What is the translation of "be'Shalach Par'oh es ha'Am"?
Targum Onkelos: 'When Par'oh sent the people away'. 1
Targum Yonasan: 'When Par'oh set the people free'. 2
Mechilta: 'When Par'oh accompanied the people'. 3
Mechilta: As a reward Hashem commanded Yisrael "Lo Sesa'ev Mitzri" (not to abhor an Egyptian). See Ki Seitzei, Devarim, 23:8, where the Pasuk gives a different reason for the prohibition?
Implying completely - that they did not need to return, which explains why they were free to travel to Eretz Cana'an via the land of the P'lishtim, had Hashem so wished. And it was following a change of heart that he chased after them (as Hashem planned). 13
What does the Torah mean when it gives the reason for not taking Yisrael via the land of the Pelishtim (the shortest route) as "Ki Karov Hu"?
Rashi Rashbam and Ramban #1 (citing the Ibn Ezra): Hashem was afraid that, since it was close and easy to return to Egypt the way they had come, at the slightest excuse, they would make their way back. 1
Ramban #2: This is not the reason why Hashem did not take them via the Pelishtim, but why He ought to have done so. 2
Hadar Zekenim #1, Da'as Zekenim #1, Rosh: The Pelishtim were Kerovim (relatives) of Mitzrayim (Bereishis 10:13,14). Since Yisrael fled from their relatives, they are prone to fight Yisrael and return them to their relatives. 4. Da'as Zekenim #2, Hadar Zekenim #2: Hashem did this Tovah 3 for Yisrael, for they are His relative - "Am Kerovo."
Da'as Zekenim #3: The Kena'anim had recently inherited the land. It says (Bereishis 15:16) "Dor Revi'i Yashuvu Henah"; so Hashem kept them in the Midbar for 40 years (until it was time for them to return).
Da'as Zekenim #4: If they will enter Eretz Yisrael quickly, they will engage with their fields and neglect Torah. Rather, they will be 40 years in the Midbar with their food and water supplied, and [Torah] will be settled in their bodies.
Da'as Zekenim #5: When the Kena'anim heard that Yisrael left Egypt, they said that we will take the land from them, so they ruined it. Hashem promised Avraham that his seed will inherit a land filled with good, so He detained them in the Midbar so the Kena'anim could fix what they ruined - "va'Ani Yisarti Chizakti Zero'osam" (Hoshe'a 7:16).
Which they attempted to do, even now when He took them on a longer route (See Bamidbar 14:3,4 [Rashi and Rashbam]). See Ramban's objection to this explanation. Moshav Zekenim objects that Karov cannot refer to Derech, which is feminine. (Kidushin 2b says that Derech can be feminine or masculine! - PF)
Ramban: Because it was the shortest and most convenient route. Hadar Zekenim, Da'as Zekenim - once they cross the Nile, they are in Eretz Pelishtim, which is part of Eretz Yisrael. Yitzchak went to Gerar (Midrash - which is Pelishtim), and we do not find that he went to Chutz la'Aretz! R"M - Eretz Pelishtim is mostly in Chutz la'Aretz, but a strip enters Eretz Yisrael.
Da'as Zekenim - the Tovah was to conduct with them unlike Derech Eretz. The word Pelishtim in the middle of this Drashah has no meaning. (PF) Refer to 13:17:152:3 and the note there.
Which war is the Pasuk referring to?
Rashi (citing the Mechilta) and Ramban #2: The Pasuk is referring to any future war that they might be forced to enter into, such as that of the Amoleki and the Kena'ani, as recorded in Shelach (Bamidbar 14:45).
Ramban #1: It is referring to the battle with the Pelishtim, which they would have had to enter into had they traveled along that route. 1
Rashbam: It is referring to the battles pertaining to the conquest of Cana'an.
Seforno: Since the route via P'lishtim was close to Egypt and was used by many travelers, Par'oh was bound to receive a report about Yisrael's whereabouts, as a result of which he would gather an army to attack Yisrael, who would take fright and return to Egypt. 2 So Hashem took them on a roundabout route via uninhabited terrain. 3
Targum Yonasan: This refers to the two hundred thousand 4 men of Efrayim, who left Egypt early and went to Cana'an by way of the Pelishtim, were they began to plunder the herds of cattle belonging to the men of Gas, who annihilated them . 5 Hashem knew that, if Yisrael would travel the same route and come across the remains of the B'nei Efrayim, they would take fright and return to Egypt. 6
Now that they traveled via the desert, they were not destined to encounter any wars until they reached the land of Sichon and Og. As for the battle with Amalek (later in the Parshah), that was no reason to return to Egypt, seeing as it was not they (Yisrael) who arrived in their land, but Amalek who attacked them, and they had no option but to fight in self-defense. Moreover, they were already too far away from Egypt to make their way back on their own (Ramban).
Just as some of them wanted to do at the Yam-Suf (See Targum Yonasan 14:13). Targum Yonasan adds that they were the dry bones that Yechezkel would bring back to life in the time of Nevuchadnetzar (See Na'ar Yonasan).
Indeed, when Par'oh suddenly caught up with them at the Yam-Suf (See below 14:10) they wanted to return, but were unable to, since Par'oh would not have accepted them (Seforno, Pasuk 18).
Targum Yonason: This was a Divine punishment for leaving Egypt thirty years before the allotted time. Why were they punished for a mistake, i.e. counting the decree of four hundred years from B'ris Bein ha'Besarim? Targum Yonason (Bereishis 50:25) - Yosef made them swear not to leave Egypt until two redeemers will come and say to them "Pakod Yifkod."
Targum Yonasan adds that they were the dry bones that Yechezkel would bring back to life in the time of Nevuchadnetzar (See Na'ar Yonasan).
How could Hashem even contemplate taking Yisrael via the land of Pelishtim, bearing in mind that He intended to first take them to Har Sinai to receive the Torah, as He told Moshe by the Burning Bush (See Shemos, 3:12)?
Seforno: Although the quickest way to Har Sinai was via Pelishtim, Hashem deliberately took Yisrael on a longer route via the Yam-Suf, in order to drown the Egyptians there.
"Va'Yhi" always hints to "woe". Who bemoaned that Par'oh sent Yisrael?
Hadar Zekenim #1: Initially, Par'oh did not esteem Yisrael. When he saw them as an army encampment at the sea, arranged in Degalim, he bemoaned sending them. 1
Hadar Zekenim #2: Par'oh bemoaned suffering 10 Makos, Egypt was emptied [of its wealth], and also he needed to send Yisrael. 2
Hadar Zekenim #3: The Kena'anim bemoaned that Yisrael will receive their land. A parable for this - a king had a small son. He gave the land to a servant, to return it to the son when he will mature. When the son matured, the servant bemoaned the loss of the land.
Hadar Zekenim #4: Egypt bemoaned sending Yisrael. Until now, if there is a Makah, Moshe prays for us. Now, if Hashem brings a Makah on us, who will pray for us?!
Hadar Zekenim #5: Hashem bemoaned that Par'oh sent them, and did not keep them longer, so He could bring on them more Makos and show His strong hand. 3
Seemingly, this verse applies immediately when he sent them, and then he was desperate that we leave and bless (pray for) him (12:31)! (PF)
Hadar Zekenim: A parable for this - a king ordered a servant to buy fish for him. He bought a putrid fish. The king said, either eat it, or receive 100 lashes, or pay money. Before eating half, he realized that he could not finish it, so he accepted the lashes. Before receiving half, he realized that he cannot bear all of them, so he accepted to pay. He suffered eating, lashes and paying. Likewise, Par'oh enslaved Yisrael excessively. Hashem told him, send them, or be stricken, or pay for their labor. He denied Hashem and refused; Hashem said that he will suffer all three.
This requires investigation. Hashem hardened Par'oh's heart in order to bring 10 Makos. If He wanted to bring more, He could have hardened his heart more! (PF)
What does "ve'Lo Nacham Elokim" mean?
Rashi: 'And He did not lead them'.
Hadar Zekenim: Par'oh had no consolation for sending Yisrael; it was a great loss. He will have consolation when he falls to Gehinom, and sees also the other nations there (Yechezkel 32:31).
Pesikta d'Rav Kahana 11, partially in Hadar Zekenim: [Hashem] did not conduct [with Yisrael] Derech Eretz. Normally, water comes from above and food from below. Here, food came from above and water from below! Normally, the Talmid goes in front and holds a lamp for the Rebbi. Here, Hashem went in front and illuminated for Yisrael! 1