We read in Chullin 139b:

משה מן התורה מנין בשגם הוא בשר

Where is there a reference to Moshe in the Torah? "Since he is but flesh" (Bereishit 6:3)

The gemara finds a hint to Moshe in this passuk as the word בשגם has the same gematria of 345 as משה.

What does the Gemara's question mean? Why do we need to find a "hint" to Moshe in the Torah? The final four books are all about him and his leadership of the Israelites.

And what is the gemara's answer? What is the significance (if any) of this passuk to Moshe, over and above the matching gematriot?


Rashi (there) addresses your question. He explains that it asks for a hint that references him before he came:

ועוד זה שאלו ממנו - מנין למשה רמז קודם שבא שסופו לבא

This is clearly the understanding of the Torat HaMinha (Parashat Shemot: derasha 20 p. 176) as well:

ומששת ימי בראשית היתה נפשו של משה רבינו ע"ה מזומנת לבוא ולפרנס לישראל בגלות מצרים, וכמו שאמרו (חולין קלט ב) מנין למשה מן התורה דכתיב בשגם הוא בשר והיו ימיו מאה ועשרים שנה, בשגם בגמטריה משה, ורצו לומר שקודם שבא לעולם כבר היה מזומן ומוכן לבוא

Additionally as Rashi notes, the cited verse contains the phrase: "And Man's day's will be 120 years", an allusion to Moshe who lived to be 120:

וכתיב שם והיו ימיו מאה ועשרים שנה וכך היו ימי חיי משה כלומר עתיד לבא בשגם משה מן הנולדים וכן ימיו

The Torat HaMinha also quotes the part of the verse about 120 years. Perhaps it was in their text of the Talmud. Indeed, the text of Ms. Oxford - Bodl. heb. c. 21 (2666) 23 includes the line והיו ימיו מאה ועשרים שנה.

Maharsha explains that the question was how we know that Moshe is his "primary name". The answer is that since the Torah alludes to him with this name, that that is his real name. Maharsha does not indicate that there is any deeper connection between him and the verse. For more on the Maharsha's explanation, see here.

Sidduro Shel Shabbat (Vol I Shoresh 4: Anaf 2 Aleh 9) writes that the deeper connection of the verse to Moshe is that Moshe made his physicality secondary to his spirituality.


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