Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Miracle of Yocheved

The Gemora states that Yocheved bore Moshe when she was 130 years old, as Hashem performed a miracle and restored her to a youthful state.

The Ibn Ezra (Braishis 46:23) questions why the Torah does not even mention this miracle, when it goes to such length to describe and expand upon the miracle Hashem did to allow Sarah to conceive at the age of 90.

The Magid Midubno says that at the time of Sarah, it was rare for a woman to miraculously conceive a child under such conditions, and thus the miracle was a rarity and deserving of elaborate mention. However, at the time of Moshe’s birth, Chazal tell us that the women gave birth to six children at a time. At a time when miraculous childbirth was so common, the miracle of Yocheved conceiving at the age of 130 was not as outstanding, and therefore is not mentioned explicitly.

Age vs. Wisdom

The Gemora discusses the precedence of age vs. Torah wisdom in various settings. The summary of the halachah, as ruled in Shulchan Aruch (Y”D 244:18) is:
Older person Wiser person Torah setting General celebration
Advanced age Extraordinarily wise Wiser Older
Advanced age Wiser Older
Older Extraordinarily wise Wiser
Older Wiser Older

The older person only takes precedence if he is somewhat wise in Torah as well.

Husband vs. Sage in Oaths

The Gemora compares and contrasts hatarah and hafarah. The mechanism of the two and their parameters are different, and are not interchangeable. A Sage who invalidates an oath does hatarah, and by discovering a reason why the person regrets the oath, or would have never made the oath, makes the oath as if it were in error, and never in effect. However, a husband who breaks his wife’s oath, since it brings her discomfort, or impacts on their relationship, is empowered by the Torah to do hafarah, which removes the oath’s prohibition on his wife from this point on.