If, as some commentaries explain (Refer to 4:20:3:2), Moshe did not take Tziporah and his sons with him to Egypt, what is this Pasuk referring to?


Seforno: The Pasuk is reverting to the journey from the desert to Midyan, only the Torah wanted to first conclude Hashem's list of instructions concerning his Sh'lichus.


Why did the angel want to kill Moshe? What had he done wrong?


Rashi (citing Nedarim, 31b): Either because he was lax in circumcising Eliezer 1 or (not because he was lax in not performing it 2 but) because he settled down in the inn first.


Rashbam #1: Refer to 4:14:1:3.


Rashbam #2: Because he should not have taken his wife and children with him, but should have gone swiftly on his Sh'lichus. 3


Targum Yonasan: He failed to circumcise Gershom, due to a condition Yisro made with him when he gave him Tziporah in marriage. 4 Yalkut Shimon (268) - they stipulated that his first son will be for Avodah Zarah 5 . Moshav Zekenim - just like Milah after eight days does not override Shabbos, it does not override Hashem's command to go to Egypt. 6 Hashem did not want to kill Moshe, rather, the baby.


Seforno: On the eighth day, when Hashem came down to enter into a Bris with the baby. This is apparently the source of the custom to prepare a special chair for the Bris Milah in honor of the Shechinah.


In fact, he reckoned that, on the one hand, to circumcise before leaving (with his wife and children) would endanger the baby; while on the other, it would not be correct to postpone fulfilling the command of Hashem by three days until the baby recovered (Rashi).


And it was the Mitzvah of Milah that acted like a Korban - like we find by Gid'on and Mano'ach, who brought a Korban upon seeing an angel - that atoned for his sin and saved his life (Rashbam).


Targum Yonason: Eliezer was circumcised, because the condition was confined to their first son. Ba'al ha'Turim, Moshav Zekenim (18:4), both citing Mechilta (of R. Yishmael, 18:4): Yisro agreed that Moshe marry Tziporah only on condition that the first son will be for idolatry; Moshe swore to this. Zayis Ra'anan (on the Midrash): The verses prove that it was because he was not circumcising Eliezer. I.e. because he stipulated about Gershom, and now he is lax about Eliezer, even without a stipulation.


Ba'al ha'Turim (2:16): Moshe was sure that he would persuade Yisro to reject idolatry [and pardon the Tenai]. Tosfos ha'Shalem (2:16:2, citing R. Efrayim Gad) - the Tenai was that he learn Midyanite culture, i.e. a foreign Avodah. Tosfos ha'Shalem (2:16:3) - Moshe intended to convince his son to repent, and he did. Even so, Moshe was punished, and his grandson became a priest of Pesel Michah.


Moshav Zekenim: Even though Bnei Yisrael did not circumcise in the Midbar due to danger, and Hashem was not angry, here Moshe erred to bring his wife and sons with him



Rashi writes that the angel wanted to kill Moshe for settling the lodging before circumcising. It would endanger the baby to circumcise him, for Moshe must go to Egypt tomorrow!


Hadar Zekenim (1): This was after Moshe had returned to Egypt, so there was no danger.


Da'as Zekenim, Hadar Zekenim (2), Moshav Zekenim (1): This was after Aharon convinced him not to bring his wife and children to Egypt. 1 Tziporah could stay with the baby until he is healed 2 and able to return to Midyan.


Riva (1), Moshav Zekenim (citing Mizrachi): The Malon was close to Egypt, so there was no danger to circumcise and go to Egypt.


Riva (2): Hashem did not command him to take his wife and children. Moshe should have circumcised him in Midyan and left him with Tziporah.


Moshav Zekenim: Milah on day eight overrides Shabbos. All the more so it overrides Hashem's command to go to Egypt! Moshe would not have erred about this. Rather, he neglected circumcising Gershom.


Da'as Zekenim, Hadar Zekenim: Even though Shevet Levi was not enslaved, he did not want his wife and children to see Yisrael in distress.


Moshav Zekenim: Moshe intended that Tziporah stay there until he takes Yisrael from Egypt, but she did not want to wait, and returned to Midyan. Alternatively, initially he left her there, and after he came to Egypt, he made a Shali'ach to tell her to return to Midyan, for he saw that it will be a long time, i.e. a month between Makos.

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