What did Moshe mean when he said "ve'Im B'riyah Yivra Hashem"?


Rashi #1 and Rashbam: What he meant was that, if Hashem would create a new creation, that they would die in a manner that nobody had ever died before. 1


Rashi #2 (citing Sanhedrim 110a): He meant that, if Hashem had already created a mouth to the earth from the six days of the creation, 2 that was fine; but if not, then let Him create one now.


Rashi #3 (in Seifer ha'Pardes): Refer to 16:30:1:2. Bearing in mind the mantra 'Ein Chadash Tachas ha'Shemesh', with reference to Hashem's promise to him 3 to perform wonders for him (with direct reference to opening the earth) 4 , Moshe was requesting that Hashem put His promise into practice.


Ramban #1 (citing Ibn Ezra): It means 'If Hashem will cut an opening.' 5


Ramban #2: It means 'If Hashem will produce a new creation. 6 Nor was it comparable to an earthquakes, where the earth remains open, and where the opening fills with pools of water, unlike the current phenomenon, where the earth actually opened its mouth, 7 and after swallowing up Korach, Dasan and Aviram, it closed it again (leaving no signs of having opened). 8


Targum Yonasan: If Hashem did not create a (unique) death for them from the day that He created the world, then let Him create one now, and if He did not create a mouth to the earth from the creation, then let Him create one now!


Seeing as Hashem had already created a mouth to the earth (Refer to 16:30:1:2). Rashbam: See Yirmiyah, 31:21.


See Pirkei Avos, 5:6.


Rashi (Ibid.): See Shemos 34:10).


Refer to Rashi, Ibid., Amud 94).


Ibid. As in Yechezkel, 23:47. The Ibn Ezra rejects the translation of 'creation', seeing as it was not the first earthquake to have occurred.


Ramban: Since this is the only word in Lashon ha'Kodesh that means 'to create'.


Ramban: As the Torah writes in Pasuk 32


Ramban and Seforno (on Pasuk 33): As the Torah writes in Pasuk 33 "Vat'chas aleihem ha'Aretz".


And what are the implications of the statement "Viyeda'atem ki Ni'atzu ha'Anashim ha'Eileh es Hashem"?


Seforno: When the people see that they are not worthy of the Kavod that one performs with the deceased to be buried like everybody else.

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