Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS B'MIDBAR 5771 - BS"D

1) Ch. 2, v. 3: "Keidmoh mizrochoh" - To the east - How do you explain the double expression of east?

2) Ch. 2, v. 9: "Rishonoh yiso'u" - They should travel first - Why did the tribes of Yehudoh, Yisochor, and Z'vulun merit being at the head of the nation?

3) Ch. 3, v. 1: "V'ei'leh toldos Aharon u'Moshe" - And these are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe - The M.R. explains why Aharon is mentioned here ahead of Moshe. When Moshe and Aharon were involved with the census they also asked for the family lineage. People chided Aharon, "Before you ask for our lineage look at the lineage of the offspring of your son Elozor, who married the daughter of Puti'eil." Standing up for Aharon's honour, Hashem mentioned him ahead of Moshe in our chapter of the Levites offspring.

Why didn't the people likewise chide Moshe, who did the exact same thing as Elozor, taking Tziporoh the daughter of Puti'eil as his wife? Actually, Moshe was even more open to criticism, as he himself took a daughter of Puti'eil, while it was only Aharon's son who did so.

4) Ch. 3, v. 9: "N'sunim heimoh lo mei'eis bnei Yisroel" - They are given to him from the bnei Yisroel - Hashem appointed the Levites to serve the Kohanim. If so, if which way are they given by the bnei Yisroel?

5) Ch. 3, v. 26: "V'es mosach pesach hechotzeir l'chole avodoso" - And the curtain for the opening of the courtyard to all its service - Since our verse is discussing the disassembled Mishkon when traveling, what Mikdosh service is there?

ANSWERS:

#1

Rashi answers that facing "keidmoh," forward, means facing eastward (as per the explanation of Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi). However, Taamo Dikra explains this double expression differently. Verse 9 tells us that the tribe of Yehudoh lead the camp when traveling, "rishonoh yiso'u" (verse 9). Tosfos on the gemara Arochin 15a d.h. "k'sheim" says that when the camp traveled in a northward direction, for example, the position of the whole encampment changed (even according to the opinion that they retained the same relative position one tribe to another, "k'teivoh"). Yehudoh had to lead so its tribe was northernmost and all others orientated themselves accordingly. This is why our verse says "keidmoh mizrochoh." When was Yehudoh in the eastern position while traveling? This was only when the camp itself was going eastward.

I don't fully grasp this answer, as the verse begins with the word "v'hachonim," indicating that we are discussing their position while at rest.

#2

This is because the tribe of Yehudoh embodies readiness for self-sacrifice as displayed by Nach'shon at Yam Suf, Yisochor embodies total involvement in Torah study, and Zevulun embodies support of Torah study. (Chidushei HoRi"m)

#3

Yalkut Yehudoh answers that Elozor had the opportunity to marry a woman who was born to the Jewish nation, while Moshe was in Midyon for many years and had no such luxury. See Sefer Chasidim #504, who writes that since Moshe could not return to Mitzrayim, as there was a bounty on his head, he had no choice but to marry a local woman.

#4

The Levites would not be free to service the Kohanim if they had no income. The bnei Yisroel free up the Levites to serve the Kohanim by supporting them with their "maa'seir rishon" tithes. (Rabbi Yoseif B'chor Shor and Sforno)

#5

If there was a sacrifice whose servicing or consumption was not complete and it was required to disassemble the Mishkon, the Levites would stand next to each other and create a barrier of sorts. They would be a human halachic wall, and all holy objects that were required to remain within the confines of the Mishkon courtyard would still be considered within this area (see Rashi on the gemara M'nochos 95). This is a basis for the concept of humans being an halachically acceptable barrier, which also has consequences in the laws of Shabbos. (Rabbi Yisroel Yehoshua Trank)


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


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