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

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Vol. 11   No. 34

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Parshas Sh'lach-Lecha

Pesach Sheini
(Part 2)

Last week, we presented three interpretations of what it was that the Temei'im wanted and that baffled Moshe Rabeinu. The Chasam Sofer offers a fourth.

He explains that their argument was not based on Halachah at all. In fact, there was no known reason to permit Temei'im to bring the Korban Pesach.

They were perturbed however, when they saw the whole of Yisrael bringing the Korban Pesach in unison, whilst they, for having performed a Mitzvah, were precluded. This seemed unfair, so, in their desire to participate in this important communal sacrifice, they asked Moshe whether G-d would not perhaps grant them a special dispensation to bring the Korban be'Tum'ah "be'soch B'nei Yisrael". To which G-d replied in the negative. And that explains, he says, why He did not justify their claim like He did with regard to the daughters of Tz'lofchad, where He specifically declared "Kein B'nos Tz'lofchod dovros" (Pinchas 27:7).

He did however, demonstrate His satisfaction with them for their eagerness to be part of the community. And He did this by permitting them to bring the Korban on Pesach Sheini, which was introduced through them, and perhaps would not have been given to Yisrael if not for them.


We cited the B'raisa (a Sifri) which presents three opinions as to who the Teme'ei Meis were: Rebbi Yossi Hagelili (those who carried Yosef's coffin), Rebbi Akiva (Misha'el and Eltzafan), and Rebbi Yitzchak (people whose relative died suddenly). And we explained the basis of the dispute between Rebbi Yitzchak and the first two Tana'im. We did not however, explain the basis of the dispute between Rebbi Yossi Hagelili and Rebbi Akiva.

The Malbim explains that according to Rebbi Akiva, the 'Shiv'as Yemei ha'Milu'im' (the seven days of inauguration of the Mishkan) began on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, which means that 'the eighth day' fell on the eighth, which is the day on which Misha'el and Eltzfan became Tamei Meis for their second cousins Nadav and Avihu. In that case, the seventh and last day of Tum'ah fell on Erev Pesach (in the way that we explained according to Rebbi Yitzchak).

Rebbi Yitzchak's statement (which stresses that according to Rebbi Akiva, as well as according to Rebbi Yossi Hagelili, there was plenty of time for the Temei'im to become Tahor) seems to negate this explanation. But leaving aside this Kashya, the three opinions of the triple Machlokes now fall beautifully into place.

Both Rebbi Yossi Hagelili and Rebbi Akiva maintain that nobody died during the period between the two censuses, as we already explained. Consequently, Rebbi Yossi Hagelili, who holds that the 'Shiv'as Yemei Milu'im' began on the twenty-third of Adar, establishes the Temei'im as those who carried Yosef's Aron. Rebbi Akiva, disputes this, since they would then have had plenty of time to purify themselves. So he establishes the Temei'im as Misha'el and Eltzafan, who only became Tamei on the eighth of Nisan (as we just explained), and whose final day of Tum'ah only fell on Erev Pesach.

Rebbi Yitzchak however, holds on the one hand that the 'Shiv'as Yemei ha'Milu'im' began in Adar (like Rebbi Yossi Hagelili); whilst on the other hand, he agrees with Rebbi Akiva's Kashya (that there was plenty of time to become Tahor - even if the Temei'im were Misha'el and Eltzafan, as Rebbi Akiva assumes). So he concludes that the Temei'im must have been the ones whose relatives died suddenly - no problem according to him, since people did die during that period.


Following the four suggestions that we have so far discussed to explain the Temei'ims' request, despite the prohibition of a Tamei to bring the Korban Pesach (a prohibition of which they were fully aware), the Maharatz Chiyos, based on a Gemara in Makos, presents a fifth.

The Gemara (8a) suggests that somebody who touches a Meis Mitzvah and enters the Beis-Hamikdash will not be Chayav for entering the Beis-Hamikdash be'Tum'ah. The reasoning behind this being that he had no choice but to make himself Tamei, and it is only someone who could have avoided becoming Tamei, whom the Torah declares Chayav.

The Gemara refutes this suggestion however,with a Pasuk in Chukas (19:13) "Tamei yih'yeh", implying that a person who touches a dead body is subject to this prohibition at all costs.

Perhaps the Temei'im held like the Gemara's initial proposition, the Maharatz Chiyos proposes. According to all the opinions after all, they had become Tamei as a result of a Mitzvah that they had been performing, and so they thought that they might be permitted to go ahead and bring the Korban Pesach.

This explanation is a little difficult, seeing as Elazar burned the first Parah Adumah on the second of Nisan (a day after the Mishkan was erected), in which case, Moshe must have taught them the Parshah of "Zos Chukas ha'Torah" earlier, and they ought therefore to have known the conclusion of the Gemara in Makos.

* * *

Parshah Pearls
Based on the Rosh's commentary on the Chumash

The Spies

"Send for yourself men" (13:2).

This can be compared, says the Rosh, to a king who had a vineyard which he handed to a share-cropper to tend to. Whenever the vineyard produced good wine, he would instruct the share-cropper to bring it to the palace. But when the wine was not so good, he would leave instructions for him to take it home to his own house.

So too here. When it was a matter a choosing the Sanhedrin, G-d told Moshe "Gather for Me seventy elders. But here, by the spies, He said to him "send for yourself".

It is about these spies that the Torah writes in Mishlei (26:6) "Someone who sends words through fools". But how can the Pasuk refer to them as fools, asks the Rosh, when the Torah refers to them here as "men", a title that is generally reserved for Tzadikim, as we find by the battle against Amalek, when Moshe said to Yehoshua "Pick for us men and go and fight"?

Indeed, says the Rosh, they were great men at that time, and what's more, they were sent personally by G-d Himself, as the Torah writes here "by the word of G-d" (see Rashi on this Pasuk). But when they produced an evil report, they adopted the title 'fools', for so the Pasuk writes in Mishlei (10:18) "And anyone who gives a bad report is a fool". Whereas they set out as great men, they ended up as fools! And it is about them that the Torah writes in Ha'azinu (32:20) "because they are a topsy-turvy nation (who can change from Tzadikim to Resho'im from one minute to the next)".


Paying for their Folly

The Torah places the Parshah of the spies next to that of Miriam, explains the Rosh (following in the footsteps of Rashi), to encourage them to learn from the mistake of that Tzadekes, and to take Musar from what happened to her and desist from speaking evil about Eretz Yisrael. But they failed to do that, as the Pasuk writes in Tehilim (82:5) "They did not know, they did not understand; they went in darkness".

So G-d told Moshe to go ahead and send the spies, because the people did not believe Him, when he described Eretz Yisrael as "a good and a spacious land" (Sh'mos 3:8).

They insisted on sending spies, as the Pasuk records in Devarim (1:22).

G-d (Kevayachol) figured that if He did not accede to their request, they would assume that the land does not conform with His description. So He let them send spies, but not without cost.

And the Rosh draws an analogy to a king who designated a beautiful woman from a fine family for his son to marry, and he told him that there was no-one like her. When the skeptical son asked to see her, his father gave his consent, so that his son should not think that he was trying to pull the wool over his eyes. But, he informed him, 'because you did not believe me, it is not you who will not marry her, but your son'. Likewise, it was not the skeptical generation of the spies that inherited Eretz Yisrael, but that of their children.


The Extra 'Yud'

"And Moshe called Hoshe'a bin Nun, Yehoshua" (13:16).

The Rosh explains that Moshe foresaw that Kalev would receive Chevron as a reward for his actions, and that Yehoshua would be rewarded with the portions of all the ten spies, so he added a 'Yud' to his name.

And because the 'Yud' complained when it was taken out of Sarah's name it was added to Hoshei'a bin Nun's name, Yerushalmi Sanhedrin (though according to others, it was divided into two 'Heys', one of which remained in Sarah's name, the other was placed in Avram's, changing his name to Avraham).


A Day of Forgiveness

"And G-d said, I have forgiven like your word" (14:20).

That is why that day (Yom Kipur) was chosen as a day of forgiveness, says the Rosh, because it was on Yom Kipur that G-d forgave them for the sin of the Golden Calf.

But who said that He did? The Pasuk after all, is written here, after the sin of the spies, and not after the Golden Calf? "Like your words", he replies, refers to Moshe's request that just as G-d forgave Yisrael when they left Egypt (following the sin of the Golden Calf), and declared "I have forgiven", so too He should forgive them now. G-d's response was "I have forgiven like your words!"


Eat, Drink and be Merry

"And it shall be, when you arrive in the land ... and wine for a drink-offering ... and ... when you eat from the bread of the land, you shall separate for G-d the first of your doughs" (9:2-19).

The reason that the Torah juxtaposes the Parshah of the Nesachim next to that of Chalah, the Rosh explains (quoting a Medrash), is best described by the Pasuk in Koheles (9:7), which writes (quoting G-d's words to Shlomoh, when he inaugurated the Beis-Hamikdash with fourteen says of Simchah) "Go and eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart". Allegorically speaking, says the Medrash, "Go and eat your bread with joy" refers to the Mitzvah of Chalah, and "drink your wine with a merry heart", to that of Nesachim.


They Broke the Second Shabbos

"And Yisrael were in the desert, when they found a man collecting wood on Shabbos" (15:32).

If only Yisrael had kept the second Shabbos, no nation would ever have subjugated them (Rosh, quoting the Gemara in Shabbos 118b.[Note that the Rosh, who has merged two statements cited in the Gemara, clearly had a different text in the Gemara than we have. See also Tosfos there 87b d.h. 'Ka'asher']).

And from where do we know that this took place on the second Shabbos, he asks?

'From the double expression "And they were", "and they found", he answers.

The sinner, say Chazal, was Tz'lofchod, and this is hinted in the phrase "mekoshesh eitzim be'yom ha'Shabbos", because the word "eitzim" plus the 'Beis' of "be'yom", have the same numerical value as 'Tz'lofchod'.

Interestingly, this means that this Parshah took place just after Marah (where the Mitzvah of Shabbos was given), before Matan Torah more than a year earlier. See also Rashi and Ramban.

Then why does the Torah insert it here? ...


Tzitzis, as Good as Tefilin

... The Rosh goes on to explain that the Torah inserts the Parshah of Tz'lofchod here, because of Moshe's complaint following the death of the Mekoshesh Eitzim. Moshe complained to Hashem that on the one hand, we have been given the Mitzvah of Tefilin, which serves to remind us to observe the Mitzvos (as the Torah writes in Bo 13:9 "in order that the Torah of Hashem shall be in your mouth"), whilst on the other, we do not wear Tefilin on Shabbos, leaving us without a reminder not to break Shabbos (causing Tzlofchad to sin, resulting in his death).

So G-d responded with the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, about which the Torah writes "in order that you will remember and perform all My Mitzvos", and which applies on Shabbos, too.

Perhaps the Torah also inserts the Parshah of Tz'lofchod here in order to group together all the Mitzvos that are compared to the entire Torah - Avodah-Zarah, Shabbos and Tzitzis.

It is also possible of course, that although the Parshah began at Marah, it actually ended here. Perhaps this was when G-d taught Moshe what happens to someone who transgresses Shabbos, and this was therefore where they put Tzlofchad to death. Interestingly, we find a direct link between Shabbos and Tzitzis, in the Melachos, which are divided into four groups of seven, eight, eleven, and thirteen Melachos, totaling thirty-nine melochos, just like Tzitzis, which are divided into four groups of seven, eight, eleven and thirteen loops, totaling thirty-nine. (See next 'Pearl')



"... and they shall make themselves Tzitzis ... " (15:38).

The Rosh cites a B'raisa which gives the minimum number of loops as seven (corresponding to the seven heavens), and the maximum as thirteen, corresponding to the seven heavens plus the six spaces between them (refer to previous 'Pearl'). He himself heard however, that one should arrange three sets of loops, each consisting of nine loops, and the fourth, of twelve. This totals 'Tal' (39), which is the numerical value of 'Hashem Echad' (reminiscent of G-d's Throne, of which the Techeiles threads ultimately remind us).

Furthermore, the Rosh heard that the sum total of all the loops, the (four) sets of loops, the knots and the threads comes to 248; hardly surprising, seeing as the Mitzvah of Tzitzis is equal to all the Mitzvos Asei.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 381:
To Eat the Pesach Sheini with Matzah and Moror

*Whoever is obligated* to bring the Pesach Sheini, must eat it together with Matzah and Moror, as the Torah writes in Beha'aloscha (9:11) "with Matzos and Moror they shall eat it".

*A reason for this Mitzvah* the author already discussed in the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach in Parshas Bo.

*Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah* ... that the Matzos need to be carefully guarded from becoming Chametz, already from the time the wheat is harvested ... the remaining details regarding the kneading and the baking of the Matzos, the author already discussed in the Dinim of Pesach Rishon. Basically, what is crucial is that one guards the flour against Chimutz in each and every process.

Regarding Moror, all bitter herbs are included in the "Merorim" mentioned in the Pasuk. Consequently, based on the fact that the Torah wants us to commemorate the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt, one fulfils one's duty with whatever bitter herb one eats. Nevertheless, Chazal picked out lettuce as the ideal example of Moror. The reason for this is because, besides the fact that its stalk is bitter, it is also called 'Chasa', which means 'pity', and which is reminiscent of the pity that G-d displayed when He took us out of Egypt. In any event, all this reminds us of various elements of the miracles that G-d employed in Egypt at the time of the Exodus.

*This Mitzvah applies* when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, to men, but not to women, for whom it is only voluntary, like that of the Pesach Sheini of which it is part. Someone who transgresses and eats the Pesach without Matzah and Moror, has negated an Asei.


Mitzvah 352:
The Temurah and the Original Korban Must be Considered Hekdesh (cont.)

*Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah* ... If one declares Temurah an animal that is kilayim, a treifah, one that is born by caesarean section or that is a tumtum (whose sexual organs are covered) or an androginus (which is bisexual), his declaration is invalid. In fact, it is no different than declaring a camel or a donkey, a Temurah, since those particular species of animals are never subject to a Korban. And consequently, doing so is not subject to Malkos. If on the other hand, someone declares a ba'al-mum (a blemished animal) a Temurah, the Kedushah does take effect, and he will receive Malkos, because there is such a thing as a ba'al-mum that is brought as a Korban (i.e. where the Hekdesh preceded the blemish)… The Chachamim also said that Reuven cannot declare a Temurah on Shimon's Korban, unless Shimon announced previously that whoever wishes to do so, may; Someone who declares a Temurah, a bull on a sheep or a sheep on a bull, a sheep on a goat or a goat on a sheep, a female animal on a male animal or a male on a female, or even one animal on a hundred or a hundred animals on one, (irrespective of whether he does so in one go or one after the other), all of these are valid, and he will receive as many sets of Malkos as the animals that he declared Temurah …One cannot declare a Temurah on a Temurah or on a baby of Hekdesh; However, if one declares an animal a Temurah on a Korban, and then another and another ... all of them are valid, and he receives Malkos for each one; Birds and Menachos are not subject to Temurah, since the Pasuk only mentions "Beheimah" (not Of and not Minchah); The Korbanos of gentiles are not subject to Temurah min haTorah, though mideRabbanan, they are … Anyone is able to declare a Temurah, both men and women (though they will receive Malkos if they do) … Exactly how the Temurah is brought, and the Din of its babies and its babies babies ... together with all the other details, are discussed in Masechet Temurah and in the Rambam, in the 1st Perek of Hilchos Temurah. *This Mitzvah applies* everywhere at all times, to men and women alike. Anyone who declares a Temurah on a Hekdesh animal and then fails to treat the two animals with the appropriate Kedushah, has negated this Asei, besides being Chayav Me'ilah (for the abusal of Hekdesh).

* * *

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