Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nedarim 7b: Dasan and Aviram did not get away with murder

The Gemara states that that the source for the precept that poverty is akin to death is from that which it is said (Shemos 4:19) Hashem said to Moshe in Midyan, “Go, return to Egypt, for all the people who seek your life have died.” The Ran explains that this verse, which was said regarding Dasan and Aviram, could not be referring to tzaraas, lack of children, or blindness. They could not have been blind because Dasan and Aviram said about themselves, (Bamidbar 16:14) “even if you would gouge out the eyes of those men themselves we shall not go up.” They could not have been afflicted with tzaraas because it is said regarding Dasan and Aviram (Devarim 11:6) in the midst of all Israel. It cannot be said that they were lacking children, because this would not warrant that they would not be able to stand before Pharaoh. Thus, Dasan and Aviram must have become impoverished, and for this reason they did not have a voice in the royal court. The Shelah (Parashas Korach: Torah Ohr 5) writes that nonetheless, Dasan and Aviram died the death that is related to these four punishments. Dasan and Aviram did not bear children in Egypt, and even the children that they bore in the Wilderness died along with the entourage of Korach. They were certainly metzoraim, afflicted with tzaraas, because they were motzi sheim ra (slandered) on Moshe. Although they were not afflicted with the physical form of tzaraas, they were certainly afflicted with the spiritual malady of tzaraas. It is said (Mishlei 21:23) shomer piv ulishono shomer mitzaras nafsho, one who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles. The Zohar states: do not read the word as mitzaras, from troubles. Rather, read it as mitzaraas, that his soul should not become afflicted with tzaraas. Incorporated in the words (Shemos 4:19) for all the people who seek your life have died, is the punishment of becoming impoverished. By declaring even if you would gouge out their eyes of those men themselves we shall not go up, Dasan and Aviram inflicted blindness upon themselves.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We saw this earlier in (Shemos 2:23) Vayamas melech Mitzrayim, The king of Egypt died. Rashi quoting Targum Yonasson says there too that Pharaoh had tzaras and that is why the passuk says he died.

ben said...

that is correct. more to come soon regarding why it states meisu.

Brittany said...

Great work.