ויסע מלאך האלהים. זה היה קודם דבר אל בני ישדאל ויסעו. והנה פי' וכבר נסע. וכבר הראיתיך רבים כזה. ובעבור שאלה הג' פסוקים דבוקים זה עם זה וכל אחד יש בו ע"ב אותיות. על כן מצאנו בספרים כתוב סימן סוד השם המפורש. ולפי דעתי בעבור כי מספר השם הנכבד. יעלה לע"ב אותיות כאשר אפרש בפרשת כי תשא. על כן כתוב ככה. ובספר רזיאל הרוצה לעשות שאלת חלום יקרא בתחלת הלילה פסוק. ויהי בשלשים שנה. כי הוא ע"ב אותיות: AND THE ANGEL OF GOD. This took place before speak unto the children of Israel, that they should go forward (v. 15).70The incident described in verses 19 and 20 must have taken place before Israel was commanded to go forward, since the pillar of cloud came between the two camps and prevented the Egyptians from harming the Israelites all the night (v. 20). It’s meaning thus is, and the angel of God had already removed.71In other words, va-yissa (removed) is a pluperfect, meaning had removed. I have already showed you many such instances.72Where Scripture employs a pluperfect. Now because these three verses73Verses 19, 20, 21. are connected to each other and each one has seventy-two letters we find in them, as stated in the books,74Post-talmudic works such as Lekach Tov on Ex. 14; Responsa of R. Hai Gaon. Also see Ozer Ha-Geonim, Hagigah, p. 23. The Talmud speaks of the 72-letter name of God. See Sukkah 45a. Those who see the 72-letter name of God in these verses do so in one of the following two ways. They arrange the three verses on top of each other and arrive at God’s name by reading down, i.e., vav, vav, vav; yod, yod, yod; samekh, bet, tet, etc. Or they invert verse 20 and arrange the three verses as above and read down, i.e., vav, heh, vav; yod, lamed, yod; samekh, alef, tet, and so on. The reason they invert the middle verse is that it states, and the one did not come near the other all the night; i.e., one is not to combine the letters of this verse in their normal fashion but they are to be read backwards as the word ha-laylah (the night) is. For ha-laylah reads the same whether from left to right or right to left (Krinsky). the sign of the secret of God’s explicit name. However, in my opinion it is so written75These three verses. In other words, verses 19-21 consist of 72 letters each, not because a combination of their letters spells out a secret name of God, but rather they allude to God (YHVH) whose might delivered Israel. because, as I will explain in the Torah portion Ki Tissa,76I.E. insists that when the Talmud speaks of the 72-letter name of God it refers to the tetragrammaton (YHVH),which when calculated as follows, Y (10) YH (15) YHV (21) YHVH (26), comes to 72. Cf. I.E.’s Sefer Ha-Shem 5. the numerical value of God’s glorious name comes to seventy-two. The Book of Raziel77An early cabalistic work which is supposed to have been given to Adam by the angel Raziel (Hebrew, mystery of God). It contains mystical teachings, letter mysticism, descriptions of heaven, as well as formulas for amulets. states that one who wants to query the heavenly powers in a dream should read the verse, Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, etc. (Ezek. 1:1), for it contains seventy-two letters.78In the Sefer Raziel, and apparently also in I.E’s version of Scripture, the words ha-golah and marot in Ezek. 1:1 were spelled without a vav. Otherwise the number of letters in Ezek 1:1 comes to 74 as they do in our editions of the Prophets. Cf. Minchat Shai on Ezek. 1:1.
מלאך האלהים. הוא השר הגדול ההולך בענן.והוא הכתוב עליו וה' הולך לפניהם יומם וכאשר נסע זה המלאך ההולך לפני מחנה ישראל והלך מאחריהם נסע עמוד הענן עמו. והאומר כי מלאך אלהים הוא הענן יראה לנו אנה מצאנו עמוד הענן נקרא מלאך האלהים. ואם המלאך הוא העמוד למה אמר פעם אחרת ויסע עמוד הענן מפניהם. ואם השיב לנו הטעם כפול. אין משפט לשון הקדש לכפול רק הנבואות והתוכחות. רק המספר כי כן היה המעשה אין ראוי לכפול: THE ANGEL OF GOD. The reference is to the great prince79The angel Michael. Cf. Dan. 21:1, And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of Israel. who goes in the cloud, concerning whom it is written, And the Lord went before them by day (Ex. 13:21). When this angel, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them, the pillar of cloud moved with him. Let the one who identifies the angel of God with the cloud show us where we find the pillar of cloud called the angel of God. Furthermore, if the angel and the pillar are one and the same, why is and the pillar of cloud removed from before them repeated? If he should answer that Scripture repeats the same idea in different words,80As it often does. then we respond that it is not the manner of Scripture to repeat itself except in prophecy81Which is given in poetic form. or reproof.82Prophet’s words of reproof. Moreover, it is unfit to repeat oneself when reporting how something happened.83When prose is employed. In other words, Scripture repeats the same idea in different words in poetry but not in prose.