Pekudei: Chapter 12

"And he turned back, and looked at them"


Rabbi Yosi begins by telling how Elisha went out of the city and was followed by some small boys who mocked him. He says 'small' means that they had no faith and that they were guilty according to the laws of this world and the next. "And he turned back, and looked at them" means Elisha looked to see if they would repent, and he knew that they had been conceived on the night of Yom Kippur, so he "cursed them in the Name of Hashem." Rabbi Yosi adds that he saw the boys were destined to cause a great deal of evil in Yisrael. He compares the title verse to "but his wife looked back from behind him," saying it means 'behind' the Shechinah. Next he quotes: "And there came forth two bears out of the wood," meaning that there were female bears with male cubs. Lastly, he says that when the bears "tore 42 of the children" this counteracted the sacrifices of Balak.