This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
And You Shall Speak of Them
A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights, Thought-Provoking Ideas, Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages
by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish.org • FAX (718) 735-4139
"And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Wilderness of Sinai." (1:1) QUESTION: Why did Hashem give the Torah in a wilderness? ANSWER: Since the wilderness is essentially ownerless, no one has any particular claim to it. Hashem was indicating, then, that the Torah belongs equally to everyone.
QUESTION: Why, however, was the Torah given not only in an ownerless place, but in a desolate place, "a dry and weary land without water" - a place without garments, food, and even water? ANSWER: The Jewish people left Egypt and went to a wilderness, an uncultivated land, for the sake of receiving the Torah. They did not know how they would manage. Ultimately, they obtained the manna by virtue of Moshe, the pillar of the clouds, which miraculously protected them and cleaned and adjusted their clothing to size, by virtue of Aharon, and water by virtue of Miriam (Ta'anit 9a). This serves as a moral lesson for us; one must study Torah and rely entirely on Hashem. He will then provide all that is needed materially and spiritually.
Alternatively, a person whose spiritual landscape is a "wilderness" can be elevated and refined through Torah until he is comparable to a flourishing oasis.
The word "bamidbar" can be read as two words "bam dabeir" - "in them you should talk" - alluding to the Gemara (Yoma 19b) "Vedibarta bam" "Speak in them," i.e. Torah - and not in devarim beteilim, idle or forbidden talk.
"And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Wilderness of Sinai." (1:1) QUESTION: Sinai was a part of the wilderness in which the Jews sojourned for forty years. Why does it say "Bemidbar Sinai" - "In the Wilderness of Sinai" - and not just "Sinai"? ANSWER: The words "Midbar Sinai" have the numerical value of 376, which is the same as the word "shalom". When the Jews arrived at Sinai to receive the Torah we are told that "Vayichan sham Yisrael" - "And Israel encamped there" (Shemot 19:2). Rashi writes that the word "Vayichan" is in the singular to teach that they were "like one person with one desire." A prerequisite for receiving the Torah was ultimate shalom.
The Gemara (Zevachim 116b) relates that when Hashem gave the Torah to the Jewish people, His mighty voice was heard throughout the entire world and all the kings were gripped with fear. They gathered around the prophet Bilaam and asked, "What is the meaning of this mighty roar? Perhaps there is another flood coming to the world!" He replied that Hashem had a valuable treasure which he had safeguarded for 974 generations before creation and was giving it to His children, as stated in the verse "G-d will give might (Torah) to His nation" (Psalms 29:11). Immediately, they all responded "G-d will bless His nation with peace," (ibid.). Why did the nations of the world think another flood was coming? The prophet, speaking of the miraculous events of the days of Mashiach, states that "the wolf will dwell together with the lamb" (Isaiah 11:6). This also occurred in Noach's Ark; what is unique about the days of Mashiach? In Noach's time the whole world was in danger of destruction. In such circumstances there is no time for fighting, and enemies naturally become allies and struggle together for survival. In the days of Mashiach there will be universal prosperity and no war. Unfortunately, in tranquil times, people often find time to quarrel.
The prophet therefore foretells the miracle that will occur in the days of Mashiach, when everyone will have an abundance of good: even then there will be absolute peace, and the wolf and lamb will abide together. About the preparations for receiving the Torah it is stated, "Vayichan sham Yisrael neged hahar" - "And Israel encamped there opposite the mountain" (Shemot 19:2). Rashi explains that the word "Vayichan," in singular, teaches that the huge multitude encamped as a single person with a single desire. Upon witnessing such unity, the nations of the world came to Bilaam fearing another flood and wondering if the Jews had united out of fear. Bilaam told them, "What you are witnessing is true unity. G-d is giving them the Torah, which will be their source of strength and unite them in a common vocation of study and observance." Upon hearing this the nations exclaimed, "We realize G-d will bless His people with peace - through Torah they will have a blessing of peace and not peace necessitated by crisis."
"And G-d spoke to Moshe, in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after their exodus from the land of Egypt." (1:1) QUESTION: Why does the Torah emphasize that the Tent of Meeting, in which Hashem spoke to Moshe, was in the Wilderness of Sinai? ANSWER: Parshat Bamidbar is usually read on the Shabbat before Shavuot, which commemorates the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai (Megillah 31b Tosafot). Midrash Rabbah (1:7) states that the Torah was given with three things: 1. Fire, as indicated by the verse, "All of Mount Sinai was smoking, because G-d descended upon it in fire" (Shemot 19:18). 2. Water, as indicated by the verse, "Even the heavens trickled, even the clouds dripped water" (Judges 5:4). 3. Wilderness, as our pasuk states "And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Wilderness of Sinai." Why was the Torah given under such conditions and not on a serene day in a heavily populated area? Each of the above portrays an eternal and profound message to the Jewish people about the correct approach to Torah:
he is not exempt from studying and observing Torah. Hashem gave the Torah with fire and water to teach the Jewish people that if a person is.e. he must study and observe Torah. based on R. 3. Water fulfills a physical need.he will rise to heights.the Torah .it becomes his inheritance from Hashem . Another lesson to be derived from the giving of the Torah with fire is the following: The nature of fire is to rise upwards. Wilderness is a abandoned property where anyone may step foot.if a person conducts himself as a "wilderness" which everybody treads upon (i. . Sha'arei Kedushah I:2).e. G-d forbid. people have little desire to overindulge in it and are usually satisfied to simply quench their thirst. or even destitution. a person must be very humble and consider himself insignificant. On the other hand. Giving the Torah in a wilderness teaches that to succeed in Torah study. In the Gemara (Eiruvin 54a) Rava homiletically explains the pasuk "Umimidbar mattanah umimattanah nachali'el uminchali'el bamot" (21:18.and once Hashem makes it his inheritance. one who is blessed with affluence must also study Torah and live by its teachings. Chaim Vital.will be granted to him as a gift. "bamot" . Alternatively. distant from large orthodox communities .i. while water represents affluence and enrichment: "Water makes all sorts of enjoyment and delights grow" (Tanya. He should permit all Jews to associate with him and not conceitedly select his company. experiencing deprivation. higher and higher in his adherence of Torah. Likewise a person must strive to go from strength to strength. "nachali'el" . Even if one resides in a neighborhood which is a spiritual wilderness . and once it is given to him as a gift.1. but unlike other physical needs. 2. ch. he is humble). then "matanah" . The giving of Torah in a wilderness teaches that Torah observance is not limited to any specific location. The fire teaches that the Torah should be studied and practiced with warmth and vigor.. This teaches us to be satisfied with our material circumstances and indulge entirely in the study of Torah. 19) as follows: "Umimidbar" . 1. fire and water are opposites. Fire represents destruction and impoverishment.
"Take a census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel. as long as they keep the Torah. Hashem gave the Torah in the wilderness prior to the arrival of the Jews in their own land to emphasize the Torah's superiority to land. However. Sometimes it is sufficient merely for the kosher food to be a majority (bitul berov) and in other cases the minority becomes nullified in a majority which is 60 times larger (bitul beshishim). One of the questions was "Were the heavens created first or the earth?" They replied. Eretz Yisrael? ANSWER: The Gemara (Tamid 32a) relates that Alexander the Great put ten questions to the elders of the South. They responded that when G-d created the world. Heaven represents spirituality and earth represents material pursuits. as the Torah states." (1:1) QUESTION: Why did Hashem give the Torah while the Jews were still in the wilderness and not wait till after they arrived in their own land. He created heaven first. exist forever. 'In the beginning of G-d's creating the heaven and the earth' " (Bereishit 1:1). He was uncertain whether to emphasize physically acquiring as much of the world as possible or spiritually uplifting and enhancing the world already under his control. the intent of his question here was much more profound. indicating that spiritual values are pre-eminent. in the Tent of Meeting. however. there is a Rabbinic rule that "Davar shebeminyan afilu be'elef . Alexander was understandably interested in the Jewish view of creation. Why were the Jewish people counted? ANSWER: When non-kosher food gets mixed with kosher food there are various laws regarding its nullification so that the kosher food becomes permitted again. even without a land. on the first of the second month. in the second year after their exodus from the land of Egypt. Why did he want to know the order of creation? As a great philosopher and student of Aristotle. The nations of the world who refused to accept the Torah became extinct with the loss of their lands. The Jews.because in it a census of the Jewish people is taken twice. However. Alexander was the most powerful king of his times. Therefore. "Heaven was created first. and his goal of conquering the entire world was almost realized."G-d spoke to Moshe in the Wilderness of Sinai. he turned to our sages for counsel." (1:2) QUESTION: Bamidbar is known as "Sefer Hapekudim" "The Book of Numbers" . Unable to decide on his own.
lo batul" - a thing which is sold by individual count is considered individually significant and cannot become nullified regardless of the quantity of the food in which it is mixed. (See Mishnah Orlah 3:6,7 and Beitzah 3b.) Hashem knew very well that the Jewish people's sojourn in the wilderness was merely temporary. They would continue on to Eretz Yisrael and years later be dispersed to all corners of the world. Eventually, Jews would be a small minority in some communities. By counting each Jew Hashem designated him as a "valued entity," and thus regardless of how much they would be outnumbered, the Jewish people would maintain their identity and not become nullified through assimilation, G-d forbid, with the world at large.
"Take a census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel." (1:2) QUESTION: Rashi comments that Hashem always counts the Jewish people because of His love for them.What lesson can we learn from the counting of the Jewish people? ANSWER: Among the Jews there are different levels of observance: Some are strictly observant while others, unfortunately, are not presently following Torah precepts. A person may tend to discount the worth of another, less observant Jew, saying: "Er is a gornisht" - "He is a nothing!" When Hashem commanded Moshe to count the Jewish people, He instructed him to count each Jew as "one," no more and no less. Hashem's message was that the Jewish people are His children; each one is equally beloved and possesses a spark of G-dliness, his neshamah. Thus, none should be overlooked or rejected.
"Take a census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel ... and they established their genealogy." (1:2,18) QUESTION: Sefer Vayikra ends with the statement "These are the commandments that G-d commanded Moshe to the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai" (27:34).It is customary to look for connections between adjacent Torah passages and especially between the end of one book and the beginning of the next. What is the connection between the giving of the Torah to the Jewish People and the counting of the Jews Parshat Bamidbar?
ANSWER: The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni 684) relates that when the Jews were receiving the Torah, the other nations asked Hashem, "Why are You giving the Torah only to the Jews? We also want the Torah!" Hashem replied that they should bring their sefer yuchsin - records of family pedigree - to Him, just as His children - the Jews - were bringing their sefer yuchsin, as stated, "and they established their genealogy" (see Rashi). What was Hashem's intent? This can be explained with the following parable: A father's biological son and foster son once became ill, and the doctor prescribed bitter medicines for both children. The father forced his biological son to swallow the medicine and he immediately felt better. The foster son, however, was not forced to take the medicine, and the illness lingered on. Later, the foster son asked his father why he had not also forced him to take the medicine. The father answered, "Once before when you were sick and the doctor gave you sweet medicine, I forced you to drink it. Since you then spat it out, I assumed that this time an attempt to force you to drink bitter medicine would be utterly futile." Hashem thus replied to the nations of the world, "I have already given you a 'sweet' Torah of only seven commandments and your book of heritage indicates your parents' record of poor observance. However, the Jews' sefer yuchsin depicts the devotion of their forefathers and establishes them as suitable recipients of the Torah." Thus, the counting of the Jewish people based on their sefer yuchsin records of pedigree - in the beginning of Bamidbar follows the end of Vayikra to indicate that Hashem gave the Torah and mitzvot to the Children of Israel because of their sefer yuchsin - their parents' good record of fulfilling mitzvot.
"Take a census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel...every male according to their head count." (1:2) QUESTION: Why is the word "legulgelotam" - "according to their head count" - used in connection with the general census, but not for counting the tribe of Levi? (See 3:15.) ANSWER: The word "legulgelotam" literally means "according to their heads," and can thus refer to the rare child who is born with two heads. The question arises: Should he be counted as one person or two? The Gemara (Menachot 37a) relates that Pelimo asked Rebbe on which head a two-headed person should put his tefillin. Rebbe considered the question impudent and told him to either go into exile or suffer excommunication. Underlying Rebbe's harsh reaction was the view that such a person is a "treifa" who cannot live past twelve months, much less to the age of putting on tefillin.
Consequently, regarding the Jewish community at large, which was counted from the ages of 20 to 60, this question could never apply. However, for the Levites, who were counted from the age of thirty days, the question does apply. Therefore, the Torah omitted the word "legulgelotam" to indicate that regardless of how many heads a Levite may have, he should be counted only once.
"And with you there shall be a man of every tribe, a man who is the leader of his father's household."(1:4) QUESTION: Why is the word "ish" repeated at the beginning of the pasuk and mentioned only once at the end? ANSWER: All those counted in the census between the ages of twenty and sixty ultimately died in the wilderness through the sin of the spies. Only two, Yehoshua and Kaleiv, survived to enter Eretz Yisrael, and of these two, Yehoshua succeeded Moshe as the leader of K'lal Yisrael. Thus, the Torah declares, "Ve'itchem yiheyu - Eventually there will remain from you ish ish - two men (Kaleiv and Yehoshua) - and from these two, ish - one man (Yehoshua) - rosh lebeit avotav hu - will become the head (the leader) of the households of Israel."
"A man of every tribe each the head of his father's household he shall be." (1:4) QUESTION: The word "hu" - "he shall be" - seems extra? ANSWER: Several Chassidic Rebbes were once sitting together around a table. Each one of them conveyed a Torah thought in the name of his holy father. The greatest Rebbe of the group was the son of a simple baker, and when his turn came he said, "My father the baker taught me that fresh bread is better and healthier than stale bread." His message to his colleagues was that while it is nice to have prominent parents, it is more important for each individual to have his own achievements. When Moshe is instructed to take a census of the Jewish people, he is told to take a group of prominent men with him, each one the head of his family - not simply because of his parents but because "hu" - "he shall be" - on his own merit.
" Upon hearing this. In Hebrew grammar the "Yud" changes singular to plural. young Berele said." (1:18) QUESTION: Rashi comments: "They brought the documents of their pedigrees. For example. which describes our beautiful family tree. Hashem will give us a bigger."summoned by the community" . the princes of their fathers' tribes. "And they established their genealogy according to their families. on the other hand. but because of our document of ancestry."These were the ones summoned by the community." His mother replied. Korach's followers."How much value should be attached to yichus . the word "keri'ei" in "keri'ei mo'eid" ." While yichus is something that we should cherish and be proud of. "Mommy. opposed the interests of K'lal Yisrael. . the phrase describing them lacks the "Yud". but add new greatness to our families. indicating that they were selfless servants of the Jewish people. Thus. nicer home. "Even this is not a reason to cry: if our old yichus letter was destroyed. "Berele. we no longer have it. I am not crying because of our home. please don't cry. because of the fire. referring to Korach's contingent." The group of people selected to accompany Moshe in the taking of the census were motivated solely for the sake of heaven and for the benefit of the many.is written without the "Yud"? ANSWER: The letter "Yud" has the numerical value of 10 and indicates the plural. while. Each joined with him motivated by selfishness and unconcerned for the general welfare. the heads of Israel's thousands. To comfort her he said.written here with a "Yud". according to their fathers' household."summoned for meeting" (16:2) . he once came home from cheider and saw his house burning down and his mother crying bitterly. they merited to be referred to with a "Yud". the word "nasi" means "prince." (1:16) QUESTION: Why is the word "keri'ei" in the phrase "keri'ei ha'eidah" .pedigree? ANSWER: When Rabbi Dovber of Mezritch was a young boy of 5 or 6 years of age. Since their motivation was personal gain.it means "princes. Now. we must not simply live off the "royalties" of yichus." and with a "Yud" added "nesi'ei" . a new yichus will start with me. with G-d's help.
) The word "dan" . The first pasuk speaks of Moshe and Aharon doing the counting. who was involved with judgment. in round thousands.31) QUESTION: Why did Yissachar have." The miraculous growth of the Jewish people demonstrated Hashem's great love for them. Originally a family consisting of seventy souls descended to Egypt. for the tribe of Yissachar: 54. These were all the countings of the Children of Israel. who would look upon them with their holy eyes and pray to Hashem on their behalf. Zevulun was the "zan" .provider of sustenance .. and Yissachar. thus appropriately had 54."judging" . and after only two hundred and ten years a large and powerful nation emerged: "All their countings were six hundred and three thousand. 2. five hundred and fifty.400. and his holy brother Aharon.000 and Zevulun 57. Consequently. everyone who goes out to war."Their count. five hundred and fifty.000 members. (See Bereishit 49:13-15.All their countings were six hundred and three thousand. the tribe of Zevulun numbered 57.. . Rashi. 54..Their count.for the tribe of Yissachar. It was a privilege to mention their names to these tzaddikim..400.000. If not for the sin of the spies. Their entry would have involved fighting the inhabitants and conquering the land. the greatest of the prophets.. becoming the judges who would make all legal decisions in Torah matters and teach all the complex regulations concerning the fixing of leap years. and since the word "zan" is numerically equivalent to 57...has the numerical value of 54. "These are the countings that Moshe and Aharon counted.." (1:44-46) QUESTION: Why does each pasuk mention the "countings"? ANSWER: These pesukim discuss three reasons for counting the Jews: 1. the Jewish people would have immediately gone into Eretz Yisrael. Each Jew had the opportunity to personally come with his "half shekel" to Moshe." (1:29. for the tribe of Zevulun: 57.000? ANSWER: The tribe of Yissachar primarily stressed Torah study. 3. The tribe of Zevulun mainly pursued business and supported the people of Yissachar in exchange for a share of their Torah study. it was necessary to take count of "everyone who goes out to war" to determine how many Jews were eligible to join the army.
QUESTION: The word "veheim" . which has the numerical value of five. K'lei Hamikdash 3:7-8) a Levite cannot enter into the service until he has completed five years of training. indicates that a Levi can carry the Mishkan and its vessels only till he reaches the age of fifty." (1:50) QUESTION: It should have said "heim" instead of "heimah"? ANSWER: According to halachah (Rambam. ibid. and singing (see Rashi and Rambam. which has the numerical value of fifty. loading the wagons. When Yaakov . such as closing the temple gates. The word "heimah" itself. over all its vessels and everything that belongs to it.is superfluous. he is no longer qualified to transport the vessels of the Sanctuary. but he continues to perform the rest of the Levitical service. They shall carry the Tabernacle and all its vessels and they shall minister to it." (2:2) QUESTION: How did the formations of the Jewish people originate? ANSWER: The Jews traveled in the wilderness in four groups. and when he reaches the age of fifty. each group consisting of three tribes. The Torah is alluding that when the Levites begin their fifty-first year. It could have just said "veyeshartuhu" . In the word 'heimah' the extra "Heh". The word "veheim" has the numerical value of fifty-one. and each with its own banner."You shall appoint the Levites over the Tabernacle of Testimony."and minister to it"? ANSWER: The Torah instruction that "From fifty years of age he shall withdraw from the legion of work and no longer work" (8:25) means only that he is forbidden to bear the Mishkan and its vessels on his shoulders. The entire system of banners was set up through Yaakov. alludes to the five years of training and apprenticeship required before a Levite can assume a position of service in the Mishkan.)."and they [shall minister to it]" . "Each man at his banner according to the insignias of their fathers' household shall the Children of Israel encamp. though they cease to carry the Mishkan. they continue to minister its needs together with the other Levites.
."he placed Ephraim before Menasheh" (Bereishit 48:20)." (2:34) QUESTION: What was the common denominator in the four banners? . when Yaakov gave his berachot to Menasheh and Ephraim "vayasem et Efraim lifenei Menasheh" . who always accompanied the Jewish people on their travels. Ephraim was the leader and Menasheh followed behind him (2:18. According to the Torah.. On Ephraim's banner were the letters Reish-Ches-Kuf. the third letters."the insignias of their fathers' household" . Thus. the same as the numerical value of the words "Vechanu B'nei Yisroel Ish Al Machaneihu V'Ish Al Diglo" . The letter "Heh" from "Avrohom" preceded the Jews in the form of a Cloud of Glory. in the formation to the west." (2:2) QUESTION: What is the connection between the fathers and the banners? ANSWER: On the banner of Yehudah were the letters Alef-Yud-Yud. "Each man at his banner according to the insignias of his fathers' household. "So they encamped according to their banners and so they journeyed: every man according to his families by his father's household.asked to be buried in Eretz Yisrael he taught his children the marching formation for carrying his coffin.. the first letters of the names of the Patriarchs (Avrohom. On Reuven's banner were the second letters of these names.20). "be'otot lebeit avotam" ."The Children of Israel shall encamp. were the letters Mem-Kuf-Beis. Therefore. It is interesting to note that the words "vayasem et Efraim lifenei Menasheh" have the numerical value of 1653. the final letters of the names. When unity prevails among the Jewish people. Yaakov).refers to the letters of the names of the patriarchs. Rashi comments: "lehakdimo bedegalim" . every man at his camp and every man at his banner" (1:52). and on Dan's banner. Yitzchok. the merit of the patriarchs and the Glory of Hashem is with them. BeisTzadik-Ayin.to place Ephraim before Menasheh in the formation of the banners.
as stated." (3:4) QUESTION: What does the Torah emphasize with the words "al penei Aharon avihem" . The numbers 2. "Elazar and Itamar ministered in the presence of Aharon their father. and 11 total 26.. 5.ANSWER: Each group of three tribes had its own banner.. prince of Shimon. Netanel. prince of Menasheh. brought his offering on the second day. This indicates that Hashem rested in the midst of the Jewish community. the nasi of Asher in the middle. the four-letter holy name of Hashem. and Dan was on the north with Pag'eeel." Yehudah's banner on the east side included Yissachar in the middle. whose nasi was Nesanel. was on the eighth day and Pagiel. was on the eleventh day." (3:1-2) QUESTION: The Torah only lists the four sons of Aharon. Why does the verse refer to "the generations of Aharon and Moshe"? ANSWER: In Devarim Moshe tells the Jews that Hashem had been very angry at Aharon for his involvement with the golden calf and wanted to destroy him: "And I prayed for Aharon at that time" (9:2). "These are the generations of Aharon and Moshe. Reuven's banner traveled on the south side with the tribe of Shimon in the middle. they are also called the children of Moshe. Rashi explains that Hashem considered killing all four of Aharon's children. which is the equivalent of the Tetragrammaton. prince of the tribe of Issachar. "Their camps among which I dwell" (5:3). Later on in Parshat Nasso we learn of the princes' offerings for the dedication of the altar. Since two of Aharon's children were saved through Moshe's intervention. whose nasi was Shlumiel. In each group. the nasi of the middle tribe had a name which included Hashem's name "Keil. whose nasi was Gamliel. Ephraim's banner was on the west side with the tribe of Menasheh in the middle. Gamliel. was on the fifth day."in the presence of Aharon their father"? . Moshe's prayers accomplished that only two were killed while Elazar and Itamar remained alive. Shelumiel. 8.and these are the names of the sons of Aharon. prince of Asher.
"The chariot of G-d is twice 10." (3:15) QUESTION: Rashi writes "after he has gone out of the category of a non-viable birth he is numbered to be called shomeir mishmeret hakodesh . and as a reward for his zealousness. Elazar and Itamar. At the time of their death..a keeper in charge of the Sanctuary."Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen" (25:11). while Aharon was alive.0000 and 2. being the reincarnation of Nadav and Avihu. "And Nadav and Avihu died. and he continued to live on. "Count the sons of Levi. every male from one month of age and up. only his sons Elazar and Itamar ministered in his presence." The incident of Pinchas and Zimri took place after the death of Aharon. Aharon's sons who died. however.. he is referred to as "the son of Aharon. he was made a Kohen.and they had no children. He became extremely frightened to the point that his soul left him. the souls of Nadav and Avihu. entered into Pinchas. his sons Nadav and Avihu also served as Kohanim in the Mishkan in the person of Pinchas. Nadav. after his death.000 angels" (Psalms 68:18). and therefore each was only considered one half. Avihu. After acquiring a wife.. Thus." (3:4) QUESTION: Why does it say "vayamat" .."How can a child of thirty days old be "a keeper in charge of the sanctuary"? ANSWER: King David says: "Rechev Elokim ribotaim alfei shinan" . Consequently. On the first day of the inauguration of Aharon and his sons as Kohanim Nadav and Avihu died and thus did not really have a chance to minister. Nadav and Avihu were both single.ANSWER: Aharon had four sons. described by the Torah as "Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaKohen" . and Zimri's relatives were very upset and wanted to kill Pinchas. instead of "vayamutu" . This is explained to mean that when G-d revealed Himself to the Jewish . together they totaled only one."and they died"? ANSWER: According to the Zohar (Vayikra 86b). He also had a grandson."and he died" in singular. Pinchas. before a person marries he is considered a half person. The Zohar (217a) questions: Why is he referred to as the son of Elazar and the son of Aharon? The following explanation is given: Pinchas killed Zimri for flagrantly violating a Torah law. Zimri was the head of the tribe of Shimon. At that time. Thus. he becomes a complete entity.
as the pasuk states: "As much as they would afflict them. Hashem performed this miracle to spite the Egyptian people." (3:40) QUESTION: Rashi explains that from a month old a child is removed from the category of possible non-viable births" ("safeik nefalim").. the 22. but the merit of spiritual uniqueness that they attain immediately upon becoming thirty days old. Why. Since . Since the exceptional increase of people was due to their enslavement. In the wilderness. in the case of the counting of the Levites from one month of age and up. it was only in their merit that He descended upon Sinai (See Tanchuma Tzav 12).from one month of age and up.people at Sinai." without using the word "safeik" "possible"? ANSWER: The father of a firstborn boy must redeem him when he becomes 30 days old by giving a Kohen five shekels. In Egypt. Hashem revealed Himself on Sinai to give the Torah with that number of angels. the tribe of Levi only increased in the natural way. He was escorted by an elaborate retinue of 22. were twenty-two thousand. thus totaling only twenty-two thousand. excluding women and children.000 angels.000. does Rashi (3:15) write "after they are out of the category of non-viable births (nefalim). "All the countings of the Levites. In two hundred and ten years they defied the normal laws of nature and grew to the incredible number of over six hundred thousand. all the tribes except for Levi served as slaves (see Shemot 5:4. it is not the physical strength of the Levites that makes them suitable to be the keepers of the Sanctuary. and since they numbered 22." (3:39) QUESTION: Why was the tribe of Levi the smallest? ANSWER: When the Jews came to Egypt they totaled seventy people. Therefore. Consequently.000 Levites each redeemed one of the firstborn Israelites.. (Rashi) The reason for this specific number is that Hashem foresaw that all the tribes except Levi would eventually forsake the Torah and worship the golden calf. so they would increase and so they would spread out" (Shemot 1:12). Rashi). "And G-d said to Moshe: Count all the firstborn males of the Children of Israel from one month of age and up.
he would wait at the entrance of the tent while Hashem went in.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "They shall confess the sin that they committed. A heavenly voice would emanate from the tent telling him how many male babies were inside. but meant to establish the number of eligible Levites to serve in the Mishkan." However. there is no mention of counting "al pi Hashem" . Rashi explains that since it would be immodest for him to enter the tents and count the little babies. the counting of the Levites was not a monetary matter." Therefore. there was no doubt about the viability of any of the children. before a parent of a firstborn can be required to redeem him with five shekels. Otherwise the father says to the Kohen. regarding the counting of the Levites the Torah says that "Moshe counted them al pi Hashem . and give it to the one to whom he is indebted. As soon as a Levite became 30 days old and was no longer considered a non-viable birth. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Nasso by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. in regard to the counting of the first born for the purpose of redemption. it must be established beyond doubt that he is not possibly a non-viable birth. Whenever there is the slightest doubt one applies the rule of "Hamotzi meichaveiro alav harai'ah" . the remaining Israelites were redeemed for five shekels each."Monetary matters cannot be decided on the basis of majority" (Bava Kamma 27b). However. Since it was Hashem who actually verified the number."The one who wants to collect must bring proof. Alternatively. he shall make restitution for his guilt in its principal amount and add its fifth to it." (5:7) . Thought-Provoking Ideas.according to the word of G-d" (3:16)."according to the word of G-d" . "Prove that my son is not of a non-viable birth.there were 273 more Israelite firstborn than Levite people. he became eligible to be a member of Hashem's legion and a guardian of the Sanctuary. The redeeming of the firstborn is a money matter and there is a rule "Ein holchin bemamon achar harov" . Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights.and thus it was necessary to determine the child's precise status.
in plural. Teshuvah 1:1). Therefore. "What is the extent of your wealth? How much do you own?" Sir Moses told her it would take him a few days to do some accounting.and resolve not to repeat their sin in the future. "And every portion from any of the holies that the Children of Israel bring to the Kohen shall be his" (5:9) QUESTION: The words "lo yiheyeh" . he is thereby "stealing" from Hashem. he is unable to deny it or swear to that effect. If it is given to the Kohen. when a person uses his energy for committing sins. the borrower may be tempted to deny the loan entirely."will be his" . and afterwards. . Queen Victoria once asked him. Therefore the mitzvah of confession is appropriately mentioned in connection with stealing. "vehitvadu" . for without witnesses. Consequently. why does it say "vehitvadu" . "They shall confess the sin that they committed. Obviously if there are witnesses. and not "vehitvadah" ." (5:7) QUESTION: The commandment to confess one's sins is the cornerstone of the mitzvah of repentance (see Rambam. Thus. Why does the Torah choose to mention it here in connection with the sin of stealing? ANSWER: Every sin that a person commits contains a degree of stealing: Hashem gives the person energy and strength and wants him to utilize it for Torah study and fulfilling mitzvot.QUESTION: Since only one person dealt dishonestly."they shall confess" . he would reply."he shall confess" .appear superfluous. then it is obviously his? ANSWER: In nineteenth century England there lived the famous Jewish philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore. and it includes the instance in which a borrower denies the receipt of a loan and compounds the iniquity by swearing falsely that he owes nothing."they shall both confess" . both the borrower who denies the loan and the lender who gave it without witness sin.in singular? ANSWER: This parshah concerns someone who unlawfully holds the money of a fellow Jew. The Gemara (Bava Metzia 75b) says that one should extend a loan in the presence of witnesses to avoid violating the Torah law "do not put a stumbling block before the blind" (Vayikra 19:14).
each partner must recognize the other's rights and respect the other's opinions. For a marriage to be happy and long-lasting. and whatever one gives to charity "shall be his" . However. "A man a man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him. when the husband does not properly play his role in the union. demanding that his rulings and decisions be enacted. the happily married wife admires her husband and only "sees" the good in him. "This is offensive: Everyone knows that you have far greater wealth.a man . absolute harmony must prevail.his real wealth which remains with him forever. To justify ." Sir Moses explained that he considered as his true wealth whatever money he gave to tzedakah. The Torah warns that the behavior of ish ." (5:12) QUESTION: Why is the word "ish" . as King Shlomo says.who is ish . It could have simply said "uma'ala ma'al."a man" .himself . "And commit treachery against [lit.When Sir Moses told her his wealth she became upset saying." ANSWER: No man is infallible.totally concerned with himself . 'in'] him. and now they have become a complete entity. With the phrase "Lo yiheyeh" .the Torah is emphasizing that people should always consider their monetary wealth as temporary. "Love covers all offenses" (Proverbs 10:12)." (5:12) QUESTION: In the phrase "uma'alah bo ma'al" the word "bo" . and in short. or if a man becomes totally oblivious to the needs of his household and is egoistically concerned only with "ish" . and ultimately destroy his own existence as well. If a man seeks to overdo his "manliness" and attempts to be the autocratic ruler of his home. The home must be a shared domain with both fully involved in its enhancement."shall be his" ."in him" . Unfortunately. Everyone possesses some fault or foible. strife enters and sometimes the wife acts improperly. Up till now.seems extra.repeated twice? ANSWER: Marriage should be regarded as a holy union. Anything else that he possessed was only temporary and could be confiscated or lost.will spoil his family life. both the man and woman were lacking something important.the marriage is doomed to failure.
take on the restrictions of a Nazirite. A Kohen Gadol. "To his father or to his mother. permitted to participate in the funeral of his parents and close relatives (Vayikra 21:2) while a nazir is not? ANSWER: A Kohen receives his holiness from his family. Although he obtains his Kohen status through his family." (6:11) . and it has no connection to his family. "And he shall provide him atonement for having sinned regarding the person. is not permitted to participate in the funeral of a family member. inheriting it from his father. and they must themselves exhibit the conduct they want their children to adopt. whose holiness derives from his family.she found in him a betrayal of her. Unfortunately.is because of "bo ma'al" . On the other hand. Therefore.he shall not contaminate himself to them upon their death. too. and thus be a living example for him. it was necessary that she.her improper behavior . as it is written: "Vehakohein hagadol mei'echav" . who is also considered holy. he becomes Kohen Gadol due to his own greatness. "From new or aged wine shall he abstain. for the crown of his G-d is upon his head. more specifically. Parents are the role models for their children. why did the angel tell Shimshon's mother that she should not drink wine? (See Judges 13:2-25) ANSWER: Many parents set ambitious goals for their children and expect them to live by lofty standards. In order for him to properly observe his restrictions. He does not become a Kohen Gadol because his father was a Kohen Gadol but because he excels over all other Kohanim. He told her that the son she would bear was destined to be a nazir."The Kohen who is exalted above his brethren" (Vayikra 21:10)." (6:3) QUESTION: The laws of a nazir apply only to the nazir himself. the Kohen." (6:7) QUESTION: Why is a Kohen. to his brother or to his sister . the nazir attains his holiness on his own.her conduct. however. The angel was giving Shimshon's mother an important lesson in raising children. may participate in the funeral of a family member whereas the nazir may not. she rationalizes that uma'aleh . they fail to realize their own need to live in accordance with the same standards.
3) to let his hair grow wild. his previous days of nezirut. saying to them: 'May Gd bless you. Orach Chaim 128:11. By refraining from drinking wine. By avoiding contact with a corpse.QUESTION: Rashi comments that his sin was that he abstained from drinking wine while he was a nazir.' " (See Shulchan Aruch. "This shall be the law of the Nazirite: On the day his abstinence is complete. the nazir is declaring that he has no desire to participate in the joy of others.happiness . they recite the blessing "Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to bless His nation of Israel 'be'ahavah' ." (6:13-14) QUESTION: What sin did the nazir commit so that he needs to bring a sin-offering? ANSWER: A nazir takes upon himself three things: 1) not to drink wine. "So shall you bless the Children of Israel.and it is customary to drink wine on joyous occasions.." Thus. why is a nazir who becomes impure considered a "sinner" for the same reason? ANSWER: A nazir who keeps himself pure throughout the term of his vow and abstains from wine is considered holy.one unblemished sheep in its first year as a sin-offering.. A person who has caused himself needless pain has sinned and requires forgiveness. a nazir who is not careful and becomes impure must begin a new period of nezirut for 30 days so that his previous days of nezirut are canceled. Such a lifestyle is considered sinful and requires forgiveness.. Thus.. Letting his hair grow wild implies that he does not care if people stay away from him. all three restrictions involve withdrawing from society as a quasi-hermit. were days of needless self-imposed deprivation.'with love. he is failing to sympathize with others' sufferings and shunning sad occasions.He shall bring his offering to G-d. and Magen Avraham . 2) not to come in contact with a corpse. not wanting to be involved with "this strange looking person. during which he abstained from wine. However.' " (6:23-24) QUESTION: Before the Kohanim administer the Priestly Blessing.Every nazir abstains from wine and is considered holy (6:8). Wine is a sign of simchah .
"I and the lad will go yonder" (Bereishit 22:5). . saying: 'So you shall bless the Children of Israel."May G-d bless you and safeguard you.. of whom it is said.)Where were the Kohanim commanded to bless with love? ANSWER: The Priestly Blessing starts with the phrase "Yevarechecha Hashem veyishmerecha" ."with love.with the fifteen-word Priestly Blessing which Hashem lovingly gives his people Israel." Since Hashem told the Kohanim "So you shall bless the Children of Israel. Thus." the blessing should be in plural . Alternatively.' " (6:23) QUESTION: The word "koh" appears superfluous? It could have said Barechu et B'nei Yisrael. saying to them."So will be your children" (Bereishit 15:5). in the berachah the Kohen is announcing his fulfillment of Hashem's command to bless K'lal Yisrael "be'ahavah" ." The Kohanim were commanded to bless the Jewish people "be'ahavah" that they be united as one. In the Priestly Blessing from the word "yevarechecha" until the word "shalom" there are a total of fifteen words. to whom Hashem said."yevarechechem" . Thus. 2."Bless the Children of Israel. saying to them"? ANSWER: The Midrash Rabbah (Bereishit 43:11) states three opinions regarding our meriting of the Priestly Blessing based upon the word "koh. the word "be'ahava" has the numerical value of fifteen. the Kohanim are referring to the command to bless the Jewish people "be'ahavah" .18. emor lahem" ." 1."Hashem should bless you (plural)"? Though the Kohanim are indeed blessing the entire congregation.."one. It was merited through the Patriarch Avraham. "Speak to Aharon and his sons." The word "ahavah" has the numerical value of thirteen. "Ve'ani vehana'ar neilchah ad koh" . they do so in singular to indicate that G-d desires to bless the Jews with the unity that results when love prevails. "Koh yiheyeh zarecha" . which is also the numerical value of "echad" . It was merited through the patriarch Yitzchak.
one recognizes his true potential and stature. It is a message to the women to set the tone in their homes so that their husbands and children dedicate their time to Torah study and see that a Torah atmosphere prevails. QUESTION: What attribute must one emulate to be worthy to receive this blessing in contemporary times? ANSWER: Each of these views emphasizes a unique aspect of Jewish identity and all three express the different qualities necessary to be worthy of the Priestly Blessing. one would see its immense size. The pasuk "Koh tomar leveit Ya'akov" . When Avraham complained that he was childless.. "Speak to Aharon and his sons. Hashem was conveying a lesson in Ahavat Yisrael. koh yiheyeh zarecha . They both went happily to the Akeidah because it would be an opportunity to accomplish a Kiddush Hashem .is Hashem's instruction to Moshe prior to the giving of the Torah. 1.sanctification of Hashem's name. and studies Torah while conducting his home life in the spirit of Torah. but only because it is far away. knows him better. as the pasuk says. It was merited through Yaakov. If it were possible to get close enough.conveys the dedication of our forefathers. conducts himself so that his behavior produces a Kiddush Hashem. In the instance of the Akeidah. A star looks quite small from the earth.' " (6:23) ..so shall be your children. Not only was the aged Avraham prepared to express his devotion to Hashem. when a Jew practices Ahavat Yisrael. he will merit the Priestly Blessing in the fullest measure. Thus.3. "Gaze toward the heavens and count the stars. when one becomes "closer" to him. saying: 'So shall you bless the Children of Israel.e. but he also trained his child to do likewise. 2. no Jew should ever be rejected. i.. though he may appear to be insignificant."And I and the lad will go yonder" ." By comparing the Jewish people to the stars of heaven. 3."So shall you say to the house of Yaakov" (Shemot 19:3) . the pasuk: "Ve'ani vehana'ar neilchah ad koh" . Hashem told him. "Koh tomar leveit Ya'akov" ."So shall you say to the house of Yaakov" (Shemot 19:3). Likewise.
for the place upon which you stand is holy ground" (Shemot 3:5)." and we bless a person in financial straits with hatzlachah in his livelihood. For example. With this halachah our Sages are imparting a very important lesson: while giving blessings is laudable. The ground on which the Kohanim stand when they bless the Jewish people is also holy and thus they must remove their shoes.that we actually do something to help the person in need. "May G-d bless you and safeguard you. Thus. "Speak to Aharon and his sons. the son of a woman forbidden to marry a Kohen. he prefaced it by saying "Al tikrav halom" ."halom. i."do not approach" . "Do not approach here." The word "halom" "to here" . When Hashem instructed Moshe to remove his shoes. which is the same numerical value as the word "Kohen".has the numerical value of 75. Hashem commanded Moshe. the pasuk is a message to the Kohanim: "Al tikrav" ." Alternatively. according to the Gemara (Sotah 40a) if a Kohen's shoelace breaks and he sits down in the middle of the blessing to fix it. and it is indeed a benevolent practice. Why? ANSWER: At the time of the miracle of the burning bush. remove your shoes.e. What is the significance of this? ANSWER: Many people are accustomed to give blessings generously."Do not approach here. it is extremely important that we also "raise our hands" and "stretch them out" . saying: 'So shall you bless the Children of Israel. Therefore.QUESTION: According to halachah (Orach Chaim 128:5). people may suspect him of stopping in the middle of the blessing because he is a disqualified Kohen.' " (6:23) QUESTION: According to halachah (Orach Chaim 128:5) when the Kohen recites the Priestly Blessing he must raise his hands and stretch them out. the Rabbis forbade Kohanim to wear shoes during the priestly blessing (even without laces). when the Kohen recites the Priestly Blessing he must remove his shoes. we bless a sick person "May you have a speedy recovery. shal ne'alecha" "Kohen. remove your shoes from your feet." (6:24) .
blessed them in a loud voice. they deserve the lifting of My countenance to them. but "ve'Ani avaracheim" . '[Gd] does not lift countenance' [i. they assured the Jewish people that there was no need to fear the problem identified by King Shlomo. The blessing may evoke the evil eye (ayin hara) of others or tempt them to steal. Nevertheless.e. As a matter of fact. with affluence.. Therefore..e. This seems to contradict King Shlomo's statement. "How can I not lift My countenance to them if they bless me even after eating a small amount of food?" . "He that blesses his friend with a loud voice. "vayisa meshalo vayomar" .What is the connection between these two blessings? ANSWER: The Gemara (Sotah 38a) says that the Kohanim must deliver the Priestly Blessing in a loud voice. Therefore. the Jews are strict with themselves to bless Me even for only the volume of an olive or an egg.'and you shall eat and be satisfied [i. eat a significant amount] and bless your G-d' (ibid. "Isn't it written in Your Torah. according to the Midrash Rabbah (20:21). Offering excessive praise may tempt thieves or government agencies to appropriate a person's wealth. who hated the Jewish people. "and safeguard you" means from mazikim . Hence."I [i." (6:26) QUESTION: The Gemara (Berachot 20b) relates that the angels said to Hashem. Bilaam. King Shlomo advises that a good friend should give his blessing in a quiet tone of voice. Therefore. So why do You lift Your countenance to the Jews?" Hashem answered. How can the words of the wisest of all men be reconciled with the halachic requirement that the Kohanim give the blessing with a loud voice? A person cannot control the actions of another. When Hashem blesses one with affluence."he declaimed his parable and said" (23:18).destructive people. "May G-d lift His countenance to you.QUESTION: According to the Midrash Rabbah (11:13) "May G-d bless you" means. it was not they who were actually blessing. one who blesses another in a loud voice cannot predict the consequences. show favoritism] (Devarim 10:17). despite the requirement to give the blessing with a loud voice. "I wrote in the Torah 've'achalta vesavata u'veirachta' . As the pasuk says.will cause any damage.e. When the Kohanim delivered the Priestly Blessing."The words of the Gemara "they are strict with themselves" seem superfluous? It could have just said.it shall be counted a curse to him" (Proverbs 27:14). 8:10).destructive people . He can assure that no mazikim . as Ruler of the entire world. Hashem] will bless them" (see Rashi).
" (6:27) QUESTION: How do the Kohanim place Hashem's name upon the Jewish people? ANSWER: The holy name of Hashem.'satisfied' . although they generously give enough tithe to make the poor satisfied."they shall eat in your cities and be satisfied" (Devarim 26:12).ANSWER: Since in regard to ma'asar ani . by reciting the fifteen (Yud-Keh) words of the Priestly Blessing with outstretched hands (Vav) and five openings between the fingers (Heh)." Therefore.is emphasized both in regard to blessing Me after eating. whose numerical value is 5." "And establish peace for you. he is at liberty to go to any shul he wants and recite the blessing there. he is indeed fulfilling a mitzvah." (6:26) QUESTION: When the Kohanim conclude their blessing."It is a mitzvah for them to bless the people. A fully stretched out hand looks like a "Vav" and the five openings between the ten fingers of both hands (see Shulchan Aruch Harav 128:20) represent the "Heh". .the tithe given to the poor the Torah says "ve'achlu bisharecha vesavei'u" . it is customary for people to thank them by saying "yasher ko'ach. the Mishnah (Pe'ah 8:5) declares. and one kav (approximately one and one-third quart) of barley. and in regard to tithing. However. the Kohanim are placing Hashem's holy name on the people of Israel." "Let them place My name upon the Children of Israel. The people of the shul which he selected are grateful. the Tetragrammaton. "You should give a poor man at least half a kav (approximately two-thirds of a quart) of wheat. Why say to them "yasher ko'ach" when they were commanded to do so? ANSWER: When a Kohen extends the blessings. Hashem says. The Kohanim fully stretch out their hands and recite the Priestly Blessing consisting of 15 words. and for this they say "yasher ko'ach. "The concept of being 'sava' . is spelled "Yud-Keh-Vav-Keh". Thus they deserve the lifting of My countenance to them. The numerical equivalent of "Yud-Keh" is 15. Thus. 'on themselves' they are very stringent and bless Me even when they only have eaten a portion the size of an olive or an egg. However.
Alternatively. one leader each day shall they bring their offering. so to avoid a false appearance they shared the expense of the wagons.a wagon for each two leaders. to carry the wagons and the animals which pulled them would not have been dignified. since the sacred service was upon them. and if six wagons sufficed to do the work. while it may have been proper for the Ark to carry the prominent members of the Kohatite family. overspending is prohibited. but in reality the Ark "nosei et nosav" "carried its bearers. Not fully utilizing something is equivalent to waste. They thus hoped to merit Hashem's Divine presence in their midst." (7:3) QUESTION: Everyone contributed generously for the Mishkan (see Shemot 36:7)." (7:11) QUESTION: There is a Midrash pli'ah (wondrous Midrash). "One leader each day." (7:9) QUESTION: What would have been so terrible if wagons had been given to the sons of Kehat to facilitate carrying the holy Ark? ANSWER: The Gemara (Sotah 35a) says that it only appeared that the Kohatites were carrying the Ark. extra wagons would have been a waste. which says that "from here it is derived that the offerings . instead of each donating one? ANSWER: The fact that each nasi brought his own offering was likely to make them appear disunited. Even when one properly utilizes twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes for "good purposes. Hashem has given man a day consisting of twenty-four hours.. and even for holy purposes.." Consequently."They brought their offering. This applies to all facets of one's life: For instance.six covered wagons." he must take care that the final minute of the day should also not go to waste.. it is very important to use everything to its fullest potential. they carried on their shoulder. as the pasuk states.. "And to the sons of Kehat he did not give. why did the nesi'im pay for the wagons in pairs. "He [Hashem] became King of Yeshurin [Israel] when the leaders were united" (Devarim 33:5).
Until the soul totally accomplishes its task.. followed by a mystical prayer. . In all. the section is read describing the offering brought by the nasi on that day (see Ba'eir Heitav." What in this pasuk indicates that? ANSWER: The dedication of the altar started on the first day of the month of Nissan."one nasi per day" . we can conclude that the offerings were also brought on Shabbat. which that year happened to be a Sunday (see Shabbat 87b). the Midrash finds a difficulty in the fact that the words "nasi echad layom" . Therefore.. and the same for every weekday of the following week.. Carefully analyzing our pasuk. Thus. two nesi'im would bring offerings on the two Sundays. there were a total of twelve nesi'im bringing offerings. Should they not have been permitted to bring their offerings on Shabbat. the Midrash concludes that it is not a redundancy. Thus. Orach Chaim 629:6). with offerings occurring on Shabbat. and each has a mission to accomplish. sparks of the soul are reincarnated in newly born people.. 18.000 souls to this world (ibid. and Friday and Shabbat would be the only days to fall once during this period and thus only one nasi would bring an offering on these days.on the third day. over the two-week period. two on the two Mondays etc. 2). in the first week seven nesi'im would bring their offerings with the remaining five offering on the first five days of the second week. the dedication would be completed in twelve days. then the twelve offerings would have extended over two weeks.are repeated.." (7:12. However... since one Shabbat fell during the twelve-day period. even by a Kohen or a Levi or one who can trace his genealogy to a particular tribe? ANSWER: The uniqueness of a Jewish person is his neshamah . 24) QUESTION: Every day from Rosh Chodesh through the twelfth of Nissan. ch. 37).. but intentionally phrased to teach that on two of the days (Friday and Shabbat) only one nasi offered. Hashem sent down 600.on the second day. while two nesi'im offered on all the other days which all fell twice during the 12-day period. Hence. then may all the 'holy sparks' and all the 'holy lights' which are contained in this tribe shine upon me. "Yehi Ratzon" .of the nesi'im were also brought on Shabbat..soul which is truly a part of Hashem above (see Tanya ch.. "If I Your servant am of the tribe of (name of the tribe of that day) the Torah section of whose nasi I have recited today."May it be Your will."How is it possible that this "Yehi Ratzon" is said every day." In it we say. "The one who brought his offering on the first day. and on every weekday of the first week there would be a different nasi offering for a total of six.
"and his offering" . One who encourages others to do good deeds receives a reward for the encouragement and also shares the merit of the deeds themselves...in which the soul is attached to a body and dominated by it. or one who otherwise knows his tribal affiliation. on the contrary. it was Netanel ben Tzu'ar who suggested that all the nesi'im bring offerings.. Since he was the one who proposed it. "The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nachshon son of Aminadav.regarding Nachshon ben Aminadav? ANSWER: According to the Midrash (see Rashi 7:19). he shared in the merit of the offerings brought each day..to indicate that being first had no ill effect on him."he brought his offering" ..."and his offering" . it is written "and his offering" to indicate that the merit was not entirely his. and his offering.Moreover.transmigration . . can be said by every individual. Alternatively. there is also ibur neshamot impregnation of souls . on the second day. to be the first to bring an offering was a great honor which might have made him conceited. However. Hence. The Torah wrote the extra "Vav" ." (7:12-13) QUESTION: Why is it written "vekarbano" . which is on behalf of the soul of the Jew.he received full credit for the offering and the idea.." (7:18-19) QUESTION: Why does it say "hikriv et karbano" . "On the second day Nethanel son of Tzuar offered . though the soul originated in a person who was a member of a particular tribe. even a Kohen or Levi. although Nachshon ben Aminadav brought his offering first. or has the soul of another person "impregnated" in it. he considered himself one who followed others. it is possible that now this soul is in a person of another tribe. this prayer. the Torah stresses that "he brought his offering" .in which a spark of the soul of a tzaddik is "impregnated" in another soul and serves as an additional spiritual charge for the soul of the recipient (see Tanya 14). he brought his offering. in addition to gilgul . but shared with Netanel. Consequently. when Netanel ben Tzu'ar brought his own offering.only for Netanel ben Tzu'ar? ANSWER: It was Netanel ben Tzu'ar who suggested that all the nesi'im bring offerings. Therefore.
said to him. Obviously. his grandson's offering on Shabbat would not be treated as a normal individual sacrifice.when they prepare" (Shemot 16:5). by Divine provision. as may be inferred from the pasuk "It shall be on that the sixth day. On the other hand.Shabbat? ANSWER: When Yosef came to Egypt he was sold as a slave to the house of Potifar. it was Shabbat and he came home to do "his work. including bringing an offering.the head of his son's tribe . but a means to enhance the holiness of Shabbat. According to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 43b) when one resists and overpowers evil. "Have the meat slaughtered vehachein . the leader of the children of Ephraim. Yosef's reward was that despite the usually forbidden status of individual sacrifices offered on Shabbat. Yosef became very frightened and ran away. This is accomplished by refraining from any of the forbidden labors. The word "hachein" is primarily used to express preparation for Shabbat. it is equivalent to offering a sacrifice. veheichinu .. The Torah relates that one day he came home to do his work. This is inferred from the pasuk. Since Yosef "offered" a sacrifice on Shabbat..should bring sacrifices for the dedication of the altar on Shabbat. according to Midrash Rabbah (14:2) Yosef observed the Shabbat [in Egypt] before it was given." (7:48) QUESTION: Why did the leader of Ephraim bring his offering on the seventh day . I will accept his offering favorably. therefore. Hashem. Alternatively. an offering prescribed by Hashem is no Shabbat desecration. According to the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni 146). I promise I shall repay your grandson by allowing him to present his offering on Shabbat. Hashem rewarded him that his descendent . you observed the Shabbat before the Torah was given. Though an individual is otherwise forbidden to do so. "Yosef. but as a required Shabbat sacrifice through which the holiness of that Shabbat would be elevated and enhanced. .and prepare it" (Bereishit 43:16)." Superficially. there are sacrifices which we are commanded to offer specifically on Shabbat. it is enigmatic that the reward for Yosef's Shabbat observance should be his son's desecration of the Shabbat? Hashem gave us the Shabbat and commanded us to sanctify it." which was to study and review the Torah his father taught him."On the seventh day. and Potifar's wife unexpectedly urged him to commit a transgression.
" (7:66) QUESTION: Why was the tenth day of Nissan set aside for the tribe of Dan? ANSWER: When Yaakov blessed his children. they were told that "nasi echad layom" . Only if the flour is together with the oil in the same utensil must it be offered immediately and not left overnight. Consequently. Tosafot). Why does the verse giving the tallies of bowls... The tenth of Nissan always falls on the same day of the week as the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The different spices of the incense needed to be ground and then mixed together within the Sanctuary (Rambam. Therefore the prince of the tribe associated with earthly judgment brings his offering on a day which is connected to Divine judgment. "This was the dedication of the altar on the day it was anointed from the princes of Israel: twelve silver bowls. Afterwards. twelve silver basins. all the nesi'im came to the Mishkan with their offerings on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. and ladles state that the ladles were full of incense while omitting that the bowls and basins were filled with flour and oil? ANSWER: According to the Midrash Rabbah (12:21). though it was in the . If so. filled with incense." (7:84. 2. how was it possible for the nesi'im to bring the incense and flour mixed with oil on Rosh Chodesh and yet offer it on a following day? We can answer this question by citing two rules: 1. basins. If it is left in the utensil overnight. it becomes disqualified for further use (see Shavuot 11a. when Hashem judges his people. the leader of the children of Dan. Twelve gold ladles. K'lei Hamikdash 2:6). on Rosh Chodesh each nasi brought a gold ladle filled with unground and unmixed incense. it must be offered on that day. he associated the power of earthly judgment with the tribe of Dan saying. Hence.only one nasi per day should present his offering. "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel" (Bereishit 49:16). both filled with fine flour mixed with oil (7:13)."On the tenth day. When a meal-offering or incense is put into a holy utensil. the first day of the dedication..86) QUESTION: Each nasi brought a gold ladle filled with incense and a silver bowl and basin.
the flour and oil were not brought together in the bowl because the mixture would become disqualified if not offered on the same day.. 88) QUESTION: Why does it say "on the day it was anointed" in the first pasuk and "after it was anointed" four pesukim later? ANSWER: It is common for people to cherish something new. unfortunately. a boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah often begins putting on his tefillin with excitement and lofty intentions. and even while wearing his tefillin he gives them little attention.." it did not lose its newness.ladle. On the day the altar was anointed. everybody was in high spirits. For example. but was cherished with the same love and awe as on the first day.." but that even "after it was anointed." (8:2) . As time passes. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Beha'alotecha by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish.. and silver bowls and basins which were not filled at that time with fine flour mixed with oil.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "When you kindle the lamps." On that day they all brought ladles containing unground incense. As he grows older. on the day it was anointed." (7:84. "This was the dedication of the altar. the novelty often proves short-lived. The tally in the Torah is for all the offerings which were brought on Rosh Chodesh "on the day it was anointed. they were brought separately and only on the day which was designated for the nasi to bring his offering did he bring the flour mixed with oil for a meal-offering in the silver bowls and basins. The Torah is telling us that not only were they in great spirits "on the day the altar was anointed. it becomes a daily routine. Thought-Provoking Ideas. Therefore.. it did not become disqualified by staying overnight. however. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights.This was the dedication of the altar after it was anointed. However.
" (8:2) QUESTION: There is a "wondrous Midrash" that states in connection to this pasuk "Peitach devarecha ya'ir" . However. and inspiring others to do likewise. preparing the wicks of the menorah must be performed only by a Kohen. King Shlomo says."and kindled"? ANSWER: According to halachah.in front of the menorah on which the Kohen stood as he prepared the wicks and oil of the menorah.is qualified to do "hatavah" . This is accomplished by studying Torah. It was therefore necessary to have steps in front of the menorah so that when the Kohen Gadol would kindle the lights he would be able to do so without lifting his hands above the permitted height.QUESTION: Rashi explains that the word "beha'alotecha" (literally "when you step up") is used because there was a ma'aleh ."prepared" . approximately five feet. "When you kindle the lamps. may kindle the lamps. and according to halachah it was forbidden for the Kohen Gadol to raise his hands above it (Rambam. "Toward the face of the menorah shall the seven lamps cast light."Your .. why did Aharon need to stand on a step in order to reach the top of the menorah? ANSWER: Aharon. "Hadlakah kesheirah bezar" . "The soul of man is a candle of G-d (Proverbs 20:27). Rashi uses the expression "meitiv" .without saying that the Kohen kindled the lamps. doing mitzvot. Every Jew must see to it that his candle shines brightly and also assure that another Jew's candle is lit." (8:2) QUESTION: Rashi writes that the Kohen stood on a step "u'meitiv" .cleaned out the ashes and prepared wicks and oil for the kindling of the menorah.every Jew must kindle the flame of his neshamah as well as the neshamah of another Jew but only a "kohen" a true Jewish leader . as Kohen Gadol."even a non-Kohen. Nesi'at Kapayim 14:9).. Thus.determine the authentic path of the Torah.step . "Hadlakah kesheirah bezar" . if the menorah was brought outside" (Rambam.. Why doesn't he say "u'madlik" .The height of the menorah was only three amot. wore the head-plate. Be'at Hamikdash 9:7).
"I shall be" (see Shemot 3:14). The first pasuk of Bereishit contains seven words. This alludes that Torah."shelo shinah" . corresponding to the seven branches of the menorah. though the Gemara (Menachot 28b) says that the menorah was eighteen tefachim tall. Thus the first pasuk of Bamidbar has one word for each full tefach of the menorah's height. corresponding to the nine flowers. A person naturally does something the first time with more dedication and excitement than after he has done it for several years. Eileh) add up to 21. "shall be" the Eternal illuminating power. The first pasuk of Bamidbar has seventeen words. have a connection to a part of the menorah." i. eleven knobs. and twenty-two cups. In his praise. as Kohen Gadol. the first letters of the opening pasuk of each of the five chumashim (Beraishis.Would anyone suspect that Aharon would deviate from Hashem's command? ANSWER: Aharon. and counting the entire pasuk as one (known in gematria as "im hakolel"). the first pasuk of each of the five chumashim. The first pasuk of Shemot contains eleven words. as G-d had commanded Moshe.e. it was actually only somewhat over seventeen. The first pasuk of Vayikra has nine words. toward the face of the menorah he kindled its lamps. Alternatively. "And Aharon did so. and according to the Gemara (Menachot 28b) it was eighteen tefachim (handbreadths) tall. the Torah says that . kindled the menorah the entire 40 years that the Mishkan was in the wilderness. which is His divine and infinite wisdom. corresponds to the height of the menorah. which is also the numerical value of Hashem's holy name "Alef-KehYud-Keh" . The first pasuk of Devarim has twenty-two words for the twenty-two cups of the menorah. The Midrash by quoting the pasuk "your opening words illuminate" is alluding that the "opening words. nine flowers. Ve'eileh.that he did not act differently." (8:3) QUESTION: Rashi explains that the Torah emphasizes that "Aharon did so" to declare Aharon's praise .What is the meaning of this Midrash? ANSWER: The menorah had seven branches. which correspond to the eleven knobs of the menorah.opening words illuminate" (Psalms 119:130). Vayidabeir. Alternatively. Vayikra.
" (9:2) QUESTION: Rashi writes that this chapter should have been placed at the beginning of Bamidbar. Aharon's greatness is that even when he became Kohen Gadol. How was it a disgrace to not offer additional ones? ANSWER: When Hashem commanded the Jews to prepare a Pesachoffering. the Pesachoffering was instituted to commemorate the redemption from Egyptian bondage (Shemot 12:13. "lo shinah" . it is a disgrace that the Jewish people did not come on their own with a heartrending plea. Moreover. fervor.Aharon did not change: Even after kindling the menorah for many years. An ordinary citizen is often affable and involved with people and their needs." "The Children of Israel shall make the Pesach-offering in its appointed time. However. holding the second highest position in the Jewish community. why should we be withheld?!" . and He gave a special dispensation. we want to offer the Pesach-offering to Hashem. a person who is appointed to a high office may become conceited and distant. he continued to do so with the same dedication. They were eager to be included and came to Moshe complaining: "Lamah nigarah" "Why should we be withheld" (lit. Rashi). "Though we are not yet in Eretz Yisrael.The bringing of Pesachoffering is contingent upon entering Eretz Yisrael (see Shemot 12:25. it was put here because it is a disgrace for the Jewish people that throughout the 40 years in the wilderness they offered only one Pesach-offering. "diminished")" from participating in the sacrifice? (9:7) Moshe brought their plea before Hashem.he still remained the same "oheiv shalom verodeif shalom" . A second opportunity one month later would be given to those unable to participate in the first Pesach-offering. though Hashem only ordered one Pesach-offering to be prepared during the 40 years."lover of peace and pursuer of peace" (Pirkei Avot 1:12) . Consequently. some people were defiled and unable to participate. However. 27)."lover and pursuer of peace. Alternatively.and was therefore loved by every Jew. and the one offered in the wilderness was by special command of Hashem. The Jews of Egypt were spared thanks to the blood of the Pesachoffering. Aharon was an "oheiv shalom verodeif shalom" .he did not change toward his fellow man . which they smeared on their doorposts. and excitement as the first time.
is welcome to start studying or return to Yiddishkeit and will happily be received as an honored and full-fledged member of our people. and learning is essential to our way of life. The parshah. 'If any man will become defiled by a corpse or on a distant journey.Why would being outside Modi'im. . but he is "outside the threshold" . approximately nine miles from Jerusalem. He has learned and knows much. they were punished with 40 years in the wilderness for the incident of the spies. when the Jews left Egypt. the mitzvah was to commence after their entry into Eretz Yisrael. but speaks of another Jew who is distant despite his knowledge. Rabbi Eliezer does not disagree with Rabbi Akiva. thus. knows of the holiness of the Beit Hamikdash. not to mention being near the Beit Hamikdash and just outside the threshold.Alternatively. unfortunately he is currently unobservant and does not attend a synagogue or arrange a Jewish education for his children. brings out the disgrace of the Jewish people that their behavior prevented them from bringing a Pesach-offering for forty years until arriving in Eretz Yisrael.who lacks knowledge of our golden heritage. So it is true that except for this one Pesach-offering which Hashem commanded. however. Rabbi Akiva maintains that it refers to being from Modi'im and beyond (a suburb fifteen mil." but neither is without hope. saying. they were slated to arrive in Eretz Yisrael after only a brief sojourn in the wilderness.. Knowledge has always been the cornerstone of our religion. less than half-a-day's walk). not geographic distance. Pesach Sheini teaches that even one who is outside of "Modi'im" . The name "Modi'im" comes from the word "madah" .he is far removed from Hashem and his brethren. The two cases are both "distant." the Gemara (Pesachim 93b) offers two opinions. but has become complacent and indifferent. "Speak to the Children of Israel. Jewish loyalties and values decline. This person. place a person in the category of "far away"? ANSWER: Our sages are talking of spiritual. the Jewish people. Bitter experience has taught us that wherever ignorance abides.' " (9:10) QUESTION: To define "distant. Rabbi Eliezer says even if a person is from the threshold of the Sanctuary and beyond. he is considered as being distantly removed. Rabbi Akiva felt that as long as a Jew is outside of "Modi'im" lacking knowledge of Torah and the principles of Judaism . Unfortunately. he shall make the Pesach-offering to G-d [on Pesach Sheini]. While he may be a Yeshivah graduate..he keeps his distance and refuses to come in.knowledge and learning. or who has become alienated and refuses to step over the threshold and come in .
"ritually impure" or "bederech rechoka" . "According to the word of G-d the Children of Israel would journey. on . in fact."far away" ."G-d willing" . he shall make a Pesach-offering to G-d in the second month. Pesach Sheini. QUESTION: Teshuvah is one of the fundamental mitzvot of the Torah.nonetheless one can correct it. It is. young and old.. im yirtzeh Hashem. never too late to make up something missed. If there is some impediment to performing a mitzvah at the first opportunity. Hence. and according to the word of the G-d they would encamp. he is lacking in his individual birth as a Jew and thus in his entire essence.i. it is not lost forever."with G-d's help. a traveler should say. there is always another chance. we are always given a second chance." (9:10-11) QUESTION: What is the message of Pesach Sheini for all generations? ANSWER: The lesson derived from the second opportunity given to those who were unable to participate in the first Pesach-offering is as follows: Each and every Jew."Nothing is ever lost" . Why is it emphasized specifically in the mitzvah of Pesach Sheini? ANSWER: The prophet (see Ezekiel 16) considers the emancipation from Egypt as the birth of the Jewish people. "I am traveling be'ezrat Hashem on such and such a day and I hope to arrive there."If a man will become defiled by a corpse or on a distant journey .. should always strive to perform Hashem's will. Even if one was "tamei" . if one misses the first opportunity.or "be'ezrat Hashem" . thus. the mitzvah of teshuvah is alluded to in connection with Pesach Sheini. for it gives a Jew the opportunity to restore himself to his original state as part of Hashem's people. When a Jew fails to properly observe Pesach.e.and even in a case of lachem deliberate impurity or alienation ." For instance." (9:18) QUESTION: Why are the words "al pi Hashem" "according to the word of G-d" . teaches "Es iz nita kein farfalen" . on the fourteenth day.repeated six times over a span of five pesukim which discuss the journeying and encampment of the Jewish people? ANSWER: This teaches that it is imperative for a Jew to constantly state that his planned activities will take place "im yirtzeh Hashem" .
Raising children successfully. Therefore. the heads of Israel's thousands." Hammering something out from one piece is quite difficult and laborious." "If they sound a long blast with one. the leaders shall assemble to you. the leaders shall assemble to you.such and such a day. "If they sound a long blast with one.the means to accomplish it are often elusive.and each requires "mikshah" . the cheruvim on top of the Ark (Shemot 25:18).the heads and leaders of the community should first work out their differences and achieve unity. the Torah advises "Ve'im be'achat yitka'u If the call of the hour will be achat ." When he arrives he should say. as stated: "For a mitzvah is a lamp and Torah is light" (Proverbs 6:23). and uniting K'lal Yisrael are all not easy tasks."very difficult" . Rashi).to achieve unity ."hammering" . The cheruvim were images of children (see Shemot 25:18.much laborious effort.hammered out of one piece? ANSWER: The word "mikshah" stems from the word "kashah" "difficult. but every one wants it on his own terms. and the menorah (Shemot 25:31) all made "mikshah" .veno'adu eilecha hanesi'im . The menorah represents Torah and mitzvot." (10:4) QUESTION: Why was one trumpet blast a signal to summon the heads of the tribes? ANSWER: Though everybody agrees on the importance of achdut unity among the Jewish people . each one is "kashah" . automatically the rest of the community will follow suit." (10:4) QUESTION: Why were the leaders summoned with a trumpet? . The trumpets were used to gather together and unite K'lal Yisrael. progressing in Torah and mitzvot.make them hammered out. "I arrived be'ezrat Hashem and hope to leave." "Make for yourself two silver trumpets . the heads of Israel's thousands." (10:2) QUESTION: Why were the trumpets. im yirtzeh Hashem on such and such a day. many people preach unity. Unfortunately. On the contrary.
to the myriad of thousands of Israel" (10:35-36) QUESTION: Why are there nunin hakufin ." His intent was that just as live fish swim against the tide... The life of a fish depends in a large measure on its ability to swim upstream. After converting to Judaism. but he gave up all his glory and attached himself to Hashem and His Torah. who should be called first.inverted "nuns" . If it permits itself to be swept along by the current of the rapids or the tide. . 'Please do not forsake us. urged him to travel together with the Jewish people and told him that he would be "le'einayim" . Thus. Thanks to him. all the more so should we who benefited immensely from Hashem be dedicated to Him and His Torah. etc.i.setting off the two verses of "vayehi binso'a"? ANSWER: In Aramaic the word "nun" means fish (see Onkelos 11:5). the seating arrangement. Our forefather Yaakov blessed his children that "veyidgu larov bekerev ha'aretz" . the Jewish people would see the truth and learn a very important lesson: "If Yitro gave up everything for the sake of Hashem. an eye opener and a living example for the Jews. whereby it is able to swim upstream against the current.e."and may they increase abundantly like fish in the midst of the earth. the heads of the tribes were summoned together through the sounding of the trumpet. In order to avoid problems." "And it came to pass when the Ark set forward. Jews have been compared to fish. O G-d. so his children should swim upstream and resist the temptation to take the easy way of going with the tide of fads and crazes which lead to the dissolution of our teachings and the scuttling of our people. Moshe."for eyes" .and you will be to us for eyes.ANSWER: Among the most difficult aspects of arranging a conference between leaders are the formalities as to who should be invited. that it can survive and increase. His son-in-law. he considered returning to his homeland. it will be scuttled and squashed. It is only because Hashem has endowed the fish with the precious instinct of selfpreservation. Return.. potential jealousy as to why one was called second and not first was eliminated. "He said..' " (10:31) QUESTION: How would Yitro become "eyes" to all the Jews? ANSWER: Yitro was the High Priest of Midian.
does not turn his back entirely on them. falling down. The "nun" with the top facing forward. Return. "And it came to pass when the Ark set forward. and the bottom backward at the end of one misconduct of the Jewish people and the same type of "nun" at the beginning of another misconduct of the Jewish people indicates that even when the Jews have fallen from their heights and Hashem. He (like a deer). G-d forbid."inverted nuns" .The message of the nunin hakufin . Why is the top of the nun written facing forward and the bottom reversed? ANSWER: The Gemara (Berachot 4b) says that the reason the prayer of Ashrei contains a pasuk starting with each letter of the alef-beit except for the letter "Nun" is that the letter "Nun" indicates "nefilah" . He still "looks back" protectively at His beloved Jewish people.in connection with "vayehi binso'a ha'Aron" is that to travel with the holy Ark a Jew must be ready to go against the tide and proudly stand resolute in his convictions. where the Torah discusses the formation of the tribes when they encamped and traveled. Gd forbid. or when it seems that. Return. "turns His back on them" it is not a full turn around. However. "sleeping" and not attending to the needs of the Jewish people." (10:35-36) QUESTION: In the Torah these two pesukim are set off by inverted nunim before and after. "My Beloved is like a gazelle" (Song of Songs 2:9). which sleeps with one eye open and always looks backwards when it is running... The Midrash explains that Hashem is compared to a deer. "When the Ark would journey." In order not to allude to the Jewish people. to the myriad of thousands of Israel" (10:35-36) QUESTION: According to the Gemara (Shabbat 115b) these pesukim really belong with the discussion of the tribal formation in the beginning of Bamidbar.. O G-d. G-d forbid. O G-d. G-d forbid. Likewise. to the myriad of thousand of Israel. it was placed here in order that the iniquities committed by the Jewish people should not be recorded in succession. even when it appears that Hashem is. there is no pasuk starting with the letter "Nun". They were placed here in order not record the sins of the Jewish . According to the Gemara (Shabbat 115b) the pesukim of "vayehi binso'a" should really have been at in the beginning of Bamidbar. King Shlomo says. He is "running away" from the Jewish people."falling down..
" Though logically they should have said "Nishma vena'aseh" ." (11:5) QUESTION: The Egyptians were very unsympathetic to their Jewish slaves and did not even give them straw required to make the bricks (Shemot 5:7). the fish remained on the ground. "We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt gratis. Did they give them free fish? ANSWER: In Egypt it rained very little and the country would rely on the Nile river for irrigation. and a wicked person (rasha) would have to go a great distance. When the water would rise and flow into the fields.with which they themselves stressed the importance of kabbalat ol ." (11:6) QUESTION: The manna tasted like cake fried in honey (Shemot 16:31). the cucumbers and the melons. and one could experience any taste his palate desired (Yoma 75a).inverted "nuns"? ANSWER: When Hashem offered the Torah to the Jewish people they immediately responded with two words each starting with a "Nun": "Na'aseh venishma" . Why did they complain? ANSWER: The Gemara (ibid.they reversed the order of the "nunin" ("nunin hakufin") to emphasize that preeminent in their relationship with Hashem was "Kabbalat ol malchut shamayim" absolute submission to the yoke of Hashem. and when the water would subside. are they marked off by nunin hakufin . The pesukim afterwards relate how they began murmuring against Hashem."We will do and we listen (study).the reverse nunin of "Na'aseh venishma" ."We will study and afterwards when we understand it we will do" . and in three different forms. it would contain fish. we have nothing but the manna to look to.) says that the manna was delivered to three different places.people in succession. . An intermediate person (beinoni) would have to leave the camp to find his portion.acceptance of the Heavenly yoke. A righteous person (tzaddik) would open his door and find it at the entrance to his tent.Why in addition. How was such behavior possible? Obviously they had forgotten about the nunin hakufin . "But now our soul is dried away. The pesukim before "Vayehi binso'a" relate how the Jews rebelled against Hashem and left the mountain of Hashem disrespectfully. Thus the Jewish slaves who worked the fields for their masters would take home fish together with vegetables from the fields. there is nothing at all.
son of Parnach. The people who complained against the manna were the wicked (see Rashi 11:1). They were among the 72 people from whom Moshe was to select a Sanhedrin. A difficulty some raise with this opinion is that the Torah was given in the third month after the exodus from Egypt and the episode of Eldad and Meidad took place in the second year after the exodus. and gave birth to Eldad and Meidad. She then married Elitzafan. and Meidad was Kemu'el ben Shiftan. Encouraged by Miriam. There is an opinion that they were paternal brothers of Moshe. They pretended to be dissatisfied with its taste although they were really disgruntled at having their true identity revealed. When Pharaoh decreed that the Jewish children be drowned.to have a tzaddik's portion and thus appear to be tzaddikim while still living frivolous and sinful lives. "Two men remained behind in the camp. Amram divorced Yocheved since she was his father's sister (Shemot 6:20). Amram afterwards remarried Yocheved. When the Torah was given. The 70 members of the Sanhedrin died in the wilderness. it was obvious who was a tzaddik. They thus wanted to "have their cake and eat it" . but Eldad and Meidad merited to enter Eretz Yisrael.Additionally. and the rasha's was raw matter which had to be ground in the mill. and afterwards cooked or baked. the nasi of the tribe of Ephraim (34:21-24). Eldad and Meidad. Amram saw no purpose in remaining married and divorced Yocheved. The beinoni's was prepared dough but not baked. the tzaddik's portion was in the form of a finished loaf of bread. every morning when the people went out for their portions of manna. Eldad was really Avidan ben Gidoni. the name of one was Eldad and the name of the second was Meidad. Thus. and she bore Moshe (see Sotah 12a). beinoni or rasha. the nasi of the tribe of Binyamin. who gave birth to two sons. consequently they were less that one year old?! . According to another opinion. Included in the relationships the Torah forbids is a nephew marrying an aunt (Vayikra 18:12)." (11:26) QUESTION: Who were Eldad and Meidad? ANSWER: According to one opinion they were maternal brothers of Moshe and Aharon. Afterwards he married another woman.
regarding the erasing of the letters 'nun' and 'hay' from Batya's statement . "MemChes" and . since it already says in the beginning of the pasuk. she called him "Moshe" saying. "vayitnabu" . as a little baby."Moshe will die and Yehoshua will bring the Jewish people into the land of Israel. how does Rashi derive it? ANSWER: Moshe."in the camp" .is superfluous. the name of one was "Eldad" and the name of the second was "Meidad.'in the camp. mishtoka betrein" ." and she did not want this to happen.Amram's separation from Yocheved was indeed due to the prohibition against marrying an aunt. However. and they prophesied in the camp.can be divided into two words.' " "Eldad and Meidad are prophesying in the camp."Nun-Heh" The word "Mem-Ches" is an abbreviation for the word "mechikah". however. the final word of the pasuk . "min hamayim" ." (11:26) QUESTION: Rashi writes that their prophesy was that. "Moshe meit veYehoshua machnis" . instead of saying."bamachaneh" . the Torah is saying.' which indicates that 'Moshe meit veYehoshua machnis' . it took place long before the actual giving of Torah. ."For I drew him from the water" (Shemot 2:10)."camp" ."from the water" she could have eliminated two letters ("Nun" and "Heh") by saying "mimayim meshitihu".'Moshe will die and Yehoshua will bring the people into the land of Israel. but they had not come out to the Tent. or when Moshe told him that Torah would forbid such marriages. Not knowing what his name was. "Two men remained behind in the camp. "Ki min hamayim meshitihu" ." In describing the activities of Eldad and Meidad. because the word "mimayim" is an acronym for "Moshe Meis Yehoshua Machnis." and the "Nun" and "Heh" are the two extra letters in Batya's expression "min hamayim" (compared to "mimayim")."they prophesied 'bamachaneh' . she intentionally said "min hamayin" instead of "mimayim. which means "erase. Superficially. was rescued from the waters by Batya the daughter of Pharaoh. they had been among the recorded ones." and the spirit rested upon them. He did it upon learning prophetically that Torah would eventually forbid marriage to an aunt. "Two men remained behind 'bamachaneh' . Thus.leaving just 'mimayim.' " The word "machaneh" ."A word is worth a sela (a Talmudic currency)." (11:27) QUESTION: The Gemara (Megillah 18a) states that in Eretz Yisrael there was a saying "Mila besela."The Torah does not say specifically what their prophecy was.
the two people. however. Hashem instructed Moshe to speak to the rock that it should give its waters. the word "sela" is not just a name of currency. he disobeyed and struck the rock twice.had he only spoken one word to the rock "mishtoka betrein" . Moshe did not merit to enter Eretz Yisrael because when there was need for water and he was commanded by Hashem "Vedibartem el hasela" "Speak to the rock that it shall give its waters" (20:8) .e. There is an opinion (see Yalkut Mei'am Lo'eiz. Some permit it when not in the presence of the Rebbe if it is preceded by a title such as "Rebbe" or "Mori." In his presence. Shach). Hence. However.the double striking would have been silenced. All agree that it was not "Moshe."What is the connection between this saying and the prophesy of Eldad and Meidad? ANSWER: Eldad and Meidad were prophesying that Moshe would die and Yehoshua would bring the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. Yehoshua did not violate halachah for the following reason: . Alternatively. Why did Yehoshua violate this halachah? ANSWER: There are different opinions in the Gemara (Megillah 13a) and Yalkut Shimoni (Shemot 146) as to what name Amram and Yocheved gave to their newborn child. "Mila besela" . i. Yehoshua was permitted to use it to address his Rebbe." The name "Moshe" was given to him by Pharaoh's daughter when she drew him out of the water. imprison them!' " (11:28) QUESTION: It is forbidden for a student to address his Rebbe by name. "mila besela" . thereby preventing a sanctification of Hashem. "And [Yehoshua] said."mishtoka betrein" ." Thus. it is absolutely forbidden (Shulchan Aruch. but also the Hebrew word for "rock. Yorah Dei'ah 242:15.and silence is worth two. Eldad and Meidad. He merely had to approach the rock and pronounce to it the word "mayim" ."water" .if Moshe would have spoken to the rock .he hit it with his staff instead. Now." Nevertheless. 'My lord Moshe. would have been silent. avoided.and there would have been abundant water for the entire community. Since it was not his true name. Shemot 2:10) that it was actually Yocheved who called him "Moshe.
the same as the word "luchot" "Tablets" . Consequently the amount one gathered depended on where one lived. to the Tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moshe would be given on Mt. then. and the following day. The Israelite camp was three parsah square (Berachot 54b). According to Tosafot Yeshanim (Yoma 87a) a student may address his Rebbe by a name which is not his real one but rather a title of distinction. A parsah is equal to 4 mil (a mil is approximately 3160 feet).24 miles)." (11:32) QUESTION: How did "the ones with the least" manage to acquire "ten heaps"? ANSWER: The wind brought the quails from the sea.000 feet . particularly when he prefaced it with the title "Adoni" . the letters of the name Moshe when fully spelled out . . Consequently." The quails were gathered for a day.Grammatically she should have named him "Mashui" .and in a 36-hour period the distance could be covered ten times. were "the ones who gathered the least. since he should have been called "Mashui" and she called him "Moshe" merely as an allusion to the spiritual heights he would achieve.the one with the least gathered in ten heaps.one heap per trip. Those who lived further in could not go back and forth as many times and thus ended up with a lesser portion of quail." She named him "Moshe" because of the special connotations of the name: The numerical value of this name was the same as "Keil Sha-dai" to indicate that A-lmighty G-d would speak to him and Moshe would be His messenger to "draw" the Jews out of Egypt. and according to the Gemara (Pesachim 94a) an average person is able to walk ten parsah .Mem Shin Heh . for the ones who lived in the middle of the camp (1 1/2 parsah away from its boundary) each trip back and forth totaled three parsah ."my lord. Thus. a night. they were among those who gathered the least and succeeded in bringing home only ten heaps .have the numerical value of 450.during a twelvehour day (approximately 126."drawn out" instead of "Moshe. One who lived close to the boundaries of the camp could go back and forth many times and gather a great deal.referring. and gathered up the quail . of course. Sinai to convey to the Jewish people. it was permissible for his student to address him by it. Consequently.40 mil . dropping them around the perimeter of the camp (11:31)." "The people rose up all that day and all the night and all the next day. The ones who lived in the middle of the camp. Also.
his staff.e. Maseihem. from this rock notzi lachem mayim . "Listen now. Since he did not do so." Hashem conducts Himself with man "middah keneged middah" "measure for measure" . instead of saying.i."He [Hashem] will bring forth." (12:3) QUESTION: Why is the world "anav" spelled without a "Yud"? ANSWER: The final words respectively of the five Chumashim are Bemitzrayim." (12:3) QUESTION: The words "mikol ha'adam asher al penei ha'adamah" ."The man Moshe was exceedingly humble. Moshe and Aharon gathered the entire congregation before the rock and said to them. the Torah is alluding to the abovementioned that Moshe instead of saying "notzi" .it should have said "he lifted mateihu . instead of taking the credit for themselves and saying "notzi" . and he remained forever "the humblest of all people. The last letter of each of these words together add up to one hundred and twenty-six. Hashem. "he lifted yado .his hand" .when Hashem described his humility.his "Yud" to be "lifted" . in describing his humility. omitted ." Possibly. when there was no water and the people quarreled with Moshe. When Moshe struck the rock instead of speaking to it. he was not conceited." Alternatively.i."shall we bring forth" . Hashem told him to gather them together and speak to the rock to give its waters. thus. should have said "yotzi" with a "yud" which would mean "He" . which would have alluded to Hashem. more than any person on the face of the earth. Yisroel.e."more than any person on the face of the .i. Hashem also omitted the "Yud". The Torah is telling us that though Moshe knew the entire Torah till the very last letter."Moshe lifted his hand and struck the rock with his staff. Yeraichoi. "vayerem Moshe et yado" . himself and Aharon.Moshe caused "yado" . nevertheless.they should have said "yotzi" .and punishes in a way that resembles the offense." (20:11) Superficially. the Torah says "Vayarem Moshe et yado vayach et hasela benateihu" . you rebels. Since Moshe omitted the "Yud". "The man Moshe was exceedingly humble."we" .shall we bring forth water for you?" (20:10) Water from a rock is an exceptional miracle. which is also the numerical value of the word "anav" without a "Yud". Sinai.e.
the Torah is telling us that Moshe was the humblest of the three. none of them have had my unique advantage of going up to Heaven and speaking to G-d 'face to face. Moshe said to himself. "Although there are many people upon the earth living as righteously as I do." (12:3) QUESTION: The word "ha'adam" . he concluded that he had absolutely no reason to be conceited. the Torah is also explaining how he attained it. King David said: "ve'anochi tola'at velo ish" "I am only a worm and not a man" (Psalms 22:7). more than any person on the face of the earth." Thus. Avraham said: "ve'anochi afar va'eifer" .seems superfluous? ANSWER: In the Torah there were three people who excelled in humility.seem superfluous. He derived it "mikol ha'adam asher al penei ha'adama" ." (12:7) QUESTION: Obviously this does not mean that Moshe was an honest servant who did not steal any valuables from his master's house."person" . "Not so is My servant Moshe."A trustworthy person does not disclose secrets" (Proverbs 11:13)."What are we [we are nothing]" (Shemot 16:7). Moshe said of himself: "venachnu mah" . "David" and "Moshe" spell the word "Adam". comparing himself to all men upon the face of the earth. Moshe had a close relationship to Hashem and through his prophetic ability he . in My entire house he is trusted. However.earth" . in addition to telling us of Moshe's humility. What then was his unique trustworthiness? ANSWER: King Shlomo says: "Vene'eman ruach mechaseh davar" .' Therefore it is likely that among the tzaddikim I am the least intrinsically righteous and that the others are all holier than I am."I am but dust and ashes" (Bereishit 18:27). Thus.by comparing himself to all people on the face of the earth. It would be sufficient to say that he was the most humble of all men? ANSWER: Moshe was the only mortal who went up to heaven and spoke directly to Hashem. "The man Moshe was exceedingly humble. The first letters of the names "Avraham".
Consequently. It was therefore necessary to remove the hovering cloud. "The cloud had departed from atop the Tent. were they able to see that Miriam was stricken with leprosy. as white as snow. in plain daylight. there was a movement of "complainers. as white as snow. there no longer existed any past relationships. Hence." (12:10) QUESTION: What is the connection between the removal of the cloud and Miriam's leprosy? ANSWER: There are certain conditions that must be met before a person can be declared a leper."The decision regarding leprosy cannot be made on a cloudy day" . and the Torah regulation forbidding certain relatives to marry did not affect them. the people were considered new converts to the Jewish religion (see Yevamot 46a). and behold Miriam was leprous.because it is difficult to distinguish between different shades of the color white. and only then. though all the people became converts. not all of which are impure. Miriam was leprous." which Rashi explains to mean that they wept because they were frustrated by the family laws that forbade marriages among relatives (11:10). so why were they upset? The rule that a convert is considered like a newborn child only applies to a voluntary conversion and not when one is converted by force. At the time of the giving of the Torah.had future knowledge about many Jews. forcing them to accept it." (12:10) QUESTION: The Gemara (Zevachim 101b) asks who declared Miriam a leper since Moshe was disqualified as a non-Kohen and Aharon as a relative. He first lifted the mountain over them. and their previous relationships were not canceled. . the Mishnah (Nega'im 2:2) says: "Ein ro'im hanega'im beyom hame'unan" . they were not considered as newly born. and a convert is like a newborn child (ibid. "And behold. 22a). Since it is necessary to ascertain the precise color of the leprosy.Why does the Gemara not disqualify both Moshe and Aharon as relatives? ANSWER: After the Jews received the Torah at Sinai. "Moshe heard the people weeping in their family groups. while it is true that at Sinai Hashem converted the Jews to become His people. However. Moshe was trustworthy and did not disclose anything without Hashem's permission. Thus." The Torah relates.
vayei'acheil chatzi besaro . who is your full sister. Eldad and Meidad prophesied in the camp that." Yehoshua heard it and said "My lord Moshe.and Yehoshua will lead the people into Eretz Yisrael. he was considered a newborn. "Al na tehi .and had they been punished. Moshe. and not because he was related to Miriam. which is exactly the same numerical value as the names "Miriam" and "Yocheved" combined. as is customary when praying for a sick person? ANSWER: The words "refa na" have the numerical value of 332.' " (12:13) QUESTION: Why didn't Moshe mention the name of the stricken person (Miriam) and her mother (Yocheved). he forgave them and expressed the wish that the entire people be prophets. remained calm and did not take any offense. like one who leaves his mother's womb with half his flesh consumed!" (12:12) QUESTION: How was Miriam comparable to a corpse and in what sense was half her flesh consumed? ANSWER: When Pharaoh issued the decree to drown the Jewish children. On the contrary. heal her now. making them maternal brothers of Aharon and Moshe (see Targum Yonathan ben Uziel 11:26). "Let her not be like a corpse. 'Please. the son of Parnach. however. imprison them" (11:28). the Gemara says that Moshe was disqualified because he was not a Kohen.each of them emerged from your mother . G-d. Therefore. Since he was not forced. How much more should you have compassion upon Miriam. Asher betzeito meirechem imo' .since they are only your half-brothers.The only exception was Moshe. . and pray that Hashem heal her.Moshe will die . saying.let our sister Miriam not be worse than Eldad and Meidad who prophesied kameit .and yet merited your forgiveness. Amram divorced his wife Yocheved and she married Elitzafan. "Moshe meit .only half of your flesh would have been consumed . and all previous relationships no longer existed.your death ." "Moshe cried out to G-d. Through this marriage Eldad and Meidad were born. who was on the mountain together with Hashem. Aharon said to Moshe.
The plaintiffs were dumbfounded and ran away leaving their fields and vineyards to the Jewish people. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights. whatever a slave owns or acquires belongs to his master. Thus. the Canaanites had absolutely no claim to the land.Actually the Gemara (Berachot 34a) derives from here that it is not necessary to mention the name of a sick person when praying for his recovery. because the Yalkut Reuveini in the beginning of Parshat Vayeira writes that the reason it says "Vayeira ailav Hashem' "and G-d appeared to him" instead of "and G-d appeared to Abraham" is that when the sick person is in great pain. According to halachah (Pesachim 88b). they can respond. if you please." (13:2) QUESTION: Why is it necessary to mention the name of the land and the fact that Hashem is giving it to the Jewish people? ANSWER: The Gemara (Sanhedrin 91a) relates that the people of Canaan once took the Jewish people to court before Alexander the Great. Rashi explains that Torah starts with the narrative of creation because if the world accuses the Jews of illegally taking away Eretz Yisrael. however the Pri Chadash (Orach Chaim 119:1) writes that this means only that it is not obligatory. In the beginning of Bereishit. and let them spy out the Land of Canaan that I am giving to the Children of Israel.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "Send forth men. Yet. Shem and Yafet. "Hashem created the entire world and it belongs to Him. and through their ancestor Shem." . They demanded that Eretz Yisrael be returned to them because it was originally owned by their ancestor Canaan. the Jews were the rightful owners. Gevihah ben Pesisa argued that Canaan was the son of Cham and was cursed by Noach to be a servant to his brothers. his name should not be mentioned at all. Moshe did not mention her name outright. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Shelach by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. Thus. Moshe wanting to satisfy all opinions alluded to her name in his prayers without mentioning it clearly. Thought-Provoking Ideas. With His will He took it away from them and gave it to us.
These spies were from among the leaders of the groups of 50. the words "kal nasi bahem" do not mean that these people were the nesi'im. which means "raised" or "elevated. The word "nasi" derives from the root word "nasa". it is the land that 'I am giving to the Children of Israel' and as Master of the world I have the right to take it from whomever I want and give it to whomever I wish. in this parshah.. groups of 100. which according to halachah belongs to the Jewish people since its original owner Cham became a slave to your ancestor Shem. were the select of the volunteers. Spying out the land was a difficult and dangerous undertaking requiring tenacity and courage.. and groups of 50.leaders of the tribes. the word "heimah" . The word "heimah" has the numerical value of 50. Moreover."[were] they" . every one a leader among them." Thus. Therefore Hashem instructed Moshe to seek volunteers for the mission and from among these he was to select the ones he deemed most suitable. heads of the Children of Israel were they. Hashem emphasized: "This is the land of Canaan. with the same people mentioned each time." "One man each from his father's tribe shall you send. mentioned? ANSWER: These people were not the actual nesi'im . "They were all distinguished men.is superfluous. Alternatively." (13:2-3) QUESTION: In each of the three preceding parshiot there is a listing of the leaders of tribes. is an entirely new slate of leaders.heads of the Children of Israel were they." (13:3) . it means only that each nasi was to select a representative from his tribe as its emissary to explore the land. the phrase "kal nasi bahem" means that the heart of each one elevated him to volunteer to participate in the expedition. Why. The spies.In preparation for the Jewish people's first encounter with Eretz Yisrael. then. Alternatively. Yitro advised Moshe to divide the Jews into groups and appoint leaders over groups of 1000.
and he leveled the accusation "Meraglim atem" "You are spies" ."they were kesheirim" "honorable" . in 40 years there are 480 months. "We have never been spies" (Bereishit 42:31). he was appointed viceroy and rose to glory.11) QUESTION: Why is Yosef mentioned with Menasheh and not with Ephraim? ANSWER: After Yosef was sold to Egypt." Among the ten brothers who stood before Yosef was Yehudah. Not understanding the profundity of his vision. A day consists of 24 hours. When the ten sons of Yaakov appeared before Yosef. Hence."Why does Rashi say "at that hour" and not just "at that time?" ANSWER: The spies toured Eretz Yisrael for 40 days and brought back a negative report which caused intense hysteria. "ve'otah sha'ah kesheirim hayu" "At that hour they were honorable and righteous. the people were punished to wander in the wilderness for 40 years . but actually referring to the future. for the tribe of Menasheh."for that hour" . and from all surrounding countries people came to purchase food in Egypt. Consequently. the neshamot of the ten sons of Yaakov were impregnated into the ten people chosen by Moshe to tour Eretz Yisrael and remained in them until they decided to slander the land.they responded." (13:8. they thought he was talking about the past or present and therefore responded "We have never been spies. The normal travel time from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael should have taken 11 days (Devarim 1:2). For this sin. A famine broke out. the stay of the Jews in the wilderness was increased by half of a month. when Yosef accused them of being spies he was not talking about the present. The Jews left Egypt on the 15th of Nissan and arrived in Israel 40 years later on the 10th of Nissan (Joshua 4:19). According to the Arizal.one year per day. Gaddi son of Susi. In a year there are 12 months. Since Yosef accused them all as spies although one was actually innocent. the ancestor of Kaleiv. and proposes the answer that "ve'otah sha'ah" . . "For the tribe of Ephraim. Hoshea the son of Nun.and therefore the community at large was spared 15 days of wandering in the wilderness.. he in turn was punished that one of his children would be a collaborator with the spies. who did not participate in the maligning of Eretz Yisrael. Thus.QUESTION: Rashi says.For the tribe of Yosef.. Rashi is puzzled about the missing 15 days. the 40-year punishment was in reality short 15 days. for each hour of the spies' tour. Hence. and thus. and in 40 days there is a total of 960 hours.
and thanks to his exceptional knowledge and understanding of Torah. 'Yehoshua. Alternatively. the "Yud" complained to Hashem: "Why was I removed from the name of a righteous woman?" Hashem comforted the "Yud" by telling her. From where did the vowel come? The word ben ..' " (13:16) QUESTION: The word "ben" . "These are the names of the men.a knowledgeable and understanding person. "Write it as a remembrance and read it to Yehoshua that I will surely erase the memory of Amalek. he became his successor. the word "ben" has been spelled with a chirik." Moshe . usually has the vowel segol. Consequently. Why is "Yehoshua bin Nun" written with a chirik? ANSWER: According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 2:6)." Therefore. the word "bin" is etymologically related to the word "binah" . Menasheh also said to the brothers. "binun": Yehoshua was a "binun" . because both of them unjustly accused Yehudah. The words "Bin-nun" can be combined into one word.Moshe called Hoshea son of Nun 'Yehoshua. "Until now you were at the end of a woman's name. However."son" ." Thus Hashem took the "Yud" and added it to the name of Hoshea. when Hashem took away the "Yud" from "Sarai" and changed her name to Sarah. the Torah emphasized that Gaddi son of Susi represented both Yosef and Menasheh." Now Hashem's holy name consists of four letters: Why did Moshe only mention the first two? ANSWER: Hashem said to Moshe. "Moshe called Hoshea son of Nun.When Yosef held his conversation with his brothers he spoke Egyptian while his son Menasheh interpreted (Bereishit 42:23 Rashi).is always written with a segol. Hashem took away two dots and created a sh'va under the "Yud" in the name "Yehoshua" and since then. in the future I shall place you at the beginning of a man's name. one dot.. Yehoshua was Moshe's outstanding student. making it Yehoshua.knowledge and understanding. "You are spies. in the name "Sarai" there were no vowels under the "Yud" and in the name "Yehoshua" there is a sh'va under the "Yud". in Yehoshua's name.son of.' " (13:16) QUESTION: Rashi says that he prayed "May G-d (YudKeh) save you from the plan of the spies.
he would come to Eretz Yisrael. The use of only two letters of the Divine name instead of all four and the missing "Alef" in the word "keis" (throne) indicate that Hashem's name and throne are incomplete as long as Amalek is not eradicated. Thus. Therefore. Melachim 1:1).16).' " (13:16) QUESTION: The Targum Yonatan ben Uziel writes.' " (13:16) QUESTION: Rashi comments that Moshe prayed that G-d protect Yehoshua from the plan of the spies. "For the hand is on the throne of G-d (Yud-Keh). he changed his name from Hoshea to Yehoshua. Yehoshua was extremely devoted to his beloved Rebbe Moshe and an exceptionally humble person (see Targum Yonatan ben Uziel 13:16). and obliteration of the memory of Amalek would be one of the first mitzvot (See Rambam. [He swore that] G-d maintains a war against Amalek from generation to generation" (Shemot 17:14. "When Moshe saw Yehoshua's humbleness.Why did Moshe single out Yehoshua? ANSWER: Eldad and Meidad prophesied that Moshe would pass away and Yehoshua would bring the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael (see Rashi 11:28). "Moshe called Hoshea son of Nun 'Yehoshua. in order to obey Hashem's instructions . would protect him from the influence of the spies. and return His name and throne to their full glory. The Midrash says that ultimately Amalek's downfall will be through a descendant of Yosef (see Bereishit 37:1 Rashi). destroy Amalek. which He instructed Moshe to write down. the name of Hashem which was waiting to be completed through him. "Moshe called Hoshea son of Nun. Moshe prayed for him that the merit of "Yud-Keh". This commandment was directed to Yehoshua since he would lead the Jews into Eretz Yisrael." Why did Yehoshua's humbleness merit him an additional "Yud"? ANSWER: The entire Torah consists of Hashem's words. Since Yehoshua was of the tribe of Ephraim the son of Yosef.said." (12:3) he was reluctant to write praise about himself. When Hashem told Moshe to write "Now the man Moshe was extremely humble. Moshe feared that Yehoshua would join the spies and thus delay the entry into Eretz Yisrael in order to cause Moshe his Rebbe to live longer and to humbly avoid becoming the leader himself. 'Yehoshua.
leaving the letter "Yud" hovering.. He is not one who goes into seclusion and locks himself up in the synagogue or Beit Hamidrash.. why didn't he instruct the spies to search the synagogues. He is out among the people producing fruit (good deeds). rather than asking them to search the fields? ANSWER: Moshe was incidentally conveying a message to K'lal Yisrael concerning the intrinsic qualities of a truly righteous person.If Moshe was looking for righteous people. he added the "Yud". there was leftover ink in Moshe's quill after he wrote the Torah. Similar to the tree which casts a protective shade on its surroundings. which was originally to be written regarding his own humility. According to the Midrash Rabbah (47:6).are there trees in it or not?" (13:20) QUESTION: Rashi comments that Moshe instructed the spies to see if there were any righteous people there whose merit would protect the dwellers of the land. the Torah says "Ki karan or panav" .and at the same time not to praise himself highly. the righteous person should endeavor that his influence be felt throughout his entire city. When Moshe observed the humility of his disciple Hoshea. A truly righteous person is compared to a tree. the extra ink Moshe rubbed on his head was from the "Yud" which he did not want to write in the word "anav. Did Hashem miscalculate and give Moshe extra ink? According to the opinion (see Sanhedrin 107a) that the source of the "Yud" for Yehoshua was from the "Yud" which was originally in the name of Sarai. to Yehoshua's name."The skin of his face had become radiant" (Shemot 34:29). . and he rubbed it on his head making his face shine. Regarding Moshe. he omitted the "Yud" in the word "anav". The reason Moshe omitted the letter "Yud" particularly is that it is the smallest letter of the alef-beit and thus an allusion to the concept of humility." "And how is the land.
and according to the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 192:11) gathering the fruits of the land is a proper chazakah. they also brought back a sample. It is interesting to note that when Moshe rebuked the people for the incident of the spies he said. "You all approached me and said. hoping to use it to discourage the people from wanting to go to Eretz Yisrael. The Rambam holds that it suffices while the Ra'avad disagrees. exceeded their authority."you shall make a chazakah" .an act of acquiring ownership.and let them spy out the land for us' " (Devarim 1:22). and in addition to taking fruit for themselves. The word "veyachperu" is a new term which is not mentioned in our parshah. According to halachah. a way to legally acquire it is through chazakah. The word . and bore it on a double pole. The spies."you shall strengthen yourselves and take from the fruit of the land" (13:20)? ANSWER: If Moshe's intention was that they bring back a sample of the fruits. and of the pomegranates and of the figs. and another carried a huge pomegranate. eight carried the cluster of grapes on a bed of poles."and you shall take [from the fruit of the land]"? Therefore the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel explains that the word "vehitchazaktem" does not mean "strengthen yourself" but derives from the root word "chazakah" . Yehoshua and Kaleiv did take fruit for themselves as they were instructed. however."And they cut from there a vine with one cluster of grapes. which uses the term "yaturu. It could have just said "ulekachtem" .is superfluous. Thus."you shall strengthen yourselves" . Yehoshua and Kaleiv did not bring any of the fruits because they knew that the spies intended to show that the land was abnormal and dangerous and they did not want to participate in this plan to promote fear and apprehension." (13:23) QUESTION: Rashi explains that of the twelve spies. but refused to participate in the evil plan of the spies. when one buys a field. the word "vehitchazaktem" .Why did Yehoshua and Kaleiv not follow the instructions of Moshe. Moshe's intention was "vehitchazaktem" .acquire the land and become its owner through taking for yourselves from the fruit of the land." What is the significance of this term? In actuality the Rambam and the Ra'avad differ over whether gathering fruit is sufficient to be considered a chazakah (Mechirah 1:16). 'Let us send men ahead of us veyachperu lanu et ha'aretz . "vehitchazaktem u'lekachtem miperi ha'aretz" . one carried a huge fig.
"And they cut from there a vine with one cluster of grapes." a form of chazakah which acquires land according to all opinions. Consequently. The Mishnah (Bikkurim 3:1) says: "How does a person set aside bikkurim? He enters into his field and notices a newly-ripened fig.' " Though the mitzvah of bikkurim applies to all the seven fruits with which Eretz Yisrael is praised (Devarim 26:2. "You have brought bikkurim today."veyachperu" is related to "chafirah" which means "digging. The spies despised Eretz Yisrael and spoke against its fruit while the Jewish people. When one who brought bikkurim concluded his recitation. through their evil tongues shortened the lives of the people in the wilderness (14:29). The Jewish people however declared "veyachperu" . a newly ripened grape cluster." (13:23) QUESTION: The spies used the fruits of Israel to disgrace the land.bringing to the Beit Hamikdash the first fruits of the seven kind. the Mishnah mentions only these three to signify the particular connection between them and the spies: that by bringing them as bikkurim one rectifies the spies' crime against them. . The spies. He ties a blade of grass around each one and declares 'This is for bikkurim.which according to all opinions is a proper form of chazakah.is to rectify the sin of the spies. Rashi). demonstrate their love for the land and its fruit. Thus. a heavenly voice proclaimed. and therefore told the people that in order to perform a chazakah they should gather the fruit..and of the pomegranates and of the figs. it is most fitting that the mitzvah of bikkurim. it can be explained that Moshe affirmed the opinion of the Rambam. may you merit to do so again next year" (Devarim 26:16. which rectifies their iniquity. should earn longevity for those who observe it. In light of the above. Rashi). and a newly ripened pomegranate. for which Eretz Yisrael is praised . by bringing bikkurim. How is this iniquity corrected? ANSWER: According to the Arizal one purpose of the mitzvah of bikkurim . the mitzvah of bikkurim is a means to receive a heavenly blessing for longevity.."and let them dig in the land" .
. Moreover.the person and the cluster of grapes. "The place was now called Eshcol" with a "Vav" because of the two reasons . when they returned and acted on their thoughts.On an earlier pasuk (13:3)." (13:23-24) QUESTION: Why in the first pasuk is "Eshcol" spelled without a "Vav". and in the second pasuk with a "Vav"? ANSWER: An added "Vav" changes from singular to plural. based on the Torah's spelling the word "basukkot" twice without a "Vav" and once with a "Vav". why does it say "lo" .." (13:26) QUESTION: On these words Rashi comments that just as they came back to Moshe with bad advice. Therefore the spies were considered "kesheirim" because they did not actually do evil.. the confidant of Avraham (Yalkut Shimoni 743).That place was called the Valley of Eshcol because of the cluster that the Children of Israel cut from there. which in Hebrew is also called "Eshcol.' " (13:27) QUESTION: Since it says "vayesaperu" ."honorable. the Gemara (Kiddushin 39b) states that man is punished for evil thoughts only when they lead to evil actions."and they reported" . However."They arrived at the Valley of Eshcol." there was now an additional reason to call the valley "Eshcol."to him" ."to them?" ANSWER: Since Moshe was the one who initiated their mission to survey Eretz Yisrael. Rashi comments that they were also evil when they left. When they cut from there a vine with a cluster of grapes.. Originally. "They reported to him and said: 'We arrived at the land. upon returning they reported first to him. This can be seen from the teaching of the sages (Sukkah 6b) that a Sukkah should have four walls.is redundant.the word "vayomru" ." Therefore." Why here does he comment that they left with evil intentions? ANSWER: The spies actually left for Eretz Yisrael with evil thoughts. however. They . Rashi comments that at the time that the spies left for Eretz Yisrael they were all "kesheirim" .and not "lahem" ."and they said" . and his name is spelled in the Torah without a "Vav" (see Bereishit 14:13). the valley was called Eshcol without a "Vav" because it was named after Eshcol. they left originally with bad intentions. "They went and came to Moshe.
the Jebusites. therefore. Thus. "vayesapru lo" . to Moshe . they hid their valuables in the walls of their houses. the cities are very greatly fortified. "But the people that dwells in the land is powerful." which Rashi explains to mean "biraniot agulot" "round castles. were saying. hoping to incite them against Moshe and Eretz Yisrael.and only afterwards "vayomru" . who attempted to discourage the Jewish people from going Eretz Yisrael. they decided to make a declaration to the entire community. and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and on the bank of the Jordan. The Amorites knew that the Jews would ultimately conquer Eretz Yisrael and chase them out of the land. He was actually giving them good tidings. . Consequently. the Hitites. (13:29) QUESTION: Why did the spies tell the people where the different nations were located? ANSWER: Among all the nations living in Eretz Yisrael the Jews only knew Amalek.i."they first reported to him" ."they said" i. "If your reason for going is hope of finding treasures. Upon realizing that they had failed to impress Moshe. throughout the forty years that the Jews sojourned in the wilderness." "Amalek dwells in the area of the South. The pasuk alludes to this by saying." What did the spies mean by emphasizing that the Canaanite homes were round? ANSWER: When Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to convey to the Jewish people the laws of leprosy on houses.e. the spies. and the Amorites dwell in the mountain. He was their arch enemy who ruthlessly attacked them when they left the land of Egypt. you will be disappointed because their houses are round. he would cancel the plans and everyone would remain in the wilderness.e. and they feared his strength. they made a public declaration. the walls would need to be broken down and the hidden treasures would be revealed (see Vayikra 14:34. Rashi). According to halachah (Tumat Tzara'at 14:6) the law of leprosy in a house only applies to a house which has walls that meet at the corners." (13:28) QUESTION: Onkelos translates the word "betzurot" as "krichan.hoped to persuade him that it was not in the best interests of the Jewish people to go to Eretz Yisrael. When leprosy struck a house.
" he would take along all those who were buried at the same time. Thus. the South was the most inferior part (13:17. therefore. thus. they could conclude for themselves how much mightier the others were than Amalek . Therefore.In Eretz Yisrael. he undoubtedly would have conquered them and taken a better part of the land for himself. they would store his body and delay the burial until a prominent person died. were astounded by the large number of funerals they encountered wherever they visited. Had Amalek been the most powerful of the nations. until finally the famous and righteous Iyov passed away (see Rashi 14:9)." (13:32) QUESTION: Rashi writes that the spies reported that wherever they went they saw the Canaanites burying their dead.and since they feared Amalek.Why did so many Canaanites die when the spies toured Eretz Yisrael? ANSWER: The Canaanites of those days had a very strange custom: When an ordinary person died. The day Iyov was buried people were busy throughout the entire land burying all the deceased who had been in storage.' " (13:30) QUESTION: Why didn't Yehoshua join Kaleiv in this proclamation? ANSWER: Parshat Beha'alotecha relates that Yehoshua heard Eldad and Meidad's prophesy that Moshe would die and Yehoshua would bring the people of Israel into the land (11:28 Rashi). he remained silent while Kaleiv rallied the people in support of Moshe. Obviously. he was reluctant to speak in favor of going to Eretz Yisrael. Since so many . In order to instill fear in the hearts and minds of the people. "Kaleiv silenced the people toward Moshe and said. "A land that devours its inhabitants. the spies told them where Amalek and all the nations were located. The spies. for living in the worst part of the country. They believed that since the prominent person was definitely going to "heaven. unaware of this custom. lest he be accused of personal interest. namely. they would fear the others even more. he was the weakest and had to settle. wanting to become the leader as quickly as possible. 'We shall surely ascend and conquer it. Rashi). For a long time they were storing their dead.
the people. Though they heard the giants talking about them and comparing them to ants. they indeed deserved to be punished. They ate manna from heaven. Why didn't they want the Jewish people to enter the land? ANSWER: In the wilderness the Jews had no association with material and earthly matters. . considered it better to remain in the wilderness and be totally immersed in Torah study and spiritual matters than to enter the land of Israel.honorable and righteous (see Rashi 13:3). This is exactly what they did. "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes" (14:1). therefore. In addition to reporting about the land.. water was provided from Miriam's well." (13:32) QUESTION: When Moshe sent spies to Canaan they were all kesheirim .. saying. they did not have to tell the people. etc. and the Clouds of Glory cleaned and ironed their clothing. however. they went a step further. saying. for they are too strong for us. they also drew conclusions and shared them with the people at large. he told them to bring back a report about the land." (13:32) QUESTION: When Moshe sent the spies to Canaan. "They brought forth to the Children of Israel an evil report on the land that they had spied out." No one asked the spies to tell how they felt in relation to the giants. and the fruit. For these conclusions. they concluded that something was wrong with the land. "They brought forth to the Children of Israel an evil report on the land that they had spied out. The Jews would have to be involved in the daily activities of plowing and planting the fields. and its fruit. which had a chilling effect on the entire community and which incited them to rebel and not want to enter Eretz Yisrael. What crime did they commit? ANSWER: The spies were sent only to spy out and report back. The spies. all this would change. its inhabitants... It was not for them to decide that "We cannot go forward against that people. where they would have to pursue mundane affairs. Upon entering the land of Israel.people were being buried.
. he will do everything possible." (14:6) QUESTION: Yehoshua and Kaleiv directly announced their opposition to the spies. They gathered it morning by morning. they had to be ready for anything. With the words. If."our bread"? ANSWER: Throughout the sojourn of the Jewish people in the wilderness.in order to acquire it. However.the profoundest self sacrifice .tore their garments. "You should not fear the people of the land. "You should not fear the people of the land. they were sustained through the manna which Moshe described to the Jews as "the bread which Hashem has given you to eat" (Shemot 16:16). and when the sun grew hot it melted (16:21). to obtain it. The ten spies pretended to be observant and G-d fearing Jews. For instance. clothing can be a cover-up to disguise a bodily deformity. Consequently. G-d forbid. even mesirat nefesh . a person lacks bread.. Unfortunately. Why did they also tear their garments? ANSWER: The outer appearance of a person is the first thing the eye perceives." (14:9) QUESTION: If Yehoshua and Kaleiv wanted to compare the Canaanites to bread why the emphasis on "lachmeinu" ." (14:9) QUESTION: What is the significance of the comparison to bread? ANSWER: Bread is a staple which sustains life. including even the seemingly impossible. . sometimes it is only a facade and the person is not really what he appears to be. their protection has departed from them. inwardly they were debased and corrupt. Likewise. their protection has departed from them. Yehoshua and Kaleiv tore off "their (the spies') clothing (facade)" and exposed their true identity to the entire community. for they are our bread."Yehoshua son of Nun and Kaleiv son of Yefuneh. "they are our bread" Yehoshua and Kaleiv were declaring to the people that Eretz Yisrael was as important to the Jewish people as bread to a living man. a beard and peiyot are the outer signs of a devout person. for they are our bread.
" Hashem's ways of retribution are middah keneged middah . "Recalling the iniquity of parents upon children.measure for measure. so now it is fitting that you should suffer for your father's sins. and on the way he fell into a trap. When the fox came to the "rescue." (14:18) QUESTION: Even if the pasuk is referring to those children who continue in the bad ways of their parents (see Berachot 7a). "Let your ears listen to what your mouth is saying." When the wolf replied that it is forbidden for animals to attack human beings (Bereishit 9:2). Yehoshua and Kaleiv dispelled this by telling them they are like "our bread" . didn't you tell me that I wouldn't be punished for my sins?!" The fox replied. the fox told him that he had no cause to worry: since children pay for the crimes of their parents.e.the manna. but once exposed to the heat. content that your children would suffer for it. You yourself were willing to commit a crime. When children continue in the bad footsteps of their parents.The spies instilled a fear in the Jewish people about the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael.had departed from them and it would be extremely easy to conquer the Canaanites. because. there is a healthy man nearby of whom you can make a good meal. obviously they don't care if their own children suffer for their wrongdoings. "Why should I suffer for the crimes of my father?" The fox said. protection . his children would be punished. "I am just skin and bones. you are being punished for the sins of your father who attacked people. Similarly. . The wolf then took off to attack the man. like "our bread. "You liar. Therefore it is appropriate that they suffer for iniquities committed by their fathers. who also did not care that ultimately their children would pay for it. their shade . it melts." The wolf bellowed." they would melt in the Jews' presence. and his cries echoed throughout the forest. "Fool that you are! You are not being punished for your own sins. whereupon the sly fox said to him. why should children be punished for their parents' sins? ANSWER: This can be explained with the following parable: A ravenous wolf wanted to devour a fox.i." the wolf cried out to him. It is only solid as long as it is in the shade. and not he.
Since the Torah says." (14:35) QUESTION: In the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:3) Rabbi Akiva derives from this pasuk that the Generation of the Wilderness have no share in Olam Haba . However. In the same mishnah. since Korach was a Levite. there is a question whether the affair of the spies preceded or followed the Korach rebellion. "The people journeyed from Chatzeirot and encamped in the Wilderness of Paran. they now also lost their share in the World to Come. the tribe of Levi did not send a representative." (12:16) it appears that Rashi now follows the opinion that Korach's rebellion (Chatzeirot) preceded the spies (Paran). as is stated "The earth covered over them" . they were not involved in the dispute.in the world to come (16:33). The first was the incident of the golden Calf. Since the tribe of Levi had no representative. then that of the "mit'onenim" "those who complained" (11:1) . In Bamidbar (16:4). Moshe felt powerless to appeal to Hashem to forgive the people because it was already the fourth time they had defied Him. Upon their return.afterwards the incident of the spies. in Devarim (1:1) when Moshe rebuked the Jews. and now the Korach rebellion. and all the people were thus punished to perish in the wilderness. "In this wilderness they shall be consumed. Consequently.When one refrains from sinning because he does not want his children to be punished for his crimes. Alternatively. "and they were lost from among the Congregation" . the spies incited their respective tribes against going to Eretz Yisrael.in this world. Thus. he too will not be punished for the iniquities perpetrated by his father. Rashi explains "Paran" to refer to the spies who were sent from the Wilderness of Paran (12:16). and there they shall die.the World to Come. due to their link with Korach's rebellion. and were among those entitled to enter Eretz Yisrael (see Midrash Rabbah 1:11). . and "Chatzeirot" to refer to the Korach rebellion. Rashi writes that when Korach's rebellion took place. he and all his Levite colleagues who joined him would have survived the Generation of the Wilderness and received Olam Haba.The two teachings seem redundant since the Congregation of Korach were also among the Generation of the Wilderness? ANSWER: The emissaries Moshe sent to tour and spy out the land of Canaan were representatives from all the tribes who were destined to receive a share of the land. However. Rabbi Akiva also says the Congregation of Korach is not destined to arise.
.. it should have said "lishatechem" (see Bereishit 18:6)? ANSWER: In Hebrew a bed (cradle) is called an "arisah. for your generations. and eight others carried the grapes. Rabbi Akiva in the Mishnah speaks first of the Generation of the Wilderness and then of the Korach group." (in which we thank Him for restoring to us our soul. and they thereby discouraged the Jews from wanting to go to Eretz Yisrael." Thus the word "arisoteichem" can also mean "your beds. a pomegranate.and a quarter-hin of wine for a libation." The Torah is teaching that "meireishit arisoteichem" . though the chronology is the reverse. because in the Torah. They told the Jews that just as the fruit of the land was unusual." (15:20-21) QUESTION: If "arisoteichem" means "your dough. is before Parshat Korach. it is understood why Rabbi Akiva says that both groups lost their share in the world to come. and a cluster of grapes from Eretz Yisrael. so were the inhabitants. "The first of your dough you shall set aside challah .5) QUESTION: Why does the section which discusses wine libations follow the one containing the episode of the spies? ANSWER: The spies brought back a fig. another the pomegranate. the essence of our life source) and making davening and Torah study the first activity of our day.." it should have said "batzeikechem" (see Shemot 12:34).According to the latter view.he should give an offering to Hashem. Parshat Shelach. Since the majority of the spies used grapes to malign Eretz Yisrael. Hashem commanded the Jewish people that when they would enter Eretz Yisrael and offer sacrifices. and if it means your kneading.a loaf as a portion . from the first of your kneading shall you give a portion to G-d. which is about the spies. because the Korach group lost theirs prior to the spy incident. .as soon as a person rises from his bed . The offering we give Hashem is our reciting of "Modeh ani. These fruits were so unusually large that one man had to carry the fig. "When you will come to the land of your dwelling places that I give you." (15:2. they were to include a wine libation in order to atone for the sin which was committed by their ancestors through the grapes of Eretz Yisrael..
because they are all estranged from Me through their idols (Ezekiel 14:5) (see Kiddushin 40a).."cradle" . but if a person plans to sin. Since a person usually considers an action in his mind before performing it.after he is thirty days old.. The "Lamed". his major need for forgiveness is for the premeditation.the redemption of a firstborn son . is for the ruling of the mishnah in Pirkei Avot (5:22).which takes place when the child is eight days old. and when one transgresses and worships." (15:24) QUESTION: Rashi explains that the word "lechatat" . shouldn't the burnt-offering precede the sin offering? Hashem punishes one for evil thoughts only when they are acted upon."for a sin-offering" .Why is this case an exception to the rule? ANSWER: A burnt-offering gains forgiveness for evil thoughts and a sinoffering is for an actual deed (Midrash Rabbah Vayikra 7:3). the entire assembly shall prepare one young bull as an elevation-offering. the major part of the . The "Ches". An exception to this is idolatry: then the thought itself is the main sin. here it follows after the sinoffering. and due to unforeseen circumstances does not have the opportunity. which adds up to five.his parents should endeavor to inculcate him with a love for Torah and G-dliness by exposing the child to Torah-oriented songs. is the brit milah circumcision . The word "challah" is an acronym for the early connections that parents make between a child and Hashem." "If because of the eyes [leadership] of the assembly it was done unintentionally. while a child is very young and still in the "arisah" . Consequently.Additionally. which has the numerical value of thirty. The "Heh". he is not punished. games and room decorations. as Hashem stated "In order to seize the House of Israel for what is in their heart. toys. which has the numerical value of eight. is for the pidyan haben . for all transgressions the sin-offering precedes the burntoffering because it atones for the action.is spelled without an "Alef" to teach that while an individual sin-offering is always brought on the altar before his burnt-offering. "At five years of age the study of Scriptures should be commenced.and one he-goat as a sin-offering.
prison is never described as a means of punishment." (15:34) QUESTION: In the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 339:4) the Ramah writes that it is forbidden to put someone in prison on Shabbat. The Shabbat violator outraged the people. The "custody" mentioned in our pasuk does not mean jail. but protective custody. It was only the second Shabbat since their leaving Egypt and already someone had violated it. and therefore the sin-offering is offered first.transgression. Alternatively. the thought is the primary iniquity. even if it is feared that he will flee. perhaps subjecting him to a fate harsher than the one imposed by his still unspecified punishment. and considering detaching oneself from Him. . Consequently. placement in protective custody. the altar's consumption is the source of forgiveness. which actually benefits the violator. However. unlike the burnt-offering which is consumed entirely on the altar. only parts of a sin-offering are burnt on the altar while the rest is eaten by the Kohanim. Thus. the Gemara (Pesachim 59b) says that in the case of a sin-offering. in the case of idolatry. When one commits idolatry. the people might have literally ripped him apart. the violator receives atonement also through the Kohen's eating. which is forbidden on Shabbat. who allegedly committed a sin in Egypt and who was judged by its system. Ma'aseh Hakarbanot 1:16). since the sin-offering provides two forms of forgiveness (the altar's consumption and the Kohen's eating). The Shabbat violator was immediately apprehended and brought to Moshe. If he had not been placed in protective custody. is not offered before the burnt-offering. In a burnt-offering. which does not provide the usual two forms of forgiveness. why were they permitted to place him under arrest? ANSWER: Throughout the entire Torah. although punitive incarceration on Shabbat is indeed related to judgment and forbidden. which only provides one. is permitted. because it resembles judgment. this sin-offering. "And they placed him in custody because it had not been declared what to do to him. the sin-offering is entirely burnt on the altar with nothing eaten by Kohanim (Rambam. The only reference to punitive imprisonment is in regard to Yosef. However. it has priority over the burnt-offering. thinking that Hashem is not Omnipotent. Thus.
took] himself."and you shall see on the birthstool" (Shemot 1:16). 3. What is the connection between these three pesukim? ANSWER: In Pirkei Avot (3:1) Akavia ben Mehallalleil says. therefore. does a garment made entirely of blue wool require a blue string or is it exempt?" (See .garments made entirely of blue wool.and one string must be of techeilet . "Ure'iten al ha'avnayim" .blue wool."and you shall see on the birthstool" teaches us to "see. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights. "Ure'item et ha'aretz" ." i. "Ure'item oto" ." One is Moshe's statement to the spies "ure'item et ha'aretz" . "Reflect upon three things and you will not come to sin. and before Whom you are destined to give an accounting.and the other is Pharaoh's statement to the Jewish midwives "ure'item al ha'avnayim" . Know from where you come.is a message that ultimately we are destined to see Him on the day of judgment and. we should strenuously avoid sinning." These three pesukim are an allusion to the three things we are to reflect upon. 2. and to where you are going.. bear in mind." (15:39) QUESTION: The Ba'alei Mesorah indicate another two pesukim with the word "ure'item. They stood before Moshe saying."and you shall see Him" . "a four cornered garment requires tzitzit . 1.fringes . and clad them with tallitot . "earth") .cautions us to remember to where we will return.e. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Korach by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. Thought-Provoking Ideas."and you shall see the land" (lit.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "Korach separated [lit. from where we came and how we were born."And you shall see him." (16:1) QUESTION: Korach assembled 250 prestigious men."and you shall see the land" (13:18) .
He argued that leadership is needed only when there are different levels of people in the community. Korach said of the Jewish people "Kal ha'eida kulam kedoshim" . A four-cornered garment requires fringes (tzitzit) and among them is a blue string. but on the outside be a person like everyone else. He meant that the Jews were all holy since they all had G-d "betocham" .Rashi)Korach's dispute with Moshe was over leadership. . Likewise. and Korach argued. it is imperative to also manifest one's Torah convictions in public. He asserted. Moshe vehemently disagreed and insisted that even if a home or individual is saturated with Torah. However."The entire community is holy" . took] himself. that it is sufficient to be a good Jew on the "inside" without openly showing it on the outside. He substantiated his argument with an example from the mitzvah of tzitzit. From the turn of events. "the whole Torah which contains 275 parshiot cannot exempt the house. logically a string of blue wool is unnecessary. thus."and G-d is among them" (16:3). there is no need for anyone to have special status."Be a true Jew at home.. "Korach separated [lit. to let the world know that the home is a Jewish one with a mezuzah."uvetocham Hashem" . when the entire tallit is made of blue wool. yet a mezuzah which contains only two parshiot exempts it?!"Logically. How is his question relevant? ANSWER: Korach was upset that Moshe and Aharon held leadership positions and that his cousin Elitzafan was appointed as leader of the Kohathite family." Similarly. Moshe responded that according to halachah even a tallit entirely of blue wool requires a string of techeilet in the tzitzit. it was unjustified that one should become holier than the holy. and regardless of the caliber of the community.in their hearts. Since the entire community was holy." (16:1) QUESTION: According to Midrash Rabbah (18:3) Korach confronted Moshe with the following question: "Is it necessary to place a mezuzah on the doorpost of a room filled with Sifrei Torah?" Moshe replied affirmatively. Korach's reasoning made sense: Why should a room filled with Sifrei Torah require a mezuzah on the outside? ANSWER: The slogan of the early Reform movement in Germany was "Yehudi beveitecha ve'adam betzeitecha" . it was apparent that Hashem agreed with Moshe. leadership is always necessary. when the entire community is holy.
"ice. "What lesson is being conveyed to us through this mysterious scene?" The Ba'al Shem Tov replied. "Water has very unusual qualities. He also asked if a tallit made entirely of techeilet required a string of techeilet in the tzitzit."kerach" ."Korach separated [lit. the name "Korach" . Logically. However. It was a holiday celebrated by chiseling out a cross from the frozen water of the river and dancing with it through the streets. this can be accomplished only when the water is in the flowing state." For an advocate of using a cold and frigid approach to spiritual matters and serving Hashem only with logic and understanding." Korach's "chilly" approach deprived him of the warmth of Torah and ultimately led to his downfall. It has the same letters as the Hebrew word "kerach" . Korach appeared correct. "Torah and mitzvot cannot be approached with our cold logic.Divine Providence .and intended as a message for the individual. took] himself. He once told his students that anything a Jew sees or hears is not a function of mere chance. the disciples hastened back to the Ba'al Shem Tov and asked.complete submission to the will of Hashem . then G-d forbid. Moshe responded to both questions affirmatively. Korach challenged Moshe about the requirement for a mezuzah on a house filled with Sifrei Torah. Likewise. The two radically different approaches to Torah are illustrated by a story of the Ba'al Shem Tov. it can become an object of avodah zarah idolatry. A Jew must have kabbalat ol .doing whatever He commands even when human logic may dictate otherwise. Moshe. Torah is compared to flowing water (see Ta'anit 7a). however. but approaching it with coldness can make it 'freeze' and produce a radical spiritual decline in a person." The name "Korach" conveys to us the nature of his personality. told him. but caused by hashgachah peratit .." (16:1) QUESTION: What was the nature of the ideological dispute between Korach and Moshe. When it freezes. . Afterwards the disciples went out into the street and noticed a group of villagers singing and dancing. Deeply disturbed.is appropriate. and what implication does it have for our times? ANSWER: During their confrontation. It enables a person who immerses in it to regain his purity. Through it one can reach the highest levels.
had a dispute over a halachic issue. They were derisive questions through which he intended to ridicule and embarrass Moshe in the eyes of the community. with two hundred and fifty men from the Children of Israel."a controversy not for the sake of Heaven" .. When two parties enter into a debate and adhere to the issues.."and Korach took" .but "machloket Korach vechal adato" . However. When this occurs it becomes apparent that the dispute is shelo lesheim shamayim . When Shammai and Hillel.."the controversy of Korach and all his followers" (with no mention of Moshe).How is it evident that Korach's controversy was not for the sake of heaven? ANSWER: The Mishnah. Alternatively. Korach was upset that his cousin Elitzafan was appointed in charge of the Kohathite family (3:30). our Sages in their wisdom teach us that such a controversy is not for the sake of Heaven.. for instance.because each of Korach's allies had his own ambitions and desire for personal gain and they did not see 'eye to eye' among themselves. The phrase "Vayikach Korach" .not for the sake of Heaven. when one digresses and introduces unrelated matters it is a sign of weakness and a smoke-screen meant to distract attention in lieu of admitting default. When unity is lacking among the people on one side of a dispute."Korach separated himself..does not say "machloket Korach ve'adato im Moshe" . He challenged Moshe about this and also questioned if a house filled with Sifrei Torah requires a mezuzah and whether a garment entirely of techeilet wool requires a single string of techeilet in its tzitzit." (16:1-3) QUESTION: Pirkei Avot (5:17) states that a controversy which is not for the sake of heaven will not have an everlasting result and cites the controversy of Korach and his followers. as opposed to "Vayikechu" . in addition to the rebellion against Moshe. they would only argue the issue at hand and not bring in irrelevant matters in the course of their debate. there was also quarreling and disagreement among Korach and his seeming allies."the controversy of Korach and his followers with Moshe" . According to his calculations. This indicates that. since his father was older than Elitzafan's. with Datan and Aviram.. These questions were totally irrelevant to the issue at hand."and they took" . the post belonged to him. in describing a "machloket shelo lesheim shamayim" . .is singular. they gathered together against Moshe and Aharon. it is a dispute for the sake of Heaven.
"Korach separated [lit. and according to all calculations he felt that he was right. Regardless of all my calculations. Korach was joined by Datan. when I came home from cheider to eat lunch. and On son of Pelet. 'What have I done wrong? You were not home and I took less than what you would normally have given me. Knowing the size of the portion my step-mother would usually give me. and On son of Pelet. On son of Pelet is no longer mentioned (see 16:24). he unwisely wanted to take something on his own. What happened to him? ANSWER: On son of Pelet was among the people Korach managed to persuade to join him in his rebellion against Moshe. On the stove were fried eggs. tell me.. Though he was a wise person.. His father remarried and his step-mother treated him very harshly. Aviram. where did you get the intuition to turn down such a seemingly valuable offer?" Rabbi Nachum told him that when he was a very young boy..' "Her reply was 'Alein nemt men nit' .the Torah is emphasizing Korach's fatal error. I must consult with my Rebbe. the offspring of Reuven. because the person who approached you was from the realm of evil. sons of Eliav. 'Alein nemt men nit. his mother passed away.with Datan and Aviram. the Maggid of Mezritz.' " With the word "vayikach" ."and he took"? ANSWER: There once appeared to Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl an impressive looking person who offered to teach him esoteric Torah knowledge." (16:1) QUESTION: Why does the Korach episode in the Torah start with the word "vayikach" . "It was very wise of you not to immediately agree. I took a somewhat smaller portion for myself. and it is foolish of you to join an attempt to overthrow him." The Maggid listened attentively and then said. When his wife heard of his intentions. She came home while I was eating and slapped me.' This episode taught me a lesson which remained with me throughout my entire life." ." "Korach separated himself."and he took" . He replied "Before I can agree to accept your offer.'You do not take by yourself. however. she said to him. "Once. took] himself. however. and "alein nemt men nit. my stepmother was not home. Incidentally. When the Torah describes their punishment. I asked her." (16:1) QUESTION: In his quarrel with Moshe. "Why are you getting involved in this quarrel? Don't you realize that regardless of who the leader is you remain the same ordinary person? Moshe is a holy man.
each builds her house" (Proverbs 14:1). Thanks to his wife's intervention his life was saved. "You are right. When Korach and his followers came to the tent to summon him and noticed an immodest lady at the entrance. and Hashem was ready to elevate them to a spiritual height where each would be a Kohen Gadol. to act immodestly." (16:1) QUESTION: According to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 110a) he was saved by his wife's sitting at the entrance to their tent with her hair uncovered. Why. King Shlomo says: "Chachmot nashim banta beita" . but I have already promised Korach that I will join the rebellion. The Gemara (Eiruvin 100b) says. Maharsha. he demanded that they all be considered Kohanim and not just Aharon. How can I let him down now?" His wife replied.On son of Pelet listened attentively to his wife and responded. Hashem said to them. "I understand your dilemma: leave it up to me and I will get you out of it. he maintained that the sin of Adam was forgiven or at least that the red heifer would rectify that sin. behavior considered immodest for a Jewish married woman. "And On son of Pelet. the offspring of Reuven." She then served him a hearty meal with good wine. there was no longer any reason for women to be in mourning and cover their hair. they decided to leave without him. Had they not sinned afterwards with the golden calf. and a holy nation" (Shemot 19:6). "You shall be to Me a kingdom of Kohanim. they reached a level where all the effects of Adam's transgression on the world were nullified. Regarding wise women. . thus bringing death upon humanity. "Let the mother come and clean up the dirt of her child. At that interval.Rashi). Obviously."the wise among women. "Since a woman (Chava) caused Adam to sin. did she specifically uncover her hair and not another part of her body? ANSWER: When the Jewish people arrived at Sinai to receive the Torah." Hence. [married] women cover themselves like mourners" ("and are ashamed to go out with their hair uncovered" . Afterwards she sat at the entrance to their tent with her hair uncovered. as Rashi (19:22) explains. Shemot 19:6. Korach argued that the entire people were holy: "We all heard Hashem's message at Sinai. which put him to sleep." Consequently. this would have remained in effect forever (see Yavamot 103a. Ba'al Haturim).
"miracles (related to the word "pela'ot" "miracles") . Rashi). What about the red heifer encouraged him? ANSWER: When the Jews sinned with the golden calf. he actually did nothing wrong. This does not apply however.' You said this in singular because it only applied to me and not to the Jewish community at large" (Shemot 20:2.Thanks to his wife's intervention.to be saved from Korach's fate. the wife of On son of Pelet specifically uncovered her hair. Korach decided to declare a rebellion against Moshe after learning of the parah adumah . repented. 'It is too much for you! For the entire assembly ." (16:3) QUESTION: According to the Midrash.are holy. "They gathered together against Moshe and against Aharon and said to them. i. Thus." Rashi explains that he meant." (16:1) QUESTION: The Gemara (Sanhedrin 109b) explains that the name On ben Pelet implies: "On" . and mourned. Though You declared. to intending idolatry (see Kiddushin 40a). his participation in the planning stage of Korach's insurrection. quarrels with."ben Pelet" ("son of Pelet") . "All the Jews heard at Sinai the Divine message. he did not join Korach's contingent. it would prove that he considered it immodest since after worshipping the golden calf. Therefore." . 'I am G-d your G-d' and 'You shall not have any other gods. "The entire assembly is holy.Therefore. or thinks ill about his Torah teacher to one who challenges the Divine Presence. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 110a) equates one who challenges. Thus. When Korach said to Moshe.were performed for him" ."sat in mourning" (related to the word "aninut" . Moshe was right. so why did he sit in mourning? ANSWER: When one plans a transgression. On deeply regretted his thought of opposing his teacher Moshe.all of them . In other words. the Jewish people reverted to their old status and were not in fact all a kingdom of Kohanim."mourning") . "And On son of Pelet. to prove the hypocrisy of Korach. Moshe argued to Hashem "In reality they did not violate the Torah. he is not held liable unless he actually performs it. the offspring of Reuven.red heifer.e. such acts are tantamount to idolatry and are punishable even if not expressed in action. 'I am G-d your G-d' and not just you alone. If Korach would avoid approaching her.
the reason why Korach thought that he should be the Kohen Gadol instead of Aharon was that Hashem selected Elazar to prepare the red heifer." Till then Korach believed that Aharon was not guilty in any way for the making of the golden calf. but now "nitrashelu yadav" ."the preparation of the red heifer had to be done by the deputy Kohen Gadol. Now that he heard that in lieu of Aharon. he concluded that Hashem was not satisfied with Aharon's involvement in the calf. Hashem told Moshe and Aharon that." Consequently. This led him to think that for the same reason Aharon should not be the Kohen Gadol either and that his appointment had been Moshe's decision and not Hashem's. "All the Jews are holy. he declared a rebellion against Moshe. they heard Hashem's message at Sinai. the deputy Kohen Gadol was assigned to prepare it. Korach should have been silent so as not to arouse Hashem's wrath.Why was Moshe unable to defend them at this time? ANSWER: When the Jews sinned with the golden calf. Alternatively. who explains that symbolically the cow was to atone for the sin of the golden calf. "Moshe heard and fell on his face. Moshe was able to defend them.since he feared that Hashem would no longer accept his advocacy. the Jewish people did not commit . regarding the preparation of the red heifer. and had replaced him with Elazar. as if to say "Let the mother clean up her child's mess.Superficially. it is puzzling that Korach should raise such an argument when it nullifies the defense that Moshe used for the Jewish people when they worshipped the golden calf. he assumed that Moshe's defense was no longer needed and felt free to tell Moshe. "Mitzvatah besegan" ." (16:4) QUESTION: Rashi comments that this was the fourth offense committed by the Jewish people. on which Rashi writes. "You shall give it to Elazar the Kohen" (19:3). and the name Elazar and Korach both have the same numerical value of 308. Moshe came to their defense and argued: "In reality. On the previous three occasions. when Korach learned of the red heifer and that it rectified the sin of the golden calf. Therefore. and there is no justification for you to rise above them. About the statute of the red heifer Rashi (19:22) cites Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan."his hands sank down" ." Alternatively.
Hence. On the basis of this argument. in essence." Alternatively. Upon hearing these words. great men.. "He spoke to Korach. Moshe became very frightened. the Gemara (Berachot 19a) says that if one sees a Torah scholar commit a transgression during the evening. Therefore. because this undermined the defense he presented in the case of the golden calf on behalf of the Jewish people. their rebellion against him. "Since Korach was a wise man: how could he have acted so foolishly?" "His eye caused him to err because he saw that the prophet Shmuel would be among his descendants. and in his merit he would be saved. O offspring of Levi. Moshe told Korach and his followers that "In the morning G-d will make known . Moshe was confident that during the night they would realize their mistake and do teshuvah.. "It is too much for you." (16:7) QUESTION: Rashi asks.according to where you find your manna it will be obvious if Aharon is the tzaddik or you and your followers." What foolishness did Korach commit? . only I am obligated and not them" (Rashi.any sin. and a wicked person (rasha) had to go some distance and expend considerable effort to gather his portion. According to the Gemara (Yoma 75a) the righteous (tzaddikim) would find their manna on the doorsteps of their tents. Korach argued that "Everyone is holy" and all had heard the commandments at Sinai (Rashi 16:3). Shemot 20:2). Hashem forgave the Jewish people. would cease. which in reality was a rebellion against Hashem. An intermediate person (beinoni) had to leave the camp to gather it. 'In the morning G-d will make known the one who is His own and the holy one. Consequently. Korach and his people were Torah scholars and. The commandment.' " (16:5) QUESTION: Why did Moshe push them off until the following morning? ANSWER: When the Jewish people were in the wilderness their source of food was manna from Heaven. one should not have suspicion about him during the day because it is definite that by morning he will have done teshuvah. 'You shall not have any other gods' was said in singular and thus referred only to me. and each morning they would go out and find their daily allotment.
when Korach envisioned that the prophet Shmuel would be one of his descendants." (16:7) QUESTION: The Midrash Rabbah (18:2) asks. Rashi).ANSWER: In describing Korach's confrontation with Moshe." The Gemara (Eiruvin 63b) states that for rendering halachic decisions in the presence of one's Rabbi. How ." (16:7) QUESTION: The Midrash Rabbah (18:2) asks. convinced that he would not receive the prescribed punishment. one of the punishments is dying without survivors. Seeing prophetically that his descendant Shmuel would be a leader of the community though he was under fifty. sons of Levi. Thus. How could he have acted so foolishly? He erred because he saw that among his offspring would be the prophet Shmuel. O offspring of Levi. since he was among those who bore the Ark. Korach concluded that even one quality is sufficient and despite his own relative youth. because a Levite may only bear the Ark until that age (see 8:25. he fearlessly and foolishly expressed an halachic opinion in Moshe's presence. he was sure that he would triumph over Moshe and Aharon. but to decide halachic matters in his presence was foolish since he risked dying without any survivors. "They stood audaciously. and in the presence of Moshe. his Torah scholarship qualified him to be a leader. rendered a halachic decision regarding the laws of a techeilet (blue) string in a four-cornered garment. "Korach was a wise man and among those who carried the Ark. Though Korach was learned and thus met one of the prerequisites needed to be a leader. "It is too much for you. therefore. Korach thought that he was allowed to question and dispute Moshe's various appointments. he must have been under the age of fifty. However. "It is too much for you. He argued that the position should have been given to him since his father was older than Elitzafan's. the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel (16:2) writes. The prophet Shmuel led the Jewish community for eleven years and passed away at the age of fifty-two. "Korach was a wise man and among those who carried the Ark. The Gemara (Chagigah 14a) says that a leader of the community must be 1) learned in Torah and 2) at least fifty years old."What encouragement did Korach derive from seeing that the prophet Shmuel would be among his descendants? ANSWER: Korach objected to Elitzafan's appointment as leader of his family.
could he have acted so foolishly?" Why does his being among those who carried the Ark make it difficult to comprehend why he engaged in the dispute? ANSWER: The Ark that housed the Torah was two and one half cubits long, one and one half cubits wide, and one and one half cubits tall (Shemot 25:10). The dimensions all being in fractions conveys a lesson in humility that one who acquires Torah knowledge should learn from the Ark to be humble. Declaring war against Moshe and Aharon was an act of brazen arrogance. The Midrash therefore wonders, since Korach was a wise person, why did he act so foolishly? Moreover, being among those who carried the Ark, he should have known the Ark's message and not acted so arrogantly against Moshe and Aharon.
"Is it not enough for you...And He has drawn you near, and all your brethren, the offspring of Levi, with you - yet you seek priesthood as well!" (16:9-10) QUESTION: Grammatically it should have said "lachem" "for you" - instead of "mikem" - "of you"? ANSWER: When the census of the Jewish people was taken, the tribe of Levi contained the smallest number of people (see 3:39). One reason for this was that they carried the Ark, and any disrespect to the Ark was punished with death. Moshe told Korach and his people, "hame'at - The reason that there are so few - mikem - of you - is because of your exalted and holy position." "Uvikashtem gam kehunah" - "Why are you seeking priesthood!? This will increase the possibility of even greater peril. If while performing the daily service in the Beit Hamikdash you act improperly, Hashem may, Gd forbid, reduce your numbers further. Therefore, for your own welfare, you should desist in your demands."
"Is it not enough that you have brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness, yet you seek to dominate us, even to dominate further." (16:13) QUESTION: It would be sufficient to say, "lehistareir aleinu" - "you seek to dominate us." The words "gam histareir" - "even to dominate further" - seem superfluous? ANSWER: The Torah relates that as the brothers noticed Yosef approaching them in the field, they said one to another, "Let us kill him
and throw him into one of the pits, and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him,' and we shall see what will become of his dreams. Reuven heard and he rescued him from their hand" (Bereishit 37:20-21). According to the Midrash (see Rashi), the words "We shall see what will become of his dreams" were said by Hashem in response to their plan. "You say let us kill him, but I say let us see whose plan will prevail yours or Mine." Reuven heard this Divine statement, and thus, decided that it was his obligation to save Yosef. Datan and Aviram brazenly castigated Moshe as a failed leader and audaciously said, "Yet you seek to dominate us." Suddenly a voice emanated from heaven and said, "Gam histareir" - "He will indeed also dominate further - regardless of your plans."
"Even if you would blind the eyes of those men we shall not go up. This distressed Moshe greatly and he said... 'I have not taken even a single donkey of theirs.' " (16:14-15) QUESTION: 1. What were they alluding to when they spoke of blindness? 2. How does Moshe's mention of not taking even one donkey answer their complaint against him? ANSWER: When the Torah forbids taking bribes it says, "For a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise" (Devarim 16:19). The infamous troublemakers Datan and Aviram, who joined with Korach in his rebellion against Moshe, thus saw an opportunity for personal gain. When Moshe summoned Datan and Aviram, they told the emissaries that even if Moshe would attempt to blind them - i.e. bribe them - they would not come to see him. In reality however, they were merely assuming a demeanor of mock indignation, and actually hoping Moshe would get the hint and give them a handsome bribe. Moshe was offended by their insinuation that if he wanted their cooperation he should bribe them. Greatly outraged, he said, "I have been the judge of the entire people and had many opportunities to succumb to greed, yet it never dawned upon me to violate the Torah and I have not taken even a single donkey of theirs. How do they have the audacity to think that I would consider such a thing?! I have never taken a bribe and will never give one!"
"This distressed Moshe greatly, and he said... 'I have not taken even a single donkey of theirs.' " (16:15)
QUESTION: What justification did he have for taking donkeys, that he prided himself that he did not take one nevertheless? ANSWER: Employees of charitable organizations usually have travel expense accounts, and some spend lavishly while traveling. When Moshe traveled to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to release the Children of Israel, he would have been justified in presenting them with a bill for the expenses incurred on their behalf. Nevertheless, he used his own donkey to transport himself and his family (Shemot 4:20) and did not ask for reimbursement.
"This distressed Moshe greatly, and he said... 'I have not taken even a single donkey of theirs.' " (16:15) QUESTION: How is this point supposed to convince them of his correctness? ANSWER: The donkey which Moshe used to go to Egypt was no ordinary one. It was the son of the she-donkey mentioned in Pirkei Avot (5:6) among the things Hashem created at twilight on Erev Shabbat. This donkey was previously used by Avraham when he went with Yitzchak to Mount Moriah for the Akeidah, and it will again be used by Mashiach the descendent of David when he reveals himself to the Jewish people (see Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer 31). Moshe said in dismay, "I do not understand why they think I am acting without prior instructions from Hashem. My donkey was not 'echad meihem' - like one of the usual donkeys. This shows my connection to Hashem."
It is related in the Gemara (Megillah 9a) that the Egyptian king, Ptolemy II (3476-3515 or 246-285 BCE) commanded 72 Torah sages to translate the Written Torah into Greek. He placed them all in separate rooms, where they would be unable to communicate with each other. By placing them all in solitary confinement, he hoped to demonstrate that their separate translations would reflect many differences of opinion, proving that the Torah is not Divine in origin, G-d forbid. G-d inspired them all to produce the same exact translation, known among non-Jews to this day as the Septuagint, from the Greek word meaning "seventy." All 72 sages made certain identical changes from the literal meaning of the Torah in several places to forestall possible
One of these changes was in the pasuk.misunderstandings by non-Jews seeking to confirm their own mistaken beliefs. was considered a king (see Devarim 31:3 Targum Yonatan.) When will they begin to appreciate all the good I have done for them?" "Neither have I wronged one of them." The word "adam" is an acronym for the only three for whom this special donkey was created . He was thus saying. "I was entitled to half of their wealth.of heim .' " (16:15) QUESTION: The word "meihem" ."and mounted them on the donkey" (Shemot 4:20). The sages were worried that non-Jews would mock. "Lo harei'oti lahem" . Datan and Aviram. "Didn't Moshe have a horse or a camel?" and therefore they all individually translated it into Greek as "he mounted them on a carrier of people."one of them" . fighting amongst themselves. Moshe. and he said. and Rambam. the king is entitled to half of the plunder taken in battle. Melachim 4:9).seem extra. "Why do you strike your brother?" (Shemot 2:13) Moshe broke up the fight and thus spared the other a beating. He could have simply stated. Moshe was entitled to receive 45 laden donkeys from each member of the Jewish community. . Moshe. 'I have not taken even a single donkey of theirs. yet I did not take even one donkey meihem .the 45 that I was entitled to. "This distressed Moshe greatly.seems superfluous? ANSWER: The Jews left Egypt with great wealth: Everyone had 90 donkeys laden with gold and silver taken from the Egyptians (Bechorot 5b). "Moshe took his wife and sons 'vayarkiveim al hachamor' . Moshe became upset when he saw the Jewish people's lack of appreciation for all that he had done for them. According to halachah (Rambam. Beit Habechirah 6:11).Avrohom.. When one lifted a hand against the other."of theirs" . (The word "heim" has the numerical value of 45. he exclaimed. who led the Jews triumphantly out of Egypt. Consequently." (16:15) QUESTION: The words "et achad meihem" ." which the Gemara quotes as "vayarkiveim al nosei b'nei adam." ANSWER: When Moshe visited his brethren in the field.. Moshiach Ben Dovid. he noticed two Jews."I did not wrong them.
"and Moshe rose up" .why does he join my adversaries?" "And Moshe rose up and went to Datan and Aviram. he was joined by the infamous rebels.' " (16:28) QUESTION: The words "ki lo milibi" . How much more is it incumbent upon everyone to do the utmost to help Jews who are not rebels. The words "vayakam Moshe" . Regardless of how low Datan and Aviram stooped.in fact I rescued him . "rose up") is used to teach that "tekumah hayata lo" the property became elevated because it passed from a commoner's possession to that of a king."the field of Efron was confirmed" (Bereishit 23:17) . the fate of Datan and Aviram was sealed. Once he proved that Hashem . Why did the elders follow him? ANSWER: On a similar phraseology. and the elders of Israel followed him.seem superfluous? 2. "vayakam sedei Efron" ."and Moshe rose up" . Moshe was shocked to see them and said in amazement.Rashi writes that the term "vayakam" (lit. 'Through this shall you know that G-d sent me to perform all these acts. Witnessing Moshe in this exalted spirit. in our case. Moshe tried to save them from sinking alive into the depths." (16:25) QUESTION: 1. As far as Hashem was concerned. and indeed Moshe had no intention of approaching Datan and Aviram to speak to them. Similarly.to one of them I did no evil . they would respect him and repent (see Rashi). "Moshe said. that it was not from my heart.mean that he experienced an elevation and appeared in his full glory as the King of K'lal Yisrael.When Korach came to argue with Moshe. Avraham.are superfluous. Hashem instructed Moshe only to speak to the assembly. but velo harei'oti et achad meihem . but simply alienated due to lack of Torah education. the words "vayakam Moshe" . From this episode one can derive a striking example of Moshe's great love for each and every Jew. He merely hoped that when they saw his majestic disposition and the entourage behind him. Datan and Aviram. immediately the elders of Israel followed behind him."that it was not from my heart" . "The one I stopped from beating up his friend may have reason to be angry with me.
Moshe served as a Kohen Gadol and hoped that he would retain this position for life. Aharon became the Kohen Gadol instead of him. hoping that while still alive.'it was not from my heart' ." (16:30) QUESTION: Why did Moshe wish such a strange death upon Korach and his followers? ANSWER: Moshe loved all the Jewish people. Moreover. and they would thus have lost their share in Olam Haba . 'ki lo milibi' . on the eighth day. since by quarreling with him.sent him "to perform all these acts. However. According to an opinion in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 109b) Korach and his followers do indeed have a share in Olam Haba. will go to your brother Aharon" (Shemot. "The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them. Therefore." (16:32) . "The post of Kohen Gadol. During the seven days of inauguration of the Mishkan. he prayed that they descend alive to the pit. they would regret their wrongdoings and do teshuvah. 4:14 Rashi). which I originally planned for you. Since Moshe was reluctant. and actually contrary to my desires. he was telling them. "Be assured that I did not do anything on my own. and the earth open its mouth and swallow them and all that is theirs. Had they died immediately. including Korach and his followers.that Aharon should become Kohen Gadol since the position was originally meant for me and I greatly desired it. and they will descend alive to the pit. All my actions were in accordance with instructions from Hashem. These people were sinning terribly.the World to Come. they were actually defying Hashem's will. the word "meire'uti" is Aramaic for "ratzon" . Hashem told him." "But if G-d will create a new phenomenon." Thus." obviously they were not his doing? ANSWER: During the Divine revelation at the burning bush. "The selection of Aharon as Kohen Gadol was not my choice. they would have left this world without doing teshuvah."will. One of the complaints of Korach and his cohorts was "Why did Moshe make decisions on his own and appoint his brother as Kohen Gadol?" Moshe told them. Hashem pleaded with Moshe for seven days to be His emissary to take the Jewish people out of Egypt." It is interesting to note that Onkelos writes "arei la meire'uti".
are superfluous. G-d forbid. Korach and his people could no longer anticipate coming to Eretz Yisrael. and thus "ahaleihem" . why rise above the assembly of G-d?" (16:3). by going around in the community agitating. Rabbi Chanina says. "The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses."their tents"? ANSWER: The difference between a tent (ohel) and a house (bayit) is that a tent is temporary and a house is permanent. "The entire community is holy. and spreading blatant lies about him. "Pray for the welfare of the government.QUESTION: The words "et piha" . as the earth swallowed them. evil. eventually one gets swallowed up alive. It should have said simply "the earth opened up and swallowed them"? ANSWER: When a Jew does good or. "petach ahaleihem" ."their tents" . Korach. was advocating a government of anarchy. The sojourn in the wilderness was a temporary stop-over between Egypt and Eretz Yisrael. "They and all that was theirs descended alive to the pit."at the entrance of their tents.and not "ahaleihem" .in which they temporarily dwelled. Korach and his followers ridiculed Moshe with their mouths. He argued. Therefore. The punishment that Korach received was a message to him and to all future generations that without leadership."its mouth" ." (16:33) QUESTION: Why did Korach and his people receive such a strange punishment? ANSWER: Korach opposed the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. Hashem rewards or punishes him measure for measure (middah keneged middah)."their houses" . Since they sinned by opening their mouths and saying improper things. in effect. all the people lived in tents and were looking forward to their permanent residences. for were it not for the fear of it. Now.in which they would remain underground for a very long time." (16:32) QUESTION: Previously (16:27) it is stated that Datan and Aviram went out and stood. . men would swallow one another alive" (Pirkei Avot 3:2).their permanent houses . now became "bateihem" ." Why does it say that they were swallowed with "bateihem" . they were punished with the earth's opening its "mouth" and swallowing them.
Therefore. Whenever a prayer is effective." Upon seeing what was happening to Korach and his contingent. while Korach himself was not?" If he would have been swallowed but not burnt.)."fled from their sounds"? ANSWER: When Yitzchak blessed Yaakov he said. He was standing near the pit which opened up for Datan and Aviram."they ran to their voices" . but the hands are Esav's" (Bereishit 27:22). the reason Korach received both punishments is that if he had only been burnt and not swallowed.they recited prayers to Hashem to be spared such a fate. he received both punishments. Therefore. too." which literally means "fled to their sounds" it should have said "nasu mikolom" . immediately "nasu lekolom" . A flame came forth from G-d and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense. Datan and Aviram would have complained.."All the Jews who were around them fled at their sounds for they said. the 250 people burnt would have had a similar complaint. a descendant of Yaakov must have been present. and whenever an army is victorious. Esav's descendants must have contributed. the people were afraid that the earth would swallow them. but that he actually died later in a plague (see Rashi. "The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses and all the people who were with Korach. ibid. and he rolled into the open mouth of the earth. . According to the Gemara (Gittin 57b) "Yitzchak meant that Yaakov's power is in the voice that prays and Esav's power is in his murderous hands. "Hakol kol Yaakov vehayadayim yedei Esav" ."The voice is Yaakov's voice. 'Lest the earth swallow us. What happened to Korach? ANSWER: There is an opinion in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 110a) that Korach did not die with those who were burnt or those swallowed by the earth..35) QUESTION: The 250 people who joined Korach were burned to death.' " (16:34) QUESTION: Instead of "nasu lekolom. Datan and Aviram were swallowed alive in the earth.. Korach joined them and was consumed by fire. Another opinion says that Korach was both burnt and swallowed into the earth: When the 250 people began to bring their ketoret. "Why were we burned as followers of Korach." (16:32. According to the latter opinion.
and his body rolled into the open mouth of the earth. "And behold the staff of Aharon of the house of Levi had blossomed. Almonds blossom more quickly than any other fruit (see Rashi). "For the entire assembly is holy. When the Ark was hidden. The message was that in every facet of the universe..the ones who were burned . so was the jar .and bore ripe almonds. Korach argued.' " (17:25) QUESTION: Aharon's staff that bloomed was placed in front of the holy Ark together with a flask of manna (Shemot 16:33). Just as some fruit ripen faster than others. Alternatively." Consequently if Korach was not among the ones who died by being burned."Whoever is for Hashem join me" (Shemot 32:26) . among the tribes it was Levi who was singled out to be closer to Hashem. 'Bring back the staff of Aharon before the holy Ark as a safekeeping. Thus. likewise it is necessary to elevate some human beings over others in order that law and order prevail.and hammered them out as a covering for the altar. he advocated a government of anarchy where there would be total equality. Essentially. his fire pan was not among those used as a covering for the altar. all his people witnessed him receiving his just deserts. "G-d said to Moshe. Why do you exalt yourself over the congregation of Hashem?" (16:3). there is a hierarchy. because like the almonds which grow speedily. that were offered by haserufin ..executing those who would have brought chaos to the Jewish community through the golden calf. A halachic consequence of how Korach died is the following: Regarding the fire-pans used by Korach's contingent to offer ketoret the Torah says "Elazer the Kohen took the fire-pans. they responded with alacrity to Moshe's call." (17:23) QUESTION: Why almonds? ANSWER: In his complaint against Moshe.The fire of the ketoret burned his neshamah. "Mi laHashem eilai" .
In addition to his original group of cohorts. Thus. representing Torah. which was the source of sufficient nourishment for all.to Aharon and his children to receive pardon. and the manna? ANSWER: The Ark represents Torah.of manna and Aharon's staff (Yoma 52b).and in addition to paying back the principal. why rise above the assembly of Hashem?" (16:3). Since people of all twelve tribes schemed stealthily against Aharon's priesthood. the Jewish people had to give double . must also pay double. the Torah allocates to Aharon twenty-four Matanot Kehunah .when its sacred influence is eliminated from the arena of life . the storing of manna and the staff near the Ark conveys the message that the staff of Aharon and the jar of manna go together with the Ark of Hashem. on the other hand. Rashi).24 gifts .the staff of Aharon and the jar of manna and all that they represent. he also incited the entire community to participate in the debacle. They were convinced and joined with him (16:19. With this he meant to say that no one should be singled out for leadership. . One who steals in a hidden and secretive way is a ganav . there can be no economic security or enduring peace in the world without the moral and ethical standards of the Torah.Why twenty-four? ANSWER: Korach did not openly attack or personally affront Aharon for being appointed Kohen Gadol. All deliberations and plans for economic security and enduring peace come to naught because they are neither enshrined in the Ark. represents economic security.What is the connection between the Ark. the staff. but rather battling on their behalf for fairness and justice. "G-d spoke to Aharon: 'And I.' " (18:8) QUESTION: Because Korach challenged the Priesthood of Aharon. behold. nor guided by the teachings of the Tablets contained therein. Korach argued. In it were the Tablets and the sefer Torah written by Moshe (Bava Batra 14a). Waging his war in a deceptive and stealthy way instead. Aharon's staff symbolizes the human craving for peace. He visited all the tribes and told them that he was not seeking personal gain. I have given you the safeguard of My heave-offerings. "The entire community is holy. When the Ark is "lost" .thief . disappear. Manna. and through his staff Korach's rebellion was put to rest. Aharon was the ultimate peace lover.priestly gifts (Rashi).
Therefore. the Torah writes the double expression "padoh tifdeh."you shall surely redeem" . Yorah Dei'ah 305:7).from one month shall you redeem them according to your valuation. and the firstborn of an impure beast shall you redeem.and not for animals? ANSWER: According to the Gemara (Bechorot 12b). a day starts with the preceding night. and the slaying of the firstborn was at midnight? . To allude that specifically a pidyon haben can be done through more than one Kohen and at intervals. even if the father divides the five shekels between two kohanim." (18:16) QUESTION: According to the Torah. However." (18:15) QUESTION: Why only for man is there a double expression "padoh tifdeh" . Why is it customary to make a pidyon haben on the thirty-first day and not the night before? (See Yorah Dei'ah 305:12. if the money one sets aside to redeem a son is lost. since the Torah prescribes using a live sheep for the redemption of a firstborn donkey the process must be done through one Kohen only since a live sheep is not dividable. to redeem a firstborn male the Torah prescribes that the father give five shekels to the Kohen. he is not required to replace it. regarding the redemption of man. the Torah uses a double expression to indicate that there is a possibility for a double expenditure. the rule about one Kohen also applies. if one does not have a sheep (Yoreh Dei'ah 321:5). if a person sets aside a sheep to redeem his firstborn donkey and the sheep dies. one must provide replacement money (Bechorot 51a). According to halachah (Shulchan Aruch. the Torah states the reason for pidyon haben because "on the day I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified every firstborn in Israel for Myself" (3:13). the child is redeemed. Money may be used for the redemption. Alternatively. However."But you shall surely redeem the firstborn of man. and according to the principle of "lo pelug" (not to make extra distinctions). this is not so in regard to the redemption of an animal.) Moreover. five silver shekels. Shach. however." "Those that are to be redeemed . and even if this is done on separate days.
thanks to the tzedakah.midnight." The reason for this may be that since the pidyon haben commemorates the miracle of the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn and the saving of the Jewish firstborn." (18:19) QUESTION: What is the connection between salt and the priestly gifts? ANSWER: Some people. unfortunately.have I given to you and your sons... Rabbi Yaakov Emden writes in his siddur. please support me. do not give tzedakah because they are reluctant to give away part of their wealth."on the day when I struck every firstborn" it should say "beleil" . we perform the pidyon haben during the day. To commemorate the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn and the saving of the Jewish firstborn. therefore." He asked her. and which took place when it was light."the day" ." Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai knew him to be one of the wealthiest people in Jerusalem (see Gittin 56a) and incredulously asked her "What happened to all your father's wealth?" ." The use of the term "beyom" .ANSWER: Since the firstborn were slain at midnight. "I am the daughter of Nakdimon ben Gurion. instead of saying "beyom hakoti kol bechor" . as King David says. which brought about the concept of pidyon haben. It is related (Ketuvot 66b) that Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai was once traveling on the outskirts of Jerusalem. A young girl who was picking barley from the garbage in the street approached him and said."on the night. "if necessary a pidyon haben may be done after chatzot . which took place at midnight.can be explained with the Zohar's statement (Shemot 38a) that the night Hashem revealed Himself in Egypt was as bright as broad daylight. though on the surface it appears that one's net value is shrinking. The Torah.. but the preservative effect far outweighs the loss. one's earnings are preserved. "Everything that is separated from the holy things. it stands to reason that a pidyon haben may be performed after midnight. "And night is luminous as day" (Psalms 139:12).. Similarly. "Whose daughter are you?" She replied. "Rabbi. is telling us that tzedakah is like salt: it causes meat to shrink somewhat. in reality.it is an eternal covenant of salt.
and therefore his fortunes were not preserved. Thought-Provoking Ideas. a defiled person becomes cleansed.. "Why should we become defiled for the sake of those who were not careful to avoid contact with a corpse?" Through the statute of parah adumah the Torah is teaching that a Jew must help another Jew even if it requires sacrifice. her father did not properly observe this mitzvah."a basic principle of Torah" . chaseir" ."This is the statute of the Torah" . but very few give till it hurts.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "This is the statute of Torah. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Chukat by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish.e. preserve it to be long-lasting. which is described as "the statute of Torah. we must practice it in our daily lives. many people give when it hurts.and they shall take to you a red heifer." (19:2) . "Give till it hurts. The statute of parah adumah. On the other hand.She responded with the famous parable: "melach mamon. Unfortunately." (19:2) QUESTION: Why does it say "Zot chukat haTorah" ." teaches us to help another Jew even if it hurts.."This is the statute of the red heifer"? ANSWER: The laws concerning the parah adumah are paradoxical. "This is the decree of the Torah. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights. he should reduce his assets by giving some to tzedakah. those who are involved in the preparation of the parah adumah become defiled. when the mixture is sprinkled.instead of "Zot chukat parah adumah" . There is a popular adage... i.if a person wants to "salt" his money. On the one hand. The people appointed to prepare the parah adumah may rationally argue. This is "chukat haTorah" .and though we may not easily comprehend it." Unfortunately.
."How is this derived from these two pesukim? ANSWER: The word "mimenu" ."from it" . "The pasuk. this applies only to a Jewish corpse.. one whose income is provided (such as a Kohen who receives Terumah) or one who has no worries of parnasa. as in the first pasuk. and the word "chelbo" . diligent Torah study. if a person comes into a tent containing a Jewish corpse. he becomes defiled."its best" . The third pasuk discusses "tumat ohel" . and dedicate himself to uninterrupted. 1:12-13).entering a tent where there is a corpse . 'Zot chukat hatorah' . the numerical value of the word "mann" "manna.e. When one "raises up" (Beharimechem).'this is the decree of the Torah' .and it uses the term "adam" to emphasize that.. the first pasuk.i. 'Beharimchem et chelbo mimenu' . The second pasuk also discusses defilement through contact and uses the word "ha'adam" to indicate that this law applies to a non-Jewish corpse as well.e. if one touches a corpse (even outside a tent) he becomes defiled even if it is of a non-Jew (Tumat Meit." is teaching that one becomes defiled when he touches a Jewish corpse.This is the teaching regarding a man who would die in a tent. subtracts "chelbo" (46) from "mimenu" (136). the remainder is 90. 13-14) QUESTION: Why isn't the term "adam" or "ha'adam" used consistently? ANSWER: According to halachah.e.'When you raise up its best from it' . something imperative. The term "adam" is reserved for the Jewish people because the word has two contrasting meanings: .to hint that Torah was given to those that ate the manna." The pesukim are alluding that one who lives off manna . must make full-time Torah study a "decree. i. Therefore.has the numerical value of 136. "Whoever touches the corpse of any human being. which talks of physical contact and uses the term "adam.Whoever touches the dead body of a human being. The Gemara (Yevamot 61a) says that the term "adam" is reserved for the Jewish people and "ha'adam" also includes non-Jews. However.follows the final pasuk of Parshat Korach.QUESTION: The Ba'al Haturim writes.adds up to 46. which states.." (19:11. even if he does not touch it." i.
As in "Adameh le'Elyon" . he can rise up again. Consequently. G-d forbid." (19:14) QUESTION: The introductory words "zot hatorah" are superfluous. The Torah conveys the laws of defilement of a tent with the term "adam. However.which the Jewish people had received. Lot's wife could not defile a tent even if she died a normal death because she was not a Jewess?" Tosafot answers that the term "adam" is a title of distinction which the Jewish people acquired upon receiving the Torah. The room erupted in laughter." "This is the teaching regarding a man who would die in a tent. 2. the moral is that even when a person falls flat on his face. the laws of transmitting defilement were universal and even a non-Jew's corpse could defile everything in a tent. before the Torah was given. it would have been sufficient to start with "adam"? ANSWER: A corpse in a tent defiles the entire tent."I [man] resemble the One above" (see Shelah.a member of the Jewish people . "We have a rule that when the Torah uses the expression 'adam' it refers only to a member of the Jewish people (see Yevamot 61a). and one who enters becomes defiled even without touching the corpse itself. through teshuvah they can rise to the loftiest heights. A source for the theory expounded in Tosafot may be our pasuk." which leads to the conclusion that these laws only apply to the Jewish people.because of "zot hatorah" . The Gemara concludes that only a normal corpse can defile and not a pillar of salt. While ascending the podium to speak. he tripped and fell flat on his face. Midrash Rabbah 17:4). Preceding it with the words "zot hatorah" emphasizes that this law applies only to . Tosafot asks."this Torah" . In the Gemara (Niddah 70b) there is a question whether Lot's wife.1. Stemming from the word "adamah" . would similarly defile a tent. who turned into a pillar of salt and who was thus not a normal corpse."And G-d formed the man of dust from the ground" (Bereishit 2:7. . they stoop to the lowest level. These contrasting meanings of the title "adam" impart that Jewish people have the unique ability that even when."earth" . There was once a chaplain who visited a jail to deliver a sermon to the inmates. Toldot Adam 3a). He picked himself up and went over to the podium and said."adam" . "I have just concluded my sermon.
There is no way. it should simply have said "velakechu mei'afar" . a Heavenly voice responded "Vekatub yosher divrei emet." what is written in the Book of Devarim (which is known as "Sefer Hayasher" ." (19:14) QUESTION: Regarding this pasuk the Gemara (Berachot 63b) says: "Ein divrei Torah mitkaymin ela bemi shemeimit atzmo aleiha" . and it states that "Never again has there arisen in Israel a prophet like Moshe" (Devarim 34:10). they permit various factors to interrupt them."Book of Fairness" ."they shall take from the ashes [and put upon it spring water]"? ANSWER: The Torah refers to the purification process through the red heifer as a "chok" . However.is superfluous."Torah has a lasting effect only with one who kills himself for it. however. but he did not succeed.see Avoda Zarah 25a). the word "latamei" . of disturbing a dead person with a telephone call or the like.meaning that it is incomprehensible to man.6) explain that with his wisdom he thought he would be able to comprehend the reason for the red heifer. The Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 21b) explains the pasuk "Kohelet (Shlomo) sought to find words of delight" (Ecclesiastes 12:10) to mean that Kohelet wanted to be equal in wisdom to Moshe. What gave Shlomo the idea that he could duplicate Moshe's achievement and understand the concept of the red heifer? ."This is the teaching regarding a man who would die in a tent. Moshe was the only one to whom Hashem explained it. such as a telephone call or the arrival of visitors. The Gemara is teaching that a person who wants to succeed in his learning must consider himself "dead": He cannot permit anything whatsoever to interrupt him."for the contaminated person" . but it is far from me" (Ecclesiastes 7:23). "I said I would be wise. "They shall take for the contaminated person some of the ashes of the burning of the purification animal. Even King Shlomo the wisest of all men exclaimed. are words of truth.a "statute" ."Suicide is forbidden! How can a dead man study Torah? ANSWER: Often when people sit down to study. Our sages (Midrash Rabbah 19:3." (19:17) QUESTION: Since the parshah is discussing one who has become defiled and has already said that the heifer should be burned to ash.
(See Yalkut Re'uveini and Parah 3:5. Those who were supposed to die that year passed away. "veyikchu eilecha para adumah" ." Thus while there is indeed a hint to Shlomo's name in the parshah. . Hashem was very angry. Why does the pasuk mention it? ANSWER: When the spies returned from their journey and incited the people against Eretz Yisrael. He said to him. and the tenth one will be prepared when Mashiach comes."[and they shall take] for the contaminated person some of the ashes from the burning of the purification animal" indicates that throughout all generations the Jewish people shall take for the contaminated. The heavenly message can be explained to mean "Vekatub yashar" "That which is written in the "proper order" . ashes which are mixed together with some of the ashes prepared by Moshe. on Erev Tisha B'Av." (20:1) QUESTION: If she died. Miriam was the first person to die and be buried after her death. all the people who had left Egypt between the ages of twenty and sixty perished during the forty years they sojourned in the wilderness. As a punishment. "And Miriam died there and she was buried there.is definitely "divrei emet" "words of truth. the letters in sequence do not spell "Shlomo" but rather "l'Moshe" .) When Hashem conveyed to Moshe the statute of the red heifer. the people dug graves for themselves and slept in them throughout the night. Every year.which our sages explain to mean "It will always be accredited to 'you' (Moshe) because even in the ashes of all future red heifers there shall be mixed in some of the ash from the original one which you prepared.meaning that the understanding of the red heifer is revealed only to Moshe and no one else.The first letters of the words "Letameh Me'afar S'raifas Hachatos" can be arranged to spell Shlomo. he assumed that with proper diligence and assiduous study he could understand its meaning and significance. and those that survived returned to their tents (Bava Batra 121a. Rashbam). obviously she was buried. Throughout the history of the Jewish people the ashes of nine red heifers were prepared. throughout the forty years." The acrostic of "l'Moshe" which is spelled by the words "Letameh Me'afar S'raifas Hachatos" ."they shall take to you a completely red heifer" ."to Moshe" . and since he found an allusion to his name in the portion that discusses the red heifer. Accordingly. the people were first buried and then died.
Water is a bare necessity for human existence!" "It is not a place of seed. What sympathy did they hope to evoke with their complaint about "figs. a well of water accompanied them in the merit of Miriam." This vertical line serves as an explanation as to what the people complained about. Consequently. However. or pomegranate. the people became upset and quarreled with Moshe. one . Why did they now complain about the lack of tasty fruit in addition to the lack of water? ANSWER: Some have a custom to fetch water from a well or a spring after Shabbat ends."no" .that this is not a place of seed. or grape or pomegranate . and there is no water to drink.our complaint is not . Whoever is fortunate to drink of its water is immediately healed from all sicknesses (Orach Chaim 299:10). when they arrived in the Wilderness of Tzin and there was no water. When Hashem took them out of Egypt.there is no water to drink.'mekom zera ute'einah vegefen verimon' . However."And why did You have us ascend from Egypt to bring us to this evil place? Not a place of seed. According to Rabbi Akiva. "Help me. or grape. When they bemoaned their situation they proclaimed. "Why did you take us out of Egypt to bring us to this place? 'Lo' (pause) . The Gemara (Sanhedrin 17b) lists the prerequisites a city must have in order for a talmid chacham to dwell there. travels throughout all wells and springs. and there is no water to drink!" (20:5) QUESTION: If a poor man were to come begging and say. He never promised them that He would provide them with luscious fruit during their travels. which is in the sea of Tiberias." (20:5) QUESTION: Throughout the sojourn of the Jewish people in the wilderness. the well ceased. The Jewish people should have only complained that they had no water to drink. our complaint is 'mayim ayin lishtot' . it is self-understood that He was required to give them at least the bare necessities and not let them perish from thirst. or pomegranates"? ANSWER: In printed chumashim there is a vertical line (indicating a pause) between the word "lo" . This is because on Saturday night Miriam's well.and the words "mekom zera" "place of seed. When she died. grapes. or figs. fig. or vines or pomegranates. or fig." people would laugh at him.because we can get along without these. I don't have any gourmet food.
On each would be written the name of the tribal leader. with Aharon's name written on the staff of the tribe of Levi. because through them. when they thirsted for water and complained. and what was Moshe to say to the rock? ANSWER: Aharon and Moshe each had his own staff. the eyesight of a person is improved. "You shall strike the rock and water will come forth"? ANSWER: Hashem said to Moshe. before Miriam's passing they did not complain about the lack of fruit because the drinking water healed them of all their ailments.. "Take the staff. In Parshat Korach. Now that they had neither water nor fruit. This corresponds to the verse."your staff" (see Shemot 7:9). he reprimands him with words." (20:8) QUESTION: What purpose was the staff to serve. "Learn this lesson. Since in this pasuk it says "hamateh" "the staff" .of them is a variety of different fruits. Teach it and it will bring forth water" (Yalkut Shimoni). so should you sanctify Hashem's name by giving water. they quarreled with Moshe and argued that their health was in jeopardy and that it was no longer permissible to remain in the wilderness. Similarly." "And speak to the rock before their eyes that it shall give its waters. Moshe told the leaders of each tribe to bring a staff to be put in the Tabernacle. "When the child is young his teacher hits him and teaches him. The staff belonging to the one who was Divinely-chosen would blossom." (20:8) QUESTION: Why now did Hashem instruct Moshe to speak to the rock whereas in Rephidim (Shemot 17:6). When Hashem wanted Moshe or Aharon to take his own staff. Consequently. Once he becomes older. just as this dry piece of wood suddenly became moist and alive in order to sanctify Hashem's name.. when the rock was small you hit it.and speak to the rock before their eyes that it shall give its waters. It was this staff that Moshe was to take. even though it is not your nature. He would say "matecha" . "Moshe took the staff from before G-d" (20:9). Hashem told him. . The staff of Aharon blossomed and produced almonds and eventually was put next to the holy Ark for posterity.obviously it was a special one with unique qualities. The purpose of taking the staff was to show it to the rock as if to say. but now you shall speak to it.
"Your children. The Torah assures that with such an approach one will successfully penetrate and "venatan meimav" . by striking the rock twice. the Jewish people. The middle letters of the name of each letter spell the word "mayim" .there is hidden water . Hashem would have indeed been sanctified. "G-d said to Moshe and to Aharon."mayim." One will eventually bring to surface the beautiful "pintele Yid" . took place after the Torah was given. but through talking to him with sincerity and warmth and introducing him to the beauty of Torah.This may be further expounded: The rock is analogous to people who at times seem to be "hard as rock" and obstinately refuse to direct their lives morally and ethically as a Jew should. Moshe thought to himself that this logic could also be used by Satan against the Jewish people when they sinned. and water flowed forth abundantly.spelled out in full are Samech Lamed Ayin. which does not speak and does not hear."he shall give his waters. leaving the middle letters Mayim. "And he struck the rock with his staff twice." . performs Hashem's will. how much more so are we required to listen to Him!" However." Moshe. therefore you will not bring this congregation to the land that I have given them. in a rock . are even worse than an inert rock. is not through striking him. 'Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the Children of Israel."water.the spark of Judaism hidden within him." Thus. The way to reach a Jew now. The incident in Rephidim occurred before the Torah was given. The rock does what You want. The only method available then to guide a Jew in the right path was to strike him harshly. and Your people for whom You do so much do not perform Your will." (20:11) QUESTION: Why did he strike the rock twice? ANSWER: The letters of the word "sela" . He would come before the heavenly tribunal as a prosecutor and say to Hashem."rock" . Every Jew would have come to the conclusion: "If a rock.' " (20:12) QUESTION: Why didn't Moshe speak to the rock? ANSWER: Had Moshe spoken to the rock. knocked off the first letters as well as the last letters. The episode in our parshah however."sela" .
there is no reason at all for you to fear our passage through your land. we cried to Hashem. it was the Egyptians who were evil to us and our forefathers. However. and the Egyptians mistreated us. and decided not to speak to the rock. on the contrary. and they went out against them with a massive throng and strong hand. Nevertheless. Thus. and He sent an emissary who took us out of Egypt"? ANSWER: If the Jewish people were actually not law-abiding citizens and left Egypt after being victorious in a rebellion. maybe I will come against you with the sword. "Moshe sent emissaries from Kadesh to the king of Edom: 'So said your brother Israel: You know all the hardship that has befallen us. why was it necessary to tell them that "Our forefathers descended to Egypt. not smite.' " (20:14) QUESTION: The Jews were only seeking permission to travel through the land of Edom. instead of rebelling. why was Aharon also punished? ANSWER: Aharon was punished because the act was repeated.Not wanting to give Satan any ammunition against the Jewish people.' " (20:12) QUESTION: It was Moshe who disobeyed and struck the rock. 'You shall not pass through. Therefore they declared to them that "We dwelled in Egypt for many years. the inherent hatred of Edom for the Jews manifested itself. at first he did not know what Moshe was about to do and could justifiably claim innocence." Despite this reassurance. Moshe jeopardized his life and future. "G-d said to Moshe and to Aharon. Possibly. who took us out of Egypt." Now Aharon was also liable and equally punished. it would have been logical for Edom to deny them permission to pass through his land. and He heard our voices and sent an emissary.' " (20:18) QUESTION: . We were not rebellious or disruptive.. "We were told to speak. therefore you will not bring this congregation to the land that I have given them. after Moshe struck the first time.. 'Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me. "The king of Edom said to him. he should have protested saying. and we cried out to Hashem.
. the nations of the world are anti-Semitic. The Clouds of Glory hovered over the camp of Israel. pen bacherev eitzei likeratecha . ibid.And he fought against Israel. and we will be at a military disadvantage. Hence. They served as protection against alien attacks and shielded them from heat and sun (see 10:35. . the Jews would be at war with another nation who would call upon Edom for assistance. Why was he so unsympathetic to the plea of the Jewish people to pass through the land? ANSWER: In reality. particularly when they were offered a handsome profit on all the food to be consumed..1. why isn't there an indication concerning how the clouds returned? ANSWER: Careful analysis of the pesukim shows that there were two types of clouds: 1. However. I will come against you. he thought that permission was granted to battle with Israel (Rashi.maybe in the future our allies will solicit our assistance against you in battle. and one nation will always rally to the support of the other when they are at war with the Jews. 20:22. Instead of saying "pen" .. the well ceased and the Jewish people quarreled with Moshe.When Miriam died. Thus. his concern was that perhaps in the future. Why was there no uproar from the people when the clouds departed? Moreover. ananei hakavod .. and 33:40).Clouds of Glory 2. Upon hearing that Aharon had died and that the Clouds of Glory had departed.why doesn't he simply say "If you pass through." "And the Canaanite heard. "You shall not pass through because. If we permit you entry."? 2. how and when the well returned is clearly detailed in the scriptural text (see 20:811). you may explore our country and learn all our strategic installations.. The others surrounded them from all four sides and also from above and beneath. Edom would not have minded the Jews passing through the territory. it will help you retaliate against us. Rashi). and their presence proclaimed the glory of K'lal Yisrael."maybe" . ordinary clouds (see Rashi 20:29. Consequently their response to the Jews was. 26:13 and Rashi Vayikra 23:43)." (21:1) QUESTION: The "Canaanite" was Amalek.
the Torah is telling us that this occurrence was Hashem's way of punishing measure for measure. In reality. G-d forbid. With the words "derech ha'atarim" "the route of the spies" .it was not the ordinary clouds that departed but the Clouds of Glory. but inwardly they were wicked and corrupt. . not Canaan. upon witnessing their departure. If he punishes them. Since the Jews "followed the route" . They merely altered their dialect to speak like the Canaanites so that the Jewish would erroneously pray to Hashem for protection from the Canaanites.of the spies. who endeavored to disguise themselves. he does so in a way that echoes the offense." (21:1) QUESTION: Of what significance to the war with the Canaanites is the fact that the Jews had come "derech ha'atarim" . as a sincere and dedicated shepherd of K'lal Yisrael."by the route of the spies"? ANSWER: The spies who went to the land of Canaan (Eretz Yisrael) outwardly presented themselves as righteous people. Therefore. and thus their prayers would be of no avail. he made sure that the water supply (well) returned after the demise of Miriam but did not request from Hashem the return of the Clouds of Glory. Hashem conducts Himself with the Jewish people middah keneged middah . disguised as Canaanites. the nation that launched the attack mentioned in our pasuk was Amalek.the simple explanation of the text . his audacity led him foolishly to think that Hashem had now granted permission to attack the Jewish people. The Jews did not raise a protest when they departed because the Clouds of Glory were a special gift to the Jewish people in merit of Aharon and did not serve the personal needs of the people (unlike the well which provided their drinking water).i. "And the Canaanite king of Arad. considered it his obligation to do everything in his power to ensure that their needs were provided for.In accordance with peshuto shel mikra . which in actuality never returned afterwards. Moshe. succumbed to the influence . so they had no basis for murmuring and demanding their return. Hashem now sent upon them the Amalekites. Though Amalek knew very well the purpose of the Clouds of Glory. who dwelled in the south.measure for measure.e. and he warred against Israel. heard that Israel had come by the route of the spies.
"Let the serpent who was punished for slandering G-d to Chava (Bereishit 3:1-15) come and punish the ungrateful slanderers. Thus. too. their prayers would be of no avail."If You will deliver this people into my hand. However. he always magnanimously forgave their insurrections against him. to mislead the Jewish people they spoke the language of Canaan. as stated in Pirkei Avot (2:11). Hence. Place it on a pole so that they may see it and confront their offense against you. their sin was twofold: they spoke evil against both Hashem and Moshe (21:5)." Hashem is more concerned about the honor of the righteous than His own." Moshe had exceptional love for the Jewish people. and cognizant of the mitzvah "You shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven" (Devarim 25:19)." (21: 2-3) QUESTION: The Jews only vowed to utterly destroy their cities.. the Jewish people vowed to destroy only their cities. they utterly destroyed them. Therefore He said to Moshe. and like a loving father who forgives his children. Thinking that they were being attacked by Canaanites. but beware of their glowing embers lest you be burnt. I will utterly destroy their cities. our great teacher. "Warm yourself by the fire of the Sages. Thus. the appropriate punishment was a fiery serpent. for the sin against you . However upon realizing their true identity. make yourself .a fiery serpent. G-d heard the voice of Israel and He delivered the Canaanite and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. The serpent was for the sin of speaking evil about Hashem. Although they dressed like Amalekites.for their hiss is the hiss of a fiery serpent. "While I may pardon them for sinning against me. 'Make yourself a fiery serpent and place it on a pole'." (21:8-9) QUESTION: Why didn't Moshe follow Hashem's instructions to make a fiery serpent? ANSWER: The Jewish people complained about the heavenly food Hashem provided to sustain them and also about Moshe's taking them out of Egypt and their having to be in the wilderness.e.. they must be punished for slandering you. when the Jews would pray to Hashem to deliver them from the Canaanites." For slandering Moshe.i. "G-d said to Moshe. why afterwards did they utterly destroy them. as Rashi (21:6) states. too? ANSWER: The Canaanites who attacked the Jewish people were actually Amalekites.Moshe made a serpent of copper and placed it on the pole. he wanted them to repent and beg ...
And Balak was king of Moav at that time.. they would focus on the significance of the sin against Hashem.. being bitten was indeed an occurrence which brought joy."joy. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights."anyone" ." (21:9) QUESTION: The word "vehaya" denotes "simchah" . He refused to understand that the Jews only acted in self- ." It is definitely no pleasure to be bitten.forgiven.4) QUESTION: Why isn't he referred to as "king" in the first pasuk? ANSWER: Balak was not actually the king of Moav. "vehaya kal hanashuch" . To him. the Torah says." (22:2.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "And Balak saw all that Israel had done to the Amorite. The purpose of placing it on a pole was as the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 29a) says. but a copper ordinary one. is written to emphasize that "anyone" (including a person terminally ill from another sickness) who was bitten and then looked at the copper serpent would be healed from all his illnesses and remain alive. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Balak by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. he would stare at the copper serpent and live. he did not make a fiery serpent. "When the people looked 'upward' and subjected their hearts to their Father in Heaven. Thought-Provoking Ideas. they were healed ." The word "kal" . Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say "vayehi" which denotes pain and sorrow? (See Midrash Rabbah Bereishit 42:3. Consequently. so that instead of thinking of the significance of the serpent being fiery (the sin against Moshe).forgiveness for speaking evil about Hashem.which is superfluous."anyone who was bitten [will look at it and live]. but rather an exceptional Jew-hater who only "saw" what the Jews did to the Amorites.) ANSWER: Regarding the serpent." "So it was that if the serpent bit a man.
The word Bilaam is an acronym for Balak."people" . the Eirev-rav and in addition. a large contingent of Egyptians went along with them. the pasuk says that they feared ha'am .the people .e. and he advised Balak to encourage harlotry among the Jews.i. 2) He advised Pharaoh to torture the Jews in Egypt. declared war against the Jews. Moab was well aware that Hashem forbade the Jewish people to attack them (Devarim 2:9). they hated them simply because they were Jews. who wanted to destroy our forefather Yaakov. he came to curse the Jews. . They were known as the "Eirev-rav" "mixed multitude" (Shemot 12:38)." Though they were confident the Jews would not harm them. However. Mitzrayim.defense against the Amorites."they were disgusted with the Children of Israel. 3) He incited the wicked Amalek to declare war against the Jews. to describe the feelings of Moab." (22:5) QUESTION: What is the significance of the name "Bilaam"? ANSWER: According to Targum Yonatan ben Uziel (31:8) Bilaam was notorious for four attempts to destroy the Jewish people."Children of Israel"? ANSWER: When the Jewish people left Egypt. being gentiles. their fear was that the Eirev-rav would not consider themselves bound by this prohibition and attack anyway. be it good or bad. "He sent messengers to Bilaam son of Be'or to Pethor. Amalek. "Moab became very frightened of the people.and then "B'nei Yisrael" . Inherent in the gentile world is hatred for Jews. the world hates them simply because they are an independent people who do not assimilate. 4) Upon Balak's invitation. Lavan. 1) He was Lavan the Aramean. Balak began to agitate among the people of Moav and make them afraid of the "Jewish peril." Because of his intense anti-Semitism. who. because it was numerous and Moab was disgusted because of the Children of Israel. "vayakutzu mipenei B'nei Yisrael" ." (22:3) QUESTION: Why does it first say "am" . the people of Moav then decided to make him king. Therefore. Regardless of what situation the Jews may be in. for no reason.
Instead of expressing doubt. They merited this because a Moabite woman. Why did Balak need to mention it now to Bilaam? ANSWER: When Yaakov and his family came to Egypt."Behold! A people has come out of Egypt. Since they pose a threat to me. Balak now complained to Bilaam. Consequently. saying. come and curse this people for me. king of Moav. and thus there will be no Ruth. it is incumbent upon you to do something to stop these people. who was a descendant of Balak. but they even managed to leave Egypt valiantly. "Come and curse this people"? ANSWER: Moshe was commanded by Hashem not to be at enmity with Moav and not to contend with them in battle (Devarim 2:9).seems superfluous. they miraculously grew in number. consulted his three advisors: Bilaam. he called upon Bilaam and beseeched him "arah li" . behold it has covered the surface of the earth. telling Bilaam that with his curses he would definitely be able to defeat the people? In view of the above. the king of Moav hated the Jewish people and wanted to hurt them in any way possible."perhaps I will be able to strike them" (22:6). I beseech you. Iyov. the pure and righteous Ruth."curse me" ." (22:5) QUESTION: The entire world knew that the Jews had left Egypt. I implore you to curse them!" Balak sent messengers to convey his request that Bilaam come to curse the Jewish people. Balak. "ulai uchal nakeh bo" . no David and no . it is clear that although he wanted Bilaam to try again to harm the Jewish people. for it is too powerful for me."pray that something catastrophic happen to me. Bilaam advised him to stop the growth of the Jewish people by casting the newborn babies into the Nile River and torturing the people with excruciating labor (Sotah 11a). would be the ancestor of King David and Mashiach (Bava Kamma 38b). it would have been sufficient to say."for me" . that he was disappointed with Bilaam's performance." (22:6) QUESTION: The word "li" . "Obviously your idea failed: Not only did they multiply and survive. he should have spoken with confidence. Pharaoh. "So now. and Yitro. According to the Gemara (Sotah 47a) Ruth was the daughter of King Eglon. inwardly he doubted that Bilaam could really accomplish anything. fearing that ultimately the Jews would take control of the land.
300 (3:39. their number had to be at least 600. He intentionally used the singular "Atzum hu mimeni" because he meant that David's strength is inherited .000. Consequently. King David would never be born.imply that the Jewish presence would be permanently removed? ANSWER: The Midrash Rabbah (20:7) says that Balak told Bilaam that just as when one buys produce he expects one twenty-fourth of every se'ah (1 se'ah = approx. he sought to reduce the number of Jews by one twenty-fourth of every thousand people. would be the greatest curse against the Jewish people.from me .850. the remaining total of the Jewish people would have been only 599.strike him .Mashiach." "So now. When Balak sent his request to Bilaam he said "ki atzum hu mimeni" "for he is too powerful for me. If Balak had realized his wish." Since he was talking about the Jewish community he should have spoken in plural: "ki atzumim heim mimenu" .077.are superfluous. In addition to this.." (22:6) QUESTION: The words "ve'agareshenu min ha'aretz" "and drive them away from the land" . he asked for a curse against himself because he feared King David's future power." The lack of King David and Mashiach. According to a Midrash. perhaps I will be able to strike them and drive them away from the land. G-d forbid.550. they would not have been able to enter Eretz Yisrael and would have remained wandering in the desert. in order for the Jewish people to be worthy of entering Eretz Yisrael. that Balak's concern was to prevent the existence of King David. Don't the words "nakeh bo" . the census of the Jewish people totaled 625. but with Balak wiped out. 2." In accordance with the above. Moav was destined to be destroyed by him (see 24:17 and II Samuel 8:2). One twenty-fourth of the total count of the Jewish people amounts to 26. . Thus."mimeni" .since he is my descendent..773. likewise.2 gallons) to be spoiled (Bava Batra 93b). if their number had been reduced by one twenty-fourth. the tribe of Levi was counted separately and totaled 22. Why did Balak seek to reduce them specifically by this amount? The count of the Jewish people recorded in the beginning of Bamidbar (2:32) was 603. come and curse this people for me."for they are too powerful for us. Rashi). I beseech you.
physical defeat. Hence. why didn't he simply ask that he bless him to be victorious over the Jews? . I know you are a great prophet.and would remain wandering in the wilderness. there is no question that I will not be able to wipe them out because you have already blessed them to destroy their foes. By reducing the people by one twenty-fourth.blessed. all I am asking of you is to place a curse upon them so that I may at least drive them from the land. Consequently. Before she left home to marry Yitzchak. Balak wanted Bilaam to curse the Jewish people.Eretz Yisrael . Grammatically it should read "yevurach" . come and curse this people for me. not to annihilate them? 2. and intended two types of harm against them: 1) "Nakeh bo" ."will be cursed"? ANSWER: According to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 105a) Bilaam was originally Lavan. for I know whomever you bless is blessed and whomever you curse is cursed. "Our sister. Bilaam said to Balak. "Seeing the great nation that has emerged from your sister. why did he mention his power of blessing? 3. and whoever you bless is definitely mevorach . for I know that whomever you bless is blessed and whomever you curse is cursed. may you come to be thousands of myriads." "So now. I beseech you. the brother of Rivkah. Thus.. and may your offspring inherit the gate of its foes" (Bereishit 24:60)." (22:6) QUESTION: 1. "Perhaps I will be able to strike them and drive them away from the land. and 2) "ve'agareshenu min ha'aretz" .. Since Balak hated and feared the Jewish people.Balak vehemently hated and feared the people of Israel." (22:6) QUESTION: 1.expulsion from the land. the same as "yuar" . they would not be worthy to enter "the land" . why did he only ask for the ability to chase them away. he blessed her. Since Balak knew Bilaam's blessing power."will be blessed" in future tense.
obviously he could not do a great one. I am confident that your curses are sincere and come from the bottom of your heart. as it were. in order to curse the Jewish people."will be blessed"? ANSWER: For a blessing to be meaningful. to Bilaam's jaw."The kindness of G-d is all day long" (Psalms 52:3). The four-lettered Tetragramatton expresses His mercy. Rashi). the Kohanim were selected to bless the Jewish people since they are the descendants of Aharon. it is definitely not thanks to you." the hook . Bilaam endeavored to evoke the wrath of Hashem by pronouncing the name "Elokim" and the name "Kah."will be cursed" . my G-d. Why regarding cursing did he say "yuar" . "G-d put davar . "Knowing your viciousness and animosity towards people. Thus.a thing . "I cannot do a great or even a small thing against G-d"? ANSWER: The various names of Hashem represent attributes that He reveals to the Jewish people. when Bilaam attempted to pronounce the name "Elokim. but curse the Jews since those who you curse undoubtedly 'yuar' . I will not waste my time asking you to bless me. The two letters. He should have said the reverse.' " "I cannot transgress the word of G-d. Yud-Keh of the fourlettered name.'will be cursed.the person happens to be already blessed. Consequently. to do anything small or great. so that he was prevented from cursing the Jews. as a separate name.severity (see Shemot 17:16). Therefore. Therefore. who was the quintessential lover of his fellow man. "I have known you for quite some time as a vicious person without one iota of kindness. To give a blessing one must be devoid of jealousy and ill will. as it is stated "Chessed Keil kal hayom" .2. Balak said to Bilaam. are a sign of 'gevurah' .in Bilaam's mouth" (23:5) to mean either that He stationed an angel who controlled his mouth. When you bless someone and the blessing later seems to be fulfilled.in the future tense ." the first two letters of Hashem's four-lettered name. Thus."is [already] blessed" and not "yevurach" .while regarding blessing he said "mevorach" . one who always looks upon other people with an evil eye. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 105b) explains the pasuk. or that He fastened a hook. but because mevorach . your blessings are of absolutely no value because when you bless you do not mean it." (22:18) QUESTION: If he could not do a small thing. and the name Elokim indicates severity and judgment (see Bereishit 1:1. it must be given with good intentions and a kind heart. The name "Keil" is a sign of kindness.
to say only two letters of the four-lettered name . Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma was offered a million gold pieces." Why isn't the same conclusion drawn . He responded. his mouth was forced to complete the Tetragrammaton. "Bilaam arose in the morning and saddled his she-donkey. "Keil. he stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.e. How does Avraham's saddling his donkey affect Bilaam's? ANSWER: Avraham interpreted Hashem's request to bring up his son as an offering to mean that he should literally slaughter him. but . After binding Yitzchak on the altar. he woke up early in the morning and saddled his donkey in order to speedily fulfill Hashem's will." (22:21) QUESTION: Rashi writes that when Bilaam personally saddled his she-donkey." Further.i. "I shall honor you greatly" (22:17). He only said to him. On the other hand. His response that "all the money in the world will not sway my opinion" demonstrates his exceptional character.i.that Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma was greedy? ANSWER: Balak never offered to pay Bilaam for his services. Hashem said to him. he told them that he was not in control of his powers and it would be impossible for him to do "anything small" . "Wicked one. Even though there had been no talk of money. 'Avraham woke up early in the morning and saddled his donkey' " (Bereishit 22:3). I would dwell nowhere but in a place of Torah.or to do "anything great" . precious stones and pearls in the world. "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold.Pirkei Avot (6:9) relates that Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma was offered a position as Rabbi of a city. When Balak's messengers invited Bilaam to come to curse the Jewish people. when he wanted to say only the first two letters (Yud-Keh) of the four lettered name. Consequently. Avraham already preceded you. Bilaam referred to a large and specific quantity. although simultaneously the continuity of the Jewish people would cease.permitted him only to say the first two letters. to pronounce the name "Elokim" in its entirety. as it is stated.e. "Even if you were to give me all the silver and gold." (22:18) QUESTION: Rashi comments that from his words it is obvious that he was very greedy. so it is obvious that he was very greedy.
He sent an angel who stood on the road to impede him because "vehu rocheiv al atono" "he was riding on his she-donkey" . permeated with evil intentions. 'kum leich itam' . he saddled his donkey in anticipation of completing his journey as quickly as possible." (22:25) QUESTION: Why did the donkey crush Bilaam's leg against the wall? ANSWER: Many years earlier. "The she-donkey saw the angel of G-d.and it pressed Bilaam's leg against the wall. but only to bring him up and prepare him for a burnt-offering (see Rashi. Bereishit 22:2). I will surely not permit a wicked person like you to destroy them. Once Bilaam received permission from Hashem to go to Balak. wanted to curse the Jewish people.'arise and go with them' " (22:20). and thus end their existence. and an angel of G-d stood on the road to impede him. Then Lavan declared: "This mound shall . but He meant for him to arise and go by foot with them.. Observing the peak intensity of Bilaam's hatred for the Jewish people and lust to become rich at their expense. When Hashem noticed Bilaam's actions. Hashem thought that if it would take him a prolonged journey to reach his destination. but Hashem told him. Upon noticing the alacrity with which Bilaam approached to destroy the Jewish people. Hashem instructed him not to go. Balak sent a contingent of more prominent messengers and Bilaam greatly desired to fulfill Balak's request. "You wicked fool! Had I wanted to destroy the Jewish people I could have done it years ago through my faithful servant Avraham.. First Yaakov took a stone and raised it up as a monument. Hashem said to him." "G-d's wrath flared because he was going. perhaps his "fit" would subside. Lavan and Yaakov made a peace treaty. If I did not do it then through him. "If the men have come to summon you. Then they took stones and made a mound.suddenly an angel from heaven stopped him and explained that Hashem never told him to slaughter his son. He was riding on his shedonkey." (22:22) QUESTION: Why is it necessary for the Torah to tell us that Bilaam was riding on his she-donkey? ANSWER: When Balak's messengers originally came to Bilaam asking him to go and curse the Jewish people.and did not follow Hashem's instructions to go by foot. Bilaam on the other hand. Hashem did not tell him to travel by donkey.
"Falsehood has no feet" . In Hebrew the word for falsehood is "sheker". On the other hand the letters "Shin" and "Reish" have only one foot. When one deserves a punishment for transgressing before witnesses. and truth is "emet".which means that lies cannot "stand up" for long. Eventually truth prevails and lies dissipate. the Torah prescribes that "yad ha'eidim tiheyeh bo barishonah" . but not for long. and the "Kuf" has one foot longer than the other. 'No. each of which stand on two feet.be witness and the monument shall be witness that I may not cross over to you past this mound.the stones of the wall. Truth stands firmly on two feet and can stand forever."the witnesses should be first to administer the punishment" (Devarim 17:7). "Sheker ein lo raglayim" . 'Am I not your donkey that you have ridden all your life until this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do such a thing to you?' He said. Bilaam was permeated with falsehood."Alef" a . "And it pressed Bilaam's leg against the wall."Mem" and a "Tav". His attitudes.52) Bilaam was a descendant of Lavan (Sanhedrin 105a).because something true is true from beginning to end. he was punished by having his leg crushed by the witnesses . Therefore Hashem caused the donkey to injure his foot as a message that his attempts to hurt the Jewish people would be short-lived. and "tav" is the last letter. "alef" is the first letter of the alef-beit." (22:25) QUESTION: Why did Hashem make him injure his foot specifically? ANSWER: There is a saying. One may be able to stand on one foot. These three letters together spell the word "emet" . which makes it imbalanced. he was the first to violate this ancestral agreement. so blinded him that he thought that he could even deceive Hashem. By coming to curse the Jewish people. "mem" is the middle letter. "The donkey said to Bilaam. Emet is spelled with an .' " (22:30) . Since Bilaam had blatantly defied the agreement not to cause harm to the Jewish people."truth" . based on lust for glory and money. nor may you cross over to me past this mound and this monument for evil" (Bereishit 31:45. The fences in the vineyard where the angel stood were of stone (Rashi).
All others prophesied with the word "koh" . she asked him. and the one who "did not take the word of G-d to heart" was his adviser Bilaam.QUESTION: According to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 105b) during the dialogue between Bilaam and the donkey. Thus. during the plague of hail Bilaam's horse was out in the field and died. Bilaam's "wise" donkey wanted to ridicule him for not listening to Hashem and asked him. Immensely impressed by his own powers. otherwise the hail shall descend upon them and they shall die. Moshe warned Pharaoh to send a message to his people: " 'Gather your livestock from the field. the Sifri (Devarim 31:43) comments that although there was no equal to Moshe among the Jewish people."thus" (Rashi 30:2). "Why did you take me and not ride on a horse?" and Bilaam replied. "The one who feared the words of G-d" was Pharaoh's adviser Iyov.mentioned twice in the pasuk seems superfluous? ANSWER: Concerning the statement "There did not arise another prophet in Israel like Moshe" (Devarim 34:10). The only prophet to whom Hashem spoke directly and prophesied with the expression "zeh" . "Why didn't you go to the field to get your horse?" ANSWER: Prior to the plague of hail. "Shuv el Balak vechoh tedaber" ."here" . ."Return to Balak and speak with the term 'koh' and not 'zeh' " (23:5). Hashem limited Bilaam's power of speech and told him. "Why didn't you ride on your horse?" Though she knew very well that he had no horse. who was his equal. Bilaam arrived in Moav and told Balak to build altars and to prepare animals so that Hashem would reveal Himself and instruct him to prophesy with the term "zeh" as He had done to his counterpart.' Whoever among the servants of Pharaoh feared the word of G-d chased his servants and livestock into his house." Why didn't the donkey ask him. she was eager to force his embarrassing admission that he had disregarded Hashem's word. And whoever did not take the word of G-d to heart left his servants and livestock in the field" (Shemot 9:19-21). Moshe. According to the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel. "Build me here seven altars and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. To his great surprise and humiliation."this is" . "My horse was out in the field.was Moshe. the gentile world could boast of Bilaam." (23:1) QUESTION: The word "bazeh" .
bread and wine of non-Jews (Shabbat 17b). According to the Midrash the Jewish people are compared to lambs." (23:2) QUESTION: The Jewish people offer oxen. G-d forbid. the Sages have forbidden the oil. the lamb was selected because it represents humility."Balak did as Bilaam had spoken.is an acronym for "shemanan" . where they would partake of non-Jewish oil. However. their destruction would follow. he advised Balak of a way to destroy the Jewish community. . bread and wine. Thus.insignificant and unimportant .he went the route of "shefi" ."their wine. "And he went alone. The word "shefi" .arrogant and conceited. Prior to his departure. See to it that the Jewish people mingle with the Moabite women and their doom will be sealed. rams and lambs as sacrifices. "Their G-d hates immorality. his hatred of Jews and greed overpowered his better judgment. Why didn't Bilaam and Balak also offer lambs on their altars? ANSWER: The continual daily sacrifice in the Beit Hamikdash consisted of two lambs (28:3)." Balak followed Bilaam's advice and a grave plague took its toll."their oil" "pitan" ." (23:3) QUESTION: Of what importance is it to know how he went? ANSWER: Bilaam knew very well that he was under Hashem's control and that he could not harm the Jewish people without His consent. The Gemara (Chullin 89a) explains the pasuk "ki atem hame'at mikal ha'amim" . In an effort to prevent the Jewish people from intermarrying.and "yeinan" . the lamb.advising Balak to invite the Jews to their festivities. Though oxen are more select in the animal kingdom. Nevertheless. but his wicked mind was occupied with getting the Jewish people to eat together with the Moabites. the haughty Balak and Bilaam considered the humble lamb unworthy to be offered by such "exalted" personages as themselves. which demonstrate the trait of humility by walking head to tail. and Balak and Bilaam brought up a bull and a ram on each altar. He told him. was selected to be the daily offering in the Beit Hamikdash. representing the character of the Jewish people.to mean "you make yourself least" .while the nations of the world are the reverse . Ultimately he admitted his folly." Bilaam knew that he would not succeed in cursing the Jews."for you are the least among all the nations of the world" . Consequently. so that they would eventually intermarry and.their bread . "vayeilech shefi" ."alone" .
the third letters. On Reuven's banner were the letters BeisTzadik-Ayin. he immediately realized from the Hebrew letters upon them that Hashem does not want anything resembling a curse to be attached to the Jewish people. and the remaining "Mem" should hover over the Jewish camp. How shall I bring anger upon whom G-d is not angry."How shall I curse whom G-d has not cursed. the Tetragrammaton. . which are the first letters of the names of the Patriarchs: Avrohom. which means "to curse. Afterwards. Accordingly. which added five more letters to the names of the patriarchs. the total is thirty-one. Sarah." (23:8) QUESTION: What was Bilaam's proof that Hashem had not cursed the Jewish people? ANSWER: In the wilderness the tribes were divided into four groups and each had its own banner. Yitzchok. The letter "Heh. What does this have to do with Bilaam's inability to curse the Jews? ANSWER: There are a total of thirteen letters in the names of the patriarchs. and together with the letters of the matriarchs' names. Since in Avraham's name "Heh" is the fourth letter. and thirteen letters in the names of the matriarchs. "Yisrael". the final letters. Avrohom." the fourth letter of Avraham's name. and from hills do I see it. "How do you expect me to curse them?" "How shall I curse whom G-d has not cursed. On the banner of Yehudah were the letters Alef-Yud-Yud. Yaakov received an additional name. Leah. Yaakov. Rivkah. I see it rock-like. the letters of the names of the patriarchs and matriarchs together add up to twenty-six. On Ephraim's banner were the letters Reish-Ches-Kuf. For from its origins. the second letters of the names of the Patriarchs. Thus. he told Balak. and on Dan's were the letters Mem-Kuf-Beis. which is also the numerical value of the four-lettered holy name of Hashem. The reason that Hashem did not so instruct is because the letters Heh-Kuf-Beis can be arranged to form the word "kavah". Yitzchok. Yaakov. it would seem proper that the banner of Dan should bear the letters Heh-Kuf-Beis. hovered over all of the camps and protected them as they traveled from one destination to the other. which equals the Divine name of "Keil". the fourth letters of the Patriarchs' names." When Bilaam arrived and saw the banners of the Jewish people." (23:8-9) QUESTION: Rashi explains that "tzurim" and "geva'ot" mean the patriarchs and matriarchs [of the Jewish people]. Rochel.
"Yud" + "Tzadik" = 100.' They always bear in mind that the nations of the world do not consider them significant. What was the secret.e. Bilaam. the first and last letters can be paired together to equal 100: i. The only letter which remains unpaired is the "Nun". "Chof" + "Peh" = 100. the first and last letters can be added to equal ten: i. Rashi)." "Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations. "Beis" + "Ches" = 10. he wondered. In the category of tens. The second and second-to-last. "Since through their patriarchs and matriarchs they are strongly connected with Hashem's attribute of mercy and kindness. In the single category. The name "Keil. the second and second-to-last." (23:9) QUESTION: What did Bilaam mean with this description of the Jewish people? ANSWER: Bilaam was amazed by the Jewish people's survival in the face of constant oppression and persecution." (23:9) QUESTION: The word "Hen" . is "Heh".seems superfluous? ANSWER: The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet serve both as letters and numerals and are divided into three categories. "The reason they continue to exist is that they are 'a people apart.among the . Bilaam told Balak. without a pair.The four-lettered holy name represents Hashem's mercy and compassion (see Bereishit 1:1. etc. as it is stated "Chessed Keil kal hayom" . etc."The kindness of G-d is all day long" (Psalms 52:3). they do not assimilate since they know that 'ubagoyim lo yitchashav' . was alluding to a Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 15:7) in which Hashem says. in describing the Jewish people. From "Alef" to "Tes" are the single numerals. from "Yud" to "Tzadik" are the tens. and they realize that efforts to find favor in the eyes of the nations are futile." too. how can my curse have any effect?" "Behold it is a nation that will dwell in solitude.e. Even if on the surface it appears that they are accepted. he proclaimed. "Alef" + "Tes" = 10. of their success? In praise of the Jewish people."Behold" . is a revelation of Hashem's kindness. and from "Kuf" to "Tav" are the hundreds. The only letter that remains single. so too the Jewish nation is separate from the entire world and cannot join with any other nation. Thus. "Just as in the alef-beit the 'Heh' and the 'Nun' (Hein) remain alone without a pair.
they will lose their uniqueness and no one will reckon them as anything. "Mi mana afar Yaakov . Who has counted the dust of Yaakov or numbered a quarter of Israel? May my soul die the death of the upright. Thus.they will assimilate or adopt the lifestyles of the nations of the world . I yearn that in death I join the majority and that my end be like theirs . G-d forbid. Since they are the minority."You are all alive today" (Devarim 4:4). why don't they assimilate and join the nations of the world?" Then Bilaam himself offered an answer to his question. However. Consequently.then "lo yitchashav" . "ubagoyim lo yitchashav" . when. did Bilaam express the wish that his end be like theirs? ANSWER: An argument that Christianity makes to the Jewish people is.nations. we outnumber the Christians. "uvagoyim" . when describing the uniqueness of the Jewish people.if one counts the members of Yaakov who have returned to the dust over the years and who are going to be resurrected. Bilaam.Who counted the dust of Yaakov? . "It is a nation that dwells in solitude.e. i. "Chaim kulchem hayom" . in their hearts. they keep themselves separate and distinct. Even those who are not alive physically are still considered alive since they will be resurrected after Mashiach comes.resurrected in the days of Mashiach. Why don't you join our faith since we outnumber you?" One of the answers to this argument is that the Torah says about the Jews who cleave to Hashem. exclaimed of the Jewish people.a people apart from the entire world "yishkon" . the success of the Jewish people lies in the fact that they direct their lives according to the fundamentals and teachings of their Torah. and may my end be like his!" (23:9-10) QUESTION: Why.they do not "reckon" (care or worry about) what the nations of the world think or say about them." Alternatively. Bilaam was prophesying about the Jewish people: As long as they are "am levadad" . Alternatively. "You are the fewest of the peoples (Devarim 7:7). and your Torah requires you to follow the majority (Shemot 23:2). "Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations. one discovers that they are in fact the majority. the Jew is not reckoned and will never be given respect and acceptance." . puzzled.they will dwell and remain an entity. taking into account all the Jews of previous generations.
"Possibly your difficulty is that you look at the Jewish people as one entity. and surely you will be able to find faults in individuals. you will see their edge but not see all of them. However. which discusses the analogous case of one who brings a sacrifice without the libations." To their dismay. Though libations are indeed required with many sacrifices."The Gemara (Berachot 14b) says. Balak said to Bilaam.).' " (23:13) QUESTION: Balak was interested in the destruction of the entire people of Israel. however. why does Rashi mention reciting shema before donning tefillin? ANSWER: It is considered false testimony only when a person recites shema and does not put on tefillin at all. the Gemara (Menachot 15b) clearly rules that it is unnecessary to bring them together. Thus he speaks about the mitzvah of wearing tefillin. . This can be substantiated from the Gemara (ibid. he has properly fulfilled his obligation. you see their collective splendor. but does not actually perform it." (23:24) QUESTION: Rashi explains that lion-like "From the moment the Jews arise in the morning they strengthen themselves to seize mitzvot: put on tallit. if later on in the day he does put on tefillin. his recital of shema is not considered false testimony. "He who reads shema without tefillin is compared to one who gives a false testimony about himself. read the shema."Balak said to him. When one brings a sacrifice and a few days later brings the libations. Blind your eyes to their general excellence and concentrate only on certain aspects. their efforts were futile because each and every Jew in his own right was holy and righteous." If so. 'Go now with me to a different place from which you will see them. When you judge them as a whole. Why did he ask Bilaam to curse them from a place where he could only see some of them? ANSWER: Bilaam's attempts to curse the Jewish people were to no avail and his debut turned out to be a colossal failure. and put on tefillin. "Behold the people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion.
When one fears missing the deadline for the reciting shema, it is proper to recite it immediately without tefillin, and don the tefillin later on in the day.
"He declaimed his parable and said: 'The words of Bilaam son of Beor, the words of the man with the open eye.' " (24:3) QUESTION: Rashi interprets "shetum ha'ayin" to mean "blind in one eye." Why did Bilaam praise himself with his blindness? ANSWER: When the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, was a young boy he asked his father the following question: "Why did Hashem create me with two eyes. One eye would be sufficient because when I close one eye, I can see just as well?" His father explained that people have two eyes for a reason. There are certain things at which one should "look with the right eye" - i.e. love and concern - and there are things which one should "look with the left eye" - i.e. apathy and indifference. When one looks at a Jew, one should always look with the right eye and find his good qualities. The left eye is for worldly matters and things of minor importance. Sometimes one should even close it and not pursue materialistic desires. Balak was extremely disappointed with Bilaam because instead of cursing the Jews, he was praising and blessing them. Bilaam comforted Balak and told him, "Do not fear, I am blind in one eye. My right eye has no vision, and thus I cannot see any good in the Jewish people."
"How goodly are your tents, O Yaakov, your dwelling places, O Israel." (24:5) QUESTION: Rashi comments that Bilaam was amazed when "he saw that the openings [of their tents] were not lined up one with the other." Why did he focus on their "openings"? ANSWER: The Midrash Rabbah (Song of Songs 5:2) says that Hashem urges the Jewish people to do teshuvah, saying: "Pitchu li petach kechuda shel machat ve'Ani potei'ach lachem petachim shetiheyu agalot nichnasot bo" - "Make a small opening like that of the head of a needle and I will open for you an opening through which caravans can enter." In other words, the Jew merely has to begin the teshuvah process and Hashem will help him to attain the most lofty goals. Thus, the "openings" that Jews have to make and Hashem's reciprocal "opening" are not comparable.
Therefore, in praise and envy Bilaam said, "You Jews are so lucky; your opening and Hashem's opening are not 'lined up' - identical - to each other. You only have to put in a little effort and Hashem opens for you the vast gates of teshuvah. If your G-d loves you so much, how can my cursing possibly have an effect?"
"How goodly are your tents, O Yaakov, your dwelling places, O Israel." (24:5) QUESTION: Why do we open our daily prayers with words of the vile Bilaam, uttered in an attempt to annihilate the Jewish people? (In fact, some omit it and start from "Va'ani berov chasdecha" - see Responsa Maharshal 64). ANSWER: Inherent humility and insecurity usually inhibits a person from thinking highly of or praising his own endeavors and accomplishments. Very often he needs the assurance of an outsider to be convinced that his decision or action was correct. A popular adage states: "A stranger for a while sees for a mile." Particularly one who is familiar with "both sides of the fence" is in the best position to honestly appraise one's virtues. Bilaam the non-Jewish prophet had a profound insight of the secular world. When he took a close look at the Jewish people, he was stunned and flabbergasted at their beauty. Knowing keenly the shortcomings and faults of the gentile world, he involuntarily proclaimed, "How goodly are your tents, O Yaakov." In order to dispel any doubts that we may have about our convictions of G-dliness and Judaism, we proclaim these words at the very beginning of prayers. We thus recall that even the great gentile prophet, Bilaam, attested to the beauty and superiority of our religion.
"Now, flee to your place." (24:11) QUESTION: Why did Balak tell Bilaam to flee? ANSWER: Balak was very much afraid of the Jewish people. Since he would otherwise have had to engage armies to fight the Jews and incur great expenditures, he agreed to pay Bilaam a large fee for his services. Bilaam was confident that he would succeed and "lived it up" lavishly in the city of Moav. Now that his failure was obvious and he would not be remunerated, Balak advised Bilaam, "Run away quickly before the creditors get hold of you and kill you or put you in prison."
"Go, I shall advise you what this people shall do to your people in the end of days." (24:14) QUESTION: In lieu of "lecha" - "go" - he should have said "bo" - "come"? ANSWER: Balak feared the Jewish people would wipe out the people of Moav. Therefore, he hired Bilaam to annihilate the Jewish people through his power of cursing. Bilaam's attempts failed and he had to flee in shame. In parting, he said to Balak, "There is really no reason for you to be afraid of the Jewish people - lecha i'atzecha - I advise you - lecha - to go on with your activities and not pay any attention to them. What you have seen - asher ya'aseh ha'am hazeh le'amcha - what this people shall do to your people - i.e. the Jewish people will destroy Moav - is correct. However, this will not take place in your days, but be'acharit hayamim in a later period - when King David will reign. I see that then 'a star of Jacob shall step forth who will smite the corners of Moav' " (24:17).
"Come, I shall advise you what this people will do to your people in the end of Days." (24:14) QUESTION: The Gemara (Sanhedrin 106a) says that Bilaam advised Balak "The G-d of these people hates immorality" and presented him with a plan to entice the Jewish people to commit harlotry, so that Hashem would be angry and punish them. The episode related in the Torah about the relationship between the Jewish people and the daughters of Moav was a result of Bilaam's advice.Where is there an indication in the pasuk that Bilaam advised Balak to promote harlotry with the Jewish people? ANSWER: Bilaam sought to annihilate the Jewish people. Unable to succeed with his prophetic powers, he tried to destroy them through enticing them to intermarry. According to the Gemara (Kiddushin 68b), when a Jewish man marries a gentile woman, the children are considered non-Jewish. Consequently, Bilaam advised harlotry with the anticipation that the Jews would assimilate and cease to exist, G-d forbid. This is derived from our pasuk, which superficially is hard to understand. Instead of saying, "What this people [the Jews] will do to your people [Moav]," he should have advised him, "What your people [Moav] should do to this people [the Jews]."
" "Bilaam rose up and went and returned to his place. Midian. and ultimately they will cease to exist as Jews and become Moabites. Embark on a campaign to encourage intermarriage between Israel and Moav.your people. and Balak also went on his way. Prior to leaving. they concluded that there was no longer any need for the arch anti-Semite to be their king. the people participated and ate Moabite food. the people ate and prostrated themselves to their gods. "They invited the people to feasts which were prepared in honor of their gods. to where and to what did Balak return? ANSWER: Bilaam's endeavors to curse the Jewish people ended in a colossal failure. he realized that there was no reason to stay and returned to his homeland." (24:25) QUESTION: Bilaam returned to his homeland of Pethor in Aram.Bilaam was actually saying to Balak "I will advise you what this people [i. The people would undress and defecate before it (see Rashi)." (25:2. "They invited the people to the feasts of their gods. Moav] should do." Consequently. and cognizant of Balak's intense hatred of the Jews. he advised Moab not to fear the Jewish people. Now. Why is it necessary to tell us that they were invited to meals and that the people ate the food? ANSWER: The worship of Ba'al Pe'or involved scatological practices.to cause the Jewish people to become a part of amecha . how was it possible for them to attach themselves to Ba'al Pe'or and worship it? Therefore. so that his reign was short-lived. the Torah tells us that. Israel became attached to Ba'al Pe'or. After conveying this knowledge. he was forced to resign and he returned to his native country. le'amecha . If so. Balak was not really a native Moabite. for though in years to come the Jews under King David would wipe out Moab. at present they would not harm them.e.3) QUESTION: Hashem was angry with the Jews who worshipped Ba'al Pe'or. the Moabites invited him to become their king. but a Midianite. they were able to perform the scatological practices associated with Ba'al Pe'or. . Consequently. In the wilderness the Jews were sustained on manna from heaven which was entirely digested without creating any need to ease themselves (Yoma 75b). Fearing the Jewish people. Upon hearing from Bilaam that the Jews posed no present threat.
530 (601.Hashem echad" have the numerical value of 1. relied upon. The Targum is saying that Pinchas approached the sinners with confidence because he took." (25:6) QUESTION: Targum Yonatan ben Uziel writes that they were weeping "vekaryan Shema" . he brazenly confronted Moshe and asked.118. The word "romach" has the numerical value of 248. the son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen.300 Levites. "Is she forbidden or permitted? If you dare say she if forbidden.120." i.. who were killed for their own sins. the Jewish people were again counted. In Parshat Pinchas. after the plague which struck the Jewish community for the Pe'or incident." Why did they say Shema at this time? ANSWER: In the census of the Jewish people at the beginning of Bamidbar they numbered 603. weeping over the loss of 1. who permitted you to marry the daughter of a Midianite?" . there were 22." (25:7) QUESTION: Why didn't Moshe or Elazar take action? ANSWER: When Zimri decided to commit an act of adultery with Kazbi. In addition. Thus."and reciting Shema.850. 62).118. the merit of K'lal Yisrael. see 27:51."he took a spear in his hand" (25:7). i.000 Levites.e.118 people from the total Jewish population since the last census. Included in this were also the blasphemer and the Shabbat desecrator.730 + 23. saw."And they were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. in the recitation of the Shema 248 words are said (see Orach Chayim 61:3)..e. the Targum is saying that they were weeping "and reciting Shema. Thus. making a grand total of 625. the Torah relates that "vayikach romach beyado" . the total reduction of the Jewish population was 1. "Pinchas. and he stood up from amid the assembly and took a spear in his hand. When Pinchas observed the hineous crime. Alternatively. the actual reduction due to the plague was 1. who were reciting the Shema and declaring their dedication to Hashem. and together with the Levites they totaled 624. The words of the pasuk "Shema Yisrael.550. Thus. In this prayer the Jew affirms his acceptance of the heavenly yoke (kabbalat ol malchut shamayim) and acceptance of the yoke of mitzvot (kabbalat ol mitzvot).
" Of this law the Gemara (Sanhedrin 82a) says. "Pinchas. Though Pinchas was the son of Elazar.." (25:7-8) QUESTION: Pinchas guided himself by the halachah that if a person publicly violates the prohibition against having relations with a gentile. Moshe did not take action against Zimri. when one's instinct directs him to take immediate action.disqualified Kohen (see Rambam Isurei Be'ah 19:56).And pierced both of them. in what sense is it the halachah? ANSWER: A zealot is one who reacts to a situation instantly.."a question" . obviously he is not a true zealot."an interested party" .this halachah is not ruled for him. Thought-Provoking Ideas. and if his father married a woman who was forbidden. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights.(see Shemot 25:6) did not take any action. because Hashem declared him a Kohen only after killing Zimri. the Torah has approved and legalized such behavior. Hence. Consequently."If it is halachah. "ve'ein morin kein" . son of Aharon the Kohen. he may do so and it is within the parameters of the halachah. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Pinchas by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. Hence. In certain instances. why don't we so rule? If we do not so rule. because he has proven himself not to be a zealot. However. "kana'im pogim bo" . he takes immediate action. who was married to the daughters of Putiel Yitro . and he stood up from amid the assembly and took a spear in his hand. it would make him a challal . he did not hesitate to act. if a person sees a heinous crime being committed and before taking immediate action runs to the Rabbis to ask if he is permitted to act. For the same reason Elazar. too.when one inquires if he may slay the violator "we do not rule it. though it is the halachah."zealots may slay him.he may not rule in the matter since his decisions may be motivated by personal interest. at that time he could absolutely not be accused of conflict of interest. Upon seeing wrongdoing. the son of Elazar. but once one comes to ask a "she'eilah" .org • FAX (718) 735-4139 .When one is a "nogei'ah bedavar" . saw.
see Tanya. The people observing the vengeance with which Pinchas killed Zimri ben Salu. "The tribes were mocking him. Aharon. however. arrogant. but known by the title "Navi. Afterwards. he also expired himself. according to the above it is understood why the Torah never identifies his father and mother. many gentiles are vengeful. In order to dispel this notion. who was known to be a lover and pursuer of peace so that Pinchas would be applauded for his brave act on Hashem's behalf of punishing one who practiced rampant immorality."Let us create man" (Bereishit 1:26)."Pinchas. to be called by the name "Pinchas." Through his other grandfather. He is never mentioned as Eliyahu son of so and so. son of Aharon the Kohen. the Torah traces his lineage to his other grandfather. and cruel. the angel came to this mundane world clothed in the body of Pinchas and lived over 500 years to become the famous prophet Eliyahu. "Pinchas son of Elazar." or "Giladi. Consequently Eliyahu preceded Pinchas by many years. bashful and kind-hearted. however. He continued. doesn't he remain the descendant of an idolater." although in reality "Pinchas zeh Eliyahu" the person called "Pinchas" now had the life-force of Eliyahu." (25:11) QUESTION: Our sages write that "Pinchas zeh Eliyahu" "Pinchas is Eliyahu" . According to the Gemara (Yevamot 79a) the Jewish people are known to be merciful. so that the mockery still stands? ANSWER: Children inherit many of the characteristic traits of their parents and ancestors. Alternatively. the Torah draws his lineage to Aharon. the saying should have been "Eliyahu is Pinchas"? ANSWER: Eliyahu was one of the angels whom Hashem consulted when he said "Na'aseh adam" . when Pinchas killed Zimri. son of Elazar. the Prince of the tribe of Shimon. 'This grandson of someone who fattened calves to be sacrificed to idols killed a Prince in Israel." (25:11) QUESTION: Rashi writes. son of Aharon the Kohen. began to accuse him of wanton murder and attributed it to his descent from a family whose grandfather was a non-Jew who fattened calves to be sacrificed to idols. Incidentally. he reached a spiritual level which merited him the name "Eliyahu" (a name is a life-force." ." "Tishbi. Shaar Hayichud 1) through which he was enabled to return to earth. At that time.since Eliyahu lived generations after Pinchas.' Therefore. On the other hand.
Since he brought life to K'lal Yisrael. Shacharit. his name is written with a "yud. son of Elazar. "Pinchas.it should have said "bateil" .QUESTION: Why was Pinchas rewarded with longevity? ANSWER: Hashem's way of rewarding is midah keneged midah measure for measure. son of Aharon the Kohen. and fortunately Hashem "did not consume the Children of Israel in My vengeance" (25:11).Minchah. turned back My wrath from upon the Children of Israel.a fire descended from heaven (see I Kings 18:19-40). Minchah." indicating the parallel between him and Yitzchak. Avraham. Consequently. as does the name of the patriarch Yitzchak. son of Aharon the Kohen. According to the Gemara (Berachot 26b) the three prayers of the day. alluding that Pinchas who is Eliyahu. 6b) says that one should be very careful with praying the Minchah services since Eliyahu's prayers were answered during the afternoon prayer of Minchah. son of Elazar. "Pinchas. and the Gemara (ibid. It was agreed that he and they would each prepare an offering."Please G-d answer me" . Thanks to Pinchas' zealous act. and Maariv were originated by the patriarchs. would be answered in his confrontation with the false prophets when he would recite Yitzchak's prayer ."turned back" ." (25:11) QUESTION: Instead of saying "heishiv" . he was rewarded with long life. "Aneini Hashem aneini" . and according to the Zohar (237b) Pinchas with a "yud" has the numerical value of two hundred and eight. the plague that struck killed only 24. and the one whose offering would be consumed by a fire descending from heaven would be the representative of the authentic G-d. When Eliyahu prayed.000.What is the connection between Pinchas and Yitzchak? ANSWER: The prophet Eliyahu encountered the false prophets of the idol Ba'al and challenged them to prove whose G-d was in the true one. and Yaakov respectively." (25:11) QUESTION: In the Torah the name Pinchas is written with a "yud". All their attempts to bring down fire were to no avail. Yitzchak."nullified"? .
ANSWER: King David says, "Pinchas arose and executed judgment and the plague was halted. It was counted to him litzedakah - as a righteous deed - for all generations, forever" (Psalms 106:30-31). What does the act of Pinchas have to do with tzedakah? According to Torah law every Jew is obligated to give annually machatzit hashekel - a half-shekel - for the purchase of Karbonot Tzibur communal offerings (Shemot 30:15 Rashi). The word "machatzit" consists of five letters, the middle one being a "Tzadik", the first letter of the word "tzedakah". Immediately flanking the "Tzadik" are a "Ches" and a "Yud", which spell "chai" - "life" - and at the outer ends are the letters "Mem" and "Tav", which spell the word "meit" - "death." This is an allusion to the adage "utzedakah tatzil mimavet" - "charity saves from death" (Proverbs 10:2). Pinchas through his zealousness removed the plague from the Children of Israel, thus committing an act of tzedakah whereby life was reaffirmed and death was excluded from the community. In the word "chamati" - "My wrath" - it is the reverse. The middle letters are a "Mem" and a "Tav", which spell "meit" - "dead" - and the outer letters are a "Ches" and a "Yud", which spell "life." Hashem was saying that Pinchas "heishiv et chamati" - "inverted the word 'chamati' " expelling death and bringing in life.
"When he zealously avenged My vengeance among them." (25:11) QUESTION: The word "betocham" - "among them" seems superfluous? ANSWER: Often when a zealot witnesses wrongdoing, he organizes a support group around him and instigates them to detach themselves from the violators and create their own community. Thus, a split occurs and the community becomes fragmented. When Pinchas saw the shameless immorality and impudence of Zimri, he realized that drastic action was necessary. In lieu of splitting the community, he acted zealously and at the same time he remained "betocham" - part and parcel of the entire community. He did not create a break-away group consisting of the pious, but kept the community intact and uprooted Zimri and his companion from among them. Thus, the important teaching is to always strive for community unity, and in attempting to correct a situation, one should also work from "within," motivated with Ahavat Yisrael.
Alternatively, in reality every Jew was terribly upset with Zimri and the rampant immorality. They were all filled with anger and convinced that something drastic must be done. With the extra word "betocham" the Torah is attesting that it was not only Pinchas who acted zealously, with the others not emotionally involved, but that on the contrary, what he did was really "betocham" - in the heart of each and every G-d-fearing and right-thinking member of K'lal Yisrael.
"When he zealously avenged My vengeance among them...Behold! I give him My covenant of peace." (25:11-12) QUESTION: Superficially, both Pinchas and Korach were zealots. They both saw something that they considered wrong and took drastic action. Why was Pinchas so handsomely rewarded and Korach so severely punished? ANSWER: The major difference between them was not in what they did, but how they did it. Of Pinchas the Torah attests that whatever he did was "betocham" - "among them." He remained within the community and did not harm community unity in any way. About Korach the Torah writes, "vayikach Korach" - "Korach took" - and Onkelos translates "ve'itpeleig Korach," which means that Korach separated himself. Thus, for Korach's endeavors to separate himself and divisively create a following of his own, he was severely punished, though he may have been motivated by a spirit of zealousness.
"When he zealously avenged My vengeance among them... Behold! I give him My Covenant of Peace." (25:11-12) QUESTION: What is the connection between zealous vengeance and peace? ANSWER: A Jewish leader, on one hand, must be zealous and fight vehemently against those who threaten the continuity of Torah or who try to deface and demoralize the Jewish people. On the other hand, when necessary, he must be the "lover and pursuer of peace" and make every endeavor to promote harmony, and unity. A Jewish leader must embody these two contrasting character traits and exercise them when necessary. Consequently, when Hashem witnessed that Pinchas excelled in kana'ut - zealous vengeance - and acted with alacrity to destroy the people who attempted to infiltrate the Jewish community with immorality, He said, "I will give him briti shalom - My Covenant of Peace - i.e. bless him with the ability to make peace, and thus he will be an accomplished leader in Israel."
According to our sages, Pinchas was the prophet Eliyahu. What is the connection between them? Eliyahu was one of the outstanding zealots who fought and protested vehemently against the false prophets of Ba'al. He challenged them to a confrontation on Mount Carmel, and after successfully proving their falsehood, slaughtered them (see I Kings 18). On the other hand, the last mishnah of Eiduyot says that one of the functions of Eliyahu when he comes to announce the revelation of Mashiach will be "la'asot shalom be'olam" - "to make peace in the world" - and unite the Jewish people. Thus, upon receiving Hashem's blessing of peace, Pinchas embodied the two contrasting character traits which would be demonstrated by the great prophet Eliyahu.
Prior to Eliyahu's ascent to heaven in a fiery chariot, his dedicated disciple and successor Elisha asked "Vehi na pi shenayim beruchacha eilai" - "May my power of prophecy be double that of yours" (II Kings 2:9). Isn't it audacious for a student to speak this way to his teacher? Elisha realized that he would have to succeed his beloved teacher as the prophet and leader of the Jewish people. He admired immensely the dual character traits of his teacher and realized that they were a prerequisite for a leader. Therefore, with the utmost humility he begged his teacher to bless him that the "pi shenayim beruchacha" - "the double spirit" - i.e. the capability to be a zealot and also a peace-maker which he so exemplified - be bestowed "eilai" - "upon me."
"Behold! I give him My covenant of peace." (25:12) QUESTION: What is the "covenant of peace"? ANSWER: When Hashem asked Moshe to go to Egypt and redeem the Jewish People, Moshe pleaded "Please send the one whom you will eventually send" (Shemot 4:13). The Targum Yonatan ben Uziel explains that Moshe was saying to Hashem, "Please send Pinchas, who is destined to be Eliyahu, and inform the Jewish People of the coming of Mashiach." (This is a source for the famous statement that Pinchas is Eliyahu). The word "shalom" has the numerical value of 376 which is the same numerical value as the words "zehu Mashiach" - "this is Mashiach." The Rambam (Melachim 12:5) writes that in those days [of Mashiach] there will be no hunger, jealousy or competition.
Mashiach ."One who decides a halachic question on his own in the presence of his teacher. the "Vav" is incomplete to allude that as long as Pinchas Eliyahu . "When Hashem returns the captivity of His nation. say: 'Behold! I give him My covenant of peace. Israel will rejoice. the Jewish people have no real peace and the "Vav" taken by Yaakov will not be returned. "Therefore. he was in the category of "morah halachah bifnei rabbo" . He took the law in his own hands and acted on the spur of the moment. Yaakov's name is spelled without a "Vav" because at the time when Yismach .' And it shall be for him and his offspring after him. Rashi explains that Yaakov took the "Vav" from Eliyahu as a pledge that he will herald the coming of Mashiach to the Jewish People (Vayikra 26:42). and he atoned for the Children of Israel. a covenant of eternal priesthood. In David's statement. In Psalms 14:7. yagail Yaakov yismach Yisrael . 3) He is bitten by a snake. King David says. Hashem was alluding that Pinchas will be Eliyahu who will announce the coming of Mashiach. (25:12) QUESTION: Why in a Torah scroll is the foot of the "Vav" in the word "shalom" split? ANSWER: The name of Eliyahu is written five times in the Torah without its usual "Vav" while the name of Yaakov is written five times with an extra "Vav".the Jewish people . because he took vengeance for his G-d. "Behold! give him My covenant of peace. With Moshe present. 2) He dies without children surviving him.does not reveal the coming of Mashiach.13) QUESTION: Why did Pinchas specifically receive such a reward? ANSWER: Pinchas executed Zimri and Cozbi without first consulting Moshe.Hence." (25:12. .will reveal himself to Yisrael ." Our sages (Eruvin 63a) have spoken out very strongly against such conduct and identify three punishments for it: 1) The person is demoted from a position of authority. and that the Jewish people will then enter an era in which they will experience the highest degree of shalom." The word "yismach" can be rearranged to spell "Mashiach". Therefore.Yaakov will happily give up the "Vav" he held as a pledge and return it to Eliyahu.Jacob will exult.
he would not be demoted. his soul departed and Hashem revived him by placing the souls of Nadav and Avihu in him. see Tosafot Yom Tov. Because he sanctified Hashem's name. He would not. even unintentionally. but rather elevated. Therefore. and others hold that at the time he was an ordinary Kohen and afterwards he was awarded Kehunah Gedolah (See 25:13 Rashi. how was Pinchas permitted to be Kohen Gadol? ANSWER: According to the Zohar (217a)." When the Torah promises shalom. when he became a Kohen Gadol he was a new person and the fact that in a previous lifetime he had been a Kohen and had killed someone did not have any bearing on his current status. Thus. Hashem emphasized that the opposite would be the case. receiving "brit kehunat olam" . but on the contrary "vehayata lo ulezaro acharov" . 1. but on the contrary. G-d forbid. Bechorot 7:7)."I will provide peace in the land" . die without children. He would not be attacked by a snake or any other animal. Tefilah 15:3) a Kohen who kills someone. in the midst of the confrontation they repented in their hearts. as in Vayikra (26:6) "venatati shalom ba'aretz" ." (26:11) QUESTION: Rashi explains that "Korach's sons initially were together with him in planning the insurrection.My Covenant of Peace. a place was set for them up . when Pinchas killed Zimri."a Covenant of Eternal Priesthood. "But the sons of Korach did not die. If so." 3. "I am giving him briti shalom .Since people might have thought that Pinchas sinned and would ultimately be punished.According to halachah (Rambam. and Zevachim 111b)." (25:13) QUESTION: Some say that Pinchas became a Kohen only after he killed Zimri. however."it shall be for him and his offspring after him." 2." "And it shall be for him and his offspring after him a covenant of eternal priesthood. according to the opinion that he was already a Kohen.it clarifies that "vehishbati chayah ra'ah min ha'aretz" . is disqualified to give the Priestly Blessing (and may not perform the service in the Sanctuary."I will rid the land of vicious animals.
and the prophet Shmuel was one of their descendants. not publicly in word or deed. Yashuv is listed as "Yov" (Bereishit 46:13). they were still deficient. the pasuk. Why was his name changed to "Yashuv"? .. Why is this passuk in Parshat Pinchas and not in Parshat Korach? ANSWER: When Korach was swallowed by the earth. because they repented only in their hearts. If they were miraculously spared in merit of their righteousness. While it was meritorious for them to do teshuvah and detach themselves from their father's mischievous ways. the sons of Korach emerged on the surface of the earth alive (see 20:22. and no one knew that they repented in their hearts. Rashi). Hence. but while in the ground they were rewarded for their internal repentance.. when the members of the congregation who lived during Korach's dispute passed away.all the people who were with Korach" (16:32)? 2. of Yashuv the Jashubite family" (26:23-24) QUESTION: When the sons of Yissachar who came to Egypt are enumerated. However. "The sons of Korach did not die" is not in Parshat Korach but in Parshat Pinchas. The reason for this unique form of punishment was that Hashem's punishments are "measure for measure. they remained alive and sang praises to Hashem. Ultimately. his sons were swallowed too. they should have not been sent to any place in Geihinom at all? 3.high in Geihinom where they sat [and recited songs to Hashem for their salvation]" (see Sanhedrin 109a). since at the time of Korach's rebellion they were thought to have died. they emerged alive.. "The family of Yissachar according to their families . While being removed from the eyes of the world. Therefore they deserved punishment and were swallowed in. and only subsequently returned to life. 1. Therefore the people saw that they were swallowed up together with Korach's contingent." It appeared to the people who witnessed the uprising that they were together with their father in his war against Moshe.. How does this correspond with the Torah's statement "The earth opened its mouth and swallowed. Korach's fate was permanent and theirs was only temporary. Afterwards.
. Some read it with double "Sin" until Yashuv's name is mentioned in this parshah. and as an appeasement Yissachar gave him a "Sin" from his name which changed his name to "Yashuv.. Thus Yud-Keh-Vav-Keh becomes Mem-Tzadik-PehTzadik. Therefore we put a "Shin" on the sides of the Tefillin of the head because of its equivalence to the Tetragrammaton." (26:23) QUESTION: Should "Yissachar" be pronounced with a single "Sin" or a double? ANSWER: There are varying customs whether to read the name "Yissachar" with a double "Sin" or one "Sin".)." He complained about this to his father. afterwards reading Yissachar with one "Sin". Others have a custom to read it with a double "Sin" only the first time he is mentioned in the Torah (Bereishit 30:18). .ANSWER: When the Jews arrived in Egypt. "The family of Yissachar. (The "Yud" becomes a "Mem". reading it from then on with only one "Sin". the holy Name of Hashem Yud-Keh-Vav-Keh numerically values 300. Yov became aware that the Egyptians had an idol called "Yov. he appeased him by giving him a "Sin" from his name because of its equivalence to Hashem's holy name.) The Gemara (Berachot 6a) explains the pasuk "All the peoples of the earth will see that the name of G-d is proclaimed upon you and they will fear you" as a reference to the Tefillin of the head. the "Heh" becomes a "Tzadik". and the "Vav" becomes a "Peh". Since Yov complained to his father for giving him a name which is name of an idol." QUESTION: Why was the appeasement necessarily with the letter "Sin" and not any other letters from his name? ANSWER: The Beit Yosef (Orach Chaim 32) writes that the reason for a "Shin" on the head Tefillin is that a "Shin" has the numerical value of 300 and according to the alef-beit known as At Bash (in which the "Alef" is exchanged with the "Tav" and the "Beis" with the "Shin" etc.
"her" . and Otah bore him his daughter Yocheved. daughter of Levi. Consequently the "Sin" for the revealed part of Torah is read aloud.seems superfluous? Moreover. "who gave her birth") to Levi in Egypt. Yocheved was his aunt only paternally. to always read it with a double "Sin". though Amram was the son of Kehat. Levi's wife] gave birth. because he may have had two wives. which consists of two parts ." (26:59) QUESTION: The word "otah" .revealed and hidden (esoteric).."The mouth of those who speak falsehood should be closed up" (Psalms 63:12) ."was born" instead of "yalda" which means "gave birth"? ANSWER: According to Rashi this is an abbreviated pasuk which is missing the word "ishto" . Gershon. Kehat. Thus.whom Otah bore to Levi in Egypt. Followers of this custom find a remez (hint) for this in the words "Yisacheir pi dovrei shaker" ." (27:3) QUESTION: Their question was whether they inherit their father's share in Eretz Yisrael. it should have said "nolda" .. to whom [his wife. but he died for his own sin and he had no sons. in the assembly of Korach.. The two shins in his name correspond to the two parts of Torah.. i.The custom of Chabad is to always read it with one "Sin"." In the opinion of Da'at Zekeinim. it is not a contradiction to the above. who married Amram. "Our father died in the wilderness and was not . Adinah gave birth to his sons." and it was she who bore to Levi his daughter Yocheved.e.16).which they explain to mean that reading "yisachar" with only one "Sin" is the "mouth of those who speak falsehood. the name of Levi's wife was "Otah. According to this. to Levi in Egypt. and Merrari. but the "Sin" for the hidden part of Torah is kept silent."his wife." The pasuk is saying "The name of Amram's wife was Yocheved daughter of Levi. the pasuk reads ". There is yet another custom." Though some hold that the name of Levi's wife was Adinah. The reason is that Yisachar represents Torah (see Midrash Rabbah 13:15. who was born (lit. Why was it necessary to mention the cause of his death? ." "The name of Amram's wife was Yocheved.
the sheep run ahead and he walks behind them with a stick. Beit HaBechirah 6:11). it will be easier for him to flee and save his own life.. in short.and let the assembly of G-d not be like sheep that have no shepherd. Since Moshe was a king (Rambam. but he died for his own sin and he had no son'." (27:3. who would always be a trailblazer for the people to follow. and Moshe brought their claim before G-d. He does this to keep the herd together and so that if they are attacked. a herd of sheep in the pasture can appear to lack a shepherd.5) QUESTION: Why didn't Moshe answer them on his own? ANSWER: A judge has to be careful not to accept a bribe in any form. The daughters of Tzelafchad were very wise (see Bava Batra 119b) and therefore intentionally preceded their question with the fact that their father died for his own sin and was not affiliated with Korach. one who would not walk behind them and keep a low profile. when someone is sentenced to death for moreid bemalchut . judges can lose their neutrality.. Moshe suddenly felt the tint of a bribe and therefore removed himself from the case and turned to Hashem for His decision. should Tzelafchad have died for being a member of Korach's group who rebelled against Moshe. then his assets remain with his family (See Rambam. but one who would take the initiative and give direction. he would have then been considered a moreid bemalchut." (27:17) QUESTION: Why is it necessary to give the analogy of sheep without a shepherd? Suffice it to say. " 'Our father died in the wilderness and was not .his assets become government property.. in the assembly of Korach.. Moshe prayed to Hashem to appoint a leader for the Jewish people. "Who shall go out before them and come in before them. "The congregation will have a shepherd. However. The Torah says that "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise" (Devarim 16:19). Aveilut 8:9). Thus.. a leader. If he is executed for simply violating a law." ANSWER: When a shepherd takes his sheep to pasture.. i. and they would have lost all claims to his inheritance. as soon as they injected that their father was not among Korach's contingent.rebelling against the jurisdiction of a king . Moshe was indeed able to answer them on his own.ANSWER: According to halachah. .e.
Moshe was on a much higher level. "Male lambs in their first year. were able to compare him to Yehoshua and said that indeed. "Vayehi erev vayehi boker yom echad" .and not "yom rishon" ." (27:20) QUESTION: The Gemara (Bava Batra 75a) says that the elders of the generation said. unblemished. Thus they compared Moshe's countenance to the sun because "The skin of his face had become radiant and they feared to approach him" (Shemot 34:30). Some people thought that Yehoshua was intrinsically as great as Moshe and that his apparently lesser stature was merely due to his relative youth.the Midrash Rabbah ." Why were the elders the ones who said this? ANSWER: Not only was there an age difference between Moshe and Yehoshua." It says "yom echad" . they were created by different gods. who remembered Moshe as a young man. A reason for the analogy to sun and moon is that it is possible to look directly at the moon."It was evening and it was morning. even at Yehoshua's age. They proclaimed. while Yehoshua's was like the moon. but Moshe attained much greater spiritual heights than Yehoshua.to dispel the erroneous conception that since night and day are opposites. two a day. "Woe because of that shame. as an olah tamid . and that the difference between them was like the difference between the moon and the sun. it should read in plural "olot tamid"? ANSWER: When Hashem completed the first day of creation it is written.continual elevation. the elders of the generation. Therefore. On the pasuk which says of Jerusalem that "Tzedek yalin bah" "Righteousness lodged in it" (Isaiah 1:21) . "The countenance of Moshe was like that of the sun."one day" . instead of "olah" in singular. Woe because of that embarrassment" since it was a great humiliation for them to witness the decline in the spiritual levels of the leaders of the generations. Therefore. Woe because of that shame." (28:3) QUESTION: Since it is talking of two lambs."You shall place some of your majesty upon him. the Torah states "yom echad" to indicate that all phases of a 24-hour day were created by the One and Only G-d. one day. so that the entire assembly of Israel will pay heed."the first day" . but impossible to look at the sun. woe because of that embarrassment.
the morning continual-offering was slaughtered on the northwest side of the altar (see Tamid 30b) since it atoned for the sins committed when the sun was down (night). While the offering consisted of two lambs daily. Why does it say there "et hakeves ha'echad" ." which would mean "the first. it is written in singular "olah tamid" that they are both a continual-offering to the One and Only G-d." (28:4) QUESTION: The karban tamid . the second one. it was necessary to wait till the next day and first bring the morning lamb offering (See Rambam. The altar could be inaugurated only with the morning sacrifice. and in our parsha."the lamb.(Bamidbar 21:21) says that a person would not sleep over in Jerusalem without being rid of his sins: the morning continual.offering forgave the sins of the night. was not offered. can be brought even if the morning one. it is repeated as a commandment for its daily performance (see Rashi). and even if . However. by different gods and divine powers. one in the morning and one in the afternoon.e. and if it was not offered in time. An exception to this is the continual-offering for the inauguration of the altar. and there is no provision to bring the second (afternoon) one without previously bringing the first." . Temidim Umusafim 1:12). G-d forbid." because the morning one is not a prerequisite in order for the afternoon sacrifice. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.with the designative "Heh". omitting the morning one had no effect on the afternoon one. In order that some may not conclude that the forgiveness of the morning and afternoon continual-offerings are. therefore.while here it merely says "et hakeves echad. and the afternoon continual-offering forgave the sins of the day. Consequently in Parshat Tetzaveh. the first one. they were not dependent on one another.daily continual-offering is first mentioned in Parshat Tetzaveh (Shemot 29:39). "The one lamb shall you make in the morning and the second lamb shall you make in the afternoon. it does not state "ha'echad. it is written "ha'echad. because for the inauguration of the altar the morning one must be brought first. since in the normal daily service the afternoon offering." without the designative "Heh"? ANSWER: In Parshat Tetzaveh the commandment to offer a daily continual-offering was given as a part of the inauguration of the altar. and the afternoon one was slaughtered on the northeast because it atoned for the sins committed during the time the sun was risen (day). i. the one" .
its lips are seen first and therefore it is also permissible to blemish them. When Hashem offered the Jewish people the Torah they immediately responded "Na'aseh ve'nishmah" . who gestured contemptuously with his hand as if to say "If goat is better."We will do and we will listen. and if it is a firstborn it is permissible to blemish it to avoid having to give it to the Kohen. and thus there will be a total of eighteen kohanim. However." . With the above it is understood why the allusion to eighteen kohanim ha'echad . "It is the continual elevation-offering that was done at Mount Sinai.is written in Parshat Tetzaveh. In both the morning and afternoon offerings nine kohanim were involved (see Tamid 31b). This is alluded to with the extra "Heh" in the word "ha'echad" which causes the word to have the numerical value of eighteen. If only part of the head emerges. actually. In the Gemara (Bechorot 35a) Rava says that a goat has very long ears and as his head emerges the ears are seen first and it is permissible to blemish it before the entire head emerges. was the lamb chosen over the goat as a daily sacrifice? The explanation may be the following: According to halachah. while here it only says "echad. They consulted the High Priest Yissachar of the village of Barkai.the one offered first. a fire-offering to Hashem."one" (for the morning offering). for a total of eighteen. the morning one must be ha'echad . "You are an impulsive people. an animal is considered fully born once the entire head emerges. When a lamb is born." In the permanent offering it is possible on a given day that only the afternoon one will be brought and thus only a total of nine kohanim will be involved. Thus it is merely "echad." The Gemara (Shabbat 88a) relates that a heretic once said to Rava. the second (afternoon) can still be offered. You put your mouth before your ears. why isn't it used for the daily sacrifice?" Why. lamb or goat. the ears are small and are not seen until the entire head emerges.it was not brought. However. when the altar is inaugurated. for a satisfying aroma." (28:6) QUESTION: What is the connection between the daily offering of a lamb and Mount Sinai? ANSWER: The Gemara (Pesachim 57a) relates that once a king and queen of the Hasmonean family were discussing which meat is tastier. They decided to ask the Kohen Gadol. who would most probably know since he was offering sacrifices continuously. it is still considered unborn." .
and ninety-eight lambs. two rams." (29:12.. Therefore He had no alternative but to diminish the moon. one male goat for a sin-offering. "We are a trustworthy people of whom it says. human misdeeds necessitated Hashem's decision to diminish the moon. The moon came before Hashem and argued that it is improper for two kings to have an identical crown. "[On Rosh Chodesh bring] one he-goat for a sin-offering to G-d. The sun was appointed to rule over the day and the moon over the night.. they were of equal size and strength. and humans must bring an atonement "for Hashem.16) QUESTION: Why besides the daily continual-offerings and the one he-goat as sin-offering which were offered on every holiday." (28:15) QUESTION: Rashi writes that Hashem requested.. He did not because after He created the world He decided that the wicked were not worthy of enjoying the original intense illumination of the sun and He stored it away for tzaddikim to enjoy in the future (Chagigah 12a). 'The perverseness of the transgressors shall destroy them' " (Proverbs 11:3). therefore.13. Hashem had another alternative: to leave the moon as it was and to enlarge the sun. 'The integrity of the upright shall guide them' and of corrupt people it says. Why did Hashem diminish the moon? In reality." "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month. were there an additional one hundred and eighty-two offerings in honor of Sukkot? (Seventy bulls. Hashem diminished the moon (Bereishit 1:16. Rashi).Rava replied. In response. it has been selected as the daily continual-offering to emphasize the praise of the Jewish people.. who at Mount Sinai put their mouth before their ears.thirteen young bulls.) . fourteen male lambs in their first year . The pasuk connects the continual-offering of a lamb with Mount Sinai to indicate that since the lamb's lips emerge before its ears."Why do we have to bring an atonement because Hashem made the moon smaller? ANSWER: When the sun and moon were originally created. "Bring an atonement for Me because I have made the moon small. fourteen rams. Thus. aside from the continual-offering.
and Yaakov. The total number of bullocks offered on the other four days was also 35.16) QUESTION: Why for the first. When the angels visited Avraham. Orach Chaim (417). the 70 nations are their affiliates. In Kabbalistic teachings Yishmael is referred to as a "se'ir izim" while Eisav is referred to as "se'ir" (see Bereishit 27:11 and Joshua 24:4). Since Sukkot is in his honor. the Beit Yosef writes in the name of his brother Rabbi Yehudah. when a total of 35 bullocks were offered. Therefore. which came from the ram which was offered in his stead.. second and fourth days. "Yaakov journeyed to Sukkot and built himself a house and for his livestock he made shelters. one hundred and eighty-two sacrifices were offered. on the first. that the three festivals Pesach. The name "Yaakov" has the numerical value of one hundred and eightytwo." (29:18) QUESTION: According to the Gemara (Ta'anit 2b) there were water libations on the altar during the Sukkot festival which are alluded to in the portion discussing the Sukkot ." (29:12. and one he-goat for a sin-offering. and Sukkot correspond to the patriarchs Avraham. the Torah uses the expression "se'ir izim" to represent Yishmael.ANSWER: In the Tur. the term "se'ir" and not "se'ir izim" is used. and according to the Zohar. "Hurry! three se'ahs of meal. Yitzchak. ibid. 33:12). he therefore called the name of the place 'Sukkot' " (ibid. 18:10). Since they corresponded to Eisav. and fourth days of Sukkot does it state: "Use'ir izim echad chatat" while for the other days it merely says: "Use'ir chatat echad"? ANSWER: During the seven days of the festival of Sukkot a total of 70 bullocks were offered as sacrifices.. he told Sarah. fine flour! Knead it and make cakes" (Bereishit 18:6). second. Since it was Pesach. "And their meal-offerings and their libations. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah and corresponds to Yitzchak because it was heralded by the blast of the shofar. Shavuot. corresponding to the 70 nations of the world (Sukkah 55b). The visit took place on Pesach (see Rashi. "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month. and the cakes she baked were actually matzot. Yishmael and Eisav were the major powers of the world. Sukkot is for Yaakov. as the pasuk says. he wanted her to prepare the dough herself to guard against leavening (Alshich).
"its libations" . Thus. 3. Avraham directed his faithful servant Eliezer to seek a suitable wife for Yitzchak. he engaged Rivkah to be the wife of Yitzchak. and at that time she was three years and three days old (Mesechta Sofrim 21:9). On all the other days it is written "veniskah" . there are water libations on the altar during the festival of Sukkot."as required" except that on the seventh day it says "kemishpatam" . which resulted through an act of kindness performed with water. To commemorate the marriage of Yitzchak. The "Final-Mem" is superfluous since for plural it could read "unesachehah"." in plural. When Eliezer met with Rivkah's family he told them "I came today to the spring" (Bereishit 24:42). it is written "veniskeihem" "their libations.in singular (V'niskah). On that day he was informed of Sarah's passing and Rivkah's birth. Avraham returned from the Akeidah on the 13th day of Tishrei. Why was it necessary for him to tell them this? . (See Rakanti and Vayikra Rabbah 29:9. Three years later. The one whom he would ask for a drink of water and who would also offer water for his camels would definitely be good-natured and suitable to marry Yitzchak. the earth contracted enabling him to come from Be'er Sheva to Aram Naharayim in less than one day. the first day of Sukkot." 1. Why were there water libations during the festival of Sukkot? ANSWER: According to some opinions."in their requirements" containing a superfluous "Final-Mem". this episode took place on the fifteenth of Tishrei. On the second day. The day Eliezer arrived.) From Avraham's home to the land of Moriah was a three-day journey (Bereishit 22:4). The Gemara (Sanhedrin 95a) says that he was telling them that although the trip should have taken seventeen days."its libation" .in plural with an added "Yud" (U'nesache'ha). 2. the Akeidah took place on Yom Kippur. Eliezer arrived in the city of Aram Naharayim and planned to test the girls of the city.offering through three extra letters which spell "Mayim" "water. thus. Each day it says "kamishpat" . Only on the sixth day does it say "unesachehah" .
It is difficult for me to see the separation and disunity among you when you are busy with your weekday business."Our parting is difficult for me"? ANSWER: On a holiday people are relaxed.) The Gemara (Sukkah 47a) says about Shemini Atzeret that it is "Regel bifnei atzmo" . 'separation') is difficult for me" (Rashi). etc.According to halachah there are limits to how much one may walk on Shabbat and Yom Tov from the outskirts of a city. in order to avoid suspicion for violating halachah he told them that the earth contracted. During the week. before deciding to convert. Hashem added Shemini Atzeret because "kasheh alai peridatchem" ."on one foot."holiday" . they often come into conflict. traditions. One thing however bothered him: what is the significance of the "regel" . "That which you do not want done unto you. When Jews are united and live in peace. he made his decision to convert." Hillel responded. Exempted from this restriction is a case in which the earth contracts (see Eiruvin 43a). After comprehending the beauty of Torah. studied Torah and was quite familiar with our holidays."a separate holiday" independent of Sukkot. (See Rabbeinu Bachya and Chagigah 3a. Since Eliezer arrived on Sukkot. in good spirits and in harmony one with another. Shavuot. ." (29:35) QUESTION: After celebrating Sukkot for eight days. "The eighth day shall be a restriction for you. do not do unto others .It should have said "kasheh alai peridateinu" ." The Gemara (Shabbat 31a) relates that a gentile came to the great sage Hillel asking to be converted on the condition that he teach him the entire Torah while he stood "al regal achat" . After observing the Jewish people celebrating eight days of harmonious living. facilitating his journey."your going away (lit. Therefore. Hashem added another day saying: "Kasheh alai peridatchem ." Why did the gentile make such a strange condition? In Torah. The gentile. let us have one more day of Yom Tov.this is the entire Torah. however. when people are involved in the hustle of their day-to-day life. the holidays are called "regalim" (Shemot 23:14) because of the mitzvah of making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem by foot. Hashem takes delight in His people.of Shemini Atzeret? He knew the reason for celebrating Pesach.
" Hillel replied that Shemini Atzeret was given to the Jews because Hashem said.is to foster unity and Ahavat Yisrael among the Jewish people. celebrate this one more day in unity. Consequently.' i. "Your separation [among yourself] is difficult unto me. Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Matot by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. A man shall not desecrate his word. Moshe specifically warned the heads of the tribes that their promises and pledges were to be treated seriously.. precisely explained." This can be understood as a reference to dissension between Jews themselves." Simply explained.. Therefore. he said to Hillel metaphorically. the phrase means. but for which the Torah does not give any reason. Moreover.3) QUESTION: Moshe taught all the commandments first to the heads of the tribes and afterwards to the entire community (see Rashi). when actually in office. but saw no rationale for Shemini Atzeret." .'If a man takes a vow to G-d. he endeavors to impress his constituents that he will perform their every wish. "I cannot bear to witness strife and animosity between you. "I am prepared to convert. but first you must clear up an enigma bothering me.e.org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes.which I am trying to 'stand on.. and Sukkot. Hashem is saying. Yom Kippur.. yet when not actually facing them he erases their concerns from his mind. "Kasheh alai peridatchem. Therefore. Why is this emphasized in connection with the laws of vows? ANSWER: Often a candidate for office makes lavish promises.' " (30:2. but "Whatever comes from his mouth shall he do. Teach me all there is to know about 'regel achat' .According to whatever comes from his mouth shall he do.Rosh Hashana. However.holiday . understand. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights. Thought-Provoking Ideas. and may it evoke a spirit of unity within you for the entire year.'the holiday of Shemini Atzeret' ." Thus the essence of this regel . this means that Hashem is distressed by the leave-taking between Him and the Jewish people after Sukkot.
"The kingship does not become Nevuchadnetzar. "If a person desires to retract a vow."a prominent person" . When Yechanya was exiled. When they reached the chapter. When he saw that they were all men of imposing appearance." He said to them.. "It seems to me that you must have absolved Tzidkiyahu of the oath which he swore to me." and he swore." They immediately began to read it chapter by chapter and translate it. One day he entered his presence and found him tearing the flesh of a hare and eating it while it was yet alive. 'I saw Nevuchadnetzar tear the flesh of a [live] hare and eat it."man"? ANSWER: The Midrash Rabbah (Lamentations 2:14) relates: Rabbi Elazar said: Let not the chapter on vows be lightly esteemed in your eyes."If a man takes a vow to G-d. King Nevuchadnetzar appointed Tzidkiyahu over five kings. according to whatever comes from his mouth shall he do.once he has taken the vow or made the promise. and he used to enter and leave [the King's presence] without permission. "Expound the Torah to me. and they said to him. he ordered seats of honor for them. because on account of that chapter were the members of the Great Sanhedrin of Tzidkiyahu slain.' " The latter forthwith came and took up his residence in Daphne of Antioch.. "I once saw him tear the flesh of a [live] hare and eat it." He too sneered at Nevuchadnetzar and said. can he do so or not?" They replied. The Torah is teaching that though halachically this is possible. According to halachah. "That Jew who enters and leaves your presence without permission has informed us. The King said to him. "Swear to me that you will not disclose this about me.he shall not desecrate his word. but it becomes you since you are of the seed of David." (30:3) QUESTION: The law not to desecrate one's word and to do "according to whatever comes from his mouth" applies both to men and women. the five kings were sitting and sneering at Nevuchadnetzar in the presence of Tzidkiyahu." They immediately sent and told the King. should heed the lesson of ." He immediately ordered them [to be removed from their seats of honor] and placed them on the ground" (see also Nedarim 65a). one who takes a vow or swears an oath can consult a Torah authority and annul it. Subsequently. "He must go to a Sage who absolves him of his vow. He said to them. Why the phrasing "ish" . "When a man takes a vow" he said to them. The members of the Great Sanhedrin went out to meet him. an "ish" .
but do "whatever comes from his mouth."he shall not desecrate his word" . an oath. he may not seek relief from a scholar. the Tur Shulchan Aruch. According to halachah the same applies also to one who swears an oath." (30:3) QUESTION: Since it already says. according to whatever comes from his mouth shall he do.although others can annul it for him. for her father has restrained her. however." What difference did it make if he had never sought to be released from a vow? Though the halachah is not according to Rav Hai..he shall not desecrate his word. Therefore Hashem said." The Gemara (Ketuvot 77b) relates that when Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi was about to die. "I swear I will not go back. he can consult a Torah scholar and have it annulled.. When a person makes a vow. but if not. Yorah Dei'ah 230 records an opinion in the name of Rav Hai that an oath cannot be annulled."according to whatever comes from his mouth shall he do" is a redundancy? ANSWER: The pasuk is talking about both vows and oaths. he need not return. Rabbi Yehoshua jumped over the wall and exclaimed. cannot be annulled by anyone and "according to whatever comes out of his mouth he shall do. all her vows or prohibitions that she established upon herself shall not stand. if someone does assume such a stringency and makes a vow." Hashem ruled that "if he ever had an oath annulled he must return.' and thus his oath cannot be annulled and he can remain in Gan Eden. and Hashem will forgive her. then 'whatever comes from his mouth he shall do. However. though he may not desecrate it. The Torah may be alluding to this opinion by saying of a vow "lo yacheil devaro" ."he shall not desecrate his word" . "lo yacheil devaro" ." (30:6) . "If Rabbi Yehoshua has always conducted himself according to this opinion. the Angel of Death lifted him up and showed him his place in Gan Eden." "If a man takes a vow to G-d or swears an oath.Tzidkiyahu and not seek ways out of it." "But if her father restrained her on the day of his hearing.the conclusion of the pasuk "kechal hayotzei mipiv ya'aseh" .
"That kidnapper shall die. and therefore he killed ten sages. The Roman King had seen in the Torah that the punishment for kidnapping and selling a person is death (Shemot 21:16). the Gemara (Shabbat 89b) says. the tribes would have been brought down to Egypt in iron chains. "If a man is found to have kidnapped and sold one of his brothers of the Children of Israel. Hashem intended it for good in order to keep alive a great people" (Bereishit 50:20). how much more does one need atonement if he actually carries out his intention?"Why was Rabbi Akiva the one who would cry? ANSWER: During the days of the Roman government. Rabbi Akiva in his great holiness envisioned his fate. despite wronging Yosef. Why were ten sages killed? According to the Midrash (see Rashi. and they were put to death on behalf of their forefathers. would not be punished since. When Rabbi Akiva would study this pasuk he would cry and exclaim.if in such an instance the person needs atonement. As Yosef himself told his brothers.QUESTION: The Gemara (Kiddushin 81b) says that this refers to a girl who does not know that her vow has been revoked. and violates it thinking it is still in effect. Technically she has not sinned. ." Consequently. "Were it not for the sale of Yosef which ultimately caused Yaakov and his children to come to Egypt. ten sages were put to death. Bereishit 37:33) the brothers had agreed not to reveal to Yaakov the whereabouts of Yosef and had made Hashem a party to the agreement. Yosef's brothers. At the time when Yosef was sold only nine brothers were present (Reuven had returned home and Binyamin did not participate). too. Commentaries ask: Rabbi Akiva was the son of a convert and thus his ancestors had no part in the kidnapping." and who deserves no punishment when it turns out to be kosher meat. they were comparable to one who intends to eat "pork. Moreover. "Although you intended harm." The Roman King then declared that the sages' lives were forfeit. He asked the sages. The Roman King thus calculated that ten (counting Hashem as one) had cooperated in the kidnapping. "This can be likened to someone thinking he is eating pork. what is the law?" They replied. although the meat is actually kosher . they were actually fulfilling Hashem's wish. who participated in the kidnapping by not revealing to Yaakov the whereabouts of Yosef. However. he hoped that Hashem would pardon the brothers and thus he. Why was he among the ten sages killed? The answer given is that Rabbi Akiva was punished on behalf of Hashem. but she requires atonement because she had intended to violate what she thought was a valid prohibition.
" Hashem said. the idol rises up to prosecute the Jewish people for their sin." (25:2) The Jewish people began to worship the idol Ba'al Pe'or. writes that on the anniversary of the day when the Jews sinned with the daughters of Moav. The first was during Moshe's lifetime and the second afterward. this pasuk is referring to two acts of revenge against the Midianites.after you physically leave this world ." from which it can be deduced that one who ate kosher for pork is considered a sinner needing atonement. afterwards [lit. he realized that ultimately the sale of Yosef would be punished and therefore he cried since he would be among those bearing responsibility. The Midianites invited the people to "a feast of their gods and the people ate and bowed to their gods." Alternatively. Hashem became enraged and instructed Moshe to take revenge against the Midianites. Hashem was telling Moshe. yet she needs forgiveness from Hashem.even after you are gathered to your people . Cozbi the daughter of Tzur. in the name of the Midrash. Hashem told Moshe to take the vengeance for the Children of Israel against the Midianites. and the Prince of the tribe of Shimon committed adultery with a Midianite woman. "after"] you will be gathered to your people. "Not only during your lifetime will you take revenge against the Midianites. appointing Pinchas to head the battle. Regarding the first revenge.there again will be an occasion to take revenge of the Midianites in the days of the Judges (see Judges ch. . "If her father restrained her. Moshe sunk the idol into the ground up to its nose. Consequently. "However. According to the Gemara (Sotah 14a) Moshe was buried opposite Beit Pe'or in order to gain forgiveness for the sin of Pe'or. Tosafot. "Take vengeance for the Children of Israel against the Midianites.you will still continue to thwart their every attack against the Jewish people. As soon as he sees the grave of Moshe. In this war Moshe did not participate personally. "achar tei'aseif el amecha ." (31:2) QUESTION: Following the literal reading how could Moshe take vengeance after his death? ANSWER: Bilaam advised Balak to entice the Jews to commit immorality. According to the Midrash Rabbah (22:4) this was because he grew up in Midian and it would have been improper for him to directly harm a country from which he benefited.However. he sinks back down to the depths where Moshe put him. 7). but achar tei'aseif el amecha . when Rabbi Akiva reached the pasuk which states that.
a thousand from a tribe for all the tribes of Israel shall you send to the army. The first was against Midian." "Take vengeance for the Children of Israel against the Midianites. which were conveyed in conjunction with the war against Midian. afterwards you will be gathered unto your people. Hence. and they will then be told the advantage of fire over water for purification." "A thousand from a tribe. 'For behold. "Take vengeance against the Midianites. from the laws of koshering utensils. In what did He immerse to regain His purity?" Rabbi Avuah replied. as it says. and the other was the war yet to come. G-d will come with fire' " (Isaiah 66:15). "Immersion in fire is the primary method of purification.The Rambam (Shemittah Veyoveil 13:12) rules that the tribe of Levi is separated for the service of Hashem and does not go out to war. and when He buried Moshe He became defiled. "He immersed in fire." (31:2) QUESTION: What is the connection between the war with Midian and the passing of Moshe? ANSWER: The Gemara (Sanhedrin 39a) relates that a heretic once asked Rabbi Avuah. . immersion in water is the secondary one. He immersed in fire. and the heretics will not be able to ask how I will regain My purity. In the course of the war the Jewish people will capture their utensils and need to know how to make them kosher. "Does immersion in fire help?" he asked. Rabbi Avuah replied. If so. 'And everything that was not used over the fire you shall pass through the water' " (31:23).At that time you will be reincarnated as Gideon and through him you will lead the war against Midian. "Your G-d is a Kohen." (31:4) QUESTION: Included in this army were a thousand men from the tribe of Levi (see Rashi). it is derived that when Hashem buried Moshe. the Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 25b) equates Gideon to Moshe ." Interestingly. Afterwards you will be gathered unto your people.Eretz Yisrael. to conquer the land of Canaan ."Jeruba'al [Gideon] in his generation is like Moshe in his generation. Hashem said to Moshe. Thus. I will personally bury you. as it is written. why did they go to war against Midian? ANSWER: In this parshah we learn about two major battles fought by the Jewish people.
a war for the sake of sanctifying Hashem's name was within their domain. which means "an informer. and ultimately divide it up among the Jewish people to cultivate and develop. Choshen Mishpat 388)." (31:5) QUESTION: The term "vayimaseru" . "So there were delivered from the thousands of the Children of Israel. Their objective was to dispel belief in the Omnipotence and Omnipresence of Hashem and cause a rift between Hashem and the Jews. a thousand from each tribe. However."righteous men. The war for Eretz Yisrael was strictly a material issue. The tribe of Levi was "set aside to worship Hashem and serve Him." Rashi explains that the term "anashim" means "tzaddikim" . "Take vengeance for the Children of Israel against the Midianites" (31:2)." Thus. because Ephraim and Menashe combined sent only one thousand soldiers." To inform on a person and reveal his secrets is forbidden.sanctification of His name . and therefore they were not permitted to participate.The Midianites caused the Jews to commit immorality and idolatry. take control of the land. "To inflict Hashem's vengeance against Midian" (31:3) and to destroy all those who attempted to defy Hashem. . because of their respective portions of the land. Why was it necessary to use force? ANSWER: The word "vayimaseru" comes from the root word "masur". Ultimately.seems to indicate that it was not voluntary. Therefore Hashem told Moshe."Arm men from among yourselves. people had to inform Moshe of the righteousness of their neighbors and their worthiness for Moshe's purpose." A difficulty in selecting soldiers for the war was that everyone sincerely considered himself not qualified and humbly thought he did not meet the standard of "tzaddik" .would take place."they were delivered" . "Heichaltzu mei'itechem anashim latzava" ." So when righteous men had to be selected. An exception to this rule was in this instance for the following reason. the overall total was still only twelve thousand (31:5). In preparation for this war Moshe told the people. and informers are dealt with very severely (see Shulchan Aruch. a war for the purpose of obtaining land in Eretz Yisrael was not relevant to the Levites. It was fought to conquer the enemy."righteous. The purpose of this war was. According to the above-mentioned that the Levites sent one thousand soldiers to the war. as Moshe said. Only in matters pertaining to the land of Israel did they act as individual tribes. resulting in a deadly plague. and they were required to participate in it. His supremacy would be affirmed and a great kiddush Hashem .
To atone for our souls before G-d.' " (31:14.. In order to save themselves. Fortunately.he went ahead and was the first to take action . hoping that the Jews would think that they were also dead and not touch them. 49. the kings of Midian realized that their chances of survival were very slim. "azla" ." (31:8) QUESTION: The words "al challeleihem" . if there is a need for tzedakah... "They killed the kings of Midian on their slain ones.therefore.So we have brought an offering to G-d." The kadma v'azla cantillation on the word Pinchas indicates that "kadma" . one may reveal an individual who has the means and is presently unknown..Though informing against another Jew is forbidden. "al challeleihem" means "on their slain ones". "Moshe sent them. it is permissible when the other possesses qualities unknown to the community from which it can benefit.. it should have said "im challeleihem" . they deviously crept in among the slain.he was chosen to be the one to go and lead the battle. them and Pinchas."on their slain ones. Also."on their slain ones" . Since he began the mitzvah. killed them while they were laying "al challeleihem" . The word "kadma" means "ahead" and the word "azla" means "going."with their slain ones"? ANSWER: Seeing the strength of the Jewish people." "Moshe was angry with the commanders of the army.are superfluous? Moreover." (31:6) QUESTION: Why is the cantillation on the word Pinchas kadma v'azla? ANSWER: Rashi explains that Moshe sent Pinchas and not Elazar to lead the war against Midian because he is credited with killing the Midianite woman Kazbi bat Tzur who blatantly committed adultery with the prince of the tribe of Shimon. a thousand from each tribe for the legion.'And not a man of us is missing. seeing through their deception.. he was chosen to conclude it . their plan failed and the Jews.to take vengeance against the people of Midian. . 50) QUESTION: The Gemara (Shabbat 64a) says that Moshe was angry with the commanders of the war for leaving the women alive and suspected that they had committed a sin similar to the earlier one with the women of Midian.
houses filled with every good thing that you did not fill" (Devarim 6:10-11). but even when there is an absorption of non-kosher taste in its walls. in the battle with Sichon and Og. Elazar taught the people the statute of koshering utensils." meaning "None of us has been lead astray by the Midianite women. "Not a man of us is missing. Why wasn't it sufficient to simply clean the utensils to thoroughly remove any non-kosher substance adhering to them? Elazar explained that not only is a utensil not usable when something non-kosher is on the surface. "Though the fighters have not actually sinned. how much more must a person perfect himself in his relationship with Hashem and repent for "non-kosher thoughts. From this the soldiers derived a new lesson in the relationship between man and Hashem: If a utensil is unfit to be used by Jews and requires purging if it has absorbed a non-kosher taste." "Everything that comes into the fire. Consequently. since the land of the Amorites is a part of the . they responded. you shall pass through the fire and it shall be clean. you shall pass through the water.great and good cities that you did not build. they wish to atone for any evil thoughts that may have entered their minds. To the Jews this was incomprehensible.." What encouraged them to bring an offering for evil thoughts? ANSWER: Following Moshe's rebuke of the Jewish people for permitting the women to live and instructions to the commanders of the army. the Jews had a major war with Sichon king of Amorites (21:24). All the utensils which were taken from the Midianites could be made usable either by passing through fire or immersion in boiling water.. "why are you making this offering to Hashem?" They responded." (31:23) QUESTION: Prior to the war with Midian. nevertheless it must be purified with the water of the sprinkling. Why were the instructions of kashering utensils not given immediately after the war with Sichon? ANSWER: The Gemara (Chulin 17a) says in regard to the pasuk "It shall be when G-d brings you to the land that He swore to your forefathers."dried chines of pork" taken among the spoils or found in the abandoned houses. kings of the Amorites (see Devarim 3:8)." Moshe asked.""If so. that this includes permission to use "katlei dechaziri" .Therefore. and everything that does not come into fire.
Hence. everything they took from them including non-kosher utensils or foods. and is not part of the land which is the inheritance of the Jewish people. the war with Midian was strictly a punitive measure for their infiltrating the Jewish community with immorality and idolatry. valuables... the war with Midian took place in the cities and the Jews took various kinds of spoils." (31:26-37) . in order to be permitted to use the non-kosher utensils. and expensive garments. and thus the abovementioned explanation does not apply. However.. was permissible to be used as is. However. Devarim 6:10). of which the Torah writes.. "Calculate the total of captured spoils of people and animals. silver. the Jews went to Midian to battle with the Midianites..The calculation of the spoils was. Their land was taken as a vengeance.. However. none were captured and it was thus not necessary to give instructions on how to make them permissible. it was necessary for the Jews to put them through the process prescribed by Elazar the Kohen. and it is uncommon to have cooking utensils on the battle field.. "He went out against Israel to the wilderness" (21:23)."all their wealth" .. The distinct respective phraseology indicates that in the war with Sichon the booty of the cities was their gold. captured while conquering land which is of Jewish inheritance is permissible (see Ramban.. according to the Rambam.The tax for G-d was.. unlike the war with Sichon.Take off from the soldiers. "Only the animals did we loot for ourselves and the booty of the cities that we occupied" (Devarim 2:35). in regards to Midian the Torah says.. Of the war with Sichon the Torah says. it was necessary for Elazar to provide instructions for making the non-kosher utensils fit for use by the Jewish people. one of each five hundred. but not their kitchen utensils.Take from the half of the Children of Israel one of each fifty. a tax for G-d.inheritance of the Jewish people. Since the war with Sichon took place in the wilderness...they took everything.And you shall give them to the Levites.Divide the spoils in half.The half.. Moshe and Elazar the Kohen did as G-d commanded Moshe.. including their kitchen utensils.. Alternatively. According to the Ramban. (Melachim 8:1) it is permitted for the soldiers to eat nonkosher food taken among the spoils only when they are hungry and do not have other food. But in Midian where they took "kal cheilam" . Hence. including cooking utensils.. "All their wealth they took as spoils" (31:9). everything. including non-kosher food. However.
" (31:36-38.000.. from the time they were taken into captivity till the time they were divided and the taxes were given.000. and 3) how much the one-of-five-hundred tax came to? ANSWER: The total number of cattle taken was 808. it was also miraculous that the total number of all species was even and not odd.000 human beings.. and that from the number each side received it was easy to separate one of fifty or one of five hundred without even one single extra animal or person.The tax for Gd. Consequently.The half of the assembly was.. By giving us all the fine details of the tallies. the Torah is describing a great miracle: namely. they dispute whether the soldiers are required to give one-five hundredth of the spoil to the Kohanim. since according to the Bahag giving to Kohanim is a mitzvah for all generations. It undoubtedly took much time to count such a large number of animals and people and then divide it and take off the taxes. the Torah gives detailed numbers. It was divided between the soldiers and the rest of the community. why is it necessary for the Torah to elaborate and give 1) the overall total count. because otherwise we would have remained puzzled as to what happened with the remainders after division. 43) QUESTION: Why does it give the tally of the soldier's portion and also how much the Kohanim's one-five hundredth amounted to. Commentaries explain that the Bahag and Rambam actually agree that in future battles the soldiers kept the entire spoils and there is no need to give a share to the rest of the community. "The half which was the share of the soldiers.. Thus. there were 32. However.. the Torah discusses in detail what the .. though it states clearly that the Jewish people did exactly as Moshe was commanded. while in regards to the community's share it only mentions how much they received but not how much of it went to the Levites? ANSWER: There is a dispute among halachic authorities over whether the law of dividing the spoils between the soldiers and the rest of the community and giving the taxes applies also to future battles. Shoresh 3:9). In addition. not one single animal or person died. so that the spoils could be easily divided. Alternatively. The Bahag (Ba'al Halachot Gedolot) holds that it does and the Rambam disagrees (see Megilat Esther on Sefer Hamitzvot. each segment receiving 404.QUESTION: Since it already states that Moshe and Elazar did as Hashem commanded. 2) how much one-half of that was..
For this iniquity they were exiled eight years earlier than the entire community of Israel. and the children remained behind. "Nachlah mevochelet barishonah ve'achritah lo tevorach" . They honored their pledge and sent the male soldiers along with the people of Israel. Actually seeing Hashem's miracles leaves an everlasting impression on the viewer and is a more profound form of education than hearing or learning of them.Kohanim received from this war. King Shlomo describes their inheritance as. It was not blessed since they went into exile eight years earlier. However. . its end will not be blessed" (Proverbs 20:21). they received Yehoshua's praise (see Joshua 22:2-3)."An inheritance seized hastily in the beginning. they also said that in the interim their children and families would remain on the eastern side of the Jordan and dwell in the fortified cities. then. who wanted to receive the land on the eastern side of the Jordan (the Gilead area) as their inheritance. did they go into exile eight years before everyone else? ANSWER: When the B'nei Gad and B'nei Reuvein told Moshe that they would arm themselves swiftly in the vanguard of the Children of Israel. in Eretz Yisrael proper. the Torah does not elaborate on it. B'nei Gad and B'nei Reuvein are mentioned eight times. the Levites only received a portion in that battle and therefore. they failed to give their children the education of personally seeing Hashem's greatness. since it is not a permanent mitzvah. For the fulfillment of their agreement and their other good deeds. "The children of Reuben and the children of Gad had abundant livestock. Why. they again witnessed Hashem's miracles on their behalf in the miraculous conquering of the thirty-one kings."hasty" . but read as "mevohelet" (with a "Heh") .because of the eight times they are mentioned. In addition. while the adults deserve commendation for fulfilling even more than what they pledged. alluding to the fact that they went into exile eight years before all other tribes. Thus. Not only did they comply with this condition. The word "mevochelet" is written with a "Ches" (which has the numerical value of eight). they witnessed the miracles which Hashem performed in the Jordan River on their behalf. during the seven years of war. Also. When the Jews crossed the Jordan enroute to Eretz Yisrael.Moshe made an agreement with the B'nei Gad and B'nei Reuvein that they should join with their brethren in the conquest of Eretz Yisrael. they even remained an additional seven years till the land was divided up." (32:1) QUESTION: The Ba'al Haturim writes that in the discussions between Moshe and the tribes of Gad and Reuvein.
Afterwards. Shimon. Thus.. and Yazer. and Onkelos therefore writes the current Hebrew names..g. they gave them other names (see 32:34. The Torah records it with these names because in later years these were the Hebrew names given to these cities by the Jewish people. e. while later on (32:34) he just writes the names as they are written in the text? ANSWER: The cities Atarot. .. and the "Ches" which has the numerical value of eight. Dibon...for their children. "Reuven. those names no longer existed. The Gemara (Berachot 8b) says. "Atarot. twice in the text and once in the Targum. and Onkelos just repeats the names? In view of the above. Dibon. and Yazer were on the east bank of the Jordan and part of the land of Sichon and Og. Malbeshta. "A person should review the Biblical portion every week. Dibon.education . why didn't the Gemara mention pesukim where only names of people are mentioned. At the time when the people of Reuven and Gad requested to remain on the east bank of the Jordan. When the Torah records that the people of Reuven and Gad asked for Atarot. Onkelos writes the names of the cities by which they were known at the time the request was made to indicate that the people of Reuven and Gad did not actually refer to them by their later names.. is the first letter of the word chinuch. however. including 'Atarot. and Dibon. one may conclude that this passage in the Targum which mentions the names of idols should be omitted from a person's weekly review since they are not in the text. and Yazer.." (32:3) QUESTION: Why here does Onkelos give the Aramaic versions of the names.' " This pasuk is singled out because Targum Onkelos simply repeats the text. Since originally some of the cities were named after idols. if that is the reason. and Kumrin. and Yazer." (Shemot 1:2).Possibly the reason for specifically eight years was that they failed to provide a proper chinuch . but rather by their old names. they did not really ask for them by these names. The cities were in a state of destruction and were rebuilt when the Jews settled on the east bank of the Jordan. Tosafot asks. these cities were called by other names: Machelta. it may be explained that the Gemara specifically mentioned this pasuk since these names were connected with idols and the Torah avoided mentioning them and called them by their future names. 38). Therefore.
as one unit. When the covered head bellowed in pain. once "boiling water" is poured over a Jewish community.every armed person of the legion before G-d. it was evident that the two heads were part of one person. it seems. While on the surface this may appear true. that the Jewish people have a number of "heads. the children came before King Shlomo and the one with two heads demanded a double portion of the estate (inheritance).' " (32:25."Moshe said to the children of Gad and the children of Reuven. This story suggests a metaphor for the Jewish people. what was the problem with not participating in the war for Eretz Yisrael? ANSWER: Though the Jewish people are dispersed to many parts of the world. Thus. 'Shall your brothers go out to battle while you settle here?' " (32:6) QUESTION: If they were settling in a different land. Being scattered throughout the world. when a Jew in any part of the world experiences misfortune. The wisest of all men covered one of the heads of the two-headed son and poured boiling water over the other. instinctively. superficially. "The children of Gad and the children of Reuven said to Moshe. Moshe was not questioning the legitimacy of their action. as my lord speaks. and his respective distinctness detaches him from other Jews." Each one has adopted a distinct dialect and way of thinking. 27) QUESTION: . And your servants shall cross over . to do battle. saying. Jews throughout the world feel compassion and express concern. 'Your servants shall do as my lord commands. all Jews the world over feel the pain and sorrow of their fellow Jews." Tosafot in Gemara (Menachot 37a) quotes a Midrash that a man with two heads married a woman with one head and they bore both a oneheaded and two-headed child. but rather saying to them. they are strongly united and psychologically interdependent. "Considering the emotions of the Jewish people it would be impossible for you to sit calmly and enjoy your land in Jordan when at the same time your brethren are engaged in war. When the father died.
and in the second pasuk "ka'asher adoni doveir" . Realizing that Moshe was right. then they will take [their] heritage among you in the land of Canaan. and it appeared as though they presumptuously expected to conquer the land of Canaan through their own strength. would they receive a share in the land of Canaan together with the other tribes? ANSWER: Originally the land of Canaan was to be divided among all the tribes. However. "They can have the land on the east side of the Jordan only if they join all the other tribes in conquering the land of Canaan. In addition. "As my lord speaks" . but the tribes of Gad and Reuven asked permission to receive the land East of the Jordan in lieu of their share. always giving proper recognition to Hashem." Realizing their two-fold error. "We will arm ourselves swiftly in the vanguard of the Children of Israel until we have brought them to their place."as my lord speaks"? ANSWER: Originally. "If you do this thing.e."as my lord commands" . We will not return to our homes until each of the Children of Israel inherits his share. if you arm yourself before Hashem for battle and every man among you shall cross the Jordan before Hashem until He drives out His enemies before Him and the land shall be conquered before Hashem. namely. and then you shall return. Why did they repeat that they would participate in the war for Eretz Yisrael? 2. they approached him and said. Moshe reproved them and explained how a Jew should speak." .i. from then on they would speak. Why in the first pasuk does it say "ka'asher adoni metzave" . not mentioning Hashem in their proposals and expecting the others to go to war while they stayed home. if they did not go to war together with the Jewish people. armed. explaining that it would be improper to expect other members of the Jewish people to go to war for their land. the people of Gad and Reuven asked for permission to settle on the east bank of the Jordan. if they do not. "But if they do not cross over." (32:30) QUESTION: Why. "Your servants shall do as my lord commands" meaning that they would indeed participate and help their brethren conquer Eretz Yisrael. they replied to Moshe. while they sat safely east of the Jordan. Moshe agreed but warned. with you. not only will they be denied the land they seek." Moshe listened carefully and accepted their proposal with a modification: In their statement they failed to mention Hashem. Moshe turned down their request. but they will no longer receive a portion of the land of Canaan. They will be a portionless tribe in Israel and have to live scattered betochechem .among the other tribes.1.
A difficulty with this explanation is the following: 1. who will take us out of the present exile. so why would he seek others to join them? 2."So Moshe gave to them to the children of Gad. Some people of the tribe of Menashe took him up on the offer." (32:33) QUESTION: The tribes of Gad and Reuven requested land on the east bank of the Jordan River (Gilead area).who discouraged the Jews from going to Eretz Yisrael.."dedicated shepherd" ..suggests that it was entirely on his own initiative.The land with its cities in the boundaries. The Midrash (Shemot 2:6) also says that Moshe was the first redeemer. All Divine revelations and benefits are given through him. and the cities of the surrounding land. who took us out of Egypt. and will also be the final redeemer. It was Moshe who received the Torah from Sinai and conveyed it to all generations. Moshe was originally very upset with Gad and Reuven. Why did Moshe also give a portion to half of the tribe of Menashe? ANSWER: After Moshe consented to the request of Gad and Reuven."Moshe gave to them" . 164). he realized that the territory was too large for them alone and offered a portion to whoever wished to join with them. and there is no indication that he offered it to everyone and Menashe agreed to accept it? Moshe was and always will be the "rayah mehemna" . The simple interpretation of the pasuk (peshuto shel mikrah) .of the Jewish people. and half the tribe of Menashe son of Yosef. . p.spies . and also included in this is any interpretation scholars will offer as well as the new esoteric teachings to be revealed by Mashiach (Jerusalem Talmud. Even afterwards their actions were not regarded favorably and it was called "a hasty inheritance" (see Proverbs 20:21. and went as far as comparing them to the meraglim . (See Sefer Hama'amarim 5748. and the children of Reuven. Rashi). This means that the redemption from Egypt through Moshe paved the way and made possible the ultimate redemption. Pei'ah 2:4). and thus he divided the tribe and some settled in the Gilead area. the kingdom of Sichon king of the Amorites.
org • FAX (718) 735-4139 "These are the journeys of the Children of Israel. Vedibarta Bam And You Shall Speak of Them A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights. who were among the ten nations whose territories were originally promised to Avraham (Bereishit 15:19). and Kadmonites. just as it was necessary for Moshe to "see" Eretz Yisrael before the Jews inherited it. Thought-Provoking Ideas. our inheritance of Eretz Yisrael was channeled through him. who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions. thus creating the obligation for giving tithes (see Bava Batra 56a). when the entire Eretz Yisrael will be expanded. The Torah (Bereishit 15:19 and Devarim 12:20. Moshe gave a share of it. Rashi). Homilies And Explanations of Torah Passages Masei by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky Click here to Subscribe Published and copyright © by Sichos In English (718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish. Eretz Yisrael will be expanded to include the lands of the Kennites.seems superfluous. These are the lands of Edom. as can be seen in the daughters of Tzelafchad's demanding to receive their father's portion of the land. 19:8) states that in the days of Mashiach. to half of the tribe of Menashe in preparation for the Messianic era. Therefore. though Gad and Reuven themselves asked for the Gilead territory. it was also necessary that the future inheritance of the expanded Eretz Yisrael have an attachment in some way to Moshe.Likewise." (33:1) QUESTION: The word "eileh" . Hence. Moab and Ammon and an extension of the territory east of the Jordan where Gad. The pasuk also emphasizes that he gave it to Menashe ben Yosef. because Yosef is also noted for his great love for Eretz Yisrael (see 27:1. It could have just said "masei b'nei Yisrael" "the journeys of the Children of Israel"? . which at that time was only an addition to the land of Canaan (34:2). Reuven and half of Menashe settled. The reason he selected the tribe of Menashe for this purpose was their exceptional love for Eretz Yisrael. Kenizzites. it was necessary for him to be shown it (Devarim 34:1-4). Through his viewing it. under the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. and though he did not come there physically. a certain holiness entered the land."these are" .
" (33:1) QUESTION: Why does it say "masei" ."He will be imbued with a spirit of fear for Hashem" (Isaiah 11:3). The word "Mitzrayim" can also be read as "meitzarim" .Egypt ."journeys" . The saving of the Jewish people from annihilation in the days of Achashveirosh was through Esther and Mordechai.the revelation of Mashiach . but also an allusion to the future exiles and the ultimate redemption through Mashiach. boundaries and limitations. who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions. but in actuality. As a person rises from one level to the other. "Yereicho" etymologically stems from the word "rei'ach" .in plural? Immediately after the first journey.ANSWER: The Jews were supposed to be in Egypt for four hundred years. will come through Eliyahu and Mashiach.e. the Gemara (Sanhedrin 93b) says of Mashiach that "Morach veda'in" . and the ultimate redemption. It is incumbant upon every Jewish neshamah which descends to this earthly world to make "masei" .the Jordan by Jericho.but also conveys a message for posterity.restraints .were there specifically forty-two encampments? .smell and aroma . they were there only two hundred and ten years. "These are the journeys of the Children of Israel. he is ultimately ready for Yereicho ." The Torah is eternal. Not only does it record the actual departure from Mitzrayim ." (33:1) QUESTION: Why from the first encampment till the final one at Yardein Yereicho ." "These are the journeys of the Children of Israel."He will judge right and wrong through his sense of smell.and to come to "the good and bountiful land. The first letters of the words "Eileh masei" are an "Alef" and a "Mem" and allude to our redeemers.i. after which there will no longer be any exile. he must deal with new and subtler restraints. Also.i. to progress in stages in order to detach and elevate itself from its own "meitzarim" .e. The redemption from Egypt was through Aharon and Moshe.Jordan by Jericho . This parshah is not only a record of the past. The additional one hundred and ninety years are made up by the exiles encountered after the departure from Egypt.limitations and restraints."journeys" . Upon successfully accomplishing his mission. who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions. of whom it is written "Vaharicho beyirat Hashem" . weren't the Jews out of Egypt? ANSWER: The encampments began after the Exodus from Egypt and culminated with the arrival at Yardein Yeriecho .and it alludes to Mashiach.
free from bad temper. we recite "Ana becho'ach" before "Eizehu mekoman.ANSWER: Hashem has different names. There is a forty-two lettered name (Sheim Mab) of Hashem. and these were their journeys according to their goings forth. is beloved above and popular below. The forty-two lettered name accompanies the Jewish people throughout all their travels during the exile and assists them in reaching the ultimate redemption. The forty-two encampments correspond to the forty-two letters of Hashem's name. is heedful thereof (not to use it lightly).e. For this reason. meek. which according to the Kabbalists is the holiest of all His names.exiles . Hashem created the world with this name (Zohar II. It is comprised of the first letters of the forty-two words of the "Ana becho'ach" prayer composed by the Tanaitic sage Rabbi Nechunia ben Hakanah. Babylon (Bavel)." Furthermore. middle-aged. feared by man. since the neshamah prepares to be rejuvenated and rise to a higher spiritual sphere. are the forty-two letters which spell this exalted name. And on Friday night. In the Gemara (Kiddushin 71a) Rabbi Yehudah states in Rav's name: "The forty-two lettered name of Hashem is entrusted only to him who is pious." (33:2) QUESTION: . after reciting six Psalms corresponding to the six days of the week (see Siddur Otzar Hatefilot). this world and the future world." Likewise for the ascent through the minchah prayers. as we prepare to enter the holiness of Shabbat. sober and not insistent on his rights. 234b). Leaving Egypt to reach Eretz Yisrael was a process of elevation (aliyah) and the forty-two lettered name helped the Jews in this endeavor. according to the Kabbalists. Media/Persia (Madai).are an acronym for the four galiot . and Greece (Yavan). at the end of each of the seven verses of "Ana becho'ach. The Siddur. "Moshe wrote their goings forth according to their journeys at the bidding of G-d.in which the Jews were persecuted and subjugated under four monarchies: Edom. and observes it in purity. i. Rome (Edom)." prints an acrostic of the first letters of the six words of the verse. before "Ashrei" we say karbanot (portions dealing with sacrifices) and conclude with "Ana becho'ach. These letters. every morning as we prepare to ascend through prayer." Before going to sleep we recite "Ana becho'ach" in Kriat Shema al Hamitah. and inherits two worlds."These are the journeys of the Children of Israel" . and it facilitates a Jew's endeavors to ascend spiritually from level to level. The words "Eileh Masei B'nei Yisroel" . each serving a distinct purpose. "Ana becho'ach" is recited. And he who knows it.
1. the Torah says." (33:3. "mase'eihem" from their destination (Eretz Yisrael) . ."at the bidding of G-d. only mentioning the encampment in Sukkot the second time? ANSWER: Describing Hashem's loving care of the Jewish people.. "You have seen what I did to Egypt and that I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Me" (Shemot 19:4).the Children of Israel journeyed from Ramseis and encamped in Sukkot. there were some which were. some were in the opposite direction." "They journeyed from Ramseis in the first month.and conclude in the reverse. and there they ate their Pesach-offering. He returned them to Egypt and the following morning they left Ramseis. the itinerary of the Jewish people from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael consisted of forty-two encampments. At times.).5) QUESTION: Why does it repeat that they journeyed from Ramseis.back to their origination point (Egypt) and these were not "al pi Hashem" .. When the Jewish people submitted to Hashem's will. strangely enough. The word "motza'eihem" refers to their point of origin."at the bidding of G-d. Immediately afterwards. back to Egypt. Why does the pasuk start with "motza'eihem lemase'eihem" . What did Hashem mean when He said "And brought you to me"? According to Targum Yonatan ben Uziel (ibid.on the day after the Pesach-offering. While most of them were on the journey forward. and among these the most were in the direction of "motza'eihem" . on the night of Pesach when the Jews were to eat their Pesach-offering. and all these were "al pi Hashem" .only with "motza'eihem lemase'eihem"? ANSWER: During the forty-year sojourn in the wilderness." Among the forty-two encampments Moshe recorded. however.. and the word "mase'eihem" refers to their destination. however. where the Beit Hamikdash was to be built."lemase'eihem" enroute to their destination (Eretz Yisrael). Why does it say "al pi Hashem" . coming closer to their destination. they rebelled and wanted to return to Egypt (see Rashi 21:4). "mase'eihem lemotza'eihem" ."at the bidding of G-d" . Moshe recorded all the fortytwo encampments.from the origination point (Egypt) ."their journeys according to their goings forth"? 2. Hashem took them on clouds from Ramseis and brought them to Mount Moriah. they moved forward.."lemotza'eihem" ."their goings forth according to their journeys" .
they journey away from their unity . G-d does not rebuke or punish them. .the Jewish people can journey away and not have to fear retribution for their iniquities if "vayachanu bemakheilot" . The word "chareidah" in Hebrew means "fear" (see Bereishit 26:33).and disharmony and animosity prevails. if "vayise'u mimakheilot" .Consequently. However." which means "gathered together" and the word "tachat" can mean "lowering down. They journeyed from Makheilot and encamped in Tachat. From this our Sages (Bereishit Rabbah 38:6) derive that the power of peace and unity is so great that even when the Jewish people sin. [lit. Why is it mentioned here? ANSWER: Aharon passed away on Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av. the Torah is teaching that "vayise'u meichareidah" . Parshat Masei is always read in the middle of the three weeks and very close to. after which they immediately returned to Egypt." His passing was a very sad event and the entire Jewish community mourned (20:29). "They journeyed from Chareidah and encamped in Makheilot. G-d forbid. Therefore.they are encamped in unity. The word "makheilot" can be associated with the word "hakheil. "Ephraim is united in idolworship. if unity prevails. they will be punished for any iniquities which were previously not taken into consideration. or on." (33:25-26) QUESTION: Of what significance to us are the names of their places of encampment? ANSWER: Hashem told the prophet Hoshea. and after the second departure from Ramseis.. The first was a short trip.. it is appropriate to indicate the date of his passing in this parshah. they encamped in Sukkot. in the fifth month on the first of the month. Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av.and. "Aaron the Kohen went up to Mount Hor at the word of G-d and died there. the Jews journeyed twice from Ramseis.29) but there is no mention there of the date. then "vayachanu betachat" they will be encamped at a lower level . which is in the middle of the three-week period known as "bein hameitzarim" "between the straits." Thus. joined to idols] let him alone" (Hosea 4:17)." (33:38) QUESTION: The passing of Aharon is first recorded in Parshat Chukat (20:22 .
where are the cities of refuge? ANSWER: In the verse "Shema Yisrael. and consequently the Jewish people would not have been exiled and would have remained there forever. (See Likkutei Sichot.And you shall destroy all their prostration stones. "You are crossing the Jordan to enter Eretz Yisrael. You and not I! Therefore.) In his legacy Moshe told the people.and the paragraph of "Ve'ahavta" deals with absolute love of Hashem. One of the primary causes of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash was sinat chinam . vol. which.It is particularly appropriate.. "Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: 'When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan. Through true Ahavat Yisrael we will speedily merit its rebuilding. The verse of "Shema Yisrael" accentuates "kabbalat ol malchut shamayim" . 346.accepting the yoke of heaven . p. to reflect upon his love for his fellow and endeavor to emulate him. had Moshe come to Eretz Yisrael he would have nullified the evil inclination to idol worship." (35:6) QUESTION: In contemporary times. Hashem echad" there are six words. and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. 19.till "uvisharecha" . We should love peace and pursue peace. and in the paragraph of "Ve'ahavta" . love our fellow creatures and bring them near to the Torah (Pirkei Avot 1:12). G-d forbid. the possibility of idol worship will be eliminated and you will remain in Eretz Yisrael forever.' " (33:51-52) QUESTION: Why when Moshe told them about their coming into Eretz Yisrael did he mention destroying places of idol worship. may cause the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and exile from the land. you will be confronted with the inclination to worship idols. as we recall the passing of Aharon. I am commanding you to destroy all their places of worship.baseless hatred and animosity (Yoma 9b)."You shall love [G-d your G-d]" ."and upon your gates" there are a total of forty-two words. Hence. . Hashem Elokeinu.." "The cities that you shall give to the Levites: The six cities of refuge that you shall provide for a murderer to flee there. According to the Gemara (Arachin 32b). thus. and not all the other mitzvot connected with Eretz Yisrael? ANSWER: One of the main reasons for the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash was the Jewish people's stooping to idol worship (Yoma 9b).
The constant publicizing of crimes plants in some people's minds the idea that crime is glamorous and exciting. 4). therefore. If a "gag order" were imposed on reporting crimes and violence. a Jew achieves His forgiveness for his iniquities. thus. "For he must dwell in his city of refuge until the death of the Kohen Gadol. and love of Hashem.pilgrimage. get into conversations about the mitzvah of aliyah leregel . in a sense he is killing part of his nefesh . since people might begin to talk about having met a murderer. one who takes a life unintentionally. than slayers running to cities of refuge. G-d forbid.spiritual existence (see Igeret Hateshuvah. "The mothers of the Kohanim Gedolim would supply the residents of the cities of refuge with food and clothing so . commits a sin. and if the media would only report good deeds. Talking about crime can encourage some feeble minded people to perpetrate crime. Making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year. In turn. Our rabbis intentionally did not instruct the putting up of signs so as to make it necessary for the people to have to stop and ask for directions and." (35:11) QUESTION: Undoubtedly. signs are put up to eliminate the need for the murderer to talk to people and the possible consequences which such conversation might produce. the people they had spoken to would relay to their family and friends their pleasant conversations with travelers going to Jerusalem to be close to Hashem. undoubtedly. "You shall designate cities for yourselves. The perpetual cities of refuge of the Jew are the forty-eight words of "Shema Yisrael. it is inappropriate for an unintentional murderer to continuously ask for directions while fleeing to a city of refuge." (35:28) QUESTION: According to the Mishnah (Makkot 2:6).When a Jew. cities of refuge shall they be for you." Through absolute submission to the yoke of heaven. and after the death of the Kohen Gadol the murderer shall return to the land of his possession. there were more people making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year. Why were there signs on the crossroads showing the way to the cities of refuge (see Makkot 10b) and no signs showing the way to Jerusalem? ANSWER: One of the reasons why crime has become rampant in our times is that the media continuously reports it. Similarly. and a murderer shall flee there. by contrast. is a very important mitzvah. Such reports would arouse in the hearers the desire to also perform mitzvot and become closer to Hashem. our society would be much safer.
our pasuk can be expounded to allude to this dialogue: "These are the commandments and ordinances Hashem gave through Moshe to the Children of Israel. The word "Yardein" is a composite of two words."Why would the mothers donate supplies and not the Kohanim Gedolim themselves? ANSWER: Living in the city of refuge was not so bad after all. Hence it would not be beneficial for him to pretend to be an unintentional murder because he could end up living many years in a city of refuge without financial aid.did Hashem agree to give the Torah. Therefore."Our children will be our surety" .the children. 25). thus leaving the refugee without a guaranteed source of income as long as the Kohen Gadol was alive.as surety and it will provide "Yereicho" ." The implication is that the Torah was received thanks to our parents offering their candles . who are the candles of the fathers . p. it would have encouraged a poor person to flee to the city of refuge claiming to be an unintentional murderer to remain there with guaranteed room and board till the Kohen Gadol died. but his mother. which was in the Wilderness of Sinai.due to the surety .a great spiritual aroma .through [the offering of] "neir" . be'arvot .the Jews merited to receive the Torah. "yad" and "neir" (candle). and the beginning to the end (see Sefer Yetzirah 1:7. Hashem requested a guarantee that it would be studied and observed. How does this apply to the end and beginning of Bamidbar? ANSWER: Prior to giving the Torah to the Jewish people.children ." (36:13) QUESTION: Torah is continuous and unending. Only after the Jews proclaimed. According to derush . it was not the Kohen Gadol himself who provided for the residents. 14. by Jericho.that they not pray that their sons should die. which in turn will bring them "Yereicho. it was possible that the Kohen Gadol's mother would die shortly after his arrival and the Kohen Gadol would survive her by many years. "Baneinu orvim otanu" . It provided the unintentional murderer safety and a source of sustenance. The end is joined to the beginning.homiletic interpretation . The opening pasuk of Bamidbar states that Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Tent of Meeting. Likkutei Sichot Vol. at the Jordan.[given] by the fathers."aroma. and the pasuk is saying that "al yad" . "These are the commandments and ordinances that G-d commanded through Moshe to the Children of Israel in the Plains of Moab.Moab . The . Consequently.which will bring spiritual contentment (see Sefer Siftei Kohen)." Etymologically the word "Yereicho" is derived from "rei'ach" . If the Kohen Gadol himself would have been the provider of the food and clothing.
which commemorates the giving of the Torah in the Wilderness of Sinai. Thus. the closing and opening pasuk speak of the same thing . . It is emphasized to remind us that Hashem consented to give the Torah only for the surety offered our children.Hashem's giving the Torah thanks to our assurance that our children will receive a Torah education.Wilderness of Sinai is especially mentioned now because this parshah is always read the Shabbat before Shavuot.