Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


In Pashas Vayigash the pessukim list the children of Yaakov who descended to Mitzrayim. The passuk states that all the sons and daughters of Leah were 33. Rashi is bothered, in the count of the pessukim, it only states 32 children? Rashi answers that the 33rd child refers to Yocheved who was born between the walls, on the entry to the city. This is as the passuk states “אשר ילדה אותה ללוי במצרים, that she was born to Levi in Mitzrayim,” which infers that she was not conceived in Mitzrayim. The Ibn Ezra asks, if so, why doesn’t the passuk mention the wonderous thing that was performed with her, that she gave birth to Moshe at 130 years old? Bnei Yisrael waited in Mitzrayim for 210 years before leaving, and Moshe was 80 years old when they left Mitzrayim. If so, it turns out that Yocheved was 130 years old when she was expecting Moshe. Why does it mention Sarah who gave birth at 90 and not Yocheved who gave birth at 130? The Ibn Ezra explains differently, the 33rd person was Yaakov who came together with them to Mitzrayim.


The Ramban says that the Torah only emphasizes miracles made through a prophet who tells someone what will be, however miracles that are performed to help a tzaddik or destroy a rasha are not mentioned. The Gemara tells us about Pinchas who killed Zimri and Kuzbi that there were many miracles which took place, yet the Torah does not mention them. By the nation of Yisrael who has the Torah, there is only miracles not natural occurrences or customs. The Torah sets forth rules and regulations which are all signs and wonders. It is not natural for one to die if he has immoral relations or eats forbidden fat. Or, if we sow the land during the seventh year – Shemita, it is not natural that the heavens will turn as iron to not rain. Only, they aren’t a change in the order of the natural occurrences in the world. We find many miracles throughout the entire Torah that are not expressed. By Avraham and Sarah, the wonderous miracle was that they didn’t give birth when they were young. Also, the passuk states about Sarah, חדל להיות לשרה ארח כנשים, Sarah stopped having the regular way of women, she became old. Yet, after not having a child for so many years, and becoming old, now she had a child, what a miracle. Whereas by Yocheved who had children, and now too, she was physically healthy and well, and was still capable of having children, it wasn’t such a wonderous thing that she gave birth when she was older. Hashem wanted to redeem Yisrael with the two brothers, Moshe and Aharon.


The Maharal answers differently, at that time everyone was having 6 at once, there were children being born miraculously all over. Since Hashem strengthened the ability to have children, even for Yocheved it wasn’t such a pronounced, special thing, to make mention of. Also, the Torah specifically lengthens to talk about the Avos. I heard another answer, that once the Torah states about Sarah that although she was old, she was able to have a child, there is no need to make mention of someone else who can do the same.


In our parsha the passuk states “וילך איש מבית לוי ויקח את בת לוי, and a man went from the household of Levi and he married the daughter of Levi.” Who is this man and who is the daughter of Levi that the passuk is referring to? Rashi explains Amram separated from Yocheved because of Pharaoh’s decree and he remarried her. Yocheved was born when they descended to Mitzrayim, between the walls, upon entry. Yet the Torah calls her בת לוי, daughter of Levi. She too, turned back into being a young girl. The Sifsei Chachamim explains that the description of בת לוי implies that at this point she was a נערה, a young girl. We see, that not only did Yocheved have a child at 130, Hashem performed a wonderous miracle that she turned into a young girl!

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