Vayelech: The Good, The Bad, & The Beautiful ~ Tzvi Abrahams

Parshas וַיֵלֶך

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

רָעָה: evil, bad

רוֹעֶה: shepherd

מַרְעֶה: pasture

תְּרוּעָה: teruah, sound of the shofar

רֵעַ: friend, companion

רַעְיוֹן: idea

הָרִיעוּ לַה’: singing to Hashem, calling out to Hashem

רָעָה

וְאָנֹכִי הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר פָּנַי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא עַל כָּל הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה כִּי פָנָה אֶל אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים
And I will surely hide my face on that day on all the evil that was done in turning to other gods.

What is the definition of evil? Turning our backs on Hashem and serving other gods.

When we abandon the רוֹעֶה/shepherd, we do רָע/evil in the eyes of Hashem. רָע is a life without G-d. Instead of allowing ourselves to be directed like sheep, we desire to be like the shepherd and be in charge of our own life, a life where I know best, where I am the director, where everything that happens is up to me. This is the serving of false gods, i.e., ourselves, which is evil in the eyes of Hashem.

Instead of worshipping the shepherd, Egypt worshipped the sheep. The sheep was one of their gods, and for this reason they despised the עִבְרִים/Hebrews who were a nation led by shepherds, the seven shepherds Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon, and David. Man must recognize his place in the world and recognize who is the sheep and who is the shepherd.

רוֹעֶה: Shepherd

אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים
I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me the shepherd of roses.

מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד ה’ רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא יַרְבִּיצֵנִי עַל מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי
A Psalm of David: Hashem is my Shepherd, I will not lack; in pleasant fields He will lay me down, by calm waters he will lead me.

The children of Israel are often compared to sheep who are guided by the loving hand of Hashem, their Shepherd.

A רוֹעֶה/shepherd looks after the flock to make sure they come to no רָע/harm.

There is a wonderful children’s storybook about Dasi the sheep whose friends try to flee from the restrictive life under the shepherd. They want to be free, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. They run away and are attacked by wolves. Without the רוֹעֶה/shepherd, one is open to רָע/harm.

מַרְעֶה: Pasture

To turn one’s back on the רוֹעֶה/shepherd is inherently רָע/evil in the eyes of Hashem. Hashem gave us Eretz Yisrael with beautiful מַרְעֶה/pastures to graze on, however we became fat and rejected G-d, as it says: וַיִּשְׁמַן יְשֻׁרוּן וַיִּבְעָט שָׁמַנְתָּ עָבִיתָ כָּשִׂיתָ וַיִּטֹּשׁ אֱ-לוֹהַ.

Eretz Yisrael is the land of the Shepherd, the land of Hashem. As long as the sheep listen to the sound of the Shepherd the land will produce, but if the sheep abandon the Shepherd, then Hashem hides himself and in turn the land rejects its nature to produce, the pastures/מַרְעֶה dry up, and the nation starves. There is no longer any Divine protection. The wolves are sent in to devour the sheep. The song of הַאַזִינוּ testifies to what will be:

וְאָעִידָה בָּם אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ…. וְקָרָאת אֶתְכֶם הָרָעָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים
And I will testify in them, the Heaven and the Earth…and it will happen to you the evil in the end of days, where the purpose of all the רָעוֹת/evils that will befall the Jewish Nation is in order to cause us to return to the Shepherd and to realize that our very survival is inherent on His protection and guidance. 

תְּרוּעָה / קוֹל הַשׁוֹפָר: Teruah, the Sound of the Shofar

אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם יוֹדְעֵי תְרוּעָה/Happy are the people who know the teruah, who know how to connect to Hashem.

The shofar is sounded when we move camps, to gather us together, to announce that the King is coming (as on Har Sinai), and to accompany the daily tamid sacrifices.

The sound of the תְּרוּעָה in war is to confound the enemy, causing him to disperse, and has the power to break down walls (e.g., the walls of Yericho).

The תְּרוּעָה therefore has the duality to gather together and to disperse.

תְּקַע בְּשֹׁפָר גָדוֹל לְחֵרוּתֵינוּ/on that great day, Hashem will gather us in and confound our enemies — good for one and bad for the other. Sharp, piercing sounds can really shatter and confound someone, even though the person who blows it is not troubled.

When a shepherd wants to gather in his flock, he can use sounds and whistles. When a shepherd herds together, it is a time of רֵיעוּת/connection, which is לָשׁוֹן חִיבָּה/a closeness in coming together. But if, chas v’shalom, we choose to disband, to walk away and turn our back on the Shepherd, it will be bad for us — we will be open to attack from the seventy wolves. We will lose our protection, as the pasuk says:  רָעוֹת רַבּוֹת וְצָרוֹת/troubled times will befall us.

As a nation, the goal of the shofar blast is to disperse our enemies and gather us in. On an individual level, the goal of the shofar is to wake us up and shatter our קְלִיפּוֹת/blockages and cause them to flee. When we see that we can overcome our enemies, then we can come forward without fear and be gathered in (because fear is one of our blockages).

רֵעַ: Friend, Companion

In the verse quoted above, אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם יוֹדְעֵי תְרוּעָה, תְּרוּעָה means the ones who know how to connect to and be bonded with Hashem. תְּרוּעָה, as we have seen, is the sound of the shepherd calling us through the shofar, which has the power to break down walls and connect us to our source.

רֵעַ/friend is therefore someone whom we are connected to and whom we feel closer to.

וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵיעַךָ כְּמוֹךָ/and you shall love your friend like yourself. A man’s wife is called רֵיעוּתוֹ/his friend, the one whom he is most connected to, to the point where the mitzvah of וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵיעַךָ כְּמוֹךָ is best fulfilled through loving one’s wife, to the point they are called רֵעִים אַהוּבִים/beloved companions.

וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵיעַךָ כְּמוֹךָ אַנִי ה’
To accept with love our רָע/problems and to recognize that they all come from Hashem with love. This is the meaning of יִסוּרִין מֵאַהַבָה, where our problems do not come about because Hashem hates us or wants to punish us, but rather from His love, as a father acts towards his son.

רַעְיוֹן: Idea

One of the reasons our forefathers were shepherds was in order to draw closer to Hashem through being alone in the fields, away from society, which enhanced contemplation. קוֹל דְמָמָה דַקָה/Hashem is heard in the silence, and when our minds are connected to a higher place (to the רוֹעֶה), we are able to receive his רַעְיוֹנוֹת/ideas. 

הָרִיעוּ לַה’: Singing to Hashem, Calling Out to Hashem

לְכוּ נְרַנְּנָה לַה’ נָרִיעָה לְצוּר יִשְׁעֵנוּ.

Come let us sing to Hashem, let us call out to the Rock of our salvation.

If, chas v’shalom, we distance ourselves from Hashem and we find ourselves in a pit, how do we get out? We have to call out to Hashem, to the Shepherd, to come, save us, and gather us in, like kittens crying out for their mother, “Here I am — please help me!” So too when a baby calls out, it wants its mother to come. If we don’t call out, though, no one is going to come. Hashem is looking to us to see if we want Him. What will it take for us to get to the point when we can cry out to Hashem and say הִנֵנִי/here I am? 

As children it was easy to cry; we were more in tune with our emotions. As time passed, with our growth into adults, we built walls and barriers to stop us from getting hurt, and so we distanced ourselves from our emotions. We forgot how to cry.

Just like a mother whose baby’s cries become unbearable to the point where nothing can stop her from coming close to comfort her child, so too Hashem cannot bear to hear our cries and do nothing. Crying is the language of the soul.

The job of the תְּרוּעָה is to break down our walls and make us into a שֶׁבֶר כְּלִי/a broken vessel where we are able to break through to the point of הִנֵנִי, of crying out and saying “here I am!”

On the other hand, when we sin and become unaware of Hashem, then Hashem says to us, like he said to Adam, “אַיֶכָּה/where are you?”

Elul, when this parshah is normally read, is the special time of year that Hashem gives us to return from being lost from the place of אַיֶכָּה/where are you, to the place of הִנֵנִי/here I am.

Hashem is now gathering us in, because soon there will be nowhere else to go. Anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head again; the wolves are closing in. 

One of the main wolves at Hashem’s disposal is יִשְׁמָעֵאֵל /Yishmael, which literally means “Hashem will hear,” and is called so because at the end of days, they will be the nation that will get us to the point where we cry out to Hashem, to get us to the point whereאֶלָא עַל מִי לָנוּ לְהִשְׁעֹן עַל אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׁמַיִם /we have no one to lean on except our Father in Heaven, and just like in Egypt Hashem answered our cries, מִן הַמֵצָר קָרָאתִי יָ-הּ, so too Hashem will answer our cries in the future.

זִבְחֵי תְרוּעָה/ Lambs to the Slaughter

Hashem doesn’t create evil, He only created the potential for evil. We have the choice to turn our backs on Hashem. The bad that returns upon us is not bad, it is really for our good. The analogy of lambs being led to the slaughter is therefore not bad. The wolves brought them back to Hashem (just like Amalek) and they returned to Hashem with the words שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל on their lips. The Nazis were therefore just instruments in the hands of Hashem.

While Yishmael was still young, the angels told Hashem to kill him now. But Yishmael, like Hitler and Pharaoh, were all puppets in the hand of Hashem in order to cause us to cry out שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל, to recognize that ה’ הוּא אֶ-לֹהִים/Hashem is G-d, and that אֵין אֶלֹהִים אַחֵרִים/there are no other gods.

But what about the tzaddikim in the Holocaust? What did they do wrong that they had to die?
If the only way to save your brother was to give him your kidney, would you not save him?! So too here — if the only solution, the “final solution,” to get our brothers to return was through a Holocaust, then would we not give up our lives in order to save them? 

And why in such a way, with death camps, as lambs to the slaughter? Why didn’t they fight back? Because Hashem stripped away their self-esteem — through prisoner clothing and shaved hair — only then could they reach the פְּנִימִיוֹת/the inner world of the pintele yid

Like sheep being led to the slaughter, which is our purpose — to be צֹאן קָדָשִׁים/holy sheep, to sacrifice our will and our lives to the רוֹעֶה/Shepherd (where “will” in Aramaic is רַעַוָא), to מְבַטֵל /nullify ourselves and to offer ourselves up on the מִזְבֵּחַ ה’/altar of Hashem.

“Lambs to the slaughter” was the accolade given to Rabi Akiva and his friends. It was Rabi Akiva who willingly went from this temporal life to eternal life with the words Shema Yisrael on his lips. This is the acclaimed accolade of being a קָרְבַּן עוֹלָה תְּמִימָה/a perfected sheep, where we have elevated ourselves to be free of blemish and can now be drawn close to Hashem.

This is the good, this is the bad, and this is the beautiful. This is the beauty of Hashem’s creation — that everything is measured out precisely in order for us to recognize that we are the sheep and Hashem is the Shepherd.

כְּצֹאן קָדָשִׁים כְּצֹאן יְרוּשָׁלִַם בְּמוֹעֲדֶיהָ כֵּן תִּהְיֶינָה הֶעָרִים הֶחֳרֵבוֹת מְלֵאוֹת צֹאן אָדָם וְיָדְעוּ כִּי אֲנִי ה’
Like holy sheep, like sheep of Yerushalayim in its time, so will the destroyed cities be filled with sheep-men, and they shall know that I am Hashem.

In conclusion, the sound of the תְּרוּעָה is to blast down the walls, to extricate the רָע/bad that blocks us from seeing the רוֹעֶה/Shepherd and from hearing Him in the קוֹל דְמָמָה דַקָה/silence. When we break through, we are reunited in רֵעוּת/companionship, the cries of heartache turn to cries of joy, and we are now ready for Succos.

1 Devarim 31:18.

2 Shir HaShirim 6:3.

3 Tehillim 23:1.

4 Gadi Pollack, A Tale of Seven Sheep (New York: Feldheim Publishers).

5 Devarim 32:15.

6 Ibid., 31:28.

7 Tehillim 89:16.

8 Metzudas David to Tehillim ibid.

9 Devarim 31:17.

10 Vayikra 19:18.

11 Sheva Brachos.

12 Likkutei Moharan, 1:165.

13 Tehillim 95:1.

14 See Mishneh Torah, Yesodei HaTorah 5:4.

15 Yechezkel 36:38.




Vayelech: Eternal and Internal Strength ~ Yehoshua Steinberg

Vayelech: Eternal and Internal Strength

Deut. 31:6-7 – Be strong and resilient (חזקו ואמצו), do not become frightened and do not become terrified because of them [the Canaanites]. And Moses called to Joshua, and he said to him in [front of] the eyes of all Israel: Be strong and be resilient (חזק ואמץ)!   Ibid. v. 23 – And [Moses] commanded Joshua, son of Nun, and he said: Be strong and resilient (חזק ואמץ)!

The root אמץ appears in Parashat Vayelech more times than in any other Parashah in the Torah. The authors of books differentiating between synonyms in the biblical Hebrew all agree that there are at least fifteen different words that express the notion of strength / resilience. They are: koach (כח), ometz(אומץ) , chayil(חיל) , gevurah(גבורה) , oz (עוז) , tokef(תוקף) , otzmah(עוצמה) , onim(אונים) , ayal(איל) , eitan(איתן) , chozek(חוזק) , adir(אדיר) , avir(אביר) , kabir(כביר) , and atak  (עתק). 

We will focus on the root ‘אמץ’ and its counterpart ‘חזק’ in an attempt to understand: 1)What is the specific denotation of the word ‘אמץ’, 2)What is the difference between ‘אמץ’ and ‘חזק’? 3)And finally, why does these two words so often appear together as a pair? 

We will begin by first addressing the latter two questions, as Malbim discusses the difference between   ‘אמץ’ and ‘חזק’ many times. Isaiah says: Behold! Chazak (חזק) and Amitz (אמִץ) to G-d (Isa. 28:2). Malbim (there) explains that ‘חזק’ refers to timely strength, while ‘אמץ’ refers to the ability to continually retain strength, i.e. resilience. For this reason, explains Malbim, these two words always appear in the same order. ‘חזק’ always comes first because it denotes the raw strength, while ‘אמץ’ always follows because it denotes the ability to continue being strong in the face of opposition. It seems that this last point is the main evidence for Malbim’s explanation in differentiating between the two terms. All that remains for us is to test this theory in other contexts in order to extrapolate the specific meaning of  ‘אמץ’.

We find a common thread amongst all Hebrew words which are based on the two-letter string ‘מץ’. They all refer to different forms of contraction, minimizing (including the notion of a minimal quantity), capturing, pushing, pressure (including feeling pressed or hardships in an emotional and/or physical sense), squeezing, squashing, and sucking. In short, they all refer to something related to the application of pressure. We have found eight different words of this variety,  and we will now examine each one separately:

  1. Mitzah (מִצה)  – An expression of squeezing and pushing / pressure. Radak in Sefer HaShorashim (s.v. מצה) finds various Biblical passages in which this root is used in such contexts. For example, Lev. 1:15 tells of squeezing (ונמצה) the blood of a bird unto the altar, and similar examples can be found in Lev. 5:9, Jud. 6:38, Isa. 51:17, Ps. 73:10, and Ps. 75:9.
  2. Mitz (מיץ) – This word means juice and refers to the act of sucking liquid from inside something else. Radak (s.v. מיץ) cites examples of such usage in the Bible in Prov. 30:33 and Isa. 16:4—both cases in which מיץ refers to sucking. 
  3. Matz (מץ) – This two-letter string serves as the root for the word Matzoh (מצה, poorman’s bread). Radak (s.v. מץ) proposes, among other suggestions, that the root of Matzoh is מצץ because these baked wafers have all their moisture sucked out or squeezed out of them. For Biblical examples, he points to Ex. 12:15 and Lev. 2:5 which refer to unleavened breads as Matzoh. Radak also suggests that the root of Matzoh may be ‘נצה’.
  4. Shemetz (שמץ) – This word appears twice in the Book of Job (Job 4:12, 26:14) and both times the Targum translates it as the essence of something. Nachmanides compares this to מיץ חלב (literally, “milk juice”) which is a term that refers to butter because it is extracted from milk.  
  5. Kometz (קמץ) – This word has three different meanings, one in Hebrew and two in Aramaic:
    1. In Hebrew, ‘קמץ’ refers to a contracted hand,  as a Kohen officiating at a meal-offering is commanded to contract his hand and scoop out flour (Lev. 2:2).  
    2. A second, Aramaic, meaning of ‘קמץ’ is grasshopper, as Targum (to Num. 13:33, Isa. 40:22) translates instances of the Hebrew word chagavim (grasshoppers) into kamtzin (קמצין). We propose that a grasshopper is called a kamtza (קמצא) in Aramaic because its legs are generally in a contracted (מקומץ) position, ready to suddenly spring forth and jump. 
    3. Another Aramaic meaning of the root ‘קמץ’ is pit / ditch, as Radak writes that the word gometz (גומץ) which appears in Ecc. 10:8 is rendered קומץ by the Targum (the letters ג and ק are often used interchangeably)—with both words referring to a deep pit. So a pachat (I Sam. 18:17) is translated into Aramaic as a kometza,  which means pit. We propose that the word kometz in this sense is related to constriction / pressing because one who finds himself inside a deep pit feels constricted (in terms of his movement), as though the walls of the pit are pushing or pressing on him.
  6. Gometz (גמץ) – As already explained, this word refers to a pit or ditch. With the interchangeability of the terms ‘קמץ’ and ‘גמץ’ in mind, Rav Hai Gaon elucidates an otherwise enigmatic aphorism in the Talmud. The Talmud (Brachot 3b) says: A ‘קמץ’ cannot satisfy a lion. R. Hai Gaon explains that this means that if a lion is stuck inside a pit, and it does not have the freedom of movement to seek out its prey,  it will not be satisfied. We again see here that the term ‘גמץ’ is an expression of constriction or captured.
  7. Chametz (חמץ) – This word has three essential meanings: 1) Leavened dough or sourdough, as in Lev. 23:17. 2)Anger, as in Ps. 73:21: my heart will become ‘חמץ’, which Radak explains is a form of anger.  Similarly, Targum renders the Hebrew words for sadness (Prov. 14:13) and embarrassment (Prov. 25:8) with the Aramaic inflections of ‘חמץ’. 3)Rashi (to Isa. 1:17) explains that chamotz (חמוץ) refers to something stolen

    The common denominator amongst these three meanings is that all refer to different forms of pressure or pushing – emotional or physical. Leavened bread undergoes fermentation which causes the bread to expand (and as a result of the pressure of escaping gasses, it causes cracks in the dough).  The concepts of anger, sadness, and embarrassment all refer to pent-up emotions which are bursting forth in outward expressions. Finally, robbery or stolen goods cause a sense of pressure in a physical and/or emotional level to the victim of this thievery. 

  1. Remetz (רמץ) – Rashi (to Ex. 28:4) explains that the word tashbetz means a hole within which one can set stones on clothes or jewelry, and Targum translates tashbetz into Aramaic as remetz. This is related to what we wrote about the roots ‘קמץ’ and ‘גמץ’ because just as one who is stuck inside a pit feels that he is under pressure and his freedom of movement is minimized, so do precious stones which are set snugly into clothes or jewelry, are in fact stuck in their places and cannot move.

In summation, we have seen several different words containing the ‘מץ’ string that all include the meanings minimizing / pressure / capturing.

We will now turn to examine the word ‘חזק’. As previously mentioned, Malbim explains that ‘חזק’ refers to timely strength. Meaning, although ‘חזק’ refers to potent power, with time that strength tends to attenuate, slowly but surely losing its might. We propose that this tendency is actually alluded to in the very word ‘חזק’ which seems to be a portmanteau of the roots ‘חז’ and ‘זק’. The root ‘חז’ in Rabbinic literature consistently refers to outward sight, such as when the Rabbis warns one not to look like (מתחזיא) a hunger-crazed person (Brachot 39b), or when certain transactions look like (מחזי) interest (Bava Metzia 14b). In both of these cases, the root ‘חז’ projects an given outward appearance. The word ‘זק’ refers to strong chains in Ps. 149:8 or pure, unadulterated and strong metal in Ps. 12:7.  

    Accordingly, the word ‘חזק’ may refer to strength, but it is the type of strength which is not long-lasting, but eventually diminishes. Therefore, one needs to be constantly reenergized in order to retain one’s strength. This revitalization is called ‘אמץ’ and is indeed the counterpart to the concept of ‘חזק’. Still, we must try to understand exactly by what mechanism the ‘אמץ’ can revitalize the power of ‘חזק’.

We find the word ‘אמץ’ in the context of something which is closed or sealed. For example, we find in the Tosefta (Shabbat 17:19) – R. Shimon ben Elazar said: One who wishes to לאמץ the eyes of a corpse on Shabbat should blow wine into his nose.  According to this, the word ‘אמץ’ signifies closing something. In the context of retaining ‘חזק’, it seems that ‘אמץ’ serves to close in or lock in one’s strength so that it does not weaken. We find allusions to this meaning of ‘אמץ’ in the Aramaic Targumim when dealing with the expression ‘חזק ואמץ’.

    The Targumim often render the Hebrew word ‘אמץ’ with the Aramaic word ‘אלים’. Examples of this can be found in Targum to Gen. 25:23, Deut. 3:28, II Chron. 11:17, and I Chron. 32:7. The word ‘אלים’ is familiar to us from the Talmud, in which it appears (Bava Batra 34b) in one form of conflict resolution known as כל דאלים גבר (he who is strong, overpowers) and (in Bava Metzia 39b) as an excuse for why witnesses have not appeared to support one side of an argument (because they fear of the opposing claimant as being a גברא אלימא, a strong man). We propose the etymology of the word אלים is related to the word אלומות – bundle, which denotes a wad of stalks tied and closed together. Indeed, R. Chananel ben Shmuel, in his commentary to Alfasi (Kiddushin 43a)  writes that the prime meaning of the word אלים is related to אלומות,  as both denote something tied up and strong. This too supports our contention that ‘אמץ’ denotes locking in whatever strength or powers one has so that he will not lose those powers over time.

Interestingly, there are cases in which we find that the Targumim translate ‘אמץ’ not as ‘אלים’ but as ‘עילם’, such as in Deut. 31:6–7 and Deut. 31:23.  This might just be one of many examples of the letters א and ע being used interchangeably,  however, the sefarim Ohel Moed and Redifi Maya seem to suggest that there is actually a difference between אלים  and עילם. Those two sefarim add to the list of synonyms of strength another Hebrew word: netzach (נצח):

  1. I Sam. 15:29 reads: The Strength (נצח) of Israel will not lie—which Gersonides and Metzudot Tzion explain refers to God who is the One who gives strength to the Jewish People. 
  2. Ezra 3:8 speaks of לנצח) the work of the House of Hashem, and again Ibn Ezra explains that in this context, it means strengthening the construction.
  3. Lam. 3:18 speaks of losing one’s נצח, which Targum translates as תופקי (my strength).The same is found in Isa. 63:3 and Rashi/Targum there explains that נצח refers to one’s blood which is the source of his strength.

Even when the word נצח refers to strength, it does not lose its plain meaning which is everlasting. Putting two and two together, we realize that נצח refers to a specific type of strength – an everlasting strength, i.e. the most complete and strongest form of strength possible. We suggest that the word עילם is related to עולם – forever, in that the form of strength denoted by the word עילם (again, the Aramaic form of the word ‘אמץ’) is an everlasting strength which never weakens. With this in mind, we can now understand the true meaning of the term ‘חזק ואמץ’, or as the Targumim render it, ‘תקף ועילם’. It is call for one to radiate strength (חזק), but not just any type of strength, specifically a type of on-going, everlasting strength (אמץ). 

Of the seventeen times that the expression ‘חזק ואמץ’ appears in the Bible, seven of them were said to Joshua in the Pentateuch and in the Book of Joshua.  Joshua’s challenge, to assume the role of his teacher Moses, seemingly frightened him—and justly so. Therefore, Hashem commanded Moses to bless him with extra strength, and indeed Hashem too blessed Joshua with a strength—an everlasting strength.

However, Joshua was not the first person to merit such an everlasting strength, as the rabbis teach us that in reality, Adam already had such a potential before he sinned with the Tree of Knowledge. Genesis Rabbah (16:1) expounds on Job 14:20 to teach that the strength which Hashem granted Adam was meant to last forever. However, after Adam sinned and fell from this lofty position, this great strength was taken away from him. Nonetheless, Hashem’s blessing to Joshua teaches us that this everlasting strength is something which continues to exist and is still attainable, as it says: And also the Strength (נצח) of Israel will not lie, and will not be reversed (I Sam. 15:29).

1 [כל אלו המלים מוסברות בי”ש (ב:נט.-סב:). ספרים אחרים מנו עוד מלים רבות, וניגע בכך בהמשך המאמר].

2 [שבע עשרה פעמים בתנ”ך מופיעות מלים אלו בפסוק אחד, רובם צמודות ממש].

3 [ג’ מלים לא כללנו בקבוצה זו: 1. “מצא”, 2. “מצח”, 3. “מצר”, בגלל שבעל החשק שלמה רואה את אות המ’ בכולן כנוספת (“מ’ האמנתי”ו”), ושרשן ‘צא’, ‘צח’, ו’צר’, עיין שם בערכים הנ”ל לנימוקיו].

4 [ראה רש”י יומא כד:, זבחים סה., מנחות ב:, מעילה ט.].

5 [מהרי”א קרא (ישע’ טז:ד), אלשיך (ויקרא א:ו), תומר בקודש (לבעל התפארת ישראל ו:ז). רד”ק (ערך ‘מצה’) נקט בלשון  מציצה, וכך מצ”צ בישע’ סו:יא (וע”ש רש”י). ושים לב שמציצה אינה אלא מנגנון של מיצוי].

6 [ובערך ‘מצץ’ הביא רד”ק עוד פסוק המורה על  מציצה]: לְמַעַן תָּמֹצּוּ וְהִתְעַנַּגְתֶּם מִזִּיז כְּבוֹדָהּ (ישע’ סו:יא).

7 [והש’ אינה שרשית, אלא ש’ השימוש. להרחבה, ראה ספר המקרא ותרגומיו (ר’ חיים חמיאל, ירושלים תשס”א, דף 27-228)].

8 [שיעור מועט של לפחות ב’ זתים]: ירושיומא ב:א – ר’ חמא בר עוקבה בשם ריב”ל אין קמיצה פחות מב’ זתים.

9 [ומכאן לשון הפסוק]: ברמא:מז – וַתַּעַשׂ הָאָרֶץ… לִקְמָצִים; רשי – לקמצים – קומץ על קומץ, יד על יד. [היינו מידה  מועטת ומצומצמת (ראה רש”י ביצה יב:, ערכין כא:, וראה גם משנת דר”א למדרש ב”ר צ:ה)].

10 [והשוה את מאמרינו לפ’ כי תשא (פיסקה #3 “קפץ”)].

11 [וכן ת”י ש”ב יז:ט. ובמקומות אחרים נמצאת גירסת “כומצא” (בחילוף גיכ”ק) – ראה ישע’ כד:יז-יח, יר’ מח:מג-מד].

12 [מובא בספר פירושי הגאונים למשנה ותלמוד, דף ק”מ].

13 [והשוה את מאמרינו לפ’ חיי שרה (פיסקה #4 “גמץ”)].

14 [בהשאלה מ”חומץ יין”, כדפירש רד”ק (ערך ‘חמץ’)]: וחֹמֶץ יַיִן (במדבר ו:ג), וחָמֵץ ענין אחד הוא, כי הבצק כשהוא חמוץ יותר מדאי טעמו טעם חומץ.

15 [והשוה]: תהעג:כא  – כִּי יִתְחַמֵּץ לְבָבִי; מצצ – יתחמץ – מלשון חומץ ובא בדרך השאלה על הכעס.

16 [והשוה משלי י:י, יז:כא, כח:ז].

17 פסחים ג:ה – סִדּוּק, יִשָּׂרֵף, וְהָאוֹכְלוֹ חַיָּב כָּרֵת; רעב – [סידוק] דרך הבצק כשמחמיץ נעשה סדקים סדקים.

18 [כדברי רד”ק (ערך ‘פז’)]: עֲטֶרֶת פָּז (תה’ כא:ד), הוא הזהב הטוב המזוקק כי יותר הוא חזק המזוקק.

19 [ודומה לכך]: ספרי בהעלותך, פיסקא פד – משל אדם לוקה על ראשו אינו אומץ אלא עיניו. [העיר בני אמ”ש שבשבת עז: מסיקה הגמרא שגורסים “מעצמין” במקום “מאמצין”. וגם בגמ’ שבת קנא: הגירסא של הברייתא הזו היא עם ע’. אמנם בהערת המסורת הש”ס על המשנה שם הביא שהערוך קיים את גירסת התוספתא שהבאנו, וע”ש בדעות אחרות שהביא בענין. ועכ”פ כאן הסברנו לפי הגירסא הפשוטה בתוספתא].

20 [ור’ יהודה בלוי (“הצופה לחכמת ישראל”, בודפשט, תרע”א) השוה את לשונם “אומץ לב”]: תוספתא סוטה יד:ז –  רבו אומצי הלב, וכל אחד ואחד קופץ ידו. [לביטויים “אטימין לבא”, “לבו אטום” (זוהר א:כח., ג:יב:)].

21 [ומעין כך כתב החתם סופר (פ’ וישב)]: מאלמים אלומים – לשון גבר אלים וכל דאלים גבר, שיתחזקו זה נגד זה בשעת ההשלכה אל הבור.

22 [ובמדרש, השוו לשון “אילם” ל”אלומות” – כאילו ששפתיו קשורות ואטומות]: בר א:ה – ר’ הונא בשם בר קפרא פתח: תאלמנה שפתי שקר וגו’ (תה’ לא), אתפרכן, אתחרשן… כד”א: או מי ישום אלם (שמ’ ד), ואומר: והנה אנחנו מאלמים אלומים בתוך השדה והנה קמה אלומתי (בר’ לז); ערוך (ערךפרך‘) אתפרכן – פי’ ענין קשירה.

23 [וכן תרגמה יונתן בספר יהושע (א:א-יח, י:כה). בתרגום לתהלים (כז:יד, לא:כה) מופיע “עלם”, ובדה”ב (יא:יז) – “אלים”. ויש לציין שבישעיה (כח:ב, לה:ג), עמוס (ב:יד) ונחום (ב:ב) תרגמה יונתן במלה “חסין”].

24 [ראה למשל רש”י במ’ יד:מד, רמב”ן דב’ כא:יד, רלב”ג מ”ב ו:ח].

25 [ר’ שלמה בן אברהם מאורבינו, ווינציה, שנת ש”ח].

26 [ר’ יהודה עדל, נולד בשנת תקי”ז בזמושטאץ בפולין. יצא לאור מכ”י, ירושלים, תשס”א].

27 [דברים ג:כח, לא:ז, כג].

28 [ארבע פעמים ביהושע א:א-יח, לא:ז, כג].