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

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Vol. 15   No. 38

This issue is sponsored by Family Saperstein n"y
li"n Yuta Mirtza bas Dovid z"l (11 Sivan)
Yehuda Zev ben Yisrael z"l (28 Sivan)

Parshas Sh'lach L'echa

Moshe, King of Kush
(Part 2)

(Adapted from the Kol Agados Yisrael)

Seven days after Moshe's appointment to the throne of Kush, the officers of the army requested an audience with him. After prostrating themselves before their new king, they reminded him that nine years had passed since they had last seen their wives and children, who were locked in the city. And they pleaded with him to find a way to recapture the city. They referred to him as a wise man, and acknowledged that whatever he undertook, his G-d granted him success, 'Listen carefully to what I tell you,' Moshe replied, 'and I guarantee you that G-d will deliver the city into your hands, and that you will soon be reunited with your wives and children!'.

'Speak', the captains replied, 'and we will do whatever you say'.


With that, Moshe ordered them to go to the nearby forest and to capture as many storks as possible, to bring them back to the camp and to train them to hunt. After they had done that, he Instructed them to starve them for three days. On the third day, he commanded the army to don their weapons and prepare to attack the city from the south - on horseback, each man leading a stork. He personally rode at the head of the troops, as they rode towards the area currently inhabited by the poisonous snakes and scorpions. 'Now you will see', he told the soldiers, 'how G-d will deliver the city into our hands without our having to fight your enemies, and without having to spill one drop of blood'! At a given word, the soldiers let loose the storks. The starving creatures lost no time in attacking the snakes and scorpions. They made short shrift of them, devouring them down to the last one, until their previous fast was forgotten.


The people saw the great salvation wrought for them by their king and with great joy, they blew the trumpets, thanking and praising him profusely for the tremendous victory that he had just brought about. In no time at all, they captured the city, since the moment Bilam saw that the city was open, he fled to Paroh, King of Egypt, together with his two sons and eight brothers. They were the wizards and sorcerers, that the Torah mentions, who constantly sat before Paroh, They are the ones who performed the signs and wonders after Moshe in Egypt.


Forty years, Moshe ruled over Kush. During that time, he worshipped the One and only G-d, and taught his subjects to perform charity and kindness with others. He planted in their midst a love of truth, peace and righteousness. As long as Moshe was with them, they enjoyed peace on all their borders.


The Medrash also relates that, when Moshe ascended the throne, the people gave him his predecessor Nikanos' widow as a wife. Indeed, she is the black woman to whom Miriam referred when she spoke lashon ha'ra about Moshe (see 'He Married a Kushis' in Parshah Pearls of last week) to continue in her role of Queen. What Miriam did not know however, was that Moshe never once touched her throughout the forty years that he served as king.


In Parshah Pearls of last week, we cited two reasons from the Da'as Zekeinim M.T. , to prove that 'Ishah Kushis' refers to the Queen of Kush (as we saw in the above Medrash), and not to Tziporah, as Rashi explains. The Rashbam concurs with the Da'as Zekeinim, but he cites two different proofs: Firstly, he argues, if, as the Pasuk informs us, Miriam was complaining that Moshe married Tziporah (which is what Miriam seems to be complaining about), we already know that, so why mention it now as if it was news? And secondly, Tziporah was not a Kushis (a descendent of Cham), but a Midianis (a descendent of Avraham and Keturah).


All being well, we hope to discuss Rashi's answer to all these questions next year, in Parshas Beha'aloscha.

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted mainly from the Da'as Zekeinim M.T.)

No Spy from the Tribe of Levi

"One man from each tribe" (13:2).

But not from the tribe of Levi, says the Da'as Zekeinim, since the main objective of the spies was to prepare for the conquest of Cana'an (and its distribution), and the tribe of Levi were not destined to receive a portion in Eretz Yisrael. Incidentally, this supports the Ramban's theory, that there must always be twelve tribes, either Levi is counted as a tribe, in which Yosef is considered one tribe; or Yosef is counted as two tribes (Efrayim and Menasheh), in which case, Levi is not counted.


Yosef Pays the Price

"For the tribe of Yosef, for the tribe of Menasheh" (12:11).

We generally find Yosef mentioned together with Efrayim. Here is different, says the Da'as Zekeinim. Yosef, as the Torah records, was guilty of speaking Lashon ha'Ra about his brothers. It is therefore befitting for him to be mentioned together with the Nasi of Menasheh, one of the ten to speak evil of Eretz Yisrael. The Nasi of Efrayim was of course, Yehoshua, who did not.


Men of Measure

" and all the men whom we saw there were men of measure" (13:32).

What the spies meant to say, explains the Da'as Zekeinim, was that the men of Cana'an did not die because they were weak, indeed they were tall and strong.

Alternatively, they say, it wasn't excessive eating that killed them, since they were men of measure, they ate with restraint and drank with restraint.

So it must be something to do with the land that killed its inhabitants.


The Giants

"And there we saw the Nefilim (the giants)" (13:33).

Why were they called "Nefilim?

Because whoever saw them, answers the Da'as Zekeinim M.T. marveled at their size (from the word 'mispalei').

Alternatively, whoever saw them was afraid that they would fall on him (from the word 'nafal').

See also Rashi Bereishis (6:4).


It Certainly Wasn't Hatred

"Because G-d was unable to bring this people to the land " (13:33).

Indeed, that is what people would say, said Moshe. It certainly wasn't because G-d hated them, for had He not shown them abundant love up to that point, when He appeared to them eye to eye at Har Sinai.

So they will draw the conclusion that when He discovered the strength of the Cana'anim (Kevayachol), He decided to destroy Yisrael in the desert, thereby absolving Himself from His promise to give them Eretz Cana'an, a promise that he was unable to keep.


Applying the Appropriate Midos

"And now, may the strength of Hashem be magnified, like You said You would " (14:17).

Chazal define a strong man as one who overcomes his inclination. Here, says the Da'as Zekeinim, Hashem was inclined (and justifiably so) to deal with Yisrael in the most extreme manner. So Moshe evoked His mercy by reminding Him of His strength.


The Six Missing Midos

"Hashem, Erech Apayim, ve'Rav Chesed" (14:18).

The Da'as Zekeinim explains that Moshe omitted

'Hashem' - because the second 'Hashem' in the thirteen Midos of Hashem refers to Din (and what Yisrael needed right now was Rachamim);

'Keil' - since it too, means Dayan;

'Rachum' - which goes together with 'Chanun', which, in turn, cannot be inserted, since it has connotations of a gift, and Moshe was asking for forgiveness, not gifts;

'Emes' - was out of place, because Moshe was working for G-d's words "I will smite them " not to come true; 'Notzer Chesed la'Alafim' - They had just sinned in a big way, and there was no Chesed of theirs to transplant;

'Nosei va'Chato'oh' - seeing as Chato'oh refers to sins perpetrated by mistake, whereas they had sinned on purpose.


The Seven Midos

" ve'Nakeh Lo Yenakeh, Pokeid Avon Ovos al Banim " (Ibid.)

So these are the Midos that Moshe did insert

"Hashem' - the Midah of Rachamim;

"Erech Apayim" - that G-d should postpone His Divine Retribution, and not destroy them all at once;

"ve'Rav Chesed" - to apply His loving-kindness and not pay them their desert.

"Nosei Ovon vo'Fesha" - and carry their sin so that it should not weigh them down;

"ve'Nakeh Lo Yenakeh" - not to destroy the rebels from the world;

"Pokeid Ovon Ovos al Bonim" - but to give them a chance up to the fourth generation.

* * *


' the entire congregation raised their voices and they wept that night; and that night was fixed for them as a night of weeping' (14:1).


'And it shall be when you eat from the bread of the [produce of the land - but not from rice, millet or legumes] you shall set aside a separation (Chalah) for Hashem' (15:19).


'The first of your doughs Chalah, one twenty-fourth you shall separate it for the Kohen, just as you separate (Terumah) from your granary so you shall separate it " (15:20).


'It happened when Yisrael were encamped in the Desert, they had already been informed of the laws of Shabbos, but not of the punishment (for transgressing it), a man from the tribe of Yosef arose and said to himself "I will go and cut off wood on Shabbos; witnesses will see me and inform Moshe, who will Take my case before Hashem. Then all of Yisrael will know what the punishment for desecrating the Shabbos is." ' (15:32).


'This is one of the four Dinim that were brought before Moshe the prophet, which he judged according to the word of Hashem. Some of them concerned money matters, others, matters that concerned the death-sentence. Regarding the former, Moshe was quick and (efficient); whereas regarding the former, he was meticulously careful. Either way, he declared that he did not know, to teach the heads of the Sanhedrin who would later succeed him 'to follow In his footsteps', and not to be embarrassed to ask advice, regarding a ruling that is beyond them. Because Moshe the Rebbe of Yisrael needed to admit that he did know ' (15:34).


The last letters of the words "heim ho'omdim al ha'pekudim" spell 'meisim', whereas the last letters of "ha'pekudim. Vayovi'u es korbonom" spell 'mosom' - a hint that they would die not long afterwards (when, following their departure from Har Sinai, they grumbled, the Pasuk records how a Divine fire burned those at the edge of the camp, which, according to Chazal, refers to the princes (see Rashi, Beha'aloscho 11:1).


"Speak to the B'nei Yisrael and say to them that they shall make for themselves Tzitzis, not from strands of wool that protrude from the garment, not balls of weft that have been spun as part of the garment and not from the strands of wool that remain sticking out from the garment after it has been completed, but from wool that has been made for the sake of the Mitzvah. And they shall cut the ends of the threads and suspend them with five knots, four threads within three finger-breadths from the corner, on the four corners of the garments with which they cover themselves, for their generations " (15:38).


"And it shall be for you for the Mitzvah of Tzitzis and you shall see them at the time when you cover yourselves with them during the day, and remember all My Mitzvos " (15:39).


"In order that you shall remember and perform all My Mitzvos and you will be holy like the angels that serve before Hashem your G-d" (15:41).

* * *

(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 368:
The Prohibition of a Nazir Drinking Wine

A Nazir is forbidden to drink wine or any strong drink ('sheichar') whose mixture constitutes wine, which will turn into wine, that is a product of the juice of grapes, since the juice of other fruit, even though it is called 'sheichar', is not forbidden on a Nazir, only a mixture that comes from the vine; that is why the Torah writes in Naso (6:3) "From wine and strong drink he shall separate himself and anything in which grapes have been soaked he shall not drink". In other words, any mixture containing grapes is included in the prohibition. And the Torah goes one stage further, to forbid even wine or the mixture in which wine has been mixed, that has become sour and that has turned into vinegar). For so the Torah writes "vinegar of wine and vinegar of Sheichar he shall not drink". These are not two La'avin (one for wine and one for vinegar) since the Torah does not write "he shall not drink wine and he shall not drink vinegar". This teaches us that a Nazir who drinks wine and vinegar is only subject to one set of Malkos.

A reason for the Mitzvah the author will supply in Mitzvah 374 (that of a Nazir growing his hair), because the reason for the prohibition of keeping away from all mixtures of wine is the same as the reason that is discussed there.

Some Dinim of the Mitzvah What Chazal have said that all grape extracts, whether it is from the fruit or whether it is from the waste (i.e. the skin or the pips) is forbidden to a Nazir, as the Torah specifically writes; but the leaves of the vine, the shoots, the trunk and the blossoms (or buds) are all permitted, seeing as they fall into the category not of fruit or waste, but of wood and the remaining details of the Mitzvah are discussed in Maseches Nazir (Chapter 5).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women everywhere and at all times. Whoever undertakes the Nazarite vow is obligated to abstain from wine and any mixture containing wine, and from whatever is soaked in wine. A Nazir who contravenes this Halachah and drinks a Revi'is (of a Lug) of wine or who eats a k'Zayis of grapes or raisins, pips or skin, is subject to Malkos; and even if he took a bit of each and ate a total of a k'Zayis, he will receive Malkos, since all Isurim of Nazir combine to make up a k'Zayis, to sentence him to Malkos.

However other Isurim forbidden by the Torah do not combine to make-up the required Shi'ur for Malkos, with three exceptions, which do:N eveilah meat and T'reifah meat, Pigul and Nosar (of Kodshim) and the six things pertaining to the Korban Todah - the Cheilev, the meat, the flour, the wine, the oil and the loaves. It also goes without saying that two half-k'Zeisim of two Isurim with the same name (such as a small piece of Neveilah from an ox together with a small piece from a lamb or from a deer). Chazal have also taught us that it is only two pieces of Isur that combine to form to obligate Malkos, but not a piece of Heter together with the Isur, neither with regard to other Isurim, nor with regard to the Isurim of Nazir, and not even if one eats the Heter together with Kodshim, with Basar be'Chalav or with Gi'ulei Nochrim (what was absorbed inside the walls of a gentile's vessel), to which a small Chidush is attached, as the Gemara explains in Pesachim and in Nazir. In all these cases, one is only Chayav Malkos if one eats a k'Zayis itself.

* * *

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