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הלהרגני אתה אומר כאשר הרגת את המצרי

Do you propose to murder me, as you murdered the Egyptian? (2:14)

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Moshe Rabbeinu’s conversation with Dassan and Aviram, his two nemeses, appears superfluous. Do we really need to know about their dialogue to the extent that it is recorded in the Torah? While it is true that Chazal derive from the word omer, say/propose, that Moshe killed the Egyptian with his power of speech, by using the Shem ha’Meforash, Ineffable Name, this exposition could have been written in its proper place when he actually intervened and killed him. It seems as if the entire dialogue is unnecessary.

Horav Arye Leib Heyman, zl, posits that Dassan and Aviram’s statement was about themselves – not the Egyptians. Indeed, they were prophesizing concerning their own well-deserved deaths. The Egyptians had died as the result of an amirah, act of speech. Likewise, during the Korach debacle, Dassan and Aviram were swallowed up by the ground as a result of Moshe’s prayer to Hashem to rid Klal Yisrael of these usurpers. Second, Moshe hid the Egyptian in the sand, denying him a proper burial. Thus, their deaths fulfilled their own words, kaasher haragta es ha’Mitrzri; “As you killed the Egyptian.”

Rav Heyman further notes that not a single word in the Torah is superfluous or goes to “waste.” If the word or expression is recorded – at some point, it occurs. This is especially true concerning a statement uttered by one of the forefathers of our nation. Thus, with the deaths of Dassan and Aviram, an “oral debt” – based upon a statement/curse made by Reuven, when he guaranteed the safe return of Binyamin – was fulfilled. When Yaakov Avinu hesitated to send Binyamin to Egypt out of concern for his safety, Reuven countered, “You may kill my two sons if I do not return him to you” (Bereishis 42:37). A curse rendered by someone of Reuven’s spiritual stature will eventually be fulfilled.

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