Monday, September 3, 2007

Vayeileich, Devorim 31:2. The End of Moshe Rabbeinu’s Days.

Please note: This discussion is more about strange hashkafos than about enlightenment. It is very possible that careful thought would show that there is less here than meets the eye.

The Gemora in Yevamos 50a records the three questions King Menashe confronted the Navi Yeshaiyohu (his grandfather) with: Moshe Rabbeinu said lo yir’ani odom vochoi, but Yeshaya said ve’er’eh es Hashem; Moshe said bechol kor’einu, and you said behimotzo; Moshe said (here) that his days had ended, and you said that Hashem added 15 years to Chizkiyahu’s life. The Gemora answers the questions: Moshe, who saw be’aspaklaria hame’ira knew that what he saw was not really Hashem; behimotzo is for a yochid, and bechol is for a tzibur; and whether a person can exceed his apportioned years is a machlokes Reb Akiva (there’s a maximum) and the Chachomim (years can be added.) The Mahrsho asks that in the first perek of Kiddushin and Sotah the Gemora says on this passuk that if not for Mei Meriva, Moshe would have entered Eretz Yisroel, so it is shver on Reb Akiva, and the Mahrsho says that this is not like Reb Akiva.

There happens to be a machlokes about whether a person can kill another person before Hashem intended for him to die, i.e., that Hashem allows it to happen but was not gozer that it should happen.
The Alshich (Breishis 37:21 and Doniel 3:15), the Ohr Hachaim, and the Zohar (p. 185), and the Netziv in Harcheiv Dovor (Brieshis 37:15, unless the person is thoroughly good,) say that a person can be murdered by a ba’al b’chiroh outside the retzon Hashem.

Rav Schwab and Rav Dovid Kronglas have said that this is outrageous. But an outrageous Alshich remains an Alshich.

I suppose you could call this the Slaughterhouse Five / Bridge of San Luis Rey or the Vonnegut/Wilder machlokes.

See also Reb Yehuda Halevi's shitah, as stated in the Kuzari, Ma'amar 5 ch. 20 [page numbers are from the Devir/Even Shoshan edition]. On p. 225, he quotes the passuk in Shmuel 1 26:10 and explains that the passuk is talking about three types of death -- Divine death, natural death, and death through mikreh. This, of course, implies that hashgachah is not absolute because one can die through mikreh. He defines mikreh on p. 222 and adds that it is dependent on/related to Divine, natural, and bechirah actions. This might imply that mikreh is really an interplay of hashgachah and bechirah. On p. 227 he adds that spiritual preparation, i.e. knowledge and understanding of the secrets of the Torah causes good and repels bad. In the next paragraph he says that someone who does hishtadlus and has bitochon will see good and will not lose. However, one who enters a dangerous situation violates the prohibition against testing Hashem (Devorim 6:16).

The Rashbatz in his Mogen Ovos (5:25 d’h Ben shmonim ligvuroh) quotes this Kuzari on the three types of deaths. His son, the Rashbash, in a teshuvah (195) explains it this way. Everyone has a set lifespan which can be lengthened due to zechuyos and shortened due to aveiros. On Rosh Hashonnoh, someone who is judged to have his lifespan lengthened or shortened is written in the Sefer Hachayim or the opposite. However, someone who is not having his lifespan lengthened or shortened is not written in any book and is subject to mikreh.

Harav Shimon Krasner has a thorough discussion of the various shittos in his sefer (Nachals Shimon) Shmuel II 16:10 where Dovid Hamelech says about Shimi ben Geiro that “Hashem omar lo kalleil es Dovid.”


  1. >>>There happens to be a machlokes about whether a person can kill another person before Hashem intended for him to die

    R' Elchanan Wasserman in the end of Koveitz Ma'amarim (the aggadita section) quotes that this is a machlokes Tos (Kesubos 30 on hakol b'ydei shamayim) and the Chovos haLevavos.

  2. Once again, Yasher kochaca. I lent someone by R' Elchonon in Ner Israel thirty some years ago, and am still waiting to get it back.