subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM




Ch. 22, v. 2: "Va'yar Bolok" - And Bolok saw - Preceding this parsha are the parshios of Korach and Chukas. Each of these three parshios including ours, has a letter Kuf in it, Korach in the beginning, ChuKas in the middles, and BoloK in the end. The letter Kuf represents "kedushoh," holiness. Korach's holiness is in the past, his ancestors, which are traced back to Levi in the Torah, and even to Yaakov in Divrei Ha'yomim. Chukas contains the laws of purification through the red heifer, "poroh adumoh." The person is defiled and his past is changed to the purification of the present. Bolok only has a connection to sanctity in his future, as Rus and "malchus beis Dovid" would be his descendants in the future (gemara Sotoh 47a). (Rabbi Smuel Shmelka Taubenfeld zt"l)

Ch. 22, v. 4: "Melech l'Moav bo'eis hahee" - King of Moav at that time - In verse 2, where Bolok is introduced, he is not given the accolade of "king," only here. This is because in essence he wasn't a king over Moav. When he saw what the bnei Yisroel did to Emori he campaigned and roused the masses to fear the bnei Yisroel would likewise attack them. Only then was he appointed as king of Moav. (Rabbi Chaim haLevi Soloveitchik)

Ch. 22, v. 5: "Bilom" - The letters of this name are an acronym for the four circumstances that Bilom stood up against the bnei Yisroel.

Beis - Bolok hired him to curse the bnei Yisroel and he was eager to do so. When that didn't work he advised Bolok to make the bnei Yisroel sin with immorality.

Lovon - He was Lovon hoArami who attempted to wipe out our nation, as related in the recital made upon bringing "bikurim." Ayin - He incited Amoleik to attack the bnei Yisroel.

Mem - He was an advisor to Paroh and gave counsel to enslave and torture the bnei Yisroel in Egypt (gemara Sotoh 11a). (Hagodoh Beis Aharon)

Ch. 22, v. 6: "Oroh li es ho'om ha'zeh" - Curse for me this nation - It would seem to be sufficient to say "oroh ho'om ha'zeh." The added word "li" seems to indicate that Bolok wanted himself to be included in the curse, something totally inconceivable. The Chid"o in Chomas Anoch makes the inconceivable conceivable. The gemara Sotoh 47a says that Rus, the daughter of Eglon, and in turn, the kingdom of Dovid and his descendants come from Bolok. Bolok was aware of this and so fiercely hated the bnei Yisroel that he said to include himself in the curse and then there would ch"v be no Rus and no kingly descendants.

Given this insight, Rabbi Yaakov Masalton explains the following words of our verse, "ki otzum hu mi'meni," he is stronger than we are. On a simple level the singular form is used as it refers back to the nation, a collective singular noun. Based on the Chid"o we can say that "hu" is king Dovid. "He is strong from me, Bolok, as his whole existence stems from me."

Ch. 22, v. 6: "Ulai uchal na'keh bo" - Perhaps I will be able to smite in him - Since Bolok was attempting to intice Bilom to come and curse the bnei Yisroel, why did he express doubt, "ulai?" As just mentioned above, Bilom was Paroh's advisor and the result of Paroh's heeding his advice to enslave and torture the bnei Yisroel was that they multiplied exponentially. He therefore expressed himself in a manner of doubting that Bilom would be successful, as his past track record was very dismally disappointing. (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 23, v. 2: "Va'yaal Bolok uVilom par vo'ayil bamizbei'ach" - And Bolok and Bilom offered an ox and a ram on the altar - Why did they not offer a lamb? A lamb represents total subordination and humility, and the medrash says that the bnei Yisroel are likened to lambs, which walk head to tail. So too, the bnei Yisroel are very humble. Bolok and Bilom were so extremely haughty and the thought of offering an animal that embodies humbleness was not even on their radar screen. (Shem miShmuel)

Ch. 24, v. 15,16: "Un'um ha'gever sh'sum ho'oyin, N'um shomei'a imrei Keil v'yodei'a daas Elyon asher macha'zeh Shakai yechezeh nofeil ugluy einoyim" - And the words of the man whose eye is opened, The words of he who hears the words of Keil and knows the knowledge of the One high on who will see the vision of Shakai falls and exposed eyes - These words are interpreted in a most meaningful manner by the holy Admor of Rizhin. When difficulties befall a simple person he often responds that Hashem's eyes are not upon him, i.e. He gives no special attention to him. However, the response of the person who hearkens to the words of Keil and has understanding of celestial matters and envisions the holiness of Shakai, "yechezeh," he will envision that "nofeil," when he falls, Hashem will have an eye upon him, "ugluy einoyim," and there is supervision and it is the will of Hashem.

Ch. 25, v. 6: "V'heimoh bochim pesach ohel mo'eid" - And they were crying at the opening of the Tent of Convocation - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says, that they were crying "V'karyan shma," and reciting "shma Yisroel." Why would they be reciting "shma" at this time?

The census of the bnei Yisroel in parshas Bmidbar was 625,850, the 603,550 bnei Yisroel and the 22,300 L'viim. In parshas Pinchos after the baal p'ore, an outcome of the sinning with bnos Midyon, the census total was 624,730, 601,430 bnei Yisroel ans 23,000 L'viim. There was a reduction of 1,120. Two of those who were not alive were killed by the court, the "m'cha'lel Shabbos" and the "m'ga'deif" (see Vayikra 24:23 and Bmidbar 15:36). The loss of 1,118 was a result of the plague. The numeric value of the verse "Shma Yisroel " is 1,118. they were crying over this loss and were reciting "shma," the reduction of their total population by plague. (Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandel)

Ch. 25, v. 7: "Va'yar Pinchos ben Elozor ben Aharon haKohein va'yokom" - And Pinchos the son of Elozor the son of Aharon the Kohein saw and he stood up - The gemara Sanhedrin 82a relates that Pinchos approached Moshe and said, "My dear great-uncle, when you came down from Har Sinai you taught that he who has relations with an Aramite woman is subject to attack from a zealot." Moshe responded, "Kreina d'igarta ihu lehevi parvanka," - the reader of the letter (which conveys that some action must be taken) let him be the agent to carry it out. Why didn't Moshe simply say that Pinchos should attack Zimri, rather than using this folk-saying to convey the massage? The above gemara says that although halacha allows for a zealot to take the law into his own hands, an halachic authority is not supposed to give this as a ruling, "v'eim morin kein." This is why Moshe gave over the message indirectly. (Aperion)

Another explanation is offered by the Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim. Shma contains 248 words, the same numeric value as "romach" in our verse. Pinchos took this spear with confidence, although he was risking his life. He was confident because when he did this he had the spiritual bolstering of the bnei Yisroel reciting "shma."



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel