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

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Vol. 11   No. 32

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Parshas Naso

The Three Camps
(Adapted from the Mitzvos Hashem and the K'li Yakar)

The Torah requires a Metzora to leave all three camps (Shechinah, Leviyah and Yisrael), a Zav, the first two, and a Tamei Meis, only the first one.

The Seifer Mitzvos Hashem defines the three camps in the following way.

Machaneh Yisrael constituted the four flags (comprising the twelve tribes that surrounded the Levi'im in the desert). With the building of the Beis-Hamikdash, this became - from the gates of Yerushalayim up to the Har ha'Bayis (and it incorporated all walled cities in Eretz Yisrael).

Machaneh Leviyah was where the Levi'im encamped, and later became - from the entrance of the Har ha'Bayis up to and including the gate leading into the Ezras Yisrael (known as 'Sha'ar Nikanor').

Machaneh Shechinah was from the entrance to the Azarah and within, which later became- anywhere beyond Sha'ar Nikanor. The Chachamim decreed that a dead body and even a Tamei Meis should not enter the Chil (a marked area inside the Har ha'Bayis) and certainly not the Ezras Nashim, which was situated on the near side of Sha'ar Nikanor.

In conclusion, the Mitzvos Hashem writes that a Metzora had to leave Yerushalayim; Zavim, Zavos, Nidos and Yoldos were forbidden to enter the Har ha'Bayis, whereas Teme'ei Meis, someone who had relations with a Nidah and gentiles were not permitted beyond the Chil.

A T'vul-Yom (after Toveling until nightfall) was not permitted in the Ezras Nashim, whereas a Mechusar Kipurim (someone who was Tahor but needed to bring his Korban) was precluded only from entering the Ezras Yisrael (Machaneh Shechinah).


The K'li Yakar cites the Medrash that the three types of Tum'ah listed in the Parshah, Tzara'as, Zav and Tamei Meis, correspond to the three cardinal sins - idolatry (Tzora'as), adultery (Zav) and murder (Tamei Meis). In fact, the Medrash explains the entire Pasuk in connection with the exile of K'lal Yisrael, who were sent into Galus precisely for these three sins, for when the Pasuk speaks about 'banishing from the camp ... ", it is hinting at Yisrael being driven into Galus. To explain the connection with our Parshah, the K'li Yakar reminds us that it was said on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, immediately after the Mishkan was erected and the Shechinah rested in K'lal Yisrael. That is why Moshe then made a point of warning them, on the one hand, not to contaminate the Mishkan with their Tum'os, and on the other, not to drive the Shechinah away (from the Mishkan now, from Eretz Yisrael later), with the three forms of Tum'ah, symbolizing the three cardinal sins. For this causes the Shechinah to depart, the destruction of the Beis-Hamikdash and exile (which is indeed what happened later). So he warned them now that if there is a Metzora, a Zav or a Tamei Meis in the camp, it is a sign that the three cardinal sins are present, and that it is preferable by far, to banish the culprit from the camp than the Shechinah. Perhaps, we may add, it is also better to send him 'into Galus' now, to atone for his sins, than wait until his sins spread to the rest of the camp and it becomes necessary to send the whole of Yisrael into Galus.

The connection between the three Tum'os and the three cardinal sins, says the K'li Yakar, is also hinted in the letters of the word "Tamei".

The 'Tes' represents (Tamei Meis and) murder, just as birth takes place after nine months (Rabeinu Bachye also explains that even the letters that spell 'Tes', are similar to the word 'death' which is common to many languages). And we also find that after specifying the six initial cities of refuge, the Torah adds three more, making a total of nine. The 'Mem' represents (Zav and) adultery, as we find by the great Flood, where the water fell for forty days, because, due to their promiscuity, they had 'troubled their Creator to form Mamzeirim (a process which lasts forty days - see Rashi, No'ach - 7:4).

Whereas the 'Alef' represents idolatry, which contravenes the concept of "Hashem Echad" (the oneness of G-d).

And what's more, he adds, David Hamelech referred to the Yeitzer ha'Ra as 'Tamei' (see Succah 52a), because he stumbled (at some level or other) in all three cardinal sins: adultery - with Bas-Sheva, murder - with Uriyah ha'Chiti, and idolatry - as Chazal have said in Sanhedrin 107a), commenting on the Pasuk in Shmuel "And David came up to the head", that he wanted to worship idols.

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Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Rosh on the Chumash)

Who Comes First?

"Count the sons of Gershon as well" (4:22).

When the B'nei Levi were counted in last week's Parshah (from the age of one month and onwards), it was Gershon that was counted first, the Rosh points out, because Gershon was the oldest of Levi's three sons. On this occasion however (when they were being counted for the Avodas ha'Mishkan, from the age of thirty), Kehos was counted first, because when it came to the Avodah, Kehos was given precedence (as is evident from the fact that they were the ones to carry the holy vessels). The Torah therefore writes "as well", as if to say that it was not to the exclusion of Gershon that Moshe started with Kehos, because they would be counted too.


al-Pi Hashem be'Yad Moshe

"By the word of G-d (al-Pi Hashem) through Moshe" (4:45).

Why, asks the Rosh, does the Torah insert the words "al-Pi Hashem" by both Kehos (in Pasuk 37) and Merori (in Pasuk 45), but not by Gershon (in Pasuk 41)?

And he explains that at the end of the previous Parshah (in Pasuk 18), the Torah wrote that G-d spoke to Moshe and Aharon (with regard to guarding the Kehasim from coming too close). The Torah therefore found it necessary to mention here regarding the B'nei Kehos, that Moshe was G-d's emissary and not Aharon.

On the other hand, when counting the B'nei Merori (in Pasuk 45), it does not mention Moshe's name at all, but begins with the words "And these are the numbers of the families of the B'nei Merori". Therefore, the Torah found saw fit to conclude with the words "al-Pi Hashem be'Yad Moshe", to teach us that Merori too were counted at the hand of Moshe.


The Avodah of the Avodah

"From the age of thirty up to the age of fifty ... to serve the service of the service ... " (4:47).

Rashi interprets 'the service of the service' to mean the Shir, which accompanied the pouring of the wine that was part of the Korban Tamid.

The Rosh however, based partially on a Pasuk in Divrei Hayamim, ascribes it to the Shechitah, the flaying (of the skins) and the cutting-up of the Korbanos, which were an intrinsic part of the Avodah, but did not have to be performed by the Kohanim. , so the Torah refers to it as 'the service of the service'.


Midah k'neged Midah

"A man whose wife 'goes astray" (5:12).

The Rosh cites the Gemara in Sotah (8b), which presents Sotah as a prime example of how Hashem punishes measure for measure.

She made herself beautiful in order to sin, the Gemara explains, so Hashem makes her ugly.

She revealed herself to her lover - Hashem reveals her for all to see.

She revealed first her thighs and then her stomach - the water affects first her thighs and then her stomach (although logically, it should have occurred the other way round).

She stood at the entrance of her house - the Kohen stands her at the Gate of Nikanor (the entrance from the Ezras Nashim to the Ezras Yisrael).

She donned a pretty head covering - the Kohen removes her head-covering and throws it at her feet.

She applied make-up to her face - her face turns yellow.

She painted her eyes - her eyes protrude from their sockets.

She plaited her hair - the Kohen undoes her hair.

She signaled to her lover with her fingers - her fingernails fall out.

She wore a pretty belt - the Kohen ties an Egyptian rope above her breasts.

She 'gave him' her thighs - "her thighs will fall".

She received her lover on her stomach - "her stomach will swell".

She fed him tasty foods - her Korban consists of barley (animal food).

She gave her lover the best wine in expensive goblets - the Kohen gives her bitter water in an earthenware cup.

She sinned in secret - the One who dwells unseen punishes her (others say that He publicizes what she did).


The Two Sisters

The Rosh cites a Medrash Tanchuma, which tells the story of a man who suspected his wife of having committed adultery. After following the prescribed procedure, he took her to Yerushalayim. The road to Yerushalayim however, led through the town where her married sister lived, and they stopped there to break their journey. That was when the guilty woman had a brainwave. She asked her sister, who resembled her in looks, to take her place, and to accompany him to Yerushalayim instead of her.

Her sister agreed, and unbeknown to her husband, she went to Yerushalayim in place of the adulteress. After receiving the treatment that was reserved for her sister, she drank the bitter water, and needless to say, nothing happened to her. However, upon her return, she was greeted by her grateful sister, who embraced her and kissed her happily. As she did so, the smell of the bitter water entered her body, and took immediate effect on her as if she would have drunk the water. She died instantly, in fulfillment of the Pasuk in Koheles ... "And a Rasha will not escape from his Master".


Nachshon ben Aminadav

"And the one who brought his Korban on the first day was Nachshon ... for the tribe of Yehudah. And his Korban (ve'Korbano) consisted of ... " (7:12/13).

The Pasuk implies that Nachshon should not really have been the first to bring - even before his older brothers Reuven and Shimon. Only, as we explained last week, this is one of the areas where Yehudah was given precedence. It may also be, the Rosh suggests, because he was the brother-in-law of Aharon ha'Kohen that he was given precedence.


And the extra 'Vav' in the word 've'Korbano', explains the Rosh, hints at the six Tzadikim that were destined to descend from him: David, Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah, Daniel and Melech ha'Mashi'ach, each of whom was blessed with six B'rachos (see also Rashi and Targum, Megilas Rus 3:16/17).

The Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos offers a different explanation. He explains that the 'Vav', creates the impression that he was not the first, and it was meant to counter any feelings of pride that may have entered Nachshon's heart at having been chosen to be the first to bring his Korbanos.

And it is for the same reason that the Torah omits the word "Nasi" next to his name (as it does by all the other tribes). See also Da'as Zekeinim M.T. 'Kevosim b'nei shonoh chamishoh'.

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(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 366:
Not to Add Oil or Levonah to the Korban of a Sotah

It is forbidden to add oil to the Korban of a Sotah, as the Torah writes in Naso (5:15) " ... he shall not pour oil on it or put on it frankincense".

Chazal have already explained the reason for this Mitzvah. It is, they say, so that her Korban should not be adorned. Oil is called 'light', they explain, whereas the Sotah acted in darkness. She behaved promiscuously, like an animal, which makes itself available to all, so her Korban is inferior - barley, which is animal fodder.

The Ramban writes concerning the Korban of a Sotah that, following his warning to his wife, the Sotah's husband pays for his wife's Korban out of his own pocket, so that G-d should take revenge from her on his behalf.

And the reason for the barley, he says, is so that G-d's Divine tempestuous anger should descend on the head of the wicked prostitute, much like the barley loaf of Gid'on (see Shoftim 7:13), which they interpreted as a storm and great confusion. - because 'Se'orah' means both barley and a storm.

Likewise, the Ramban continues, the earthenware vessel (in which they placed the water that she had to drink), is symbolical of her being broken like the vessel of a potter, and the dust (which they added to the water), that she would die and revert to dust.

The Ramban does not however, explain the omission of oil. But the author adding to what he wrote earlier, explains that it is not befitting to pour oil, which rises to the top of whichever liquid it is mixed with, into the Korban of the Sotah, who, through her wicked deeds, lowered her status from that of a mistress to one of utter disgrace; to add to her Korban, oil, the mark of light and greatness, as it is used to anoint kings and Kohanim Gedolim.

And in similar vein, they did not add frankincense to her Korban either, because frankincense enhances a Korban and gives it a pleasant aroma, and it is not appropriate for a sinner to adorn her Korban in this way. Furthermore, the Tanchuma explains, Chazal have said that the righteous and modest Mothers are called 'frankincense' (see Shir Hashirim 4:6), but the Sotah strayed from their path.

In short, all the details of a Korban Sotah are to remind all those who were involved in its preparation, that when someone's deeds are degenerate, then every movement that he makes lead him to shame and disgrace ... .

This Mitzvah applies at the time when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, as the author explained in the main Mitzvah of Sotah (Mitzvah 365), because one only gives the Sotah to drink and brings her Korban, in the Beis-Din of seventy-one that sat in the Beis-Hamikdash. Any Kohen who contravenes this La'av and pours oil or places Levonah on to the Minchah of a Sotah, receives Malkos.


Mitzvah 377:
Shaving a Nazir and Bringing his Korbanos

*When the Nazir terminates his Nezirus* or when he becomes Tamei, he is obligated to shave off his hair and to bring his Korbanos, as the Torah writes in Naso (6:13/14/18) "And this is the law of the Nazir on the day when his term of Nezirus ends ... and he shall bring his Korban to Hashem ... and the Nazir shall shave", and (Pasuk 9/10) "And when a someone dies on him suddenly ...then he shall shave off his hair ...and on the eighth day, he shall bring two pigeons ... ".

There are three people, says the Sifra, who require shaving, and whose shaving is a Mitzvah: a Nazir, a Metzora and the Levi'im. However, whereas the shaving of the Levi'im took place only once in the desert, that of a Nazir and a Metzora are ongoing Mitzvos.

The Rambam writes that these two shavings of a Nazir (that of Tum'ah and that of Taharah) are considered one Mitzvah. This is because the shaving of a Tamei Nazir is not an independent Mitzvah at all, only part of the Mitzvah of Nezirus. Should the Nazir become Tamei during his days of Nezirus, the Torah is teaching us, he must shave, bring a Korban and start growing his hair with Kedushah all over again, to observe from scratch all the days that he undertook to keep. And since this is only part of the entire Mitzvah, it would not be correct to count it as an independent Mitzvah, as the Rambam writes in Seifer ha'Mitzvos (Ikar ha'Shevi'i). In Mitzvah 174 (the Shaving of a Metzora). the author already cited the Rambam, who explains why it is that we reckon the two shavings of a Nazir and his subsequent Korbanos as one Mitzvah, whilst the two shavings and the Korbanos of a Metzora we reckon as two.

*A reason for this Mitzvah*, the author has already presented in great length in Mitzvah 374 (that of Letting his hair to grow long). There he explained that it is in order to train the Nazir to break his desires, as the Gemara explains in Nazir (4b). (to be continued)

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