More Discussions for this daf
1. Moshe's Death and Moshe taking Yosef's coffin 2. Who is "better equipped" to do the Mitzvah? 3. Burial Place of Yosef
4. Yosef Yosef

Ari asked:

1. I'm having a hard time understanding the gezeira shava that teaches that perhaps Moshe did not die. Yes it says Sham by Moshes "death" and Sham by har sinai and both terms are somewhat unnecessary. However, here it clearly states that he died with the word Vayamat. There it uses the word Vayehi- and he was.

Is there another example in the torah where the word Vayamat is used to describe a person and the person did not actually die.

2. The gemara says ( according to one opinion) that Yosefs kever was amde out of metal and Moshe got it to rise from the bottom of the river. The gemara then says something that I found strange- it basicly says don't wonder or be amazed how metal floated because of the story from elisha. In learning the gemara I wasn't amazed that it happened. I just assumed that a miracle happened on behalf of Moshe and the coffin rose. The gemara used the phrase V'al Tamuah which I found a bit funny and strange. any thoughts.

Ari, USA

The Kollel replies:

1. The Maharsha says that the real reason behind the Gezeirah Shaveh is the question asked in Bava Basra (15a) that the Pesukim themselves seem to indicate that Moshe did not really die, as the Pasuk states "va'Yamas Sham Moshe" and we know that Moshe wrote the Torah. This opinion therefore searched for a hint from the Pesukim that this was indeed the case, and saw it in this Asmachta of a Gezeirah Shaveh (not a regular Gezeirah Shaveh).

[A similar Derashah is made regarding Yakov Avinu. The Pasuk says that he died (although not using the word "va'Yamas," see Bereishis 49:33). Even so, there is a Derashah that Yakov did not really die (see Ta'anis 5a, though some opinions explain that even according to this opinion he essentially died). "l'Havdil," the word "va'Yamas" is used in the Torah by Paroh (Shemos 2:23), and one opinion (brought in Rashi ibid.) says that he did not die but rather became a leper.]

2. The Maharsha explains that most of the great miracles performed by Moshe were done by him only after he was commanded to do so by Hash-m (i.e. the Makos, Kriyas Yam Suf, etc.). Here we find no explicit mention of Hash-m telling him to perform such a miracle. Such a change of nature without the direct command of Hash-m might seem novel. The Gemara therefore says that this is not considered special for Moshe Rabeinu, as his student's student Elisha was able to do a similar miracle without having been commanded to do so by Hash-m. It was therefore not out of the ordinary for Moshe either, even when not commanded by Hash-m (see Avoda Zara 10b where Antoninus told Rebbi that he was aware that even the smallest among Rebbi's group of scholars could make the dead come back to life).

All the best,

Yaakov Montrose