Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 11   No. 33

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Yisrael ben Binyamin z.l.
on his first Yohrzeit

Parshas Beha'aloscho

Pesach Sheini
(Part I)

The Torah relates how people who were Tamei approached Moshe and Aharon, and asked them why they were precluded from bringing the Korban Pesach together with the rest of K'lal Yisrael. A B'raisa in Succah (25a) gives three opinions as to who the Teme'im were. According to Rebbi Yossi Hagelili, they were the ones who carried Yosef's coffin, whereas Rebbi Akiva maintains that they were none other than Mishael and Eltzafan, who had buried Nadav and Avihu two weeks earlier. Rebbi Yitzchak however, queries them both. Bearing in mind that the Parah Adumah was burned on the second of Nisan, both the carriers of Yosef's coffin and Mishael and Eltzafan had plenty of time to become Tahor before Erev Pesach. In that case, he asks, assuming that they were initially aware of the restrictions concerning a Tamei bringing the Korban Pesach (and it is evident from the Sugya in Sucah, which we will discuss shortly, that they were), why did they wait until Erev Pesach to present their She'eilah?

Rebbi Yitzchak therefore explains that the Teme'im were people who had tended to the needs of a Meis Mitzvah who had died suddenly. Not really a Meis Mitzvah, Rashi explains, because from the same Gemara it is clear that we are speaking about a Mitzvah which would not have overridden the Korban Pesach, had it occurred on Erev Pesach (and that of Meis Mitzvah certainly would, even if he was a Kohen Gadol and a Nazir who was bringing his Korban Pesach, as Tosfos there points out).


To explain the B'raisa's introductory question 'Who were these men?', and also to understand the basis of the Machlokes Tana'im (especially as Rebbi Yitchak's explanation seems obvious, and the other opinions, problematic, as we explained), the Torah Temimah cites Rashi in Ki Sisa, who explains that between the counting of Yisrael that took place in Tishri and the one that took place in Iyar, nobody died. The Ramban does indeed take Rashi to task over this (as we explained there), and even mentions Rebbi Yitzchak to disprove Rashi's theory. It seems however, that this point is in fact, the bone of contention between the Tana'im. The B'raisa asks who the men can have possibly been, because the Tana had a tradition that nobody died between the two censuses. And that will explain why Rebbi Yossi Hagelili and Rebbi Akiva come up with their respective suggestions.

Rebbi Yitzchak denied any such tradition however, because if it was correct, then we would be hard-pressed to explain the delay in becoming Tahor, as we explained.

This explanation will also answer the Ramban's questions on Rashi in Ki Sisa. The problem remains though, why Rashi here presents the explanation of Rebbi Yitzchak (in whose opinion some people did die during that period), and not one of the other two explanations with which he concurs.


The question now arises, what exactly it was that the Temei'im wanted. After all, they were Tamei, and a Tamei person cannot bring the Korban Pesach. So what did they expect Moshe to tell them, and what's more, why was Moshe lost for an answer?

Targum Yonasan explains that they thought that they would be able to send their Korban to the Mishkan, to be brought by Tahor Kohanim on their behalf, and that it could later be eaten by people who were Tahor (see Nosei K'lei Yonasan, who fits this beautifully into their words). But this is strange, since it is abundantly clear from the Pasuk in Bo (see Rashi 12:4) that, unlike other Korbanos, the Pesach must be eaten by those who bring it, and that someone who is not fit to eat it, cannot bring it either (and certainly not send it).

See Parshah Pearls ('If You're Tamei, You Can't Bring'), where we cite an alternative explanation in the name of the Rosh. A third explanation is given by Rashi, according to some commentaries. Rashi explains that the Teme'im became Tamei on the eighth of Nisan, in which case, Erev Pesach was in fact, the seventh day. They were therefore asking why they could not send their Korban to be brought by Tahor Kohanim, in which case, they would be able to eat it after nightfall together with the rest of K'lal Yisrael, because by then, they would be completely Tahor.

A fair enough request, which even baffled Moshe.

But Hashem replied in the negative, because, unlike other Korbanos, which a Tamei person may send to be brought by Tahor Kohanim, the Korban Pesach is only eligible to be brought by someone who is fit to eat it at the time that he brings it. Alternatively, because Tum'as Meis is different than other Tum'os. Other Teme'im can indeed send their Korbanos to be brought on their behalf by Tahor Kohanim, but not Teme'ei Meis.

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Rosh on the Chumash)

If You're Tamei,
You Cant Bring

"Why should we be held back from bringing the Korban of Hashem ... " (9:7).

What did these men think, asks the Rosh? Did they not know that someone who is Tamei cannot bring the Korban Pesach? Their mistake, he explains, lay in their understanding of the word "be'mo'ado", from which Chazal learn "be'mo'a'do", 'afilu be'tum'ah' (that the Pesach, like the Tamid, can be brought even be'Tum'ah). When they heard that, they thought that this heter (concession) applied to them as well - indeed, Moshe too, thought that this might be the case, as we see from the ensuing Pesukim.

That is why Hashem informed them "Ish ish ki yih'yeh Tamei la'nefesh", from which Chazal extrapolate 'Ish ... ', an individual who is Tamei, is pushed off until Pesach Sheini, but not a community. A community can bring the Pesach even be'Tum'ah, and that is what "be'mo'ado" means.

It is clear however, that if the Temei'im's argument had been valid, they would have been permitted, not only to bring the Pesach, but to eat it as well, since, based on the unique character of the Korban Pesach, eating is crucial to the Avodah of the Korban. And it is for the same reason that someone who, for whatever reason, is unable to eat the Korban Pesach, cannot bring it either.

Refer to main article.


Forbidden Relations

"And Moshe heard the people crying family by family" (11:10).

They were crying, Rashi explains, because of the incestuous relationships that had become forbidden at Matan Torah. The Rosh connects this with the incident with Eldad and Meidad (which we will discuss later), from which we learn that all those who were married to women whom the Torah forbids, separated from them after Matan Torah, among them Amram and Yocheved (who was his aunt).


G-d's Trump Card

"Will sheep and cattle be Shechted for them ... " (11:22)?

Chas ve'Chalilah, says the Rosh, that Moshe should have harbored doubts about G-d's ability to sustain K'lal Yisrael. His statement was based on the current Halachah forbidding Yisrael to eat meat of cattle or sheep without bringing it as a Korban to Hashem. What he therefore asked Hashem was that seeing as there were only three Kohanim, who had to receive the blood and prepare every Korban that was brought to the Mishkan, how could Aharon, Elazar and Isamar on their own, satisfy the needs of way in excess of a million people? There would be no problem, he continued, if they had been instructed to gather all the fish, which require no preparation. But cattle and other animals! How could they possibly cope?

Hashem therefore told Moshe that he need not worry, because He would organize to provide them with meat which was neither fish nor animals that need to be sacrificed on the Mizbe'ach - so he sent them quails.


Eldad and Meidad

" ... Eldad and Meidad are prophesying in the camp" (11:27).

Eldad and Meidad, says the Rosh, were half-brothers of Moshe. When the Torah was given, he explains, Amram divorced Yocheved (who was now two hundred and ten years old). He married another woman, who bore him Eldad and Meidad. Indeed, he cites a letter that a certain Rabbi Hillel from Eretz Yisrael sent to Rav Amram Gaon, in which he writes that he actually saw the graves of Eldad and Meidad, brothers of Aharon from their father but not from their mother.

According to others, the Rosh adds, they were Elidad ben Kislon and Kemuel ben Shiftan (who later became the Nesi'im of Binyamin and Efrayim, respectively). In that case, of course, they could not have been half-brothers of Moshe and Aharon. The first opinion is puzzling to say the least, because to say that Eldad and Meidad were sons of Amram from a woman whom he married after Matan Torah, would mean that they must have been twins of barely a year old when they became prophets, which is hardly feasible, even for those times, which witnessed the likes of thirteen-year old Betzalel, master architect and craftsman, overseeing the construction of the Mishkan, and becoming married before the age of eight, which seems to have been common in his family.

In view of this Kashya, the explanation of the Targum Yonasan in Sh'mos, certainly sounds better. He refers to the time when Amram divorced Yocheved and later took her back (see Rashi, Sh'mos 2:1). Between those two times, he says, Yocheved was married to Elitzafan ben Parnach, whom she bore Eldad and Meidad.

This explanation creates problems of its own, but it does lend credibility to the contention that they were half-brothers of Moshe and Aharon, though not through their father, but through their mother.


A Different Caliber of Navi

"And he (Yehoshua) said 'My master Moshe, destroy them' " (11:28).

G-d had spoken of seventy elders, the Rosh explains, and if they were to include Eldad and Meidad, who were prophesying in the camp (not together with the others in the Ohel Mo'ed), there would be seventy-two. In that case, they must be false prophets (who are Chayav Miysah).

But Moshe, in his deep humility, countered that he had not the least objection if the whole of K'lal Yisrael were Nevi'im. And as for the seventy elders, that referred to the ones who prophesied with Moshe's spirit, but not people like Eldad and Meidad, who received their prophesy directly from G-d. That is why the Torah writes "and they prophesied and did not stop" , as Unklus translates it.

And what were they saying in the camp? They were announcing that Moshe would die in the desert, and Yehoshua bin Nun would take them into Eretz Yisrael. In fact, says the Rosh, the word "misnab'im" ('are prophesying') spells out the first letters of 'Moshe Sonu'ach Nafsho Be'Eiden, Oz Yehoshua Machnis' ('Moshe's soul will rest in Gan Eiden, then Yehoshua will take Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael').

Note, that the negative content of their prophesy did not deter Moshe from defending their legitimacy.


The Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos cites the Medrash Tanchuma, who attributing Eldad and Meidad's superiority to their modesty (in standing down from the original group of chosen men), lists five differences between the prophesies of the seventy elders and that of Eldad and Meidad:

1. The elders' prophecy was confined to what would happen the next day (the falling of the quails) - theirs concerned what would happen forty years later (as we explained. According to others, they prophesied about the downfall of Gog and Magog in the time of Mashi'ach).

2. The elders did not enter Eretz Yisrael - they did (in their capacity as princes of Binyamin and Efrayim, as some explain).

3. The elders' names are not specified - theirs are.

4. The elders prophesied once and then stopped - they continued to prophecy.

5. The elders' prophecy was an extension of that of Moshe - theirs came directly from G-d.


Humility and Its Reward

"And the man Moshe was extremely humble (onov me'od) ... " (12:3).

The Rosh comments on the missing 'Yud' in "onov" (see also Ba'al ha'Turim). Moshe Rabeinu, he explains, could not bring himself to write "onov" in full, so he missed out the 'Yud', to detract from his own praise.

'You omitted a 'Yud', Hashem declared! I will (honor your decision, but I will) add the word "me'od" to show the world the extent of your humility on the one hand, and its total genuineness, on the other.

There is another Medrash, he adds, which explains that Moshe earned the missing 'Yud', as a result of his sin by the episode of the rock, where he said "will we produce water from this rock", when he ought to have said 'will He produce water ... ' (Notzi, instead of Yotzi), in order to give credit for the forthcoming miracle to G-d, rather than to take it himself (even though that was obviously an unintended insinuation). And it is for omitting the 'Yud' there, that the Torah omits it here.

The two Medrashim oppose each other, but that doesn't matter, the Rosh concludes. Chazal have already compared the words of Torah to a hammer striking a rock, where many sparks fly in all directions - from just one stroke.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 380:
To Bring the Pesach Sheini on the Fourteenth of Iyar

*It is a Mitzvah*for anyone who is unable to bring the Korban Pesach on the 14th of Nisan (such as someone who is Tamei or who is on a long journey), to bring it on Pesach Sheini on the 14th of Iyar, as the Torah writes in Beha'aloscha (9:11) "On the 14th day of the second month they shall bring it".

The Gemara in Pesachim (92b) teaches us that anyone who fails to bring the Korban Pesach in Nisan, whether he does so be'Shogeg be'O'nes, or even be'Meizid, must bring it on Pesach Sheini.

*A reason for the Mitzvah* is because the Mitzvah of Pesach is a strong and clear sign to any thinking person that G-d created the world. After all, at that time, He performed with us great miracles and wonders. He changed the laws of nature before the very eyes of many nations, and the inhabitants of the world saw first-hand that His supervision and ability are manifest even here on earth. All those who witnessed it believed it then, and all who came later would fervently believe forever, that G-d created the world out of nothing when it suited Him to do so. To be sure, that is impossible, but then it is equally impossible to split the sea just long enough for a nation to pass through, and then to return the water to its place, and just as it is impossible to sustain a large nation in the desert for forty (days, let alone) years, by means of bread that descended from heaven day by day ... not to speak of the many other supernatural miracles that He performed on our behalf at that time. And the creation of the world is central to our faith and our Torah. For someone who believes in evolution, has neither Torah nor a portion in the World to Come, together with rest of K'lal Yisrael. And that explains why G-d wished every member of Klal Yisrael to share in this special Mitzvah, allowing nothing - neither O'nes nor distance - to prevent him from fulfilling it. Because if something occurred in Nisan to stop him from bringing the Pesach, then he would be able to bring it in Iyar.

And because it is a lynch-pin of our faith, the Mitzvah pertains even to a Ger who converted and to a child who turned bar-Mitzvah, between Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheini.

*Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah* ... What Chazal have said in Pesachim (96a) to distinguish between Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheini: On Pesach Rishon, there is a La'av of having Chametz in one's possession, whereas on Pesach Sheini, one may have Chametz and Matzah in one's house (though not at one's Seider table); In contrast to Pesach Rishon, Pesach Sheini lasts only one day, neither is it a Yom-tov on which work is forbidden; Pesach Rishon requires Hallel to be said whilst it is eaten, Pesach Sheini does not - though both require Hallel to be said whilst it is being brought.

Both Pesachim must be roasted and eaten together with Matzah and Maror and both override Shabbos. And the prohibition of leaving over or breaking bones pertains to both of them, too.

Why, you may well ask, do all these differences between Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheini exist, when the Torah has distinctly written "ke'chol chukas ha'Pesach ya'asu oso"? The answer is that this Pasuk is written specifically in connection with the Mitzvos to do with the body of the Pesach, such as eating it together with Matzah and Moror, not to leave over from it and not to break any of its bones, as the Gemara explains in Pesachim (96a) ... Chazal obligate Zavin and Zavos, Nidos, Yoldos and Bo'alei Nidos, as well as Teme'ei Meis whose Tum'ah is of the category for which a Nazir is obligated to shave of his hair to bring the Pesach Sheini. Teme'ei Meis whose category of Tum'ah is not of the category that requires a Nazir to shave off his hair, may send their Korban Pesach to be Shechted on their behalf, immediately after Toveling, and eat it after nightfall, and the same applies to someone who became Tamei through touching a Neveilah or a Sheretz ... they also explain that "someone who is on a long journey" extends even to someone who is a mere fifteen Mil from the walls of Yerushalayim when the time to Shecht the Korban Pesach falls due. Less than that, is not considered "a long journey" ... the remaining details of the Mitzvah are to be found in Pesachim and in the Rambam, in the 5th Perek of Hilchos Korban Pesach.

*This Mitzvah applies* when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, to men in the form of an obligation, and to women voluntarily, as the Gemara explains in Pesachim (91b). And that is why one may not Shecht a Korban Pesach for women only, on Shabbos. A man who fails to bring the Pesach Sheini be'Meizid, after not bringing the Pesach Rishon even be'O'nes (through circumstances beyond his control), is Chayav Kareis according to Rebbi in the Mishnah in Pesachim (93a). Rebbi Nasan, Rebbi Chanina and Rebbi Akiva exempt him from Kareis however, seeing as he was O'nes on Pesach Rishon. It goes without saying, however, that someone who negates both Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheini be'Meizid, is Chayav Kareis, according to all opinions. This is one of the only two Mitzvos Asei in the Torah for which one is Chayav Kareis, as we explained in Parshas Bo.


Mitzvah 382 & 383:
Not to Leave Over Part of the Pesach Sheini or to Break any of its Bones

One is prohibited from leaving over any meat of the Pesach Sheini or from breaking any of its bones, when eating it on the night of the fifteenth of Iyar, as the Torah writes in Beha'aloscha (9:12) "They shall neither leave over from it until the morning nor break any of its bones".

The author has already discussed these Halachos in the equivalent Mitzvos with regard to Pesach Rishon in Parshas Bo (Mitzvah 15 and 16).

* * *

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