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

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Vol. 13   No. 33

This issue is co-sponsored
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Parshas Naso

From the Haftarah
(Adapted from the Ma'ayanah shel Torah)

It All Begins with the Mother

The angel informed Mano'ach's wife that her son (Shimshon) would be a Nazir 'from the stomach' (i.e. before he was even born, a certain Ba'al Musar explained). That means to say that the high level of Nezirus that he would adopt had to begin with his mother. For so they say, Chinuch (education) begins before the baby is even born. What his mother does, says and even thinks from the time that he is conceived, they say, will affect him deeply.

That is what David ha'Melech meant when he said in Tehilim (68:27) "In groups bless Hashem, from the source of Yisrael".

Only if the source is pure can one expect the children to bless Hashem, when they grow up.


The Self-Generating Salvation

The Pasuk writes that Shimshon "will begin to save Yisrael from the P'lishtim". This is strange, asks the Tzavrei Shalal, since we do not find anybody, after he Shimshon died, continuing where Shimshon left off?

The Chachamim say however, that, for twenty years after Shimshon's death, the P'lishtim were afraid to start up with Yisrael. What the Pasuk therefore means is that the salvation that Shimshon initiated in his lifetime, continued automatically after he died.


Now Why Did She Leave that Out?

When Mano'ach's wife informed her husband about what 'the man' had told her, she mentioned that her son would be a Nazir from birth, but said nothing about a razor not passing over his head, although the angel had specifically mentioned that. It appears, says the Meshech Chochmah, that she had a spark of Ru'ach ha'Kodesh, when we bear in mind that the detail of a razor not passing over his head was destined to be broken. Consequently, she omitted it, even though she herself probably did not know why.



Mano'ach, the Gemara suggests, was an Am ha'Aretz, because, the Pasuk says, he 'walked behind his wife' (and that is the mark of an Am ha'Aretz).

The Gemara actually concludes that the Pasuk means something else, but still, had it been understood literally, that comment would have been valid.


The Toldos Ya'akov Yosef queries the above statement by means of a parable, and he answers by means of a parable, too. A conceited man once struck it rich, and due to his newfound wealth, he was appointed president of the community. Once as he was returning from a communal meeting late at night, a servant walked ahead of him carrying a lamp to light up the way for the Rosh ha'Ir. But the latter scolded him for having the audacity to walk in front of him, to which the servant respectfully and humbly pointed out that since he was holding the lamp, he had to walk in front for the Rosh ha'Ir to see where he was going.

And so it was with Mano'ach and his wife. Even assuming that Mano'ach did walk behind his wife, what else could he have done, seeing that his wife was the one who knew where the angel was, and therefore needed to lead the way?


The answer lies however, in the following parable. A Maggid once Darshened in Cracow that if someone were to place his full trust in G-d to provide him with all his needs, then G-d would respond accordingly, and he would never go short.

A simple Jew took the D'rashah very much to heart and decided to abide by it. So he began sitting beside the oven in Shul from morning till night, saying Tehilim, convinced that Hashem would grant him his Parnasah.

A few days later a farmer arrived with an offer that was too good to be true. He had a lot of wood for sale at a very cheap price. All the Cracover Yid needed to do was to accompany him to the village and fetch it, and he would be able to re-sell it at a hugh profit. But the Yid refused to leave the Beis ha'Medrash. Why should he waste time not saying Tehilim when G-d would provide for him anyway.

His wife pleaded and scolded, she begged him to take up such a golden offer that would never be repeated. But her pleas fell on deaf ears. 'If the farmer needs me', the man insisted, 'then he will bring the wood to me'. And in the end, that is precisely what happened.

Here too. Mano'ach did not need to display his ignorance in public. He should have understood that if the Angel was meant for him to see, then he (the Angel) would come to him, in which case it was unnecessary to break with protocol.


Am ha'Aratzus is Am ha'Aratzus

Even when a woman is leading the way to meet a Mal'ach, says the Panim Yafos, walking behind her is considered Am ha'Aratzus.

As the old saying goes 'The end does not justify the means'.



The Pasuk informs us that the angel who was sent to inform Mano'ach about the birth of a son was currently 'Peli', due to the instructions concerning Nezirus (where the Torah uses the term "Lehafli") that he issued Mano'ach (See Parshah Pearls 'A Wonder').

The Mal'ach who fought with Ya'akov, just like the angel here, asked Ya'akov why he wanted to know his name, only there, the Pasuk does not supply an interim name (like it does here).

The reason for this, one Gadol explained, is because whereas a Mal'ach is named after his mission, that mission on which the Mal'ach of Ya'akov was sent remained unaccomplished. He came to overpower Ya'akov, but it was Ya'akov who overpowered him.


Alternatively, one Ba'al Musar explained, the question is answered when we remember that the Mal'ach of Eisev is synonymous with the Yeitzer-ha'Ra.

The Yeitzer ha'Ra is significant only as long as we attach importance to him. The moment we put him in his place (as Ya'akov did), he ceases to have any significance whatsoever, in which he has no identity, and therefore remains nameless.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

An Accessory to the Crime

"And they shall confess the sin which they performed" (5:7).

Seeing as until now, the Torah has been using the singular form ("and *he* shall return", "and *he* shall give"), why does it suddenly switch to the plural "And *they* shall confess"?

The truth of the matter is however, that the depositor is also guilty of having sinned, the M'lo ha'Omer explains. By depositing by his friend without witnesses, he transgressed the La'av of 'not placing a stumbling block before a blind man'. Had he deposited the object in the presence of two witnesses, as Chazal indicate one should, the depositee would not have been able to swear falsely.

Consequently, the depositor has sinned no less than the depositee, in which case the Torah is perfectly justified in using the plural in connection with sin of confession, one with regard to the depositor and the other with regard to the depositee.


Getting to the Root

"And he shall return that which he sinned, the principle amount, to which he shall add a fifth" (5:7).

The Torah's wording is "Ve'heishiv es ashomo be'rosho", which can be translated as "And he shall rectify his sin at its inception".

In order to cure an illness, a good doctor looks for the root of the ailment, and removes it. And that is what the Pasuk means here: In order to rectify a sin, one needs to get to the root, and eliminate it (Beis Ya'akov).

It is well-known that the root of a sin is bad Midos. What the Beis Ya'akov probably means therefore, is that in order to rectify a sin fully (to ensure that it is not repeated), one needs to work on the bad Midah that lies at its root and get rid of it.


The Power of Eighty

"A man whose wife goes astray and deals with him falsely ... " (5:12).

In his Seifer 'Gevuros Shemonim', the Gaon R. Yosef Engel presents eighty answers to explain why there is any point in a man taking his wife to the Beis-Hamikdash to have her drink the water of a Sotah, according to the opinion that holds that the owner of a Korban is able to render it Pigul. Remember, it is the Korban that the husband brings on the Sotah's behalf, that activates the water. In that case, seeing as he husband can easily invalidate her Korban with a thought of Pigul, what is the point of taking her to the Beis Hamikdash?

When the Seifer was first published, the father of the Chochmas Chayim (R. Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld's son) suggested to his father that the significance of the eighty answers lay in the numerical value of the word "Sotah", which equals eighty. R. Yosef Chayim liked the Vort. That was surely what the author had in mind, he said, but he was surprised that he did not specifically write it in the introduction to his Seifer.


Birds of a Feather


When Resh Lakish focused on the topic of Sotah, he would begin his D'rashah with the words 'A man gets the wife he deserves!'

It seems, says the M'lo ha'Omer, that Resh Lakish was thinking of Rashi, who, in order to explain the juxtaposition of Sotah to that of Matnos Kehunah, writes that somebody who keeps back the Matanos from the Kohen, will eventually have to pay him a visit with his rebellious wife.

But that's not fair! Why should the man's poor wife have to suffer on account of her husband's transgressions?

That's why Resh Lakish makes his statement. If the man is a sinner, then he will be given a wife like himself, who will eventually end up by the Kohen, not only on account of her husband's sins, but on account of her own sins too!


A Wonder

"A man or woman who utters a vow of a Nazir" (6:2).

The word the Torah uses is "ki yafli" ... which derives from the word "Pele" (a wonder). Indeed, the Ibn Ezra explains, it is a wonder that anybody should separate himself from the pleasures of this world (epitomized by wine, on the one hand, and nice hair, on the other). Most people, he laments, spend most of their lives running after 'the good things in life'.


Blessing Yisrael

"And they will place My Name on B'nei Yisrael and I will bless them" (6:27).

This Pasuk, says the Sifri, refers to the Kohanim blessing Yisrael in the Beis-Hamikdash; whereas the Pasuk in Mishpatim (20:24)"Wherever I mention My Name, I will come and bless you" refers to them blessing Yisrael outside the Beis-Hamikdash. From where, asks the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro citing the G'ro, does the Sifri know this?

And he answers by referring to the Mishnah in Sotah (38), which explains that whereas the Kohanim in the Beis-Hamikdash blessed Yisrael using one of the real Names of Hashem, outside the Beis-Hamikdash, they used only a Kinuy (a 'nickname'). Seeing as the Names of Hashem are called 'Sheim' and His 'Nicknames' 'Zeicher' (see Sh'mos 3:15 and the commentaries there), the Sifri can now easily be understood. Our Pasuk, which refers to the Name of Hashem, must be referring to Birchas Kohanim in the Beis-Hamikdash, whereas the Pasuk in Mishpatim, which speaks about 'mentioning the Name' (a reference to His 'Nickname'), is speaking about Birchas Kohanim in other locations.


Through Thick and Thin

"His Korban was one silver dish, a hundred and thirty Shekel its weight, and one silver bowl which weighed seventy Shekel ... both of them [Sh'neihem] full of fine flour .., " (7:79).

Targum Yonasan writes that whereas the walls of the dish were thin, those of the bowl were thick.

What, one may well ask, causes him to draw such a distinction?

The P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro, citing the G'ro, extrapolates the answer from the Torah's insertion of the word "Sh'neihem". The Gemara in Yuma (62b) learns from the fact that the Torah uses the word "Sh'nei", in connection with the two goats on Yom Kipur, that they must be equivalent in appearance, height and value.

Clearly then, the word "Sh'nei" has connotations of being exactly similar. In that case, seeing as the Torah uses the word "Sh'neihem" here too, the two vessels must have been exactly similar in at least one respect. That 'respect' cannot be with reference to their weight, since the one weighed a hundred and thirty Shekel, the other, only seventy.

The similarity must therefore have been with regard to their (external) size, which means that the bowl must have been very much thicker than the dish, exactly as the Targum Yonasan explains.

* * *

(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:
To Send Temei'im Out of the Camp

It is a Mitzvah to send those who are Tamei outside the Machaneh Shechinah, as the Pasuk writes in Naso (5:2) "Command B'nei Yisrael to send from the camp every Metzora, Zav and Tamei Meis".

In the desert, they knew up to where the Camp of the Shechinah went. And similarly, for future generations, the Camp of the Shechinah (which is included in this Mitzvah) comprised the Beis-Hamikdash (i.e. the Kodesh Kodshim and the Heichal) and the Ezras Yisrael in front of it. The Sifri says that "they shall send from the camp" is a warning to refrain from entering the Beis-Hamikdash. Furthermore, the Gemara says in Pesachim that "And he shall go to outside the camp" (Devarim 23:11) is a Mitzvas Asei.

And the Mitzvah is repeated elsewhere (ibid.), where the Pasuk writes "When there is a man among you who is not Tahor following an emission at night-time, he shall go outside the camp", with reference to the Camp of the Shechinah. Indeed, it is repeated here too, when it adds " ... to outside the camp you shall send them". And the author has already written that whenever the Torah repeats the warnings regarding a Mitzvah, it is indicative of the importance that the Torah attaches to that Mitzvah. Hashem after all, wants only what is good for His creations, so He warns them over and over again, as people tend to do, with regard to matters that concern something of great importance. True, we sometimes find major issues mentioned only by way of hint, but there is a good reason for that too.

A reason for this Mitzvah ... is the well-known fact that Tum'ah weakens the strength of the Soul of wisdom and confuses it, thereby creating a barrier between it and the Heavenly wisdom. That barrier will remain intact until the person purifies himself. And this is how Chazal explain the Pasuk in Shemini (11:43) "And do not render yourself Tamei through them, for you will become defiled on account of them", which they interpret as "for you will become (mentally) stopped up on account of them", meaning that Tum'ah causes a mental blockage of the brain. Consequently, it is not befitting for someone who is defiled by Tum'ah to appear in a location which is holy and pure, where the spirit of G-d is to be found.

This can be compared to a leper, or someone whose body or even just his clothes look in any way, dirty and disgusting, as the Pasuk in Esther (4:2) specifically states " ... for one may not come to the Gate of the King wearing sackcloth".

Some Dinim of the Mitzvah ... Chazal have taught that a Metzora, whose Tum'ah, which incorporates Tum'as Ohel, is particularly stringent, is also strict with regards to being sent out of the camp, inasmuch as he is sent out of all three camps (i.e. out of Yerushalayim [and all other walled cities]). A Zav and a Zavah, a Nidah and a Yoledes on the other hand, whose Tum'ah is less stringent, are sent out of only two camps (i.e. they are denied entry into Machaneh Shechinah and Machaneh Leviyah (which means practically that they may not enter the Har ha'Bayis). Whilst a Tamei Meis, who is the least stringent of all, is sent only out of Machaneh Shechinah (but permitted to enter the Har ha'Bayis). The stringency of a Zav ... lies in his being Metamei through Mishkav and Moshav, even underneath a stone, which a Meis is not ... A Tamei Meis, someone who has relations with a Nidah and a gentile, are permitted to enter the Har ha'Bayis, but are sent out of the Chil (the area leading up to the Ezras Nashim). And a T'vul-Yom (who is awaiting nightfall and) who may enter the Chil as well, is sent out of the Ezras Yisrael and the Ezras Nashim, whilst a Mechusar Kipurim (who is obliged to bring a Korban a result of his Tum'ah, and who has yet to bring it) is permitted to enter the Ezras Nashim, but not the Ezras Yisrael and beyond ... and the remaining details are discussed in Perek 'Avos ha'Tum'ah' (the first Perek of Seider Taharos [Keilim Perek 1]) and in the Rambam Hilchos Bi'as Mikdash Perek 3).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women at all times; even nowadays, when, due to our sins, there is no Beis-Hamikdash, a Tamei person is prohibited from entering its location. Someone who contravenes this Mitzvah and enters a location that is forbidden to him whilst he is Tamei (in the way that we explained), has nullified a Mitzvas Asei as well as a La'av, as we will explain in Mitzvah 363.

* * *

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