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 CHUKAS 5771 - BS"D

1) Ch. 19, v. 2: "Zose chukas haTorah asher tzivoh Hashem leimore" - This is the statute of the Torah that Hashem commanded so saying - We have a dictum that once the Beis Hamikdosh is no longer existent whoever toils in the study of the laws of the sacrifices is considered as if he has actually brought those sacrifices and they afford him the appeasement/atonement the sacrifice provides (gemara M'nochos 110a). If so, why don't we say the same with the purification process created by the red heifer?

2) Ch. 20, v. 8: "Kach es HAma'teh" - The word "ma'teh" is preceded by a definitive Hei, "THE staff." Which "known" staff is this?

3) Ch. 20, v. 10: "Shimu noh hamorim" - The rebellious ones please hear - Rashi says that this word is sourced in the Greek language to mean "fools." Obviously it has the simple meaning of "teachers." Rashi combines both and says that Moshe rebuked them, saying that they were fools who attempt to teach their teachers. If this word has a straightforward meaning in Loshon Hakodesh, why is there a need to also give it another level of meaning in a foreign language?

4) Ch. 20, v. 26: "V'hafsheit es Aharon" - And undress Aharon - This would take place on Hor Hohor, removed from the Mishkon campus. How was he permitted to wear his priestly attire there, as it contains shatnez, which is only permitted when doing a priestly service?

5) Ch. 21, v. 3: "Va'yi'tein es haCanaani va'yacha'reim es'hem" - And He gave over the Canaanites and he devastated them - The verse does not tell us into whose hands the Canaanites were given. Who vanquished them?

ANSWERS:

#1

Indeed we do not know the reason for this and it is included in the cloak of mystery surrounding the laws of the red heifer. This is alluded to in the words "Zose chukkas haTorah LEIMORE." Even saying over the words of the Torah dealing with "poroh adumoh" and its not bringing purity in its wake is also included in the statute. (Rabbi Yoseif Nechemioh Kornitzer) Rabbi Yisroel Yehoshua Trank, author of Yeshu'ose Malko and numerous other books, says that the word "leimore" might be the source for the opinion of the Rashb"o and others who posit that the reading of this parsha in public is a Torah requirement. Rashi says that satan and the nations of the world attempt to aggravate the bnei Yisroel by questioning the rationale behind this mitzvoh. We are told that it is a statute and one should not delve into it. On verse 22, the final verse of the parsha of "poroh adumoh," Rashi brings a most understandable explanation of this mitzvoh, explaining many of its peculiar aspects. Didn't Rashi just say that we are not to delve into it? The answer is LEIMORE. When we are asked by outsiders, satan and the nations of the world, for an explanation, LEIMORE, we respond that it is a statute, as clearly stated in our verse. On a personal level, when studying these laws as we do any of the Torah's laws, we are to delve into it to understand it as best we can. (Ponim Yofos)

#2

The Rashbam and Chizkuni say that this refers to the staff of Aharon.

"THE staff" indicates a staff that was set aside, as indeed Aharon's was as a testimony to his right to the priestly position. His staff was a totally dried out piece of wood, and yet it miraculously gave forth blossoms and fruit. This requires the nourishment of rain. Hashem asked Moshe to take along this staff to symbolically show that it is possible to draw water (the outgrowth of watering) from a totally dry object. This is what was to be said to the rock. It should give forth water in spite of its being a dry rock, just as the staff had given forth produce, a result of water. This verse says "V'di'bartem el ha'sela," - and you should speak to the rock, telling it, "V'nosan meimov," which can be translated as "and it HAS GIVEN forth its waters," referring to the staff of Aharon, which HAS GIVEN forth its waters. Thus the rock should do likewise. The rock could readily learn from the staff, a piece of wood, as "sela" and "eitz" each has the numerical value of 160. (Kli Yokor)

#3

This is because their behaviour was not that of a ben Yisroel. We have the utmost of respect for the previous generation. The Greeks felt that the older generation was backwards and the newer the better. The behaviour of the bnei Yisroel, "morim es mo'reihem," teaching their teachers, was the trademark of the Greeks. This is why Rashi included a Greek angle to this word. (Rabbi Yisroel Yehoshua Trank)

#4

The M.R. asks this. We do find an exception to this rule, and it is when a Kohein (Godol) processes the "poroh adumoh." Our Rabbis teach that the death of the righteous provides atonement, as does the "poroh adumoh." Aharon, being a devoutly righteous person, was permitted to wear shatnez, as going to his death on Hor Hohor provided the same benefit as processing the "poroh adumoh." (Ha'dei'oh V'hadibur)

#5

Hashem showed such kindness to the bnei Yisroel that they were not even involved in overpowering the Canaanites. They warred against Amo'leik and both sides suffered a tremendous number of casualties. The bnei Yisroel came and took the spoils. (Moshav Z'keinim)


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