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@AOL.COM


Ch. 25, v. 11: "B'kano es kinosi b'SOCHOM" - With his avenging my vengeance within them - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh asks what the word "b'sochom" tells us. Perhaps this can be answered with the insight of Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld brought in Chochmas Chaim. At the end of parshas Bolok we find that Zimri brought the Midyanite woman with whom he sinned in front of his brethren in the full view of Moshe and all the congregation, "va'yakreiv el echov es haMidyonis l'eineiMoshe ul'einei kol adas bnei Yisroel." Why does the verse point out that he brought her in front of the whole congregation? Since he came to question her permissibility, taunting Moshe with, "If she is prohibited, who permitted you to take your wife" (gemara Sanhedrin 82a), why bring her along?

The gemara Sotoh 22b tells us that Yannai told his wife to only fear those false people who perform acts like that of Zimri and request the reward of Pinchos. Who in his right mind would perpetrate an awful act like Zimri's and expect a reward like Pinchos's? In reality, Hashem's greater concern was that of the idol worship that came about through their falling prey to adultery with the daughters of Midyon and Moav (gemara Sanhedrin 106a). Zimri posited that it was worthwhile to make a compromise, to permit adultery in a manner of bringing the women into the bnei Yisroel's camp, and in this environment at least there will be no idol worship, rather than to have the bnei Yisroel leave the camp and enter the environment of the Moabites and Midyanites, where they would also fall prey to idol worship, a sort of damage control. This is why he brought the Midyanite woman into the camp in full view of the entire congregation. This is seemingly also an act of zealousness, to safeguard against the sin of idol worship. Zimri felt justified to request a reward for his zealousness, just as would later be given to Pinchos. However, Zimri did not act correctly, since he compromised the sin of adultery. Possibly we now have an understanding of why the Torah stressed that Pinchos avenged Hashem's anger through an act of zealousness that was done regarding "b'SOCHOM," among them. Pinchos felt that even bringing the women into our camp and thus thwarting the sin of idol worship, was not justified.

Ch. 25, v. 18: "Tzorore es haMidyonim" - Torment the Midyanites - Some of the people sinned with the daughters of Moav as well. If so, why weren't the bnei Yisroel commanded to also deal with the Moabites?

1) Because Rus would be a descendant of the Moabites (Rashi - gemara B.K. 38)

2) The Moabites were rightfully afraid of the bnei Yisroel and therefore caused them to sin to remove their merit. The Midyanites involved themselves in a fray that was of no concern to them (M.R.)

3) The bnei Yisroel were not allowed to fight the Moabites in their land in the merit of Lote, their ancestor, who faithfully served Avrohom. (Ramban)

4) The Moabites did not entice the bnei Yisroel to sin. Only those who showed interest were partners in crime with the Moabites. The Midyanites diabolically seduced the bnei Yisroel to sin, especially targeting the leaders. (Alshich)

5) The Moabites caused the bnei Yisroel to sin during a limited period of time, while the Midyanites schemed to have them continuously sin, as indicated by the word "tzorarim," in the present tense, in the next verse. (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch)

6) The Moabites only sinned with them in a manner that involved their physical lusts, while the Midyanites affected them in their thoughts, a more severe sin. (Noam Elimelech)

Ch. 25, v. 18: "Ki tzorarim heim lochem b'nichleihem asher niklu lochem al dvar p'ore" - Because they are tormenting you with their diabolical plans that they are scheming about you regarding the matter of p'ore - Some Jewish people mistakenly believe that they are hated and persecuted because they abide by the laws of the Torah, and if they behaved as the heathen people around them they would be accepted as equals. However, our verse tells us otherwise. Even after some of the bnei Yisroel sinned with p'ore, and a tribal leader involved himself with Kozbi, the Midyonim still tormented them. (Divrei Sho'ul)

Ch. 27, v. 1: "Vatikravnoh bnos Tzelofchod ...... l'mish'p'chose Menasheh ben Yoseif" - And the daughters of Tzelofchod came close .. of the families of Menasheh the son of Yoseif - Rashi notes that the daughters of Tzelofchod held Eretz Yisroel dear. How is this indicated? Perhaps they were simply pursuing their inheritance regardless of where the land was situated. The Chasam Sofer answers that since they were descendants of Menasheh there was a possibility that Tzelofchod's parcel of land might be situated in Trans-Jordan, as half his tribe received its land apportionment there. His daughters therefore stressed, "t'noh lonu achuzoh b'SOCH achei ovinu" (verse 4). They specifically requested a portion among the bnei Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel, even though the portions in Trans-Jordan were vastly larger than those in Eretz Yisroel. We thus have a clear indication that they held Eretz Yisroel very dear.

Alternatively: The story is told of the wife of the Sfas Emes hearing her son the Imrei Emes studying our parsha and quoting our Rashi. She asked the question posed above by the Chasam Sofer. The Imrei Emes answered her that whether Tzelofchod was put to death because of desecration of the Shabbos or as a result of his being among those who attempted to enter Eretz Yisroel by force (Bmidbar 14:44-45), it took place either in the first or second year of the bnei Yisroel's wandering in the desert. If so, why did his daughters wait until now to claim their inheritance of their father's property? Surely he owned chattel of some value. This proves that they held the Holy Land very dear. They had no interest in his other possessions. Only now when they were close to entering Eretz Yisroel and the apportioning of the land parcels was at hand did they pursue their inheritance.

Ch. 27, v. 5: "Va'yakreiv Moshe es mishpotoN lifnei Hashem" - And Moshe brought close their judgment in front of Hashem - What necessitated bringing this question to Hashem? Doesn't simple logic dictate that if there is no son a daughter deserves to inherit her father? The Holy Admor of Kotzk answers that the gemara Shabbos 118a says that one who festively keeps Shabbos merits to receive a boundless portion of land in Eretz Yisroel. We derive from this that one who desecrates Shabbos deserves no portion in the Holy Land. If so, since according to Rabbi Akiva who posits that Tzelofchod was put to death for the sin of desecrating Shabbos, what claim did his daughters have to an inheritance in the Holy Land? However, Tosfos on the gemara B.B. 119b d.h. "afilu" writes that Tzelofchod had a noble intention in desecrating Shabbos. Once the masses heard that they would not merit to enter Eretz Yisroel they felt that the mitzvos likewise did not apply to them. They began to desecrate Shabbos. Tzelofchod desecrated Shabbos in full view of witnesses so that he would be put to death, thus reinstating the seriousness of keeping Shabbos. Thus if he was a simple Shabbos desecrator, he had no portion in Eretz Yisroel to inherit to his daughters. His intention was only known by Hashem, thus requiring Moshe to bring the ruling to Hashem. Hashem responded that the daughters of Tzelofchod spoke properly, that their father had only good intentions, to sanctify Shabbos with his act, as indicated by their words that he died "in the desert," stressing that it was done in a place where Shabbos observance became lax.

Ch. 29, v. 12: "Olas Shabbos b'Shabbato" - The Oloh offering on its Shabbos - Why do we bring Chatos offerings on all Yomim Tovim and on Shabbos only Oloh offerings? Oloh offerings afford atonement for sins in the realm of thought, while Chatos offerings bring atonements for sins of action (Vayikroh Rabboh 7:3). Since on Shabbos we refrain from doing the 39 prohibited acts and all their sub-acts, it is very unlikely for one to sin with action. However, it is permitted to think about such actions (gemara Shabbos 150a), and sinning in the realm of thought is a great possibility. Therefore Oloh offerings are brought. On Yom Tov the acts related to food preperation are permitted and there is a greater likelihood that one might sin through action. Therefore Chatos offerings are brought to atone for sins of action. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 29, v. 12: "Uvachamishoh ossor yom lachodesh hashvii mikro kodesh" - And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month there shall be a festival - By the earlier festivals of Pesach (28:17), Shovuos (28:26), Rosh Hashonoh (29:1), and Yom Kippur (29:7), the Torah tells us mitzvos that are unique to each of the festivals. However, here by Sukos the Torah does not mention its mitzvoh of residing in a Sukoh. The Meshech Chochmoh explains that Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. 640:8 states that those who travel are exempt from residing in a Sukoh. Our parsha deals with bringing festival sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdosh. At that time the majority of the bnei Yisroel are away from home, having made one of the thrice annually pilgrimages, and are thus exempt from residing in a Sukoh. This is why the Torah leaves it out here. In parshas Emor where the Torah does not deal with the festival sacrifices it does mention the mitzvoh of residing in a Sukoh.

It seems that the Meshech Chochmoh has not explained why the mitzvoh of taking the four species has been left out.

Ch. 29, v. 13: "Kvosim bnei shonoh arbo'oh ossor" - Sheep under a year of age fourteen - Rashi (Medrash Tadshei ch. 11) in verse eighteen says that the total of 98 sheep (14 sheep per day for 7 days) counters the 98 admonishments in parshas Ki Sovo. Why where the 98 sheep offered specifically during Sukos and not on another festival? The Avnei Nezer answers that the admonishments come about in the main for not serving Hashem with joy (Dvorim 28:47). Since Sukos is the festival of "V'somachto b'cha'gecho, .. v'hoyiso ach so'mei'ach" (Dvorim 16:14,15), it is the appropriate time to counter serving Hashem without joy.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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