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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 30, v. 12: "Ki siso es rosh bnei Yisroel lifkudeihem v'nosnu ish kofer nafsho laShem" - When you will count the heads of the bnei Yisroel and a man shall give an atonement for his soul to Hashem - Homiletically, the Holy Alshich translates these words as: When you will elevate someone to the position of the head of the bnei Yisroel, and they shall place a person who is ready to wipe out his soul for Hashem, i.e. to work with "mesiras nefesh."

Ch. 30, v. 16: "L'chapeir al nafshoseichem" - To bring atonement for your souls - Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi in his commentary on our verse writes that throughout the forty years in the desert the bnei Yisroel offered no daily congregational sacrifices, i.e. "temidim, m'nochos, musofim." This seems to be contradicted by the verse in Bmidbar 4:16, "Uminchas hatomid," by Shmos 29:38, as well as the mishnoh M'nochos 45b, that all the sacrifices mentioned in parshas Pinchos were offered in the desert. The same is stated in the Yalkut Shimoni on parshas Pinchos remez #776. Rashi and Tosfos on the gemara Z'vochim 111a both say that "temidim" were offered in the desert. As well, Rashi on Shmos 25:2 says that one of the three tithes was for "kor'b'nos tzibur."

To answer all these problems in one fell swoop, perhaps the intention of the Mizrochi is that AFTER the sin of the golden calf there were no more of these offerings, based on the medrash that says that after the sin of the golden calf the bnei Yisroel were "n'zufim," ostracized/rebuked.

Ch. 30, v. 32: "Al b'sar odom lo yeesoch" - Upon the flesh of a person it shall not be poured - This is clearly a Torah prohibition, but if one transgresses this has he also committed the sin of "m'iloh," inappropriate use of Mikdosh items? The Avnei Nezer in his responsa Y.D. 313:4 writes that there is no "m'iloh." This seems to be contradicted by the gemara Krisus 5b, which seems to clearly state that one can do "m'iloh" with the special anointing oil. However, the Avnei Nezer in this same response takes note of the gemara and says that its intention is the prohibition of our verse, and we shouls not take the term "m'iloh" mentioned in the gemara literally. The Minchas Chinuch 108:2, based on the simple reading of the gemara clearly states that there is "m'ioloh." It is most interesting that a classic mussar sefer discusses this. The Mesilas Y'shorim chapter 24 clearly understands the above-mentioned gemara as does the Avnei Nezer.

Ch. 30, v. 34: "Kach l'cho samim" - Take for yourself spices - Besides the fourteen components that make up the "keto'res," there are also two types of grass that are added. One gives the mixture the ability to produce a great amount of smoke, and the second to have the smoke rise as a straight pillar.

Ch. 31, v. 18: "Va'yitein el Moshe k'chaloso l'dabeir ito b'har Sinai shnei luchos ho'eidus" - And He gave to Moshe when He ended speaking with him on Mount Sinai two tablets of testimony - The structure of these words seems quite problematic. It would seem that the idea contained here would be conveyed in a smoother manner if the item given to Moshe would be mentioned immediately, and then the timing should be mentioned, "Va'yitein el Moshe shnei luchos ho'eidus k'chaloso l'dabeir ito b'har Sinai." The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh also asks why Hashem didn't give Moshe the physical Tablets immediately, on the day of the giving of the Torah. He answers both these questions by citing chaza"l, who say that all the 613 mitzvos were included in the words of the Ten Commandments (see Gemara Shkolim chapter 6). The intention of our verse is that Hashem gave Moshe, only upon completing to teach him all the 613 mitzvos and having them incorporated into the Tablets, the two Tablets of testimony. "The two Tablets of testimony" are a description of what Hashem gave Moshe. The testimony means all 613 mitzvos. This is only appropriate after Hashem had taught all this to him, "k'chaloso l'dabeir ito."

The N'tzi"v in Haameik Dovor offers that the verse tells us that Hashem gave Moshe two things. One item is "k'chaloso l'dabeir ito b'har Sinai," meaning that when Moshe studied the Torah in the heavens, he studied and forgot, studied and forgot. Hashem gave him a present of not forgetting the mitzvos and their details in the future. This is "k'chaloso l'dabeir ito," that Hashem completed discussing these matters with him, i.e. there was no need to remind him, as he would not forget. The second item was the Tablets themselves.

Ch. 32, v. 7: "Ki shicheis a'mecho" - Because YOUR nation has acted destructively - Hashem stressed "YOUR nation," meaning that Hashem held Moshe to account for allowing the "eirev rav" to join the bnei Yisroel upon their exodus from Egypt. They were the ones who created and served the golden calf. Hashem held all the bnei Yisroel responsible because they did not stop the "eirev rav" when they had the golden calf made, when they bowed down to it, and when they uttered "eileh elohecho Yisroel."

In turn, Moshe responded with, "Lomoh Hashem yechereh apecho b'A'MECHO" (verse 12), why are You angry with YOUR nation the bnei Yisroel." Why punish them along with the "eirev rav?" "Asher hotzeiso mei'eretz Mitzrayim," since You just recently took the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt it is unfair to expect them to react so strongly to the bad behavior of the "eirev rav," since the bnei Yisroel were exposed to so much idol worship. It is commendable that they themselves were not involved with the golden calf. Moshe's pleas found their mark. Verse 14 says, "Va'yinocheim Hashem al horo'oh asher dibeir laasose l'AMO." Hashem relented on the bad that He spoke regarding HIS nation, but the "eirev rav" would be strictly punished. (Malbim)

Ch. 32, v. 13: "Z'chor l'Avrohom l'Yitzchok ul'Yisroel avo'decho" - Remember for the sake of Avrohom of Yitzchok and of Yaakov Your servants - When this plea is recounted in parshas Eikev the word "la'avo'decho" is mentioned before the names of our Patriarchs. This teaches us that our Patriarchs were servants of Hashem from beginning until the end of their lives. (Moshav Z'keinim)

This deserves some clarification according to the opinion that Avrohom came to the recognition of his Creator when he was 48 years old.

Ch. 32, v. 15: "Luchos ksuvim mishnei evreihem mi'zeh u'mi'zeh heim ksuvim" - Tablets written from their two sides from this and from this they are written - What are the two features these words convey? Firstly, the etching went all the way through. Secondly, that if you were to read them from right to left, the proper manner of reading the words, or if you were to read them from left to right, reverse, either way you could read the words properly, a miracle. (Ntzi"v in Haameik Dovor)

Ch. 32, v. 16: "Chorus" - Etched - The Ibn Ezra offers that this word might be the same as "chosur," i.e. dug into (as we find "machterres"). This might give us an insight into the words of Pirkei Ovos, which quotes our verse and says, "AL tikra CHORUS ela CHEIRUS, freedom. Although we have numerous words that have their letters switched around and they mean the same, the choice of "chorus" rather than "chosur" prompts a droshoh of "cheirus."



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

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