1) THE SEQUENCE OF STATEMENTS REGARDING "TECHIYAS HA'MESIM"
QUESTION: In the midst of a lengthy discussion of Techiyas ha'Mesim and its source in the Torah, the Gemara interjects some seemingly entirely unrelated statements. The Gemara first quotes Rav who discusses the severity of withholding a teaching from a student. The Gemara continues with a discussion of what a teacher merits if he does teach a student. The Gemara then returns to sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim. Afterwards, the Gemara quotes Rebbi Elazar who says that a leader who is patient with his constituents will merit leading them in the World to Come. The Gemara then records a number of unrelated teachings of Rebbi Elazar. The Gemara then returns again to the subject of sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim.
What is the logical sequence of these statements in the Gemara?
ANSWER: The NODA B'YEHUDAH (end of YD 2:190) explains why the Gemara discusses withholding one's teachings from a student. He points out that the Gemara concludes that one who teaches Torah in this world merits to teach Torah in the World to Come as well. This occurs after Techiyas ha'Mesim, and therefore it is related to the subject of Techiyas ha'Mesim.
This answer does not explain why the statements of Rebbi Elazar are cited by the Gemara. Also, it is not clear why the Gemara should cite this statement in a discussion of sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim. After all, the Gemara is not discussing what occurs during Techiyas ha'Mesim.
Perhaps his intention is as follows. Immediately prior to the discussion of teaching a student, the Gemara cites two sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim. One source is the verse, "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha, Od Yehalelucha Sela" -- "Happy are those who dwell in Your house, they will praise You forever more" (Tehilim 84:5). The verse does not say that "they praised You," but rather that "they will praise You," implying that they will come back to life in the future and praise Hash-m. Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi reiterates this theme by saying that one who says Shirah in this world merits to say Shirah in the World to Come. Rebbi Yochanan then cites a source for Techiyas ha'Mesim from the verse that states that the "Tzofayich," the prophets, "will together sing to Hash-m," implying that they will come back to life and sing to Hash-m. Rebbi Yochanan reiterates this by saying that all of the prophets will sing Shirah as one in the World to Come.
The statements of the Gemara about teaching a student and leading one's constituents are directly related to these two teachings. A source for the statement that one who teaches Torah in this world merits to teach Torah in the World to Come may be found in the verse of "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha": "happy are those who dwell in Your house," a reference to those who teach Torah in the Beis Midrash, "Od Yehalelucha Sela," they will continue to praise You by teaching Torah in the World to Come. This is what the Gemara refers to as Shirah in the World to Come, as the Gemara in Nedarim (38a) says, "Learning Torah is referred to as saying Shirah," and as the Gemara in Chagigah (12b) says (see also Eruvin 18b). This is why the Gemara mentions the reward of teaching a student in the World to Come.
Similarly, the statement of Rebbi Elazar has a source in the verse that discusses how the prophets will praise Hash-m together after Techiyas ha'Mesim. The verse says that those who lead the people truthfully and patiently in this world will be restored to their positions in the World to Come, where they will lead the people in Shirah. This is why Rebbi Elazar's statement is cited here. The Gemara cites, tangentially, other statements of Rebbi Elazar.
Why does the Gemara separate the discussion of teaching Torah and Rebbi Elazar's discussion of a good leader with two additional sources for Techiyas ha'Mesim? Perhaps it separates them because those are the only remaining proofs that were brought by Amora'im who started their statements with the question, "From where in the Torah do we know Techiyas ha'Mesim?" The Gemara wants to end the discussion of Techiyas ha'Mesim before it records all of Rebbi Elazar's unrelated statements at length.
2) THE GREATNESS OF "DE'AH," "MIKDASH," AND "NEKAMAH"
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes Rebbi Elazar who says that De'ah and Mikdash are great, because they are mentioned between two "Osiyos," two Names of Hash-m. The Gemara asks that Nekamah, revenge, should also be great because of this reason, as it is also mentioned between two Names of Hash-m. The Gemara answers that Nekamah indeed is great when Hash-m does it for a positive purpose, to punish the evildoers and reward the righteous.
What does Rebbi Elazar mean when he says that these three elements are "great"? Moreover, is there any common theme among them?
ANSWER: The MAHARSHA and TORAS CHAIM explain that the two Names that surround these terms are not identical. In each case, one represents Hash-m's trait of Gevurah, or Din, might and justice, and the other represents the trait of Rachamim, the merciful kindness of Hash-m. The Gemara is saying that these three qualities -- De'ah, Mikdash, and Nekamah -- involve a combination of Din and Rachamim. The Toras Chaim says that the same Midos of Hash-m are written at each side of Yakov Avinu, "v'Hayah Hash-m Li l'Elokim" (Bereishis 28:21), for it is Yakov who exemplified the unification of the Midah of Chesed (the Midah of Avraham), represented by the name "Hash-m," and the Midah of Din (the Midah of Yitzchak), represented by the name "Elokim."
On a deeper level, this may be understood based on the words of Rashi at the beginning of the Torah. Hash-m wanted to create the world with Midas ha'Din. When He saw that the world would not endure with Midas ha'Din, he combined with it the Midah of Rachamim. The purest comprehension of Hash-m's attributes occurs when His Midas ha'Din is revealed, when it becomes clear that everything that occurs is just. However, in this world, there are times when a Tzadik suffers and a Rasha flourishes. This is because of the Midas ha'Rachamim which veils Hash-m's presence in this world. A person can reveal the presence of his Creator in all that occurs and in all that exists when he is able to combine the Midos of Rachamim and Din and accept the underlying justice in everything that occurs in this world. This underlying justice will be revealed to everyone in the World to Come, as the Gemara in Pesachim teaches (50a; see Insights there).
Through De'ah, a person combines Rachamim and Din and elevates himself to this level of understanding of the world and to this level of awareness and appreciation of Hash-m. This is also the level to which the Beis ha'Mikdash was able to elevate a person (see TOSFOS to Bava Basra 21a, DH Ki mi'Tziyon). This is what will become revealed to all mankind on the day of ultimate Nekamah, when Hash-m will reveal Himself and mete out vengeance upon the evildoers on the day of justice at the time of the war of Gog u'Magog and the rebuilding of the Beis ha'Mikdash.
One may add that the Torah recognizes three dimensions of experience: the person, the place, and the time. According to this explanation, the Gemara is teaching where, in each of these dimensions, it is most conducive for the Midos of Din and Rachamim to be united in the greatest form. The De'ah accomplishes this in the person. The Mikdash accomplishes this in space. The Nekamah, which will occur at the final Yom ha'Din, accomplishes this in time.
2) THE CHILDREN OF EFRAIM WHO LEFT EGYPT TOO EARLY
QUESTION: The Gemara says that Bnei Efraim left Mitzrayim thirty years before the destined time in their impatience to end the slavery. Consequently, they were decimated by the Plishtim. The Midrash (Shemos Rabah 20:11) explains that they calculated the 400 years of slavery from the Bris Bein ha'Besarim rather than from the birth of Yitzchak, and that is why they thought that the slavery ended thirty years before it actually ended.
Why specifically did Bnei Efraim, the grandchildren of Yosef, make this tragic error?
ANSWER: RAV YAKOV KAMINETZKY zt'l (in Emes l'Yakov, Bereishis 41:51, 48:5, and Shemos 13:17) provides enlightening insights on this subject. He explains that it is easy to understand why it was the children of Yosef, more than the other Shevatim, who were impatient to leave Mitzrayim. It was their father, Yosef, who built up the nation of Mitzrayim and made it the wealthiest nation in the world. Now, a new king rose to power who not only did not repay or show gratitude to Yosef's family, but he spread rumors that "these unwanted foreigners are the source of all of our troubles." He made the people think that "this Jewish king paid off the royalty to give him an important position, and then brought his entire family to the land. They hate us and cannot wait to seize the opportunity to conquer us." No one could be so patient as to endure such a lack of gratitude and not let it affect him.
Moreover, the children of Yosef had weaker Emunah because they were born in Mitzrayim, the land of Tum'ah, and therefore they were more vulnerable to making a mistake and trying to get out too soon. That is why Yakov Avinu gave the children of Yosef a special blessing, in addition to the blessing that all of the Shevatim received. He saw that they needed extra help from Hash-m to succeed in persevering in Mitzrayim.
This is why they counted the 400 years of slavery from the time of the Bris Bein ha'Besarim. At the Bris Ben ha'Besarim, Hash-m gave Eretz Yisrael to Avraham, and, nevertheless, in the eyes of those living there he was just a visitor, a foreigner. The children of Yosef, more than any of the other tribes, could identify with the feeling of distress of a person who knows that he is a fully-privileged citizen and yet is treated like a foreigner.
Why, though, was it specifically the children of Efraim who stumbled and not the children of Menasheh?
Rav Yakov explains that Efraim was born later. By the time he was born, the culture of Mitzrayim had already had more of an impact on Yosef's life than when Menasheh was born. This is reflected in their names. Menasheh's name was given to him as an expression of gratitude to Hash-m for ending Yosef's suffering -- the removal of adverse circumstances. Efraim's name was given as an expression of gratitude to Hash-m for causing Yosef to multiply and succeed in the land (Bereishis 42:51-52) -- the presence of favorable circumstances. He already was accepting the positive aspects of being in Mitzrayim, and not just focusing on the fact that he was no longer suffering. The Egyptian influence is also evident in the phonemic composition of the name Efraim, as Egyptian names give emphasis to the letters "Peh" and "Reish," as in the names Shifra, Pu'ah, Pharaoh, Tzafnas Pane'ach, and Potifar.
Rav Yakov suggests that this is why Yakov Avinu "adopted" Efraim as his student. Menasheh was on more firm footing, which is why he was more comfortable with Lashon ha'Kodesh, as Rashi writes (Bereishis 42:23) that he was the interpreter between Yosef and his brothers. Efraim, on the other hand, was raised with more of the Egyptian culture and he did not speak Lashon ha'Kodesh as fluently as Menasheh did. Yakov Avinu, therefore, tried to influence him and teach him so that he would grow in the ways of his fathers. Yakov's worries came to fruition when Efraim's children attempted to leave Mitzrayim before the destined time.