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'HAALOS'CHO 5772 - BS"D

1) Ch. 8, v. 4: "V'zeh maa'sei ha'manorah" - And this is the making of the menorah - Rashi says that Moshe had difficulty in creating the menorah. Since Hashem had already shown him a vision of a fiery menorah, why couldn't he replicate it?

2) Ch. 9, v. 1: "Bachodesh horishon" - In the first month - Rashi says that the first chapter in this book of Bmidbar took place chronologically earlier. This teaches us the rule of "Ein mukdam um'uchar baTorah." Rashi then asks, "V'lomoh lo posach b'zu." Rabbi Yisroel Salanter asks that this seems to be a contradiction within Rashi. He just said that there need not be a chronological order, so why does he ask "Why was this parsha not said at the beginning of sefer B'midbar?" He answers that "v'lomoh" is not "and why," but rather, it is an abbreviation, "Ulfi Medrash Hagodoh," and is a new interpretation. How can we explain this Rashi without tampering with "v'lomoh?"

3) Ch. 9, v. 14: "V'chi yogur itchem ger v'ossoh Fesach" - If there will reside among you a convert and he will offer a Paschal sacrifice - If a person converts to Judaism after Pesach but before Pesach Sheini, should he bring a Paschal offering on Pesach Sheini?

4) Ch. 11, v. 6: "Ein kole" - There is nothing - Literally these words are translated as "nothing everything." How can we explain these words in their pristine translation?

5) Ch. 12, v. 3: "V'ho'ish Moshe onov m'ode mikole ho'odom asher al pnei ho'adomoh" - And the man Moshe was exceedingly humble more so than any person on the face of the earth - Moshe was the greatest prophet who ever lived, and whoever would be a prophet in the future, obviously knew of his own greatness. If so, how could he be so humble?

ANSWERS:

#1

Rabbi Shmuel Almosnino says that the difficulty was not in its basic creation, but rather, in the intentions, "kavonos," of each section. "V'zeh" refers to Hashem's teaching him all the "kavonos." Moshav Z'keinim answers that Moshe forgot the fiery vision. A medrash says that Hashem told him to toss the block of gold into fire and a completed menorah emerged, and this is "tei'oseh" of parshas Trumoh, it was made. Another medrash says that Moshe went to Betzaleil for help, and he made it correctly. Moshe wondered how Betzaleil, without a sketch or vision of the menorah was able to do this, and he concluded that Betzaleil was in the "shadow of Keil" when it was shown to Moshe (see gemara Brochos 55).

#2

It seems that Rashi can be explained in a simple manner. Although there need not be a chronological order, this only means that if there is an overriding factor, the timeline bows to it, but not that the Torah wantonly disregards a chronological order. This is clearly stated by the Ramban at the beginning of parshas Matos, in contra-distinction to the opinion of the Ibn Ezra there.

Note that Rashi here says "Lomadto," - you have learned. Rashi in his terse razor-sharp words answers a question that seems to be raised by Rabbi Akiva Eiger in his commentary Gilyon Hashas on the gemara P'sochim 6b. The gemara cites our verse as a proof that not everything in the Torah follows a chronological order. Rabbi Akiva Eiger lists numerous places where Rashi in his commentary on Chumash says "ein mukdam " It seems that he is raising a question. Since some of those places are earlier verses in the Torah, why didn't this gemara cite an earlier proof? Ramban near the beginning of sefer Vayikra says that all of Rashi's statements that "this verse is out of chronological order" can be refuted, but not our verse Bmidbar 9:1. This is Rashi's intention with the word "lomadto." From here you LEARN this rule, as all earlier instances can be refuted. Once this axiom is true, it is most appropriate to apply it in earlier cases, which seem to indicate the same. This is why the gemara waits until our verse to offer a proof for this rule. (Shaa'rei Aharon)

#3

Rambam hilchos korban Pesach 5:7 clearly states that he must do so. However, the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh, based on the Sifri on our verse, says that he may not do so.

#4

Indeed, they admitted that the manna had every taste, but it also only had the look of manna. Thus it had both characteristics, "nothing," by virtue of its boring daily look, and "everything," by virtue of its taste. (Sheivet Musor)

#5

A well-known answer is that although he surely recognized his greatness he felt that there was nothing about which to be so proud. He felt that he was given a special heavenly gift. Had someone else had the same opportunity he would have developed into an even greater person. Alternatively, he indeed did not have an accurate picture of himself. He was so self-effacing that he felt that he fell short of his capacity.

A most enlightening answer is offered by Rabbi Meir Simchoh haKohein, not in his classic Meshech Chochmoh, but rather in his commentary Ohr So'mei'ach on the Rambam hilchos teshuvoh 4:4, in the name of his grandfather Rabbi Chaninoh. Near the end of his very lengthy comments on the famous words of the Rambam dealing with the question of predetermination, reward and punishment, and free choice, he writes that since Moshe ascended to the heavens and was privy to see a glimpse of Hashem's sanctity that no one else ever saw, he clearly saw the connection between the spiritual and the physical. All his future actions had the added impetus of knowing as an eyewitness the results of complying or ch"v not complying with Hashem's wishes. Whenever a mitzvoh came his way he had no test. His belief in Hashem was not a test, as he had actually entered heaven. Moshe was therefore not as great as any other ben Yisroel in this aspect. Everyone else believed in Hashem without seeing, did mitzvos, and refrained from doing negative precepts with the strength of belief only.

A proof for this is that Hashem told Moshe, "v'gam b'cho yaaminu l'olom" (Shmos 19:9). How could Hashem guarantee this if Moshe still had free will? Perhaps he would later ch"v become a sinner and people would rightfully loose their trust in him. We clearly see that Moshe had such powerfully clear manifestations that he was beyond this.

He goes on to explain an argument in the Sifri on our parsha piska #45 based on these words of his grandfather. The Sifri explains the words of verse 7, "b'chol beisi ne'emon hu," in all My house Moshe is trustworthy. The Sifri brings an opinion that Moshe is not more trustworthy than the angels, and Rabbi Yosi posits that he is more trustworthy than even the angels. Rabbi Meir Simchoh explains "ne'emon," as one who acts out of faith. There is an argument between the Rabonon and Rabbi Yosi in the Mechilta parshas "bachodesh" parsha #4 if Hashem lowered the heavens down to Har Sinai's peak (Rabonon), or if only Hashem's voice emanated from the top of the mountain (Rabbi Yosi). It follows in kind that if Moshe was actually in the heavens he had at least the same exposure to Hashem as the angels and just as the angels are creatures that have no choice to do right or wrong because of their open exposure to Hashem's sanctity, so too, Moshe had this same exposure, and in turn had no more faith, "ne'emon," than did the angels. Rabbi Yosi, who posits that Moshe did not literally ascend to heaven, and in turn had less spiritual exposure than the angels did, likewise was more "ne'emon," acted more out of faith and trust, than did the angels.


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