Vol 36.29 - Tisa 1 Spanish French Audio Video
The skin of his face had become radiant: It was specifically after receiving the second set of tablets that Moses' face shone. The second set of tablets signify an internalized experience of Divinity, which cannot be contested. Therefore, although they were not as miraculous as the first, the second tablets were never broken.
Similarly, during Moses' third and last 40-day sojourn in heaven, when he received the second set of tablets, his body absorbed the spirituality of heaven; he had become so refined that he was like an angel, immune to hunger. So, after receiving the second tablets—when he had not only been a guest in heaven, he himself had become heavenly—his physical body reflected this unearthly light.81
1. It states in the Talmud (Bava Metzia 86b):
“(R’ Tanchum b. Hanilai said:) One should never deviate from custom (לעולם אל ישנה אדם מן המנהג). For behold, Moses ascended on High and ate no bread, whereas the Ministering Angels descended below and ate bread. 'And ate' — can you really think so! — But say, appeared to eat and drink.”
The same is found in the Midrash Shmot Rabbah on our Parsha (on the verse Ex. 34:28):
“He was there with the L-rd for forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread and drank no water, and He inscribed upon the tablets the words of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments” that:
“And is it possible for a man to last forty days without food and without drink? R’ Tanchum in the name of R’ Idi bar Abin in the name of R’ Meir says: the parable states: “If one comes to a city, one must act according to its customs” (אזלת לקרתא הלך בנימוסי׳). On High, where there is no eating and drinking, Moses ascended and resembled them (ונדמה להם). (Whereas) below, where there is eating and drinking, the Ministering Angels descended below and ate and drank as it states: ‘He stood over them under the tree, and they ate ‘. R’ Yochanan says: ‘They appeared to eat and drink, and each one disappeared (ראשון ראשון מסתלק)”.
One should examine the difference between the wording of the Talmud and the Midrash:
It appears, seemingly, that the difference between the Talmud and the Midrash is in the nature of this concept that one must act according to the local custom. For according to the Talmud
(where one could say, that its intent is to say that it is obligatory according to Halacha)
it is an enactment for the purpose of “Darchei Shalom” etc.
(Note: “ways of peace” - that engenders peace between Jew-to-Jew and Jew-to-non-Jew.)
Therefore, it uses the wording “One should never deviate from custom”, for it is a ‘law of refraining’ (דין שלילי) (“Do not change”).
However the Midrash
(which speaks in many places concerning a person’s conduct according to piety (Minhag Chassidut))
adds that it is an obligation - that anyone that comes to a specific place, is obligated to conduct oneself according to the custom of the people of that locale. Therefore, it uses an obligatory wording “If one comes to a city, one must act (הלך) according to its customs”.
In this one can also explain the intent of Tosafot in the Talmud there:
For on the words of the Talmud:
'And ate' — can you really think so! — But say, appeared to eat and drink.”
“In the Seder Eliyahu Rabbah we learned not like what it says here that ‘they appeared to eat and drink, but that they actually ate and drank out of respect for Avraham, and it contradicts (the words) here”.
According to the aforementioned, the intent of Tosafot is not whether they disagree whether they actually ate or whether they just “appeared” as if they were eating, but rather that it is a dispute in Halacha:
And the Midrash, who holds (as aforementioned) that it is an obligation (“act according to its customs”) writes (like the Seder Eliyahu Rabbah) that “they ate and drank”,
(and it is just R’ Yochanan who says that “‘they appeared to eat and drink, and each one disappeared”),
meaning that they actually ate and drank.
According to this, the precise wording of the Midrash is understood regarding the absence of Moshe’s eating on the mountain, where it states – “On High, where there is no eating and drinking, Moses ascended and resembled them”,
(and not like the wording of the Talmud : “and ate no bread”)
for it was not sufficient that he did not eat, but it had to be in a positive manner that – “he resembled them” (נדמה להם).
2. The statement of R’ Tanchuma in the Midrash is also in the Midrash of Bereshit Rabbah. There the wording is:
“If one comes to a city, one must act according to its customs” (עלת לקרתא הלך בנימוסה). On High, where there is no eating and drinking, Moses ascended on High and did not eat, as it states : “I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water.” Whereas below, where there is eating and drinking (it states) ‘He stood over them under the tree, and they ate ‘. And did they (really) eat? But rather they appeared to eat and drink, and each one disappeared”.
There the wording is “and did not eat” like the Talmud
(and not “he resembled them” like the Shmot Rabbah).
In addition, the Midrash concludes: “And did they (really) eat? But rather they appeared to eat etc.” In other words, this is not an independent opinion
(like the Shmot Rabbah that it is the opinion of R’ Yochanan)
but it is a continuation of this passage.
However, on the other hand, even there the wording is “If one comes to a city, one must act according to its customs”, which is a positive wording, not like the Talmud.
One could say that the view of the Bereshit Rabbah is a third opinion, namely that “If one comes to a city, one must act according to its customs” can be explained in two ways:
1. This is a law of practical conduct, that one must conduct oneself according to local custom.
2. That this is not just a matter of conduct, but that the rules of that place, are incumbent upon him – for he becomes as one of the people of that place (a resident), and therefore (ובמילא) he must conduct himself according to local custom.
And this is the gist of the difference between the Shmot Rabbah that distinguishes that Moshe Rabbeinu “resembled them” and the Bereshit Rabbah that states just that Moshe “did not eat”:
· According to the Bereshit Rabbah, the foundation of the law that one must conduct oneself according to local custom, it just an aspect of conduct, and therefore it was sufficient that Moshe Rabbeinu “did not eat”.
· Whereas according to the Shmot Rabbah, it is a Din and obligation - that once one becomes as a resident of the city, he is obligated to conduct himself according to local custom. Therefore it emphasizes that he “resembled them”, as will be discussed.
(And one could say that the difference between the three aforementioned views:
1. There is just the negative of “do not deviate”
2. It is a Din and obligation, to conduct oneself according to the local custom.
3. That one becomes as one of the people of the city
· According to the first view, not only is sufficient to just appear to conduct oneself according to the people of that place, but moreover, we do not care about the reason for his conduct. As long as his conduct is not in a manner that is different from the local custom, it is sufficient (since the reason is to not arouse contention, because of this).
· According to the second view, there must be a reason for the conduct - because he wants to equate himself (להשתוות) to the people of the place (for then he fulfills the “act according to their custom”).
· According to the third view, one must conduct himself this way, because of its own accord – for he must be like them).
3. One could say that this dispute (between the Talmud, Shmot Rabbah and Bereshit Rabbah) is also in the nature of Moshe’s absence of eating on the mountain – for according to Halacha, it is impossible for a person to live without food for more than seven days, as Rambam rules that one who swears that he will not eat anything for seven days – is considered a false oath.
One can explain this in three manners:
1. Like Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim who writes that:
“One who directs all his thoughts toward the attainment of perfection in G-dliness, and devotes himself entirely to G-d . . excludes from his thought every other thing . .they are of those who have entered the palace, and this is the level of the prophets. Of those there is one who has attained, from the abundance of his intellect, and has excluded from his thoughts everything except for G-d-d, that it could be said of him, "And he was with the L-rd (forty days)" etc. (Ex.34:28); enjoying so much happiness in that which he had intellectually obtained, that "he did neither eat bread nor drink water" for his intellectual capability was so predominant that all coarser functions of the body were nullified”
According to this manner, we find that this was like a natural aspect (as is explained in the commentators that “he did not feel any hunger and therefore he did not eat”).
(according to this, one must say that, the reason that “one who swears that he will not eat anything for seven days – is considered a false oath” was enacted into Halacha is because Torah speaks to the majority. Yet it is possible to have a situation, according to nature that the body would not require food and drink more than seven days, like Moshe on the mountain).
2. (A second manner:) When he ascended the mountain with G-d, the nature of his body changed, that he became like an angel in a manner that he did not require food and drink (like the angels who do not require food and drink).
One could say that the practical difference between these two manners – is in the aforementioned law of one who swears that he will not eat for seven days – for one could examine how this law applied to Moshe Rabbeinu. For, after the forty days, if he swore then immediately not to eat (less than seven days) if it would be considered a false oath:
· According to the first manner, that the nature of Moshe’s body did not change, and even more so, that even during the forty days, the body (of its own accord) hungered for bread – but could not influence and have an effect on Moshe, and therefore he did not eat – it is reasonable to say that, after the forty days, when he descended from the mountain, Moshe’s body (which had been afflicted for forty days) was not able to fast any longer, and it was considered a false oath.
· However, according to the view that the nature of Moshe’s body changed so that he became like an angel – after the forty days, when the nature of his body was restored, it then began a new period, and it was not considered a false oath until he would swear that he would not eat for seven days.
3. (A third manner:) The reason that he did not require food and drink was because it was in the manner of a miracle the entire time. In other words, from the perspective of the nature of his body he did require food and drink, but there was a miracle during the forty days that he did not need to eat.
(For according to the aforementioned second manner, it was not a miracle that endured for the entire forty days (that according to his nature then, he did not need to eat), but rather, just in the first moment, G-d performed a miracle that changed the nature of Moshe’s body. However, according to the third manner, the miracle endured for the entire forty days).
4. And this is the difference between the three views of the Talmud, the Shmot Rabbah and the Bereshit Rabbah:
· According to the Talmud, that the Din is just that one should not change from the local custom, it is sufficient if he does not actually eat. And in accordance with this, it holds that the lack of Moshe’s eating was not a miracle but a natural aspect – that due to the great happiness and his effort in receiving the Torah ( and since he was “with G-d” ) he did not feel the hunger of the body.
(And this is similar to (Avraham’s) angels, that it was just that “it appeared as if they ate and drank”, for they did not change, and they did not require food and drink. The same was here, that Moshe’s body (even during these forty days) did require food and drink, but it appeared that he did not need it, because of Moshe’s great preoccupation in receiving the Torah).
And even though, according to this, the absence of Moshe’s eating and drinking, was not comparable to the absence of the angels’ eating and drinking,
(For they are spiritual, and from the onset do not require food and drink) –
nevertheless it was sufficient to fulfill the dictum “Do not change from the custom”, since Moshe did not eat or drink.
(and as aforementioned Par. 2, that according to this manner, we do not care about the reason that he did not change from the local custom, for the main thing is just that there not be a change that causes contention).
· According to the Shmot Rabbah, who holds that “following in their custom (״הלך בנימוסי׳״)” means that he becomes like one of the residents of the city, it is not sufficient that he does not actually eat. Therefore, one must say, that there was a change in the nature of Moshe Rabbeinu’s body that he became like an angel that does not require food and drink
(Similar to the view that the angels actually ate and drank).
And this is the reason for the precise wording: “he resembled them” (as aforementioned).
· According to the Bereshit Rabbah who holds that the Din of “act according to its customs” (עלת לקרתא הלך בנימוסה) is just an aspect of a person’s conduct, the view is that there was in this a constant miracle. For even though the nature of his body did not change, nevertheless, since in actuality it was the “conduct” of Moshe’s body was like the conduct of the angels (because of the constant miracle that occurred in his body), even this was deemed fulfilling “going according to its customs” since the reason of this miracle was that it be in the conduct of the Supernal.
(However, since there is no need to actually become as one of the people of the place, and it is sufficient that he resembles them in his conduct, therefore, when the angels descended below, it was sufficient that they “appeared to eat” even though they did not actually eat ( similar to what was mentioned regarding the view of the Talmud).
5. And one could say that these three aforementioned manners are in the Midrash Shmot Rabbah itself, in our Parsha on the verse: “The L-rd said to Moshe: ‘Inscribe these words for yourself”.
The Midrash states:
“This is as the verse states (Tehillim 119:71): ‘It is good for me that I was afflicted, in order that I learn Your statutes.’ – (this refers) to the good of Moshe who fasted one hundred and twenty days to receive the Torah. And where did Moshe have food? – from the rays of the Shechinah as it states: ‘and You give vitality to all’. Another interpretation: Where did he have food? - from the Torah as it states: ‘And He said to me; "Son of man, that which you find, eat etc.”. Another interpretation: From the ‘bread’ of Torah (מלחמה של תורה) as it states: ‘Come, partake of my bread’, and drink of the wine I have mingled.
How do we know that he did not sleep or doze? This is like the parable of a king that loved ‘a tisuman’ (a treasurer of the king’s treasury. Matanot Kehuna), the king said to him ‘measure out golden coins for yourself. Out of his happiness, he did not request to eat or to drink. He wanted to sleep (but) he said (to himself) ‘if I sleep, I will lose these’. So too Moshe measured the Torah and forgot and did not eat or drink. He wanted to sleep (but) he said ‘If I sleep, I will lose out – for G-d said to me ‘forty days only’. G-d said to him ‘You are distressed? By your life, you will not lose out! In the first Luchot there was just Ten Sayings, but now, since you are distressed, I am giving you Halachot, Midrashot, and Aggadot etc.”
One must understand:
What is their dispute in whether he ate from the rays of the Shechinah, or from Torah or from the bread of Torah?
However the difference between these three explanations is:
The passage then continues: “How do we know that he did not sleep etc.?” And the passage then elaborates in the aforementioned parable that “Out of his happiness . .he forgot and did not or drink . .. G-d said to him ‘You are distressed (נצטערת) etc.?”
According to this, one could say that these three explanations regarding what was Moshe’s food – correspond to the three aforementioned manners in the nature of Moshe’s absence of eating and drinking on the mountain.
In the third explanation, it emphasizes that the absence of Moshe’s food and drink (and also sleep) was just due to his endeavor to receive the Torah. This is similar to the aforementioned Moreh Nevuchim, that according to this, there was no miracle, and Moshe’s body required food and drink and it was hungry. Yet Moshe Rabbeinu did not feel the hunger and did not eat.
And this is also the explanation of the words of the Midrash that Moshe Rabbeinu was distressed – for this is seemingly puzzling – how could it be that Moshe Rabbeinu would be pained over the lack of food and drink, when he ascended to receive the Torah from G-d?
However, the intent of the Midrash is that the body of Moshe Rabbeinu, of its own accord, was afflicted and in pain, yet Moshe Rabbeinu did not feel the body’s pain because of the great task and happiness of receiving the Torah.
According to the second explanation, one could say, that the nature of Moshe’s body changed in that his nature became like that of an angel. For just as regarding an angel, there is a concept of eating and drinking – yet the sustenance is spiritual sustenance - so too, the sustenance of Moshe during these forty days was spiritual sustenance – Torah. Therefore it cites the verse: ‘Son of man, that which you find, eat etc.”. This emphasizes that he retained the nature of (‘Son of man “, of ) requiring food, but that when he ascended the mountain, his sustenance and food was from the Torah.
(And this is the difference between the third explanation “from the ‘bread’ of Torah” (מלחמה של תורה) whereas the second explanation is “from the Torah”.
· “From the Torah” emphasizes that his sustenance is from the Torah itself, whereas
· “From the ‘bread’ of Torah”, one could say, refers to Torah as being in the place of physical bread. In other words, because of the task (הטירדא) of Torah, one does not feel the need for physical food (yet this needs examination).
However, according to the first explanation that “he ate from the rays of the Shechinah”, and he cites a verse: ‘and You give vitality to all’, there was no act of eating, except that it was a miraculous aspect of G-d, namely that “You give vitality to all” – meaning that the vitality of Moshe’s body was really (mamosh) like the sustaining of the soul of a person
(and also of the angels, according to this opinion)
that does not require food and drink, but rather enjoys the rays of the Shechinah (נהנים מזיו השכינה) and this is their existence and vitality.
6. One could say that since ”both of them are from the Living G-d” (אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים) (note: meaning that all these explanations are from Torah), therefore each of these three manners were manifest in the forty subsequent days that Moshe was on the mountain.
· The ascending of Moshe in the first forty days was in order to receive the First Luchot, which were the handiwork of G-d and the writing of G-d – a miracle that was entirely above nature. In conjunction with this, even the absence of Moshe’s eating and drinking, was not in the realm of nature, and even not because Moshe’s body was elevated to be like the nature of the angels – but rather it was a miraculous aspect from G-d.
· In the middle forty day period (which was because of anger) there was no miraculous conduct – and the absence of Moshe’s eating and drinking was a natural aspect – but from his tremendous task and occupation with G-d, he did not feel the needs of his body.
· In the final forty days, where Moshe ascended to receive the Second Luchot, and which were with “favor” (like the first days), the absence of his eating and drinking was miraculous. Yet just as the Second Luchot were not the handiwork of G-d, so too the absence of Moshe’s eating and drinking on the mountain, was not a constant miracle from G-d, but rather, his body was refined to be like the body of an angel, that does not require (physical) food and drink.
According to this, there is another precise difference between the aforementioned Shmot Rabbah and the Bereshit Rabbah:
The Bereshit Rabbah cites the verse from Parshat Eikev: “I remained on the mountain . . I ate no bread and drank no water”, which speaks of the first forty days. Whereas the Shmot Rabbah is on the verse of our Parsha that speaks of the last forty days.
For the Bereshit Rabbah holds that it was a miraculous manner, as aforementioned. Therefore he cites the verse from Parshat Eikev that speaks of Moshe’s ascending in the first forty days. However, the Shmot Rabbah holds that the nature of Moshe’s body changed so that he “resembled them” – this refers to the verse in our Parsha regarding the last forty days.
On the other hand, just as there was an advantage of the Second Luchot over the First Luchot – for even though the First Luchot were on a higher level, nevertheless, they were able to be broken. However the Second Luchot will eternally exist. Similarly, the aspect of the absence of Moshe’s eating and drinking – even though the first manner was a greater miracle, nevertheless it is not relevant to the nature of Moshe’s body. However, when Moshe’s body was refined to be as an angel, this was a deeper (פנימי) aspect.
One could say that this is the reason that Moshe’s “face had become radiant “specifically when he descended from the mountain with the Second Luchot on Yom Kippur – and not when he descended from the mountain with the First Luchot, after the first forty days. For the shining of Moshe’s face with the rays of splendor, depicts the refinement of the physicality of the body, so much so that his face illuminates like the soul. Therefore this came after he remained on the mountain during the last forty days, for then Moshe’s body was refined so much so that “his face had become radiant “.
mSichas Shabbat Parshat Naso 5746
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