I was wondering if the oilam could please help me find the specific source in the medrash...

I read from Rabbi Yissochor Frand shlita (here) how Moshe criticised the Bnei Reuven and Gad after they asked if they could settle on the other side of the Yarden as opposed to in Eretz Yisroel as the land was better for their livestock by rephrasing their initial request (parshas mattos 32:16) by first mentioning the need to settle their children and only then their livestock (mattos 32:24).

In the case of the tribes of ראובן and גד, Rashi ([ד"ה והיוצה מפיכם [תעשו) informs us that they did not return home to the Trans-Jordan until seven years of conquest and a further seven years of land distribution had elapsed. This means that they were stationed in ארץ ישראל for a full fourteen years. During this time, the young toddlers that they had left behind had grown into young adults.

Rabbi Frand then quotes a מדרש that tells us that these children were now unrecognisable since they had grown long hair and were resultantly impossible to differentiate from their idol-worshipping neighbours. The implication being that this is what happens when one puts their material interests before their children. I am looking for the source for this מדרש as I am yet to find the part about the fathers not recognising their children mentioned anywhere?

  • Please note I have looked in the Medrash Rabbo, Medrash tanchumo and Yalkut Shimoni so far which all mention the first part but not the part about the fathers returning and seeing the long hair of their kids and not recognising them?
    – Dov
    Apr 26 '20 at 11:54
  • 3
    It's in the Little Midrash Says. They usually cite their sources in the back.
    – Heshy
    Apr 26 '20 at 11:59
  • Thank so much. Does anyone have access to the Little Midrash says? And can let me know?
    – Dov
    Apr 26 '20 at 12:31
  • I have some sefarim from Rabbi Frand, Which sefer of his does he mention this? Apr 26 '20 at 16:05

It's in Bereishis Rabbah 98:15:

גָּד גְּדוּד יְגוּדֶנּוּ (בראשית מט, יט), בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְכַבְּשִׁין וּמְחַלְּקִין אֶת הָאָרֶץ הָיָה שֵׁבֶט רְאוּבֵן וְגָד עִמָּהֶן וְהִנִּיחוּ אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם קְטַנִּים, מִי שֶׁהִנִּיחוּהוּ בֶּן עֶשֶׂר מָצְאוּ אוֹתוֹ בֶּן אַרְבַּע וְעֶשְׂרִים, מִי שֶׁהִנִּיחוּהוּ בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים מָצְאוּ אוֹתוֹ בֶּן אַרְבַּע וּשְׁלשִׁים, נִזְדַּוְּגוּ לָהֶן שָׁלשׁ מִשְׁפָּחוֹת רָעוֹת (בראשית כה, טו): יְטוּר נָפִישׁ וָקֵדְמָה... וְהָיוּ אֵלּוּ מְגַדְּלִין שֵׂעָר וְאֵלּוּ מְגַדְּלִין שֵׂעָר, הָיוּ אֵלּוּ מְגַדְּלִין שֵׂעָר עַד שֶׁיִּרְאוּ אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם, וְאֵלּוּ מְגַדְּלִין שֵׂעָר עַד שֶׁיִּרְאוּ אֶת אֲבוֹתָם, וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים מְגַדְּלִין שֵׂעָר,

"Gad, a troop will troop him": when the Jewish people were conquering and dividing the Land, the tribes of Reuven and Gad were with them, and had left their little children behind. A child who was 10 when they left was 24 when they returned; one who was 20 then was now 34. Three evil families, Yetur, Nafish and Kedmah, [descendants of Yishmael,] attacked them... Both groups [of Jews] had grown their hair long - [the fathers] until they would see their children, [the children] until they would see their fathers, while the [attacking] Ishmaelites also grew their hair long...

Etz Yosef there says that both the fathers and the children let their hair grow long as a sign of mourning and worry (דרך אבל ודאגה). It sounds like Rav Frand is seeing another layer of meaning in this practice, at least among the children - that there was at least a subconscious element of imitating the local non-Jews.

  • Fantastic!! Many thanks!
    – Dov
    Apr 26 '20 at 17:16

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