Vaera 5778

RABBI REUVEN GERSON

וידבר ה’ אל משה לאמור (שמות יג:א)

Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying… (Shemos 13:1)

This verse, the most common sentence in the Torah, appears here for the first time. Seventy Parshiyos will be introduced with these words. In reference to the Halacha that every Krias HaTorah must have 10 Pesukim, Rashi (Megilla 21b) writes that the Gemara notes that the above Pasuk is also included, even though there is nothing learned from this Pasuk.
The Gemara (Makkos 10b) asks why the Parsha of ערי מקלט, city of refuge (Yehoshua 20:1), is introduced in a harsh way, וידבר ה’ אל יהושע לאמור. The Gemara responds because it is a continuation of the Parsha in the Torah (Devarim 4:41-43). This indicates that the unique nature of Torah is intimated by this sentence.
The Ramban (Shemos 6:10) explains that וידבר is the Pshat of the Mitzvah and לאמור includes all of the implied and hidden aspects of the Mitzvah. This is because Moshe received the Mitzvah in a clear and definitive prophecy, the דבור, and gave it to Bnei Yisrael in the manner of לאמור.
Rabbeinu Bechaya (Shemos 13:1) adds that דבור refers to the Torah Shebichsav, the Written Torah, and אמירה refers to the Torah Shebe’al Peh, the Oral Torah.
Moshe Rabbeinu’s comprehension of the Torah was so complete that with the basic words alone, he understood all of the implicit ideas and concepts contained in the terse words of the Torah Shebichsav. The Vilna Gaon explains that this is the meaning of the titles that the Seder Olam (chapter 3), gives to Moshe and Yehoshua. Moshe is called אבי החכמה, the father of wisdom, whereas Yehoshua is called the one who possesses בינה, understanding. Moshe did not need the attribute of בינה to understand one concept from a previous one, as he immediately understood the entire gamut of wisdom in the first place. And Moshe received it all from Hashem. Yehoshua, on the other hand, would have to understand each level from the previous premise.
This would explain the Gemara (Nedarim 38a). Reb Yossi ben Rebbe Chanina taught that the Torah was only given to Moshe and his descendants, but Moshe behaved with a generous eye and gave it to Bnei Yisrael.
Rav Chisda challenged Reb Yossi, as Moshe said that “G-d commanded me to teach you the Torah.” The Gemara concludes that Reb Yossi was only referring to the Pilpul of Torah, not the actual Torah Shebichsav. Moshe received the דבור of the Torah, which on his level included all of the implications and permutations of the Halacha. He was only responsible for transmitting the basic rules that result from understanding the דבור, the לאמור, but not the methods of understanding the דבור, the דבר מתוך דבר, the thought from a previous thought. But because of his inherently good nature, Moshe also transmitted these to Klal Yisrael.
Notwithstanding that he was Moshe’s closest disciple, Yehoshua was not able to attain this level of prophecy. Therefore, the Gemara asks why the language of לאמור and וידבר is used in reference to him.
Yehoshua’s level is described in the Bracha to Yosef (Devarim 33:7) as Hadar. Sifri (ibid.) comments but not Hod. Hod describes Moshe.
The Tzofnas Paneach (ibid) explains that Hadar only describes the person, as in an Esrog that is Hadar. Hod, on the other hand, is a separate characteristic that accentuates the person. Moshe gave of his Hod to Yehoshua (Bamidbar 27:20) and Chazal (Bava Basra 75a) note that this was like the sun illuminating the moon. Moshe’s חכמה is described in the Pasuk: “the wisdom of a man illuminates his face.” Moshe’s level of חכמה was expressed in the rays of Hod that illuminated his face and prevented the rest of Bnei Yisrael from approaching him. Yehoshua could not achieve this level, and he was only a reflection of Moshe’s luminance.
So when Rashi writes that we don’t learn anything from this Pasuk, obviously he means that the first time the Torah writes it, it is teaching the level of Moshe’s understanding of Torah. The reiteration of the lesson seems to be redundant, but it still counts as one of the ten required Pesukim.


אמר רבי מנסיא… רבה: מניין לאמור דבר לחבירו שהוא בבל יאמר, עד שיאמר לו לך אמור,
שנאמר וידבר ה’ אליו מאהל מועד לאמור (ויקרא א:א) (יומא ד:)

The Gemara (Yoma 4b) learns from the verse in the beginning of Vayikra that one who is told information may not reveal that information to others unless he is directed to do so. The Ritva (ibid.) asks why the Gemara did not learn this rule from every Pasuk in which it saysוידבר ה’ אל משה לאמור that has the same implication. He answers that in this Pasuk, there is an added stricture. Even though all of Bnei Yisrael knew that Moshe was called to the Ohel Moed to receive a Mitzvah, he was still forbidden to reveal the Mitzvah to them without permission.
This Halacha is not quoted in the Poskim. The Magen Avraham adds it in his list of “forgotten” Halachos in Siman 156.
The Machatzis Hashekel comments that it is learned from the many times that Hashem said, וידבר ה’ אל משה לאמור.
In an article printed in the journal Tael Talpios year 652, Rabbi Binyamin Gittelsohn discusses this Halacha. Rabbi Gittelsohn was born in Lithuania and studied in Volozhin. In 1890 he was appointed Rav in Cleveland, where he passed away in 1932 and was buried in the Lansing Cemetery. The question that he addressed was, may one publish private letters received from Rabbanim without their permission? He cites a response of Rabbi Assad (Y.D. 319), who notes that the language of the Gemara is he may not say the information. He quotes the Poskim who opine that writing is not the same as speech in rules that require speech, e.g., Nedarim, Sefiras Haomer, etc. Therefore, in this Halacha also, since the language of the Gemara is לאמור, only speech is included. Rabbi Assad then quotes the Shailtos, who includes this in the rubric of Lashon Hara. This would limit the Issur to things that would have a negative effect. Rabbi Gittelson adds that this is implied by the Gemara’s language. When one reveals information to one’s friend, it is information that he specifically revealed only to his friend.
The Chafetz Chaim also includes this in the Halachos of Lashon Hara. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the letters do not contain any negative information about the writer, or anything that might be understood, that he would not like revealed.
The Chafetz Chaim also discusses whether the Halacha applies to information that is written. Perhaps the above question, if writing is the same as speaking, applies. He quotes the Yalkut (Melochim 35) that Yoav violated Dovid’s trust and was regarded as aרכיל , talebearer, when he showed others the order that Dovid wrote to place Uriah at the front line. He concludes his discussion by making a point that it is important to read the letters of the sages and to learn from their mundane lives and speech how a Jew should conduct himself. This especially applies to those who are unable to learn the Torah lessons of the sages.
It is interesting to note that Rabbi Gittelson publicized an incident about Rav Chaim Volozhiner (journal Vayitzbor Yosef). Rabbi Chaim had a daughter whose name was Chasya. She lived in the nearby town of Lida. Rav Chaim would send her letters with a local wagon driver. On one occasion he asked his son Yitzchok to retrieve the letter that he had just sent. Reb Yitzchok missed the wagon driver. When he reported this to his father, Rav Chaim told him to get a horse and exchange the letter with a new one. When the mission was accomplished, Yitzchok asked his father what the urgency was. Rav Chaim replied that he had spelled his daughter’s name incorrectly in the first letter. A few weeks later, Chasya visited and told them that the Beis Din of Lida had taken her letters to check the spelling (in Hebrew) of Chasya for a get. Obviously, Chachamim are careful with what they write and there is always something to be learned from them.