Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Rav Bechhofer,

Can you explain why Rav Tzadok considers the 600,000 Mitzrim killed by the Bchoros to be a Kapara for Klal Yisrael, as stated in Pri Tzadik?

I am unable to get a clear answer to this question. Does it make sense to you, based on his other writings? So when huge numbers of people are killed, this means there was a threat to the Yidden, and they were chosen instead (as an atonement -or maybe a warning to us that we might be next?)

I know Rav Tzadok quotes the Gemorra in Brachos, where the Rav was about to enter a latrine and a Roman entered instead and was killed by a snake. "Edom Tachas Raglecho" Is there some principal here I don't understand? Will Edom eventually atone for us through their destruction? seems like a pretty violent philosophy...

I was asked a question by an unnamed Rav who didn't understand why the number 600,000 would apply to the Mitzrim, he thought that number applied only to Klal Yisrael. So I showed him that Rav Tzadok wrote they were a kapara for the 600,000 Yiddden who really did not deserve
to leave Mitrayim. The Rav didn't understand Rav Tzadok, and said he is not really an expert on Rav Tzadok, and I should ask someone who knows Rav Tzadok's writings much better than he does.

I think it is something along the lines of this Gemara, Chagigah 4b:

הא דרב ביבי בר אביי הוה שכיח גביה מלאך המות אמר ליה לשלוחיה זיל אייתי
לי מרים מגדלא שיער נשייא אזל אייתי ליה מרים מגדלא דרדקי אמר ליה אנא
מרים מגדלא שיער נשייא אמרי לך אמר ליה אי הכי אהדרה אמר ליה הואיל
ואייתיתה ליהוי למניינא

The Gemara later relates that the years that the person who died early lost are given to a צורבא מרבנן דמעביר במיליה.

IIRC, Rav Dessler explains that they are given specifically to a Talmid
Chochom who is kind and gracious so he will readily assign the merit he
accrues during those years to the predeceased. Here too, evidently,
there was a minyan of deaths that had to be suffered as a part of the cataclysm of the Exodus. (Likely in connection with "Halalu Ovdei Avodah Zarah v'halalu Ovdei Avodah Zarah"). R' Tzadok here (Shabbos HaGadol #1) writes that the Mitzri'im were a kofer, not a kapparah. Evidently, they were taken to fill the quota, and the resulting Kiddush Hashem (and, it would seem, the subsequent Avodas Hashem of the saved 600,000 Jews) was a zechus for the neshamos of the Egyptians.

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