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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sotah 34

SOTAH 31-35 - These Dafim have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham-Fauer in honor of the first Yahrzeit (18 Teves 5761) of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing the study of the Talmud be l'Iluy Nishmaso.


(a) Once the Kohanim's feet touched the water, the water doubled back and flowed upwards.
(b) Question: How high did the water go?
(c) Answer #1 (R. Yehudah): 12 Mil, corresponding to the encampment of Yisrael.
(d) Objection (R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon): But water flows faster than people walk - if the water returned to its flow after reaching 12 Mil, Yisrael would not have finished crossing, the water would have flooded them!
(e) Answer #2 (R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon): Rather, the water rose to over 300 Mil.
1. All the kings of the east and west saw it - "All the kings of the Emori across the Jordan and the Kena'ani kings by the sea heard how Hash-m dried up the Jordan in front of Benei Yisrael; their hearts melted".
i. Rachav ha'Zonah likewise told Yehoshua's spies that the Kena'anim heard how Hash-m hardened the Red Sea, and this left them spiritless.
(f) When they were in the Jordan, Yehoshua told them: 'Know that you are crossing the Jordan to dispossess all the inhabitants of the land; if you do not, water will flood Oseichem.'
(g) Question: What is Oseichem?
(h) Answer: Osi (me) and Eschem (you).
(i) When they were in the Jordan, Yehoshua instructed that 1 man from each tribe should take a rock and carry it on his shoulder - "In should be a sign to your children ... that their ancestors crossed the Jordan (through a miracle)".
(j) When they were in the Jordan, Yehoshua instructed that 12 rocks be taken from where the Kohanim were standing, and these should be erected where they will lodge that night.
1. 3 Tana'im measured the rocks - each rock was 40 Se'in.
2. We have a tradition - a person can carry 3 times as much if people lift a load on his shoulders than if he must pick it up himself.
(a) Based on this, we can calculate the size of the cluster of grapes the spies took - "They carried it on a pole, with 2 people".
(b) Question: Always, 2 people carry something on a pole!
(c) Answer: It was on 2 poles.
(d) (R. Yitzchak): There were poles to bear a load, and poles under the poles to bear a load.
1. 8 spies carried the cluster, 1 took a pomegranate, and 1 took a date.
2. Yehoshua and Kalev did not carry fruit - either because they were too important, or because they refused to assist in the plot to dissuade Yisrael from coming to Eretz Yisrael.
(e) (R. Ami or R. Yitzchak Nafcha): According to R. Yehudah, we crossed the Jordan in the manner of the encampment; according to R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon, we crossed one after the other.

(f) (The other of R. Ami or R. Yitzchak Nafcha): According to both Tana'im, we crossed the Jordan in the manner of the encampment; R. Yehudah holds that people walk as fast as water flows, R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon holds that water flows faster than people walk.
(g) (Reish Lakish): "Send for yourself men" - if you (Moshe) want to - one does not choose a bad portion for himself (Hash-m would not tell him to send spies, knowing the outcome).
(h) (Reish Lakish): "It was good in my eyes" - but not in Hash-m's eyes.
(i) (R. Chiya bar Aba): "v'Yachperu (they will search) the land for us" - the spies intended to disgrace the land "v'Chafra (will be shamed) the moon..."
(j) (R. Yitzchak): We have a tradition, the name of each spy relates to his deeds; the only one we know is Sesur ben Micha'el.
1. He was Soser (contradicted) the deeds of Hash-m; he made him(self - a euphemism) weak.
(k) (R. Yochanan): We can also explain Nachbi ben Vafsi - Hichbi (he hid) the words of Hash-m; Pise'a (he skipped) the attributes of Hash-m.
(a) Question: "They went up to the south, and he came to Chevron" - it should say, they came!
(b) Answer (Rava): Kalev separated from the counsel of the spies, and came alone to pray by the graves of the patriarchs, that they should pray that he not accede to their counsel.
1. Moshe already prayed for Yehoshua - "Moshe called Hoshe'ah Bin Nun 'Yehoshua'" - Kah (Hash-m) should save you from the counsel of spies.
2. "My servant Kalev had another spirit" - that he separated from their plan.
(c) "(In Chevron) were Achiman, Sheshai, and Talmai...": Achiman - he was Meyuman (strongest) of his brothers; Sheshai - he made craters in the ground (where he stepped); Talmai - he made the ground as Telamim (furrows, where he walked).
1. Alternatively: Achiman built Anas, Sheshai built Alash, and Talmai built Talbush.
(d) "Children of the Anak (giant)" - because of their great height, the sun seemed to shine around their necks like a necklace (Anak).
(e) Question: "Chevron was built 7 years (before Tzo'an of Miztrayim)..." - what does this mean?
1. It cannot mean, it was built before - one does not build a house for his younger son before his older son!
i. Chevron is in the land of Kena'an, Cham's 4th son; Mitzrayim was Cham's 2nd son.
(f) Answer: Rather, it was 7 times more fertile than Tzo'an.
1. Chevron is the rockiest part of Eretz Yisrael, therefore it was used for burial; Mitzrayim is the best of all lands in Chutz La'aretz - "As the garden of Hash-m, as Eretz Mitzrayim"; and Tzo'an is the best part of Mitzrayim - "His ministers were in Tzo'an"; and still Chevron was 7 times more fertile.
(g) Question: Is Chevron really rocky?!
1. (Rav Avya): "At the end of 40 years, Avshalom said to the king 'I will go...'" - he went to bring sheep from Chevron.
2. (Beraisa): Rams are brought from Mo'av; sheep, from Chevron.
(h) Answer: Yes! Because it is rocky, it is good for grazing flock!
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