by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'HAALOS'CHO 5769 BS"D
Ch. 8, v. 4: "Kein ossoh" - Like this he made - The Baal Haturim says that "kein" has the numerical value of seventy, and "ossoh" has the same value as "Shlomo." This is an allusion to Shlomo's crafting 10 menoros, which contain seventy lamps. He adds that Moshe created a menorah of seven lamps, and he uprooted the seven nations that occupied Eretz Yisroel, and Shlomo created seventy, corresponding to his reigning over the seventy nations of the world.
Shaarei Aharon asks, "Moshe never entered Eretz Yisroel, let alone uproot the seven nations." He answers that through Moshe's decimating the lands of both Sichon and Og, he sent extreme fear into the hearts of all the occupants of Eretz Yisroel. This weakening of their spirit was in great part their downfall (see Yehoshua 2, where Rochov related that after hearing of the splitting of Yam Suf and the wars against Sichon and Og, everyone's heart/courage dissolved), so we can consider it as if Moshe brought about their defeat.
Ch. 8, v. 7: "V'he'eviru saar al kol b'sorom" - And pass a blade over all their flesh - Rashi on 7:1 gives us a timeline for the sprinkling of the water and ashes and their shaving. He says that the shaving took place on the seventh day of the dedication. As is well known, the medrash says that the first day of the dedication of the Mishkon was unique in that it was a first in ten different ways. One was that it took place on a Sunday, the first day of the week. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks that if so, the seventh day of Shabbos, so how could the Lviim be shaved on Shabbos. The Chazon Ish (O.Ch. #125) answers that just as Shabbos was pushed aside for the offering of personal sacrifices, so too, it was pushed aside for this shaving.
Ch. 8, v. 10: "V'somchu vnei Yisroel es y'deihem al haLviim" - And the bnei Yisroel shall place their hands upon the Levites - The Chizkuni says that although the verse says "vnei Yisroel," nevertheless, the intention is only the firstborn, who were redeemed through the Lviim. He adds that the placing of the hands was not a free-for-all. Rather, each firstborn placed his hands upon the specific Levi who was his redemption. Were the 273 firstborn who had no Lviim to redeem them also involved in "smichoh" according to the Chizkuni, and if yes, which Lviim did they use?
Ch. 8, v. 12: "Haporim …… ho'echod chatos v'es ho'echod oloh" - The oxen …… the one a sin offering and the one an oloh - To totally distance these offerings from resembling offerings to atone for idol worship, the chatos is an ox and not a goat. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)
Ch. 8, v. 12: "L'cha'peir al haLviim" - To atone for the Levites - What was their sin? Rabbeinu Efrayim offers that it was the sin of their killing the people of Sh'chem, as he finds no other sin. Why this wrongdoing raises its head now remains to be explained.
Ch. 8, v. 17: "B'yom hakosi chol b'chor b'eretz Mitzrayim" - On the day of My smiting every firstborn in the land of Mitzrayim - Rada"k and Ibn Ezra raise the point of the smiting of the firstborn taking place by night and not by day. They answer that "yom" sometimes means by day and not by night, sometimes it means any time of the day, be it by day or by night, and sometimes it means "at the time of," as is the case in our verse.
However, Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel says that the smiting of the firstborn began at night, but continued into the day so that the bnei Yisroel were able to see the Egytians' punishment. (I believe that he also agrees that they were all smitten at "chatzos," but they lingered in their death throes into the morning.)
Ch. 8, v. 24: "Mi'ben cho'meish v'esrim shonoh" - From the age of twenty-five years - Rashi raises the question of the seeming contradiction of another verse saying that the Lviim start at the age of thirty years. He answers that from the age of twenty-five they begin their training, and after five years of training they actually do the service What if a Levite caught on very quickly and seems totally ready to do his service within the five-year training period? May he begin earlier? From the words of the Meshech Chochmoh it seems that he may.
Ch. 10, v. 35: "Oyvecho …… m'sa'necho" - Your enemies …… your haters - The difference between an "oyeiv" and a "sonei" has been dealt with in Oroh V'simchoh (Meshech Chochmoh) on Eichoh. Yalkut Med'r'shei Teimon on our verse says that "oyvecho" are bnei Yishmo'el and "m'sa'necho" are bnei Eisov. The verb component of "m'sa'necho" seems to literally mean "those who cause hatred." Why this word is used rather than the simple "so'necho" deserves an explanation.
Ch. 11, v. 4: "V'hosafsuf" - And the collection of people - Rashi says that these were the "eirev rav." However, Rashi on T'hilim 78:31 says that they were the elders, and they are called "hosafsuf" as per the verse "esfoh li shivim ish" (verse 16). Both of these explanations are to be found in the Sifri. The N'tzi"v explains that the seventy elders who were going to shortly be assembled were not ch"v among these lust seekers. Rather, the common word form is a proof that elders who were assembled are called "bnei asifoh." Among the earlier ones there were some who were lust seekers, just as we find that Doson and Avirom were leaders, but not people of the highest spiritual stature.
Ch. 11, v. 6: "Ein kole bilti el hamon eineinu" - There is nothing with nothing else our eyes are to the manna - This translation is a bit stilted and is in keeping with the normal translation of "bilti" -without/with nothing else. The Targumim seem to translate it as "only." Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and numerous Rishonim explain "eineinu" as their complaint that there was nothing left to save for the following day (bilti) and on a daily basis their eyes were looking upwards to the heavens for their sustenance, a real test.
Ch. 11, v. 7: "V'eino k'ein habdolach" - And its appearance was like the appearance of the crystal - Many commentators say that this simply means that it was transparent. In parshas B'shalach Rashi explains that the comparison to a coriander seed is limited to the manna's shape, but not to its colour, as the manna was white. The Rada"k writes that the "b'dolach" gem is white. The Malbim has a most interesting insight. He says that the manna that fell for weekday consumption was transparent, while the manna that fell for Shabbos was white, a colour that indicates the trait of mercy. Shaarei Aharon adds that based on these words of the Malbim we have an insight into the custom to specifically have white chalos for Shabbos.
Ch. 11, v. 8: "Shotu ho'om" - The nation strolled - This is Rashi's translation. He adds a foreign language translation of "ishbanir." In some texts we find "ishbatzir." Rashi adds that the walking did not involve toil, "b'lo omol." I venture to say that the foreign language "ishbatzir" is the same as our Yiddish "shpatzir," which means a leisurely walk.
Ch. 11, v. 36: "UvnuchoH" - And with its coming to a rest - This word ends with a Hei rather than with a Vov to allude to the five encampments coming to a rest, the four sections of three tribes each, and the encampment of the Levites. (Rokei'ach)
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