Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mentioning Evil First

Rava stated: Let us see; where do we derive the rule for conditions? It is from the condition mentioned in the Torah regarding the Tribes of Reuven and Gad. Therefore, just as there, the positive feature (they will receive the land if they fulfill the condition) comes before the negative (if they do not fight together with the rest of Klal Yisroel, they will not receive that land), so too, it should be in all cases.

It is written [Bamidbar 16:29 - 30]: If these men die as all men die and the fate of all men will be visited upon them, then Hashem has not sent me. But if Hashem creates a creation, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that is theirs, and they descend alive into the grave, you will know that these men have provoked Hashem.

The Haflaah in Panim Yafos asks: Shouldn’t Moshe have stated the positive feature before the negative?

He answers: Our Gemora (Gittin 75) states that a man does not want to begin with a mention of evil for himself, and therefore he will say, “If I do not die” before stating, “If I will die.” So too, Moshe did not want to begin with mentioning evil even for these wicked people, and therefore, he worded the stipulation in a manner that the mention of this horrific type of death should be delayed for as long as possible.