiah 28:9). The prophet is asking: To whom shall God teach the knowledge of the Torah, and to whom shall God make to understand the message of the Torah? The answer is as the verse continues: “Them that are weaned from the milk, them that are drawn from the breasts” (Isaiah 28:9). The conclusion of the verse indicates that the Torah should be taught to the one who did not want to nurse from the milk of a gentile woman, i.e., Moses.


ותאמר לה בת פרעה לכי וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שהלכה בזריזות כעלמה רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר העלמה שהעלימה את דבריה


The next verse states: “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her: Go. And the maiden [ha’alma] went and called the child’s mother” (Exodus 2:8). Rabbi Elazar says: This teaches that she went quickly like a maiden, i.e., with the strength of one of marriageable age, and not as the young child that she was. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: The word ha’alma is related to the word meaning to hide [le’alem], for she hid her words and didn’t tell Pharaoh’s daughter that she was bringing the baby’s mother.


ותאמר לה בת פרעה היליכי את הילד הזה אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מתנבאה ואינה יודעת מה מתנבאה היליכי הא שליכי ואני אתן את שכרך אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא לא דיין לצדיקים שמחזירין להן אבידתן אלא שנותנין להן שכרן


The next verse states what Pharaoh’s daughter said to Jochebed: “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her: Take this [heilikhi] child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it” (Exodus 2:9). Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Pharaoh’s daughter is prophesying and she does not know what she is prophesying, as the word heilikhi means: This is yours [ha shellikhi], i.e., this is your child. The next part of the verse states: “And I will give you your wages.” Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: This teaches that with regard to righteous people, not only is it so that God arranges that their lost items are returned to them, but He also arranges that they get their wages, as the son of Jochebed was returned to her and she also received payment for nursing him.


ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרן וגו׳ אחות אהרן ולא אחות משה אמר רב עמרם אמר רב ואמרי לה אמר רב נחמן אמר רב מלמד שהיתה מתנבאה כשהיא אחות אהרן


Elsewhere, the verse states with regard to Miriam: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances” (Exodus 15:20). The Gemara asks: Why is Miriam referred to as “the sister of Aaron,” and not the sister of Moses? Rav Amram says that Rav says, and some say that Rav Naḥman says that Rav says: This teaches that Miriam already prophesied when she was still the sister of only Aaron, i.e., before Moses was born.


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Sotah 12

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Sotah 12

דיקא נמי דכתיב הקנזי שמע מינה


The Gemara comments: The language of another verse is also precise based on this explanation, as it is written: “And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said unto him” (Joshua 14:6). Although his father was Jephunneh, he is known as “the Kenizzite,” although he was not actually a son of Kenaz. The Gemara accepts this proof and states: Conclude from it that Rava’s explanation is correct.


עזובה זו מרים ולמה נקרא שמה עזובה שהכל עזבוה מתחילתה הוליד והלא מינסב הוה נסיב לה אמר רבי יוחנן כל הנושא אשה לשם שמים מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו ילדה


The verse states: “And Caleb, the son of Hezron, begot children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth, and these were her sons: Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon” (I Chronicles 2:18). The Gemara analyzes the verse: The verse refers to the wife of Caleb by the name Azubah. The Sages teach that this is Miriam. And why is she called Azubah? As everyone initially abandoned her [azavuha] and did not want to marry her because she was sickly and unattractive. The verse additionally states: “And Caleb, the son of Hezron, begot children [holid] of Azubah his wife” (I Chronicles 2:18). The Gemara asks: Why use the term “holid,” begot children? But doesn’t this verse state that he married her? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This teaches us that with regard to anyone who marries a woman for the sake of Heaven, as he married her due to her righteousness without concern for her appearance, the verse ascribes him credit as if he gave birth to her.


יריעות שהיו פניה דומין ליריעות


The same verse refers to Miriam additionally as Jerioth, which the Gemara explains was appropriate, for her face was like extremely pallid curtains [yeriot].


ואלה בניה אל תקרי בניה אלא בוניה ישר שישר את עצמו שובב ששיבב את יצרו וארדון שרדה את יצרו ואיכא דאמרי על שהיו פניה דומין לורד


The verse continues: “And these were her sons [vaneha].” The Gemara explains: Do not read it as vaneha, her sons; rather, read it as boneha, her builders. In other words, the rest of the names in the verse are not the names of her children, but rather appellations for her husband, whose marriage to her built her, as it were. The first appellation for Caleb, “Jesher,” is referring to his actions, as he set himself straight [yisher] and did not join in the counsel of the spies. The second appellation, “Shobab,” is referring to the fact that he broke [sibbev] his evil inclination by rebelling against the other spies. The third appellation, “and Ardon [veArdon],” is referring to the fact that he ruled [rada] over his evil inclination. And some say: Because the face of his wife Miriam became beautiful like a rose [vered] after they were married, she was also called Vardon, due to her rose-like complexion.


ולאשחור אבי תקוע היו שתי נשים חלאה ונערה אשחור זה כלב ולמה נקרא שמו אשחור שהושחרו פניו בתעניות אבי שנעשה לה כאב תקוע שתקע את לבו לאביו שבשמים


The Gemara interprets an additional verse as referring to Caleb. It is stated: “And Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah” (I Chronicles 4:5). Ashhur is Caleb. And why was he called Ashhur? Because his face became blackened [husheḥaru] from the extensive fasts that he accepted upon himself so that he would not be entrapped by the counsel of the spies. “The father of” is also referring to Caleb, as he became like a father to his wife. The next word in the verse, “Tekoa,” is an additional reference to Caleb, as he attached [taka] his heart to his Father in Heaven.


היו שתי נשים נעשה מרים כשתי נשים חלאה ונערה לא חלאה ונערה הואי אלא בתחילה חלאה ולבסוף נערה


The phrase in the verse “had two wives” actually means it is as if Miriam became like two wives, because she changed over the course of time. And therefore the two names written in the verse: “Helah and Naarah,” were not two separate women, Helah and Naarah. Rather, initially Miriam was sickly [ḥela] and forlorn, and ultimately she was healthy and beautiful like a young woman [na’ara].


ובני חלאה צרת וצהר ואתנן צרת שנעשית צרה לחברותיה צהר שהיו פניה דומין כצהרים אתנן שכל הרואה אותה מוליך אתנן לאשתו


The Gemara expounds the following verse as referring to Miriam: “And the children of Helah were Zereth [Tzeret] and Zohar and Ethnan” (I Chronicles 4:7). She was now called “Tzeret,” for she became so beautiful that she was like a rival [tzara] to other women, as they were jealous of her beauty. She is called “Zohar,” as her face shined like the sun does at noon [tzohorayim]. She is called “Ethnan,” as any man that saw her would be aroused so much that he would bring a gift [etnan] to his wife to entice her.


ויצו פרעה לכל עמו אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא אף על עמו גזר ואמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שלש גזירות גזר בתחילה אם בן הוא והמתן אותו ולבסוף כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליכהו ולבסוף אף על עמו גזר


§ The Gemara returns to the discussion of the bondage in Egypt. “And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying: Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22). Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: The use of the phrase “every son that is born” indicates that he decreed even on his own nation that all their male babies must be killed. And Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says further: He decreed three decrees. Initially, he commanded the midwives only with regard to Jewish infants: “You shall look upon the stones. If it be a son, then you shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live” (Exodus 1:16). And afterward, he decreed with regard to the Jewish infants: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river” (Exodus 1:22). And ultimately, he decreed even on his own nation that Egyptian infant boys should be cast into the river as well.


וילך איש מבית לוי להיכן הלך אמר רב יהודה בר זבינא שהלך בעצת בתו


The verse states: “And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took for a wife a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1). The Gemara asks: To where did he go? Rav Yehuda bar Zevina says: He went according to the advice of his daughter Miriam, as the Gemara will proceed to explain.


תנא עמרם גדול הדור היה כיון שראה שאמר פרעה הרשע כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליכהו אמר לשוא אנו עמלין עמד וגירש את אשתו עמדו כולן וגירשו את נשותיהן


A Sage teaches: Amram, the father of Moses, was the great man of his generation. Once he saw that the wicked Pharaoh said: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22), he said: We are laboring for nothing by bringing children into the world to be killed. Therefore, he arose and divorced his wife. All others who saw this followed his example and arose and divorced their wives.


אמרה לו בתו אבא קשה גזירתך יותר משל פרעה שפרעה לא גזר אלא על הזכרים ואתה גזרת על הזכרים ועל הנקיבות פרעה לא גזר אלא בעולם הזה ואתה בעולם הזה ולעולם הבא


His daughter, Miriam, said to him: Father, your decree is more harsh for the Jewish people than that of Pharaoh, as Pharaoh decreed only with regard to the males, but you decreed both on the males and on the females. And now no children will be born. Additionally, Pharaoh decreed to kill them only in this world, but you decreed in this world and in the World-to-Come, as those not born will not enter the World-to-Come.


פרעה הרשע ספק מתקיימת גזירתו ספק אינה מתקיימת אתה צדיק בודאי שגזירתך מתקיימת שנאמר ותגזר אומר ויקם לך עמד והחזיר את אשתו עמדו כולן והחזירו את נשותיהן


Miriam continued: Additionally, concerning Pharaoh the wicked, it is uncertain whether his decree will be fulfilled, and it is uncertain if his decree will not be fulfilled. You are a righteous person, and as such, your decrees will certainly be fulfilled, as it is stated with regard to the righteous: “You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto you” (Job 22:28). Amram accepted his daughter’s words and arose and brought back, i.e., remarried, his wife, and all others who saw this followed his example and arose and brought back their wives.


ויקח ויחזור מיבעי ליה אמר רב יהודה בר זבינא שעשה לו מעשה ליקוחין הושיבה באפריון ואהרן ומרים מרקדין לפניה ומלאכי השרת אמרו אם הבנים שמחה


The Gemara asks: If Amram remarried Jochebed, rather than say: “And took for a wife a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1), it should have stated: “And returned for a wife the daughter of Levi.” Rav Yehuda bar Zevina says: He performed an act of marriage just as one would do for a first marriage. He sat her on a palanquin [appiryon], and Aaron and Miriam danced before her, and the ministering angels said: “A joyful mother of children” (Psalms 113:9).


את בת לוי אפשר בת מאה ושלשים שנה הויא וקרי לה בת דאמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא זו יוכבד שהורתה בדרך ולידתה בין החומות שנאמר אשר ילדה אותה ללוי במצרים


The verse is referring to Jochebed as “a daughter of Levi” (Exodus 2:1). The Gemara asks: Is it possible that this is Jochebed? Jochebed was then 130 years old and the verse still calls her a daughter? Jochebed’s age is established based on a tradition concerning the number of the descendants of Jacob who came to Egypt, as follows: While the verse states that Leah had thirty-three descendants (Genesis 46:15), only thirty-two were enumerated. This was explained as Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: The “daughter of Levi” is Jochebed, whose conception was on the road, as the family of Jacob descended to Egypt, and she was born between the walls, i.e., in Egypt, as it is stated: “And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt” (Numbers 26:59).


לידתה במצרים ואין הורתה במצרים אמר רבי יהודה שנולדו בה סימני נערות


This interpolation concerning her birth is interpreted: Her birth was in Egypt, but her conception was not in Egypt. Since the Jewish people were in Egypt for two hundred ten years and Moses was eighty years old at the time of the exodus, Jochebed was one hundred thirty years old when Moses was born. In light of this, the Gemara is asking how the verse can refer to her as a daughter. Rabbi Yehuda says: The signs of a young woman were born in her when her husband remarried her, and she became like a young girl again.


ותהר האשה ותלד בן והא הות מיעברא ביה תלתא ירחי מעיקרא אמר רב יהודה בר זבינא מקיש לידתה להורתה מה הורתה שלא בצער אף לידתה שלא בצער מכאן לנשים צדקניות שלא היו בפיתקה של חוה


§ The verse states concerning Moses: “And the woman conceived, and bore a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2). The Gemara asks: But Jochebed was pregnant with Moses for three months at the outset, before Amram remarried her, as will be explained further. Rav Yehuda bar Zevina said: The intention of the verse is to juxtapose her giving birth to her becoming pregnant. Just as her becoming pregnant was without pain, so too, her giving birth was without pain. From here it is derived concerning righteous women that they were not included in the verdict [pitkah] of Eve that a woman will suffer pain during childbirth (see Genesis 3:16).


ותרא אותו כי טוב הוא תניא רבי מאיר אומר טוב שמו רבי יהודה אומר טוביה שמו רבי נחמיה אומר הגון לנביאות אחרים אומרים נולד כשהוא מהול וחכמים אומרים בשעה שנולד משה נתמלא הבית כולו אור כתיב הכא ותרא אותו כי טוב הוא וכתיב התם וירא אלהים את האור כי טוב


The verse states with regard to the birth of Moses: “And the woman conceived, and bore a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly [tov] child, she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2). It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir says: “Tov” is his, Moses’, real name, as it was given to him by his parents when he was born. Rabbi Yehuda says: His name was Toviya. Rabbi Neḥemya says: They said he was good because they saw that he was fit for prophecy. Others say: They said he was good because he was born when he was already circumcised. And the Rabbis say: At the time when Moses was born, the entire house was filled with light, as it is written here: “And when she saw him that he was a goodly [tov] child,” and it is written there: “And God saw the light, that it was good [tov]” (Genesis 1:4).


ותצפנהו שלשה ירחים דלא מנו מצרים אלא משעה דאהדרה והיא הות מיעברא ביה תלתא ירחי מעיקרא


The verse continues: “And she hid him three months” (Exodus 2:2). The Gemara explains that she was able to hide him for three months because the Egyptians counted the nine months of her pregnancy only from the time her husband took her back, but she was pregnant with Moses for three months from the outset of her remarriage.


ולא יכלה עוד הצפינו אמאי תצפניה ותיזיל אלא כל היכא דהוו שמעי מצראי דמתיליד ינוקא ממטו ינוקא התם כי היכי דלישמעינהו ומעוי בהדיהו דכתיב אחזו לנו שועלים שועלים קטנים וגו׳


The next verse states: “And when she could no longer hide him” (Exodus 2:3). The Gemara asks: Why couldn’t she hide him any longer? Let her continue to hide him. Rather, anywhere that the Egyptians heard that a baby was born and they wanted to locate the baby, they would bring another baby there in order that it could be heard crying, and the two babies would cry together, as it is written: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards; for our vineyards are in blossom” (Song of Songs 2:15). The infants who were used to uncover the hidden babies are referred to as little foxes.


ותקח לו תבת גמא מאי שנא גומא אמר רבי אלעזר מיכן לצדיקים שממונם חביב עליהן יותר מגופן וכל כך למה לפי שאין פושטין ידיהן בגזל


The verse states: “And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with bitumen and with pitch; and she put the child therein, and laid it in the willows by the river’s bank” (Exodus 2:3). The Gemara asks: What is different about bulrushes that she decided to use them? Rabbi Elazar says: From here it is derived concerning righteous people that their money is more precious to them than their bodies, as she took an inexpensive material to build the ark. And why do they care so much about their money? Because they do not stretch out their hands to partake of stolen property. Therefore, their own property is very precious to them.


רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר דבר רך שיכול לעמוד בפני דבר רך ובפני דבר קשה


Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says an alternative reason for her taking bulrushes for the ark: She took a soft material like bulrush, which is able to withstand an impact both before a soft item and before a hard item. She feared that if she would have made the box from a hard material like wood, if it were to collide with a hard item in the water it might break.


ותחמרה בחמר ובזפת תנא חמר מבפנים וזפת מבחוץ כדי שלא יריח אותו צדיק ריח רע


The verse continues: “And daubed it with bitumen and with pitch” (Exodus 2:3). A Sage teaches: She daubed bitumen on the interior and pitch on the exterior, so that righteous person, i.e., Moses, would not smell a foul odor, such as that of pitch.


ותשם בה את הילד ותשם בסוף רבי אלעזר אומר ים סוף רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר


The verse continues: “And she put the child therein, and laid it in the willows [bassuf]” (Exodus 2:3). Rabbi Elazar says: This means she placed him in the Suf Sea, i.e., the Red Sea. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says:


אגם כדכתיב קנה וסוף קמלו


She placed him in a marsh, as it is written: “The reeds and willows [suf] shall wither” (Isaiah 19:6).


ותרד בת פרעה לרחוץ על היאר אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי מלמד שירדה לרחוץ מגלולי אביה וכן הוא אומר אם רחץ ה׳ את צואת בנות ציון וגו׳


The verse states: “And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe [lirḥotz] in the river” (Exodus 2:5). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This teaches that she came down to the river to cleanse herself from the impurity of her father’s idols, as she was immersing herself as part of the conversion process. And similarly it states: “When the Lord shall have washed [raḥatz] away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of destruction” (Isaiah 4:4). This washing clearly refers to the purging of spiritual sins, rather than bathing for the sake of cleanliness.


ונערתיה הולכות וגו׳ אמר רבי יוחנן אין הליכה זו אלא לשון מיתה וכן הוא אומר הנה אנכי הולך למות


The verse continues: “And her maidens walked along [holekhot] by the riverside” (Exodus 2:5). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This walking is nothing other than the terminology of going toward death, and similarly it states: “Behold, I am going [holekh] to die” (Genesis 25:32).


ותרא את התיבה בתוך הסוף כיון דחזו דקא בעו לאצולי למשה אמרו לה גבירתנו מנהגו של עולם מלך בשר ודם גוזר גזירה אם כל העולם כולו אין מקיימין אותה בניו ובני ביתו מקיימין אותה ואת עוברת על גזירת אביך בא גבריאל וחבטן בקרקע


The verse continues: “And she saw the ark among the willows” (Exodus 2:5). Once her maidens saw that the daughter of Pharaoh was intending to save Moses, they said to her: Our mistress, the custom of the world is that when a king of flesh and blood decrees a decree, even if all the world does not fulfill it, at least his children and members of his household fulfill it, and yet you are violating the decree of your father. After the maidens tried to convince her not to save Moses, the angel Gabriel came and beat them to the ground and they died.


ותשלח את אמתה ותקחה רבי יהודה ורבי נחמיה חד אמר ידה וחד אמר שפחתה מאן דאמר ידה דכתיב אמתה ומאן דאמר שפחתה מדלא כתיב ידה


The verse concludes: “And she sent amatah to take it” (Exodus 2:5). Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Neḥemya disagree as to the definition of the word “amatah.” One says that it means her arm, and one says that it means her maidservant. The Gemara explains: The one who says that it means her arm explained it in this manner, as it is written “amatah,” which denotes her forearm. And the one who says that it means her maidservant explained it in this manner because it does not explicitly write the more common term: Her hand [yadah]. Therefore, he understands that this is the alternative term for a maidservant, ama.


ולמאן דאמר שפחתה הא אמרת בא גבריאל וחבטן בקרקע דשייר לה חדא דלאו אורחא דבת מלכא למיקם לחודה


The Gemara asks: And according to the one who says that it means her maidservant, didn’t you say earlier: Gabriel came and beat them to the ground and the maidservants died, so how could Pharaoh’s daughter send her? The Gemara answers: It must be that Gabriel left her one maidservant, as it is not proper that a princess should stand alone.


ולמאן דאמר ידה ליכתוב ידה הא קא משמע לן דאישתרבב אישתרבובי דאמר מר וכן אתה מוצא באמתה של בת פרעה וכן אתה מוצא בשיני רשעים דכתיב שני רשעים שברת ואמר ריש לקיש אל תיקרי שברת אלא שריבבתה


The Gemara asks: And according to the one who says that it means her hand, let the Torah write explicitly: Her hand [yadah]. Why use the more unusual term amatah? The Gemara answers: This verse teaches us that her arm extended [ishtarbav] many cubits. As the Master said in another context: And similarly you find with regard to the hand of Pharaoh’s daughter that it extended, and similarly you find with regard to the teeth of evildoers, as it is written: “You have broken [shibbarta] the teeth of the wicked” (Psalms 3:8), and Reish Lakish said: Do not read the word as shibbarta, rather read it as sheribbavta, you have extended.


ותפתח ותראהו את הילד ותרא מיבעי ליה אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שראתה שכינה עמו


The next verse states: “And she opened it and saw it [vatirehu], even the child” (Exodus 2:6). The Gemara comments: The verse states: “And she saw it”; it should have stated: And she saw. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: In addition to Moses, she saw the Divine Presence with him. This is indicated by the usage of “saw it.”


והנה נער בכה קרי ליה ילד וקרי ליה נער תנא הוא ילד וקולו כנער דברי רבי יהודה אמר לו רבי נחמיה אם כן עשיתו למשה רבינו בעל מום אלא מלמד שעשתה לו אמו חופת נעורים בתיבה אמרה שמא לא אזכה לחופתו


The verse states: “And saw it, even the child [yeled]; and behold a lad [na’ar] that wept” (Exodus 2:6). The verse calls him “a child [yeled],” and the same verse calls him “a lad [na’ar].” A Sage teaches: He is the age of a child but his voice is as loud and deep as a lad; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Neḥemya said to him: If that is so, you made Moses our teacher blemished, since his voice was unusually deep. Rather, this teaches that his mother made a canopy of youth, i.e., a small canopy, for him in the ark, as she said: Perhaps I will not merit to see his wedding canopy.


ותחמל עליו ותאמר מילדי העברים זה מנא ידעה אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא שראתה אותו מהול


The verse concludes: “And she had compassion on him, and said: This [zeh] is one of the Hebrews’ children” (Exodus 2:6). The Gemara asks: From where did she know that he was a Hebrew child? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: As she saw that he was circumcised.


זה אמר רבי יוחנן מלמד שנתנבאה שלא מדעתה זה נופל ואין אחר נופל


The Gemara comments: The Pharaoh’s daughter said: “This [zeh] is one of the Hebrews’ children” (Exodus 2:6). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This teaches that she prophesied unknowingly, as the intention of the word “zeh” was: This one falls, i.e., is cast, into the water, but no other will fall by means of water, for on that day Pharaoh’s decree was canceled.


והיינו דאמר רבי אלעזר מאי דכתיב וכי יאמרו אליכם דרשו אל האבות ואל הידענים המצפצפים והמהגים צופין ואינם יודעין מה צופין מהגים ואינן יודעים מה מהגים


The Gemara explains: And this is what Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And when they shall say to you: Seek unto the necromancers and the diviners, that chirp [metzaftzefim] and that mutter [mahggim]” (Isaiah 8:19)? The explanation of their chirping and muttering is: They see [tzofin], but they do not know what they are seeing; they enunciate [mahggim], but they do not know what they are enunciating. Although necromancers and diviners do have some insight into the future, they do not see clearly enough to understand what they are actually seeing.


ראו שמושיען של ישראל במים הוא לוקה עמדו וגזרו כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליכהו כיון דשדיוה למשה אמרו תו לא חזינן כי ההוא סימנא בטלו לגזירתייהו והם אינן יודעין שעל מי מריבה הוא לוקה


The Gemara applies this to Pharaoh: Pharaoh’s astrologers saw that the savior of the Jewish people would be stricken by water. Therefore, they arose and decreed: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river” (Exodus 1:22); they thought that their vision indicated that Moses would be killed in the water. Once Jochebed cast Moses into the water, although he was protected in an ark, the astrologers said: We no longer see in the stars anything like that sign we saw as to the downfall of the leader of the Jews by water, and therefore at that moment they canceled their decree. But they did not know that what they saw foretold that Moses would be stricken on account of the waters of Meribah. They envisioned a downfall for Moses by water but didn’t fully comprehend their vision.


והיינו דאמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב המה מי מריבה אשר רבו המה שראו איצטגניני פרעה וטעו והיינו דקאמר משה שש מאות אלף רגלי וגו׳ אמר להן משה לישראל בשבילי נצלתם כולכם


And this is what Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “These [hemma] are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and He was sanctified in them” (Numbers 20:13)? The verse indicates that these are the waters that the astrologers of Pharaoh saw and on account of which they erred. And this is what Moses said: “The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand men on foot [ragli]; and yet You have said: I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month” (Numbers 11:21). Moses said to the Jewish people: On account of me, which is an alternative meaning of the word ragli, all of you were saved, as the decree to throw all males into the river was canceled on my account.


רבי חנינא בר פפא אמר אותו היום עשרים ואחד בניסן היה אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מי שעתיד לומר שירה על הים ביום זה ילקה ביום זה


Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: That day that Moses was placed in the river was the twenty-first day of the month of Nisan. The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, should the one who in the future will say the Song at the Red Sea on this day be stricken on this day? As this was also the date on which the Red Sea would be parted during the salvation of the Exodus.


רבי אחא בר חנינא אמר אותו היום ששה בסיון היה אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מי שעתיד לקבל תורה מהר סיני ביום זה ילקה ביום זה


Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina says: That day was actually the sixth day of the month of Sivan. The ministering angels said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, should the one who in the future will receive the Torah on Mount Sinai on this day be stricken on this day? As this was also the date on which the Torah was received.


בשלמא למאן דאמר בששה בסיון משכחת לה שלשה ירחי דאמר מר בשבעה באדר מת ובשבעה באדר נולד משה ומשבעה באדר ועד ששה בסיון תלתא ירחי אלא למאן דאמר בעשרים ואחד בניסן היכי משכחת לה


The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who says that Moses was placed in the water on the sixth of Sivan, you find that there can be three months during which Moses was hidden after his birth; as the Master said (Tosefta 11:7): Moses died on the seventh of Adar, and Moses was born on the seventh of Adar. And based on this, from the seventh of Adar until the sixth of Sivan there are three months, which correspond to the three months Moses was hidden before being placed in the water. But according to the one who says that it was on the twenty-first of Nisan, how can you find that he was hidden for three months?


אותה שנה מעוברת היתה רובו של ראשון ורובו של אחרון ואמצעי שלם


The Gemara answers: That year was a leap year in which there were two months of Adar. Moses was hidden most of the first month of the three, from the seventh day of the first Adar when he was born, and most of the last month of the three, i.e., all of Nisan until the twenty-first, and the entire middle one. All of this together is considered as three months.


ותאמר אחותו אל בת פרעה האלך וקראתי לך אשה מינקת מן העבריות ומאי שנא מעבריות


The Gemara now discusses the next verse in Exodus: “Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter: Shall I go and call you a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” (Exodus 2:7). The Gemara asks: And what is different that Pharaoh’s daughter would specifically want a nurse of the Hebrew women?


מלמד שהחזירוהו למשה על כל המצריות כולן ולא ינק אמר פה שעתיד לדבר עם השכינה יינק דבר טמא והיינו דכתיב את מי יורה דעה וגו׳ למי יורה דעה ולמי יבין שמועה לגמולי מחלב ולעתיקי משדים


The Gemara answers: This teaches that prior to this, they took Moses around to all the Egyptian wet nurses and he did not agree to nurse from any of them, as he said: Shall a mouth that in the future will speak with the Divine Presence actually nurse something impure? And this is as it is written: “Whom shall one teach knowledge? And whom shall one make understand the message?” (Isaiah 28:9). The prophet is asking: To whom shall God teach the knowledge of the Torah, and to whom shall God make to understand the message of the Torah? The answer is as the verse continues: “Them that are weaned from the milk, them that are drawn from the breasts” (Isaiah 28:9). The conclusion of the verse indicates that the Torah should be taught to the one who did not want to nurse from the milk of a gentile woman, i.e., Moses.


ותאמר לה בת פרעה לכי וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שהלכה בזריזות כעלמה רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר העלמה שהעלימה את דבריה


The next verse states: “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her: Go. And the maiden [ha’alma] went and called the child’s mother” (Exodus 2:8). Rabbi Elazar says: This teaches that she went quickly like a maiden, i.e., with the strength of one of marriageable age, and not as the young child that she was. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: The word ha’alma is related to the word meaning to hide [le’alem], for she hid her words and didn’t tell Pharaoh’s daughter that she was bringing the baby’s mother.


ותאמר לה בת פרעה היליכי את הילד הזה אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא מתנבאה ואינה יודעת מה מתנבאה היליכי הא שליכי ואני אתן את שכרך אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא לא דיין לצדיקים שמחזירין להן אבידתן אלא שנותנין להן שכרן


The next verse states what Pharaoh’s daughter said to Jochebed: “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her: Take this [heilikhi] child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it” (Exodus 2:9). Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Pharaoh’s daughter is prophesying and she does not know what she is prophesying, as the word heilikhi means: This is yours [ha shellikhi], i.e., this is your child. The next part of the verse states: “And I will give you your wages.” Rabbi Ḥama, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: This teaches that with regard to righteous people, not only is it so that God arranges that their lost items are returned to them, but He also arranges that they get their wages, as the son of Jochebed was returned to her and she also received payment for nursing him.


ותקח מרים הנביאה אחות אהרן וגו׳ אחות אהרן ולא אחות משה אמר רב עמרם אמר רב ואמרי לה אמר רב נחמן אמר רב מלמד שהיתה מתנבאה כשהיא אחות אהרן


Elsewhere, the verse states with regard to Miriam: “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances” (Exodus 15:20). The Gemara asks: Why is Miriam referred to as “the sister of Aaron,” and not the sister of Moses? Rav Amram says that Rav says, and some say that Rav Naḥman says that Rav says: This teaches that Miriam already prophesied when she was still the sister of only Aaron, i.e., before Moses was born.


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