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

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Vol. 14   No. 33

This issue is sponsored
by Family Saperstein n"y
l'iylu nishmas Yuta Mirtza bas Dovid z"l (11 Sivan)
Yehuda Zev ben Yisrael z"l (25 Sivan)

Parshas Beha'aloscha

Defining Humility

Knowing One's Worth

After recording the Lashon ha'Ra that Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe, the Torah informs us that G-d heard. And then, before telling us in detail about how He intervened on his behalf, the Pasuk first describes Moshe's profound humility. The Ha'amek Davar infers from the wording and sequence of the Pesukim that Hashem's intervention was not in defense of Moshe, since Moshe was not in the least offended, so there was nothing to defend. But it was rather an opportunity to convey Moshe's unique qualities, and to make it clear to Miriam and Aharon, that neither they, nor any other Navi, could compare with their extraordinary brother.

As for the word "Anav", he explains, it does not refer to somebody who considers himself unworthy, like the Mesilas Yesharim maintains. And he cites a number of examples which clearly indicate that 'Anav' describes somebody who is aware of the high level on which he stands, but who does not care about his own Kavod, and who declines to take offence, irrespective of what people say about him.

Two of these examples are blatant: One from Avos de'Rebbi Nasan, which comments on this very Pasuk "Anav mi'kol adam", 've'lo mi'mal'achim' (meaning that Moshe was more humble than all men, but not more than the angels); the other, from the Gemara in Megilah, which says about G-d Himself that wherever one finds a reference to His greatness, there one finds a reference to His humility. And it is certainly not feasible to say that either G-d or the Angels are not fully aware of their own greatness.


The Gemara at the end of Sotah cites Rav Yosef, who commenting on the Mishnah which laments how with the passing of Rebbi, Anavah came to an end, stated 'Don't say Anavah, since there is Me' ('Ve'ha'ika Ano!').

A strange statement, observes the G'ro, since in itself, it is an expression of extreme conceit. He therefore explains that when Rav Yosef said 'Ve'ha'ika Ano!', he was referring, not to himself, but to a Chacham by the name of Ano.

The Ha'amek Davar however, takes Rav Yosef's statement at surface value. He meant himself, he explains, and that is no contradiction to Anavah, which refers to a person who is fully aware of this level, but who thinks nothing of it, as we just explained.


Chazal attribute Nadav and Avihu's death to their statement 'When will these two Zekeinim (Moshe and Aharon) die, so that we can take over the reins of leadership?' The No'am Elimelech, based presumably, on Rashi, who citing none other than Moshe Rabeinu, placed Nadav and Avihu on a higher plain than Aharon and himself, explains that so high was their level, that they were able to issue such a statement without the least bias. They said it because it was true, without even the minutest degree of prejudice or pride.


How Many Days did Moshe Spend on Har Sinai?

The Ba'al ha'Turim points out that the word "Onov" is missing a 'Vav'. Its numerical value is a hundred and twenty six, corresponding to the hundred and twenty six days that Moshe spent on Har Sinai. This would mean that Moshe spent, not forty days the first time he ascended Har Sinai, but forty-six. No doubt, the Ba'al ha'Turim bases his statement on the Pasuk in Yisro (24:16) "And the glory of Hashem rested on Har Sinai, and the cloud covered him for six days".

However, a look at the Gemara in Yuma (4a&b), which records a Machlokes between R. Yossi Hagelili and R. Akiva, will show us that the Ba'al ha'Turim appears to conform with neither of the two opinions. R. Yossi Hagelili is of the opinion that the six days referred to in the Pasuk, took place after Matan Torah, from the seventh of Sivan until the twelfth, but, he adds, they were the first six of the forty days that Moshe spent on the mountain.

R. Akiva on the other hand, in whose opinion the Pasuk is referring to the six days prior to Matan Torah (from Rosh Chodesh Sivan until the sixth) maintains that it was not Moshe that the Cloud covered, but the mountain. Indeed, says Rashi, it is impossible to say that the Cloud covered Moshe during those six days, since Moshe ascended and descended Har Sinai throughout that period. The Gemara cites two additional opinions, R. Nasan and R. Masya ben Charash, but they agree basically with R. Yossi Ha'gelili, arguing with him only regarding the reason for the six days that the Cloud covered Moshe; whether they were standard procedure for someone who wished to enter the Camp of the Shechinah (R. Yossi ha'Gelili), to cleanse Moshe from the food that he had eaten before ascending the Mountain to enter the realm of the angels (R. Nasan) or to instill the appropriate fear in Moshe before his meeting with Hashem (R. Masya ben Charash).

In any event, according to all the opinions, Moshe spent forty days on that first occasion on Har Sinai, and not forty-six, and one wonders how the Ba'al ha'Turim explains the Gemara.

Incidentally, the commentaries' observation that the hundred and twenty years that Moshe lived corresponded to the hundred and twenty-days that he spent on Har Sinai (a year for each day) will not work out according to the Ba'al ha'Turim.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

War-time Blessings

"And when it rested, he would say, 'Bring back, Hashem, the tens of thousands of thousands of Yisrael' " (10:36).

This is how the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos translates the Pasuk.

The Torah has just described the camp of Yisrael, which was about to march to Eretz Yisrael, which it was destined to capture and distribute. It therefore stands to reason that the Pesukim that Moshe would quote before they would travel and after they would return to camp, would concern the battles with the Cana'anim. The one was in the form of a prayer that the enemy should flee and their forces scatter before those of Yisrael. The other, that the Jewish army should return intact from the battle-field (though Rashi interprets the latter Pasuk differently).


Afraid to Fight

"And the people mourned (like over a deceased relative)" 11:1.

Here too, this is the Da'as Zekeinim's interpretation of the Pasuk (see Rashi).

They were mourning, they explain, over the impending battles with the Cana'anim. Their faith was weak, he says, and, in spite of Moshe's Tefilos (see previous pearl), they were worried about the outcome of the forthcoming war.

An ominous sign of things to come … a fitting prelude to the Parshah of the Meraglim.


Where Were the First group of Elders?

"I am not able to carry this people on my own … " (11:14).

Moshe claimed, says the Da'as Zekeinim, that up until that moment, he had had the support of the seventy elders who were appointed at Har Sinai, to help him deal with the people's needs, as the Torah writes in Mishpatim (24:9), "And Moshe and Aharon, Nadav and Avihu and the seventy elders, ascended Har Sinai". But now Moshe he was on his own.

Why was Moshe suddenly on his own, asks the Da'as Zekeinim? What happened to the seventy elders?

The answer is that they had all just died, together with the grumblers, as the Torah records just a few Pesukim earlier. For they were among the 'Mis'onenim' mentioned there, who were burned by means of a Divine fire, as the Torah there writes "and it (the fire) consumed at the edge of the camp", and, according to one of two opinions in the Medrash, the edge of the camp ("k'tzei ha'machaneh"), refers to the "k'tzinim" she'ba'machaneh, the Sanhedrin (see Rashi there - Pasuk 1).

As a matter of fact, the Da'as Zekeinim explain, they deserved to die already then (at Har Sinai) together with Nadav and Avihu, for looking at the Shechinah when they ascended the Mountain, but, G-d postponed killing them (in order not to interfere with the celebrations of Matan Torah). So, like He did with Nadav and Avihu, He waited for the opportune moment and killed them then (see Rashi Sh'mos 24:11).


Not on Shabbos and Yom-Tov

" … G-d will give you meat and you will eat. Not one day, not two days, not five and not twenty days. Until a month of days … " (11:18/19).

These details certainly appear superfluous, as it would have sufficed to say 'G-d will give you meat and you will eat for a month … '. Presumably, that is what prompts the Da'as Zekeinim to take the Pasuk completely out of context and to present the following explanations.

These numbers, he explains, pertain to all the sixty-seven (1+2+5+20+29) days of the year on which Yisrael is forbidden to work, and on which there is a Mitzvah to eat meat.

This incorporates the 50 Shabbasos of a regular year, plus the 4 Shabbasos of a leap-year; plus four days of Pesach (in Chutz la'Aretz (presumably because that is where they were);2 days of Shavu'os and 2 days of Rosh Hashanah, 1 day of Yom-Kipur and 4 of Succos.

Alternatively, they write, the 1 day refers to Yom Kipur, the 2 days, to Shavu'os and Rosh Hashanah, the 5, to the intervening days between Yom Kipur and Succos (including the first day of Succos [days of rejoining on account of their sins being pardoned]); the 10 days refer to the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur; whereas "ve'lo be'esrim yom" refers to the 20 plus 1 days on which Yisrael recite complete Hallel.

Either way, the Pasuk is coming to teach us that on these days, no harm will befall K'lal Yisrael.


No Remedy

"Do not let her be like a dead person … " (12:12).

In his second explanation, Rashi comments 'and there was no other Kohen in the entire world, and this is what the Pasuk means when it says "that when he emerges from his mother's womb …'.

The Rosh explains that Rashi is referring here to a person who is born with the symptoms of Tzara'as, who is a Metzora for life and who is not subject to the remedy of being locked up for seven days.


The Da'as Zekeinim however, concludes 'but in our case, where the plague came as a direct result of sin, prayers could (and would) prove effective, like we find with Paroh, who was smitten with Tzara'as on account of Sarah, and who was healed the moment he returned her to Avraham'.


Five Plus Five makes Ten

"And (if) her father were to spit at her, would she not be embarrassed for seven days?" (12:14).

'Kal vo'Chomer' the Shechinah, where the seven days ought to become fourteen; However it is sufficient to treat the derivative (the Shechinah) like the source (her father), so Miriam was decreed to be stricken for seven days (and not fourteen).

Why would we even have thought only fourteen, asks the Rosh? The Kavod of the Shechinah is a million times more than that of Miriam's father?

And he answers with the Gemara in Nidah (31a), which lists the three partners in a baby's birth, Hashem, his father and his mother. And it goes on to describe how the father implants into him five things (the white which forms the bones, the sinews, the nails, the brain and the white of the eye); the mother five things (the red which forms the skin, the flesh, the blood, the hair and the black of the eye); whereas Hashem supplies him with ten things (Ru'ach, Neshamah, shape of face, vision, hearing, speech, the ability to walk, knowledge, understanding and intelligence).

Of course Hashem's Kavod is a million times more than that of a father, but, in view of the Gemara in Nidah, the Kal-va'Chomer would have made good sense, and He would have been willing to forego His honour under the circumstances.

* * *


Meis for a person who died suddenly. They had had the Mitzvah (of Meis Mitzvah) to perform., and were therefore now unable to bring the Korban Pesach, because it was the seventh day of their Tum'ah … " (9:6).


"This is one of the four Dinim (cases) that came before Moshe the prophet, and he judged them by the word of Hashem. In some cases Moshe was cautious, since they entailed the death-sentence, whilst in others he was quick, because they were (only) money-related. In both cases, Moshe claimed that he had not heard the answer, to teach the leaders of the Sanhedrin, who would succeed him a. to be wary in matters that require the death-sentence and quick in money-oriented rulings and b. not to be ashamed to seek advice in issues that were beyond their knowledge; after all, Moshe, who was the Rebbe of all of Yisrael, was forced to admit that he had not heard … ! Consequently, Moshe said to them 'Wait until I hear what Hashem commands me with regard to you" (9:8).


" They shall not leave over from it (the lamb of the Korban Pesach Sheini) until the morning, nor may they break any bones on it; like all the laws of the Pesach of Nisan they shall do; only, on the Pesach of Nisan they shall eat Matzah, even though they will not bring the Korban Pesach … " (9:12).


"And on the day of your rejoicing, on your Mo'adim and on your Roshei-Chodashim … you shall blow the trumpets on your burned-offerings and on your peace-offerings, and they shall be for you for a good remembrance before Hashem … ; only, the Satan will become confused at the tone of your blowing … " (10:10).


"And Moshe said to Chovav the son of Reu'el … Go with us and we will do good with you, because G-d spoke with Yisrael to do good to converts" (10:29).


"And they traveled from the mountain on which the Shechinah had revealed itself, a journey of three days, and the Aron of the covenant of Hashem went in front of them, a distance of thirty-six Mil, on that day (see Pirush Yonasan) … " (10:33).


"And the Resha'im among the people made out as if they were in distress, deliberately grumbling before Hashem … and Hashem sent a burning fire, which devoured some of the Resha'im at the edge of the camp, from the tribe of Dan, who had an image with them" (11:19).

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 362:
Sending those who are Tamei out of the Camp

It is a Mitzvah to send Temei'im out of Machaneh Shechinah, as the Torah writes in Noso (5:2) "Command the B'nei Yisrael and they shall send from the Camp all Metzora'im Zavim and those who are Tamei Meis". And it was well-known to that generation what constituted the Camp of the Shechinah. Similarly, to future generations, it comprised the Beis-Hamikdash, including the entire courtyard that was situated in front of it (incorporating the Ezras Kohanim and the Ezras Yisrael). The Sifri says that this Pasuk is a warning for Temei'im not to enter the Beis-Hamikdash. And the Gemara in Pesachim (68a) states that the Pasuk in ki-Seitzei (23:11) "And he shall leave the Camp" too, constitutes a Mitzvas Asei, as the Pasuk writes. Indeed, the Torah repeats the Mitzvah in the very next Pasuk "to outside the Camp you shall send them". And, as the author has written in other places, the Torah's repetition of a Mitzvah is an indication of its importance, since Hashem wants only good for His creations, so He warns them again and again with regard to things that are important, much in the same way as friends tend to warn each other over and over again in matters that they consider significant. On the other hand, one does find most fundamental areas of Torah that are merely hinted in the Torah, but everything has a good reason. A reason for the Mitzvah … because Tum'ah, as is known to the Chachamim, weakens the 'Soul of wisdom' and confuses it, creating a separation between it and the perfect Divine wisdom'. As the Torah writes in Shemini (11:43) "And you shall not contaminate yourselves with them, because you will be contaminated", which Chazal interpret to mean " … because you will become (mentally) blocked", meaning that Tum'ah blocks 'the fountains of intelligence'. Consequently, it is not befitting for a person who is sullied with Tum'ah to be present in the location of sanctity and purity, where the Divine Spirit exists. One can compare this to the palace of a king, from which one tends to distance lepers and others whose bodies, even their clothes, are disgusting to look at, as the Pasuk writes in Esther (4:2) "because one does not come to the King's gate wearing sack-cloth".

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah …Chazal have said that a Metzora, whose Tum'ah is severe, in that he renders Tamei be'Ohel (similar to a Meis) , is stringent with regard to the current Din of sending out of the Camp (inasmuch as he is sent out of all three camps, Machaneh Shechinah, Machaneh Leviyah [the entire Har ha'Bayis area], and Machaneh Yisrael [outside the walls of Yerushalayim]); Zavin and Zavos, Nidos and Yoldos, whose Tum'ah is less strict, are sent out of the first two camps, but not out of the third; whereas a Tamei Meis, who is the least stringent of all, is only obligated to leave the Machaneh Shechinah. Therefore he is permitted to enter the Har ha'Bayis. And what is the stringency that pertains to Zavin, over and above those who are Tamei Meis? It is the fact that they render Tamei Mishkav and Moshav (via lying or sitting on things that are made for that purpose, and even under a stone), which a Tamei Meis does not do … Teme'ei Meis, men who had relations with a woman who is Tamei, as well as all gentiles, are not permitted to enter the Chil (an area ten Amos wide, on the Har ha'Batis which adjoins the Ezras Nashim, which is marked by a ten-Tefachim high wall). A T'vul-Yom however, is allowed to enter the Chil, but not the Ezras Yisrael and the Ezras Nashim. Whereas a Mechusar Kipurim (one of four Temei'im who require a Korban on the eighth day) who Toveled on the seventh day of his Tum'ah, but has not yet brought his Korban, is permitted to enter the Ezras Nashim, but not the Ezras Yisrael … and all other details, are discussed in Perek Avos ha'Tum'ah (the first chapter in Keilim, and in the Rambam, in the third chapter of Hilchos Bi'as Mikdash).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women at all times… even nowadays, when the B.H. is still in ruins, a Tamei person is forbidden to enter it. Someone who contravenes it by entering a prohibited area in a state of Tum'ah, in the way that we described above, has nullified a Mitzvas Asei, besides the La'av that he has transgressed, as we shall see in the next Mitzvah.

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