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

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to: parsha@shemayisrael.co.il

Back to This Week's Parsha Previous Issues

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)


Vol. 17   No. 32

This issue is sponsored
by Family Saperstein n"y
li"n Yuta Mirtza bas Dovid z"l (11 Sivan)
and Yehuda Zev ben Yisrael z"l (25 Sivan)
t.n.tz.v.h.

Parshas Beha'aloscho

The Two Silver Trumpets
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

The trumpets served two main functions, R. Bachye explains: Firstly, as a signal for the people and for the princes to gather; two trumpets for the former, one, for the latter - since 'echad' (one) also has connotations of special, and the princes were special among the people. In both cases, the Kohanim (who did the actual blowing) blew a Teki'ah, which denotes Midas ha'Rachamim, the quality that was predominant when K'lal Yisrael encamped around the Mishkan.

Secondly, it served as a signal to break camp and to continue on their travels. Since however, the purpose of their traveling was to capture Eretz Yisrael, which entailed war with the Cana'anim, the predominant quality employed by G-d was Midas ha'Din; so the Kohanim blew a Teru'ah to signal their moving.

This explains why, in connection with the travels in the desert the Torah uses the expression "by the word of Hashem, through the hand of Moshe"; "by the word of Hashem" implies Midas ha'Din, and "through the hand of Moshe", Midas Rachamim. And it also explains why the Torah writes (in Pasuk 9) "And when war comes to your land, then you shall blow a Teru'ah", and why Moshe said (in Pasuk 35) "and your enemies shall flee before you" - from G-d's Midas ha'Din.

*

R. Bachye, citing a Medrash, elaborates on the significance of the trumpets When Sh'lomoh ha'Melech wanted to bring the Aron into the Kodesh Kodshim, the gates refused to open. Sh'lomoh said "Raise up your heads o gates, and be uplifted and let the King of Glory enter!" The gates, thinking that 'the King of Glory' referred to Sh'lomoh himself, challenged him "Who is the king of glory?" To which Sh'lomoh replied "Hashem who is mighty and strong !" And it was only when the gates were satisfied that by 'King of glory' Sh'lomoh meant G-d and not himself that they opened and allowed him to bring in the Oron. Otherwise, says the Medrash, they would have fallen on him and crushed his skull. And it is to repay the gates for defending G-d's honour that when the Beis-Hamikdash was destroyed, the enemy were unable to harm them. All the other holy vessels were captured and taken to Bavel, but the gates of the Kodesh Kodshim sunk into the ground, intact.

*

The author, citing the Medrash, then explains the title 'the King of Glory' that the Pasuk confers upon G-d, attributing it to His Midah of distributing his Kavod to those who fear Him. He is called 'G-d', says the Medrash, and by Moshe too, the Torah writes in Sh'mos (7:1) "See, I have appointed you as a G-d over Par'oh". He revives the dead, and by Eliyahu ha'Navi the Pasuk states "See, your son is alive!" He is called a King, and by Moshe it is written "And he was king in Yeshurun" (Devarim 33:8). And just as one blows trumpets before a king when he leaves his palace so did they blow trumpets in honour of Moshe. Therefore the Torah says "Make for yourself two silver trumpets ". So that all he needed to do to gather the people was to blow the trumpets, and they would obey the call, as the Pasuk writes "And when they blow on them, the entire congregation will gather to you at the entrance of the Ohel Mo'ed".

*

And, as Rashi explains, based on the Pasuk, which writes "Make for yourself", the trumpets were for the exclusive use of Moshe. Even Yehoshua, his Talmid and successor, says R. Bachye, used not trumpets as a sign of gathering and going to war, but Shofros, as the Pasuk writes in Yehoshua (6:20).

And David ha'Melech after him used neither trumpets nor Shofros. True, he manufactured trumpets and other instruments to play in the Beis-Hamikdash (as is evident in the Pasuk in Divrei-Hayamim 2, 29:28). Yet his personal instrument was his famous harp, which was hung above his bed, and which would enable him to 'awaken the dawn', as he himself writes in Tehilim (57:9).

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted mainly from Rabeinu Bachye)

The Three Lessons

" when you kindle the lamps, towards the middle branch of the Menorah the seven lamps shall burn. And this is the way the Menorah shall be made hammered out of gold " (8:2/3).

R. Bachye lists three things that we can extrapolate from this Parshah. 1. that the lamps on all six branches should face the lamp on the stem of the Menorah (which is known as the 'western lamp'); 2. That the Menorah should if possible, be made out of gold (though if it is made out of other metals, it is Kasher Bedi'eved); 3. That it must be carved out of one solid mass of gold/metal.

The reason that this latter specification is crucial, whereas the previous one is not R. Bachye explains, is because the Torah repeats the word "Mikshah" (hammered out), whereas the word "Zahav" is not. And we have a rule in Kodshim, that when a word is repeated, it indicates that the ruling in question is crucial.

*

Two Menoros

"When you kindle (be'ha'aloscho) the lamps, towards the face of the Menorah, the seven lamps shall shine And Aharon did so, towards the face of the Menorah he kindled (he'eloh) its lamps " (Ibid.)

R. Bachye points out that the word "Menorah" appears four times in this Parshah, the first two times with a 'Vav' (a letter of Hashem's Name) after the 'Nun', the second two times without a 'Vav'. The reason for this, he explains, is because the first two times the Pasuk is referring to the Menorah in Heaven, which, as the Parshah writes in conclusion "Hashem showed Moshe" (on Har Sinai). That Menorah represented the seven Sefiros of Chochmah (from Chesed through Malchus). And this also explains why the Torah uses a word denoting 'going up' ("be'ha'aloscho" & "he'eloh") rather than 'hadlakah' - to hint that the Menorah that Aharon lit was a reflection of the one that was lit in Heaven.

*

Purifying the Levi'im

And so you shall do to them to purify them - sprinkle on them the Mei Chatas (the ashes of the Parah Adumah), and pass a razor over all their flesh" (8:7).

The Mei Chatas was to purify them from Tum'as Meis. This was necessary, R. Bachye explains, since, following Moshe's command "Each of you shall kill his brother, his friend and his relative" (Ki Sissa 32:28), they killed all those who had worshipped the Golden Calf, rendering them all Tamei Meis.

And as for passing a razor over all their flesh, he explains, this excludes the Peyos, conforming with the explanation of the I'bn Ezra. The commentaries express surprise at this explanation however, since the author himself compares the shaving here to that of a Metzora, which Chazal describe as 'shaving off all the hair until he resembles a pumpkin'?

Indeed, the Medrash relates how the people did not recognize Korach (after he shaved in his capacity as a Levi) - because he was completely hairless!

To answer the Kashya, the Toras Chayim explains that they shaved off all of the Levi's hair with a razor, except for the Peyos, which they shaved off using scissors.

*

Five Times in One Pasuk

"And I assigned the Levi'im to be given to Aharon and his sons from among the B'nei Yisrael " (8:19).

"B'nei Yisrael" is mentioned five times in this Pasuk.

R. Bachye explains that this represents the five Books of the Torah, which maintains the world that was created with a 'Hey' (see Rashi Bereishis 2:4). For, on the one hand, Yisrael alone were worthy of receiving the Torah, whereas on the other, Yisrael's existence depends exclusively on the Torah.

Likewise, R. Bachye observes, the Parshah of the Mishkan is repeated five times in Seifer Sh'mos. This is because the Mishkan and its vessels are a microcosm of this world, which was created with a 'Hey'.

See also Rashi & Highlights from the Ba'al ha'Turim.

*

Twenty-Five -Thirty

"From the age of twenty-five, he shall come to join the hosts of the service in the Ohel Mo'ed" (8:24).

In Parshas Naso (4:23), the Torah gives the starting age of the Avodah as thirty (See Rashi).

To resolve the discrepancy, R. Bachye explains that the Pasuk there is talking about carrying the Holy Vessels when they travelled (in keeping with the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos, which gives thirty as the age that one attains one's full strength); whereas the Pasuk here is referring to the other Avodos which the Levi'im performed in the Ohel Mo'ed (i.e. singing and guarding). That explains why the Pasuk writes here "And he shall come to join the hosts in the Avodah of the Ohel Mo'ed".

*

The Korban Pesach

"And they brought the Korban Pesach in the first month " (9:8).

See Rashi on Pasuk 9:1.

R. Bachye, citing the Ramban, explains, that based on Chazal, during their travels in the desert, they did not bring the Korban Pesach, because they and their slaves had given birth to baby boys, whom they were unable to circumcise.

This because, as the Gemara explains in Yevamos, throughout their travels in the desert, the north wind (which is crucial for the baby's recovery) did not blow, and as the Halachah dictates, whoever has a baby or a slave who has not been circumcised, is disqualified from bringing the Korban Pesach.

*

The Sifri however, explains that this was the only time that Yisrael brought the Korban Pesach throughout the forty years in the desert, and that this was to the shame of K'lal Yisrael. And the Sifri extrapolates this from the superfluous wording "on the first month on the fourteenth day in the desert", when it would have sufficed to write "And they made the Pesach just as Hashem had commanded Moshe". The extra words imply that whilst they were in the desert, this was the only time that they brought it. And it is considered derogatory because although they were unable to bring it since the north wind did not blow, as we explained earlier, the reason that the north wind did not blow was on account of either the sin of the Golden Calf or the sin of the spies.

*

R. Bachye also points out that the Parshah of Korban Pesach is written here, because chronologically, this is where it belongs. The inauguration of the Mizbe'ach, which the Torah discussed at the end of Naso, took place from the first of Nisan until the twelfth, the year after Yisrael left Egypt, and that was when the Levi'im were separated from the rest of K'lal Yisrael. Pesach was imminent, and that is why G-d commanded them here to bring the Korban Pesach.

*

And the reason that it was necessary to command them in the first place, he adds, is because in Parshas Bo, the Torah specifically linked the Mitzvah of the Korban Pesach to Eretz Yisrael (see 12:28 & 13:11). That may well have been because it was G-d's intention to take them straight to Eretz Yisrael from Har Sinai, and that's what He would have done had they not sinned, first by the Golden Calf and then, by the Spies. The fact remains, no obligation to bring it in the desert existed. Therefore it was necessary to teach them that the Korban Pesach applied even there.

* * *

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BA'AL HA'TURIM ...

"And I assigned the Levi'im to be given to Aharon and his sons from among the B'nei Yisrael " (8:19).

"B'nei Yisrael" appears five times in this Pasuk, comments the Ba'al ha'Turim, hinting at the five groups of which they are comprised: Kohanim, Levi'im Yise'eilim, Geirim (converts) and Avadim Meshuchrarim (slaves that have been set free).

See also Rashi & Parshah Pearls.

*

" and to atone (u'lechaper) for the B'nei Yisrael" (Ibid).

The word "u'lechaper" appears in two other places in T'nach - once in Divrei Hayamim 1 (6:34 [with reference to the Kohanim & Korabanos]) "and to atone (u'lechaper) for the B'nei Yisrael"; and once in Daniel (9:24 [with reference to the seventy years of Galus Bavel]) "and to atone (u'lechaper) for sin".

This indicates, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that Galus atones just like Korbanos.

*

"And the B'nei Yisrael shall prepare the Pesach in its time (be'mo'ado)" 9:2.

The word "be'mo'ado", the Ba'al ha'Turim observes, contains an extra 'Vav' (after the 'Mem'). This is because the time to Shecht it is after six hours (midday). Moreover, he explains, the word "be'Mo'ado" in the Gematriayah known as 'Atbash' comes to 'Shifaskaf', which is equivalent to that of Shabbos, since the Korban Pesach, like all obligatory Korbanos, overrides Shabbos.

*

" on the day that the Mishkan (ha'Mishkan) is set up " (9:15).

The word "ha'Mishkan" occurs seven times in the Parshah, says the Ba'al ha'Turim - hinting at the seven 'MIshkanos' that existed in total:

The Mishkan in the Desert.
The Mishkan in Gilgal.
The Mishkan in Shiloh.
The Mishkan in Nov.
The Mishkan in Giv'on.
The First Beis-Hamikdash &
The Second Beis-Hamikdash.

These were all temporary. We look forward to the building of the Third Beis-Hamikdash, which will be permanent.

*

"Make for yourself two trumpets of silver" (10:2).

"of silver", the Ba'al ha'Turim remarks, and not of gold - in order not to invoke memories of 'the sound of blowing' (Ki Sissa 32:17) that was heard when they served the Golden Calf.

*

"When you come (ki sovo'u) to wage war in your land " (10:9).

The letters of the word "sovo'u" spell 'Avos'. When Yisrael go to war, it is the merit of the Avos that stands them in good stead, says the Ba'al ha'Turim.

*

"And on the day of your rejoicing (simchaschem) and your Yamim-Tovim (u've'mo'adeichem) and on Rosh Chodesh you shall sound the trumpets " (10:10).

"Simchaschem" is the same Gematriyah as 'Gam be'yom ha'Shabbos', whereas the extra 'Vav' (after the 'Mem') in the 'u've'mo'adeichem hints at the six Yamim-Tovim - Pesach, Atzeres, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kipur, Succos and Shemini Atzeres. On all of these, they blew the trumpets when the Korban Musaf was brought.

* * *

THE MITZVOS AND THEIR MEANING
(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 451:
To Shecht a Beheimah, a Chayah and a Bird Properly (cont.)

Whoever wishes to Shecht also needs to be conversant with the examination of the Chalif (the Shechitah-knife) on all three sides of the knife (i.e. the two sides of the knife and the cutting-edge) using both the nail and the flesh of one's thumb. Should he come across the slightest notch, it is subsequently forbidden to Shecht with that knife, until it has been repaired. On the other hand, one may Shecht with anything that cuts well and that does not have even one notch. If after having Shechted, one discovers a notch in the knife, we assume that the knife became notched on the skin of the animal that is currently being Shechted, and that the Simanim were cut with a Pasul knife. This ruling however, only applies if the knife was not used to break bones after the Shechitah, in other words, after the Shechitah, it did not have contact with something that might have caused it to become notched. If we know for sure that it did, then we attribute any notches on it to that. But as long as we cannot say with certainly that the knife was used to cut something that is likely to have caused the notches, then we attribute them to the skin of the animal, as we explained The Gemara in Chulin (3b) rules that we assume whoever Shechts regularly to be an expert. It is not necessary to examine him even if he is available, since we rely on his Shechitah. Some Poskim maintain however, that if he is available, then one needs to examine him And the remaining details of the Mitzvah are discussed in Maseches Chulin in the first chapters, and in Yoreh De'ah (Siman 1 - 28).

This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times to both men and women, who are also warned against eating animals, Chayos and birds that have not been properly Shechted. They too, are eligible to Shecht, and their Shechitah may be eaten by anybody, provided they are conversant with the Dinim of Shechitah and they are expert in practicing them. What's more, even the Shechitah of a child is Kasher, provided a grown-up who is conversant with the Dinim of Shechitah supervises him whilst he Shechts. The Gemara in Chulin however (12b), warns against giving him an animal to Shecht Lechatchilah. This is because, due to a child's immaturity, he will generally mess up the Shechitah, thereby causing a financial loss.

* * *

For sponsorships and adverts call 651 9502


Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to parsha@shemayisrael.co.il

http://www.shemayisrael.com
Jerusalem, Israel
732-370-3344