Daily Tanach, Thursday: Shoftim Chapter 5 Part 2-The song of Devorah

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.       The miracles of the battle:

  • From heaven the stars fought against Sisra [by heating up the ground[1]], and from the pathways they fought with Sisra. The river of Kishon swept them away [as when the soldiers of Sisra went to wash in the river, the river swept them away[2]]. The hooves of the horses of Sisra fell off after they fled.

2.       Those deserving of praise and scorn:

  • The people of Meiroz: Cursed be the people of Meiroz, says [Barak[3]] the messenger of G-d, as they did not come to assist in the battle of Hashem.
  • Yael: Blessed be the woman Yael, the wife of Chever the Keini. Of the women of the tent [i.e. Sarah[4]] let her be blessed. He [i.e. Sichon] asked for water and she gave him milk in a large water bucket. She gave him butter. She sent her hand to the peg in order to kill Sisra who was tired. She obliterated his head and chopped it off his body, puncturing through his skull. Between her legs he prostrated and fell and lied, and there he remained in a disrespectful state. [The Sages[5] explain that this verse hints to the fact that Yael had relations with Sisra in attempt to weaken him and make him fall asleep, thus giving her ability to kill him. She had relations with him no less than seven times, until he was completely exhausted.[6] The Kabbalists[7] explain that Yael did so in order to retrieve the sparks of holiness that were retained in the soul of Sisra, and thus continued having relations until all the sparks were released. As a result of these relations with Sisra, Rebbe Akiva was born.[8] Yael became pregnant from the third intercourse and from this descendent came Rebbe Akiva.[9]]
  • The mother of Sisra: The mother of Sisra gazed from the window and cried, waiting for her son’s chariot to return. The wisdom of her ministers answered her that certainly Sisra is busy gathering booty, busy giving at least two beautiful Jewish women to be raped by each of his soldiers, and she accepted their explanation as accurate.
  • The final word: So, shall be eradicated all the enemies of G-d, and the sun in its might will rise for those who love G-d.

3.       The land rests from war:

  • After the battle with Sisra the land rested for 40 years.


[1] See Rashi 5:22

[2] See Radak 5:20

[3] Rashi 5:23

[4] Rashi 5:24

[5] Rebbe Yochanan in Yevamos 103a; Nazir 23b; Yalkut Shimoni Shoftim 5:27See Radak 5:27; Rashi on Yevamos ibid

[6] This is hinted to in the fact the verse writes the words “falling” seven times

[7] Baalei Bris Avraham 126 in paragraph written by Rav Zecharya Azulai, the grandson of the author Rav Avraham Azulai, in name of Arizal; Meam Loez Shoftim 5:27

[8] It is unclear from the above source if the intent is that Yael became pregnant from Sisra and Rebbe Akiva was eventually born from her descendants, or if it contains a spiritual connotation, that the soul of Rebbe Akiva became freed with these relations with Sisra, and was thus eventually born as a Jew, but not that Yael actually conceived. However, see next from the Rameh Mipuno that she became pregnant from him.

[9] Rameh Mipuno in Asara Mamaros Mamar Chikur Din 5:11

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