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  • Yeshivat Ohr David

Rabbi Schotonstein - Chayt HaEgel

The גמרא in ברכות לב. comes to explain משה רבינו’s תפילות to הקב"ה in order to save כלל ישראל.

. "וידבר ה' אל משה לך רד what is the לשון of לך רד ? ר' אלעזר says, Hashem said to Moshe, Moshe, go down from your greatness. I only gave you this greatness to be the leader of Klal Yisroel, and now that Klal Yisroel did the חטא העגל, why do we need you?! Immediately, Moshe became weak and he had no strength to speak. But once Hashem said הרף ממני ואשמידם – go away from me in order that I can destroy them. Moshe said this all must be dependent on me, immediately he stood up and made himself strong in תפילה and asked for רחמנות for Klal Yisroel. The גמרא brings a משל to a king etc. Then the גמרא goes on and bring the passuk: ועתה הניחה לי ויחר אפי בהם ואכלם ואעשה אותך לגוי גדול.

ר' אבהו says if not for this passuk, it’s impossible to say the following: we see that Moshe grabbed הקב"ה like a person grabs his friend by the jacket and said in front of him, רבונו של עולם, I won’t leave you until you are מוחל וסולח them. The Gemara continues on the passuk: ואעשה אותך לגוי גדול.

ר' אלעזר explains, that Moshe said to Hashem, if a chair with three legs can’t stand in front of you when you are angry (referring to אברהם, יצחק ויעקב), a chair with one leg for sure won’t be able to stand. Not only that, but I’ll be very embarrassed of my fathers, now they will say: see the leader that you appointed – he wants greatness for himself and doesn’t ask for רחמנות.

The גמרא continues with the next possuk – ויחל משה את פני ה'.

ר' אלעזר explains that Moshe stood up in תפילה in front of הקב"ה until he became sick. שמואל said he was ready to dies for them to have מחילה, as משה said to Hashem, ואם אין, מחיני נא מספריך. The gemara explains that Moshe got sick with a high fever. The gemara continues explaining each possuk in this ענין for the whole עמוד.

In (שמות שמות לב:יט) the possuk says, that when Moshe came close to the מחנה and he saw the עגל ומחולות, he got very angry ויחר אף, and he threw the לוחות from his hands and he broke them under the mountain. Then he gave Klal Yisroel three different deaths. And then in לג:ז Moshe took his tent outside of the מחנה and anyone that is מבקש ה' should come out to Moshe.

In לג:יא the possuk says ודבר ה' אל משה פנים אל פנים. The גמרא in ברכות סג: explains on this passuk: איכא באמרי that Hashem told Moshe that just like I talk to you and explained the Torah face to face, also you should bring your tent back into Klal Yisroel and talk to them nicely, face to face. ר' אבהו says that Hashem said to Moshe how they will say theרב is in anger (referring to Hashem), and the talmid is in anger (referring to Moshe) so what will be with klal yisroel?! If you return your tent to the מחנה, good, and if not, then your talmid, יהושע בן נון will take your place.

The obvious question is – what happened here? In the beginning, Moshe was risking his life to save Klal Yisroel, and then when he came down from הר סיני , all of a sudden he changed and got angry at them? When he was on הר סיני, Hashem had already told him the Klal Yisroel sinned. But when he came down, he killed part of the nation and moved his tent out of the מחנה until Hashem threatened him so that he should put his tent back. What is פשט?

The ספורנו says that when משה saw they were happy in the קלקול that they had done, and they were dancing and that is why he got angry. Hashem never told him how happy they were. But still, this needs more explanation because he risked his life to save Klal Yisroel.

When a child does something wrong, usually there are two ways to approach the child in order to be מחנך him.

1. To get angry and start yelling at the child.

2. To hold him close, give him a hug, tell him you love him, but that what he did was not acceptable, and explain the depth of what he did wrong.

This reminds me of a story. When the Rosh Yeshiva was teaching מסילת ישרים, and he got to the words: “and behold even for a mitzvah we are warned not to get angry and even a Rav to a Talmid and a father to a son, not that they shouldn’t punish them, but for sure they should punish them but without anger, in order to direct them on the right path, and the anger that he shows them should be anger on the face but not anger of the heart.”

One of the bochurim asked, what’s פשט in the words anger of the face and not in the heart? So the ראש ישיבה got all red in the face, picked on one of the good bochurim, and started yelling at him. Two seconds later, the Rosh Yeshiva was totally calm with a smile on his face and said, this is פשט on those words.

With this, we can answer that Moshe Rabeinu never really got angry in his heart at Klal Yisroel. He just showed anger on his face. He was only doing this to be מחנך them. That is why he removed his tent from the מחנה. To explain the ספורנו, because he saw they were enjoying themselves, he was מחנך them in a very harsh way of breaking the לוחות and removing his tent. Until Hashem came to him and told him – enough! You need to return your tent to the מחנה and show them love, otherwise, Klal Yisroel will be lost.

רש"י is very מדויק that he says, and the Talmis is angry, “and also you showed them anger that you took your tent far outside the מחנה”. Rashi says: you showed them anger, and not that you got angry. We see that really, Moshe didn’t get angry in his heart, he only showed them anger on his face to be מחנך them, until Hashem told him – now it’s time to be מחנך with love – bring them close to you and with a smile בפנים.

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