Chapter 5: The song of Devorah

Chapter 5: The song of Devorah

1.      The song-Introduction:

  • Devorah, and Barak the son of Avinoam, sang a song on that day [which caused all the sins of the Jewish people to be forgiven, and begin a new page[1]].
  • G-d took vengeance on behalf of the Jewish people, when his people stepped up and repented, and we will now bless G-d for doing so. Hear oh kings, listen to a song, I am to G-d and I will sing and praise G-d, the G-d of Israel.
  • The leave of Sinai: Upon G-d leaving Seir [i.e. Har Sinai[2]], and walking through the field of Edom, the earth shook, and the heavens and clouds dropped rain [of resurrection[3]]. Mountains shed water before G-d, which is Sinai.

2.      The state of the nation in the times of Yael:

  • In the days of Shamgar Ben Anas, and Yael [who was also a Shofet in those days[4]], the Jewish people feared traveling by road [due to potential attack by their enemies] and rather traveled through back windy paths. They feared living in in open cities, and dwelled in fortified cities, due to fear of attack by their enemies. This was all until Devorah became a mother onto Israel. [These words were said by Devorah herself, and being viewed as a tinge of haughtiness, G-d punished her by removing from her Ruach Hakodesh.[5]] This need to wage war against their enemies was all due to the sins of idolatry of the Jewish people, and they therefore had to galvanize an army of 40,000 soldiers.

3.      The love of the Sages and the talk of the miracle:

  • My heart [i.e. love] goes to the legislatures of Israel [i.e. the Sages] who devote themselves to the Jewish people. The riders of white mules are dignitaries who sit in judgement of the Jewish people, while the simple man walk and talk with their friends of the miracles of Hashem. The voice of the archers can be found amongst the water drawers, and there they talk of the greatness of God and what He did for the Jewish people.
  • Wake up Devorah, wake up and sing praise. Wake up Barak and capture captives, the son of Avinoam. Then Hashem gave us the Jewish people sovereignty over the gentile nations.

4.      The tribes who joined the war and those who did not:

  • Soldiers from the tribe of Ephraim waged war against Amaleik. Afterwards would come Binyamon and finish them off. From Machir came generals and conquerors. From Zevulun came the Sofrim, and Sages. From Yissachar came the aristocrats, the leaders of the Sanhedrin. They worked with Devorah to strengthen the nations Torah observance. The rest of the tribe of Yissachar was obedient to Barak, and listened to all his instructions regarding the war that was waged. The tribe of Reuvein however, was divided in their hearts, and they acted with contempt, waiting to see who would win the battle prior to joining. Gilad dwelled across the Jordon [and thus did not join the war[6]]. Dan prepared ships with all their belongings to escape the land. Asher sat at the beach and guarded the seaport from the enemies. Zevulun gave up their lives to fight in the battle. Likewise, Naftali joined and fought in the battle. [The tribes who stayed away from joining the battle should be ashamed, as] Other kings joined the battle to help Sisra without any monetary incentive, and they fought in Tanach and Meiy Megido.

5.      The miracles of the battle:

  • From heaven the stars fought against Sisra [by heating up the ground[7]], 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[8]]. The hooves of the horses of Sisra fell off after they fled.

6.      Those deserving of praise and scorn:

  • The people of Meiroz: Cursed be the people of Meiroz, says [Barak[9]] 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[10]] let her be blessed. He 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[11] 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.[12] The Kabalists[13] 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.[14] Yael became pregnant from the third intercourse and from this descendent came Rebbe Akiva.[15]]
  • 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.

7.      The land rests from war:

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

[1] Rashi 6:1; Midrash Tehillim 18:6

[2] Rashi 5:3

[3] Rashi 5:3

[4] Rashi 5:6

[5] Pesachim 66b; Rashi 5:12

[6] Rashi 5:17; However. See Radak and other Mefarshim ibid who argue and say that they did come to war

[7] See Rashi 5:22

[8] See Radak 5:20

[9] Rashi 5:23

[10] Rashi 5:24

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

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

[13] Baalei Bris Avraham 126 in paragraph written by Rav Zerachya Azulaiy, the grandson of the author Rav Avraham Azulai, in name of Arizal; Meiam Loez Shoftim 5:27

[14] 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 Rebbbe 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.

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

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