1)

What did Moshe mean when he said "ve'Im Beri'ah Yivra Hashem"?

1.

Rashi: What he meant was that, if Hashem would create a new creation, that they would die in a manner that nobody had ever died before. 1

2.

Rashi #2 (citing Sanhedrin 110a): He meant that, if Hashem had already created a mouth to the earth from the six days of the creation, 2 that was fine; but if not, then He would create one now.

3.

Rashi #3 (in Seifer ha'Pardes): Refer to 16:30:1:2. Bearing in mind "ve'Ein Kol Chadash Tachas ha'Shamesh" (Koheles 1:9), with reference to Hashem's promise to him 3 to perform wonders for him (with direct reference to opening the earth) 4 , Moshe was requesting that Hashem put His promise into practice.

4.

Ramban #1 (citing Ibn Ezra): He meant if Hashem will cut an opening, as in Yechezkel, 23:47. 5

5.

Ramban #2: It means 'If Hashem will produce a new creation. 6 It bore no similarity to an earthquake, 7 where the earth remains open, and where the opening fills with pools of water, 8 as opposed to the current phenomenon, where the earth actually opened its mouth, 9 and after swallowing up Korach, Dasan and Aviram, it closed it again (leaving no signs of having opened). 10

6.

Rashbam: He meant if Hashem will create a new form of death - different than the one that He meted out to Nadav and Avihu - who died by fire.

7.

Targum Yonasan: He meant if Hashem did not create a (unique) death for them from the day that He created the world, then let Him create one now, and if He did not create a mouth to the earth from the creation, then let Him create one now.

8.

Rosh: 'If You already created Gehinom, fine; if not, He will create it now. 11


1

Seeing as Hashem had already created a mouth to the earth (Refer to 16:30:1:2). Rashbam: See Yirmiyah, 31:21.

2

See Pirkei Avos, 5:6.

3

Rashi: See Ki Sissa Sh'mos, 34:10.

4

Refer to Rashi, Ibid., Amud 94).

5

Ibn Ezra: The translation is not 'creation', seeing as it was not the first earthquake to have occurred. Riva

2)

What are the implications of the statement "vi'Yeda'atem ki Ni'atzu ha'Anashim ha'Eileh es Hashem"?

1.

Seforno: You will see that they are not worthy of the honor that one performs with the deceased to be buried like everybody else.

3)

Why did Moshe sentence them to being swallowed up by the land?

1.

Rashi: Refer to 16:12:3:1.

2.

Hadar Zekenim (on Pasuk 5): At Matan Torah, Hashem held the mountain over their heads, to swallow them if they will not accept the Torah. Now that they were estranged from Torah, Moshe Davened that He should create a mouth for the land to swallow them, like at Matan Torah.

3.

Seforno: Because they were not worthy of the honor that is due to the dead and of being buried like everybody else.

4.

Oznayim la'Torah: To deny them the prayers of visitors to their sick-bed and the opportunity of confessing before dying, the atonement that is brought about by death - and they went straight to Gehinom without burial, to deny them the atonement that is brought about by burial.

4)

Why was Moshe unsure? Did he not know that the mouth of the earth was already created Bein ha'Shemashos (at the end of the Creation)

1.

Moshav Zekenim #1: He did not know if it was to swallow them or others.

2.

Moshav Zekenim #2: He thought that the mouth was created to swallow the dead - such as the Egyptians 1 [after Keri'as Yam Suf], but not the living.

3.

Yerushalmi Sanhedrin, 10:1: Moshe was one of three people 2 who spoke with uncertainty - because Hashem did not reveal to them that He would uphold their predictions.


1

Why did he not mention that a Pasuk explicitly says that Pi ha'Aretz swallowed Hevel's blood (Bereishis 4:11)? Perhaps that was a mere crack to swallow blood, but not enough to swallow people. (PF).

2

The other two were the Nevi'im Eliyahu and Michah. See Torah Temimah, note 21.

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