H. David Levine asks:

Thanks for the reply from the Kollel; I hope all is well with Dovid Bloom, and the rest of the chevra.

This phrase, Mi she'Para, arose a few daf ago, also, and lent me to wonder, how is a kabalah any different? It doesn't seem to have been required of Paroah, or any of the tsaarei Yisroel, and what's written in the Torah is like written in a shtar, as well.

H. David Levine, Roanoke, VA; USA

The Kollel replies:

David, thank you for your regards! Baruch Hash-m, I and my family are doing fine, and it is great to receive another of your thoughtful questions!

1) The Gemara (beginning of 48b) states that one who gave the money and wants to retract before he "pulled" the goods into his possession is not behaving like a Yisrael should. Rashi (48b, DH b'Oseh) cites the verse in Tzefanyah (3:13) that "the remnant of Yisrael shall not do iniquity nor speak lies."

2) This is a level of integrity which is expected only of Klal Yisrael. The Beis Din cannot force the buyer to go through with the transaction because he did not yet perform "Meshichah." However, better behavior is expected of a Jew and the Mi she'Para tells him that while no punishment may be meted out to him by Beis Din, he nevertheless can expect punishment from Hash-m for his crime of "not standing by his word" as the Mishnah (44a) tells us.

3) Pharaoh said, "Who is Hash-m that I should listen to his voice!" (Shemos 5:2); a Mi she'Para would not have made any impression upon him! But we can learn from the punishment the Egyptians received -- when they drowned in the Yam Suf -- that Hash-m can also punish someone who does not stand by his word.

4) I think that we can learn from all of this that the Mi she'Para idea is, to a certain extent, a privilege. It is only Klal Yisrael who are on the level that such honesty is expected of us, and to remind us of this it is only we who receive the Mi she'Para curse. Possibly, we may now understand why it is called a Kabalah. It is a gift that we are given the opportunity of this warning, in the same way that any suffering we may receive is actually a present for us. It comes to help us, even though it is not always easy for us to understand it at the time it happens.

Kol Tuv,

Dovid Bloom