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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS MASSEI 5771 BS"D

Ch. 33, v. 2: "Motzo'eihem l'ma'seihem al pi Hashem v'eileh ma'seihem l'motzo'eihem" - Their departures to their travels according to the word of Hashem and these are their travels to their departures - If we were to translate "motzo'eihem" as "their findings" we have an insightful concept presented in these words. A person leaves his place of residence because he has decided that he has a need for something which is not available where he is. This is "Motzo'eihem l'ma'seihem," their finding something they need is the motivation for their travelling. However, we also have someone who has no need to go anywhere, but simply is inquisitive and travels to see whatever it is he may find in the new location. This is "Ma'seihem l'motzo'eihem." As the verse says, the former is "al pi Hashem," while by the latter the verse does not say this because indeed it is not "al pi Hashem." (n.l.)

Ch. 33, v. 15: "Va'yachanu b'midbar Sinoi" - And they encamped in the Sinai desert - How could the verse treat this as just another station and not mention that the bnei Yisroel received the Torah here? This strengthens the concept that although the Torah was given in the Sinai desert, it need not be mentioned in amanner that negates the concept that we should feel as if the Torah were given to us anew daily. (Dorash Moshe)

Ch. 35, v. 23: "V'hu lo o'yeiv lo v'lo m'va'keish ro'oso" - And he is not his enemy nor does he seek his bad - What are these two concepts that are being excluded from one who should go to a city of refuge? There are different levels of intent even by an intentional murderer. The straightforward murderer hates a person to the extent that he wants to get rid of him by murdering him. There is a second level of murder where the murderer does not hate the victim, but is willing to kill him to derive a perceived benefit, for example, to kill someone so that he can take his money. The previous scenario is one of "o'yeiv lo" and the second is "m'va'keish ro'oso." If not for the details of our verse we might think that the lower level murderer's punishment is to go to a city of refuge, while only the one who hates his victim and kills him is deserving of death. Therefore our verse spells out even if one killed only for the intention of "m'va'keish ro'oso" he may not escape the harsher punishment by remaining in a city of refuge. (Imrei Shefer)

Ch. 35, v. 28: "B'ir mikloto yeisheiv ad mose haKohein haGodol" - In the city of his refuge shall he reside until the death of the Kohein Godol - The gemara Makos 11a says that since the death of the Kohein Godol would result in the release of all those who are in the city seeking refuge, the mothers of the Kohanim G'dolim would bring food and clothing to these refuge incarcerated people. That way they would not pray for the demise of the Kohein Godol.

Why would there be any concern about their prayer? If the Kohein Godol is a meritorious person their prayers should have no negative effect.

The gemara Makos says that the reason the Kohein Godol has this connection to the cities of refuge is because he in his capacity of Kohein Godol should have prayed that there be no accidental killers. Since there is this blemish on him we have good reason to fear that their prayers would be effective.

Alternatively, since these people are sometimes "incarcerated" for a very long time they often pain for their homes, family, and community. Prayers that come from a pained heart are effective. (Rabbi Y.Z. Pollack)

Ch. 36, v. 6: "Latov b'ei'nei'hem ti'h'yenoh l'noshim ach l'mishpachas ma'tei avihem ti'h'yenoh l'noshim" - To whomever is pleasing to them may they become wives only to the family of their father's tribe shall they become wives - The seeming contradiction is blatant. The gemara B.B. 120a sorts this out by explaining that the first half of these words allows them to become wives of anyone from any tribe. The second half is advice from Hashem that they preferably choose a spouse from their own tribe so that there would not be tribal holding issues down the road. In verse 11 we see that they were married to men of their father's tribe. Since Hashem knew that they would ultimately marry within their own tribe, why didn't he prohibit their marrying out of their father's tribe, thus allowing them to receive greater merit, based on the dictum, "godol hamtzu'veh v'o'she mimi she'eino m'tzuveh v'o'seh?" Rabbi Moshe Feinstein explains that in this circumstance, where the verse spells out that there is permission to "marry out" but it is not advisable, they would receive more reward for complying with the advice. This is because when Hashem spells out His preference but does not prohibit outright going against it, the evil inclination pushes very strongly to come up with calculations to the contrary. This is certainly true here where if they were limited to only their own tribe they would be cutting down their options drastically, especially in light of the fact that even the youngest of them was already over forty years of age, as mentioned in the gemara B.B. 119b. Going against Hashem's advise is in one aspect worse than transgressing a sin. This is because one places his own puny wisdom above Hashem's a spiritual slap in the face if there ever was one.

Ch. 36, v. 11: "Va'ti'h'yenoh bnos Tz'lofchod livnei do'deihen l'noshim" - And the daughters of Tz'lofchod became wives to the sons of their uncles - The head of a prestigious family in Vilna came to the Rov of the city with a bitter complaint. He had recently given his son, a young man of great renown in the city as a refined kind person who spent his time in in-depth study and fulfillment of the Torah, in marriage to a young lady. Shortly after the wedding he found out that his new daughter-in-law was a noticeable number of years older than his son. He asked of the Rov, Rabbi Shlomo Kohein if he should bring this up to his mechutonim and explain that this was sufficient grounds to bring the marriage to an end. The Rov calmed him down somewhat and first stated that such a move was incorrect and in truth it should not even be an issue once they are already married. He cited a proof from the commentary of Rashi on the listings of the five daughters of Tz'lofchod. Rashi comments that we notice a change in the order of their names in our verse compared to parshas Pinchos. He explains that earlier they were listed in order of their wisdom, while here they were listed in order of their age, from oldest to youngest.

The Rov asked, "Why indeed was there a need for this change?" Although the gemara B.B.120a gives a reason, the Rov said that the reason is because earlier they were not yet married. At that point in time it would be inappropriate to mention their order by age, especially considering that the abovementioned gemara one folio earlier says that the youngest of them was over forty years of age when she married. However, in our verse, once they were already married, listing them by age is no longer an issue.

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


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