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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 11: "V'lo chilisi es bnei Yisroel" - And I have not annihilated the bnei Yisroel - Hashem wiped out 24,000 people through a plague as stated earlier in verse 9. How is this "v'lo chilisi?"

1) Only people from the tribe of Shimon, whose head committed the sin in public, were killed, but not anyone else. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

2) Only descendants of the "eirev rav" who intermarried with the daughters of the tribe of Shimon, were killed. None of the bnei Yisroel who were uninterrupted descendants of Yisroel (Yaakov) were killed. (Holy Zohar)

3) Hashem did not ch"v wipe out all of the nation.

Ch. 25, v. 13: "Bris K'hunas olom" - A covenant of everlasting priesthood - Numerous reasons are offered for Pinchos's not being a Kohein until now. The Torah T'mimoh offers that the gemara B.B. 160b says that it is the nature of Kohanim to readily become angry. If Pinchos would already have been a Kohen, people might attribute his zealous response to Zimri's behaviour, not to pure motivations, but rather, to his being a hot head.

Ch. 26, v. 2: "S'u es rosh kol adas bnei Yisroel" - Take a census of the heads of all the congregation of the bnei Yisroel - Why was this count taken at this juncture?

1) The bnei Yisroel just suffered a major population loss. Just as a shepherd counts his remaining flock of sheep after they are attacked, so too, the bnei Yisroel should now be counted. (Rashi)

2) Just as when the bnei Yisroel were given to Moshe they were counted, now that they were to shortly be given to Yehoshua, they should also be counted. (Rashi)

3) They needed to be counted for their allotments of land in Eretz Yisroel. (Ibn Ezra)

4) When the bnei Yisroel left Egypt they were counted and Hashem's Name surrounded them, a letter Hei before and a letter Yud after their names, to counter the claims that the bnei Yisroel were the children of Egyptians, here this claim reared its ugly head again because the bnei Yisroel sinned with the daughters of Midyon. Another count was now in place to show that nevertheless, their children were really their own. (Alshich)

5) The level of Holy Spirit that rests upon the bnei Yisroel depends also on their numbers. There was such a great depletion of the bnei Yisroel because of the deaths brought about by the response to the sin with the daughters of Midyon (Rashi says that 176,000 were killed besides the 24,000 by plague), that they feared a lesser level of Sanctity was now upon them. A census was in place to show that they still had a population of 600,000. (Alshich)

6) They really should have been counted earlier, just after the victory over Sichon, for their allotments in Eretz Yisroel. Since Hashem knew that there would be a plague, He specifically waited to count them later, lest they would conveniently say that the plague was not a response to their impropriety, but rather, to their taking the census improperly, which also results in a plague. (Ponim Yofos)

Ch. 26, v. 35: "Eileh vnei Efrayim" - These are the sons of Efrayim - The Baal Haturim points out that here we have the word "eileh" to criticize this tribe. We find this wird by the creation of the golden calf, "eileh elohecho Yisroel" (Shmos 32:4). Since a descendant of Efrayim ,Y'rovom, would place two calves as idols on the roads leading to Yerusholayim, this tribe is criticized. Similarly we find "eileh" by the tribe of Dan because one of these calves was placed in the Dan land allotment.

What remains to be explained is why "eileh" is found in verse 30 by the sons of Gilad the son of Mochir the son of Menasheh.

Ch. 26, v. 54: "Lorav tarbeh nachaloso v'lamat tamit nachaloso" - To the many you shall increase his allotment and to the few you shall decrease his allotment - Sforno says that the land was parceled in monetarily equal amounts, but according to the population of each tribe a correspondingly sized parcel was given.

Ch. 26, v. 64: "Uv'eileh lo hoyoh ish mipkudei Moshe v'Aharon asher pokdu es bnei Yisroel b'midbar Sinai" - And in this there was no man form the count of Moshe and Aharon that they counted in the Sinai desert - Even though Yehoshua and Koleiv were survivors of those who left Egypt, they were not counted here, "mipkudei Moshe v'Aharon." The next verse indeed tells us that they were survivors, and therefore expresses it as, "v'lo nosar " (Ramban)

We might add that Serach bas Osher was mentioned earlier and here. However, it might well be that our verse forewarns this by saying, "lo hoyoh ISH." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 26, v. 65: "Koleiv ben Y'funeh vI'hoshua bin Nun" - Wherever we find this pair mentioned, if it is quoting Hashem we find Koleiv first, and when Moshe is mentioning them we find Yehoshua first. This is because Hashem holds Koleiv more dear as he stuck out his neck to counter the spies. Moshe mentions Yehoshua first because he considered Yehoshua wiser. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 27, v. 3: "Ovinu meis bamidbor" - Our father died in the desert - The gemara Shabbos 96 brings a disagreement between Rabbi Akiva, who posits that Tzelofchod died because he was the "m'kosheish" of parshas Chukas, and Rabbi Shimon who posits that he was one of the "maapilim" of parshas Shlach. The Holy Zohar parshas Bolok page 205 says that he was one of those who complained about the manna in parshas Chukas (20:5), "va'y'dabeir ho'om." He explains "bamidbor" to mean "bimdabeir," in his speech.

Ch. 27, v. 5: "Vaa'yakreiv Moshe es mishpotoN lifnei Hashem" - And Moshe brought their judgment in front of Hashem - The ruling given by Hashem seems to be one that Moshe might well have been able to calculate on his own. Why did he bring this ruling to Hashem?

1) Because he acted proudly the ruling was hidden from him. (Rashi)

2) He really could have done so, but the daughters of Tzelofchod merited to have this halacha come about through their inquiry. (Rashi)

3) Although he could have figured it out, Moshe inquired of Hashem so as to teach future judges to ask of a greater sage when available. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel)

4) Actually the women appeared in front of the ministers over tens and asked their question. Rather than answering they bestowed honour upon greater ministers by referring them to the ministers over fifties. This repeated itself with the ministers over hundreds and then over thousands. When the query finally came in front of Moshe, he likewise sent it to the One above him. Rather than take the honour for himself he deferred it. (Medrash Tanchuma)

5) Since the women told Moshe that their father died as a result of his speaking against Moshe and Hashem by complaining about the manna, Moshe felt that the women might feel that he has a bias against their father and them. He therefore did not want to rule on this matter. (Holy Zohar)

6) Since the women said that their father was not one of Korach's cohorts, Moshe felt that their words were a sort of verbal bribe, so he washed his hands of issuing his own ruling. (cited by Rabbeinu Bachyei)

7) The Ibn Ezra in his commentary on the Ten Commandments extols the virtue of keeping Shabbos properly. He cites Yirmiyohu who told the people that even though Hashem had decreed that Yerusholayim would be destroyed, if they would safeguard Shabbos properly, He would rescind His decree. Based on this, since Tzelofchod desecrated Shabbos, he deserves to lose his portion in Eretz Yisroel. However, there is a medrash (see Tosfos B. B. 119b d.h. "afilu") that says that actually his intention was to strengthen Shabbos, which was weakened at the time, by desecrating it and by being put to death, people would realize the severity of Shabbos. Since Tzelofchod's intention was in doubt, Moshe had to ask Hashem. (Ohel Torah Admor of Kotzk)

Ch. 27, v. 7: "Kein bnos Tzelofchod dovros" - the daughters of Tzelofchod speak correctly - Rashi comments that their eye saw that which Moshe's eye did not see. This means that they already knew the proper ruling. How is this derived from these words? The verse does not say, "kein bnos Tzelofchod sho'alos," that they are ASKING correctly, but rather, they are SPEAKING, meaning that they did not come with a query. Rather, they came with a claim. (B'eir Baso'deh)



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

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