CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHAS CHUKAS 5773 - BS"D
1) Ch. 19, v. 2: "Zose chukas haTorah asher tzivoh Hashem leimore" - This is the statute of the Torah that Hashem commanded thus saying - The expression "chukas haTorah" is unusual. We find the Torah saying that this is "chukas haPosach" (Shmos 12:43) or the like, where the Torah says that this is the statute of this or that specific mitzvoh. Our verse seems to indicate that "this is the statute for the whole Torah."
2) Ch. 20, v. 3: "Va'yomru leimore" - And they said to thus say - Why the double expression?
3) Ch. 20, v. 8: "V'nosan meimov v'hotzeiso lo'hem mayim" - And it will give forth its waters and you will extract for them water - Why the double expression "n'sinoh" and "hotzo'oh?"
4) Ch. 20, v. 27: "Va'yaas Moshe kaasher tzivoh Hashem …… l'ei'nei kol ho'eidoh" - And Moshe did as Hashem commanded …… in sight of all the congregation - How was this "as Hashem commanded"? In verse 25 Hashem commands Moshe to ascend Hor Hohor with Aharon and Elozor, but without mentioning to do this in the public view.
5) Ch. 20, v. 29: "Va'yivku es Aharon shloshim yom kole beis Yisroel" - And all beis Yisroel cried over Aharon for thirty days - Rashi (Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #17, Ovos d'Rebbi Noson 12:3) says that because Aharon brought harmony between neighbours and husband and wife, ALL beis Yisroel mourned him. Yalkut Shimoni says that this was not the case with Moshe, where only the men mourned him. Moshe admonished people for their wrongdoing, but Aharon didn't. As well, Aharon brought peace between those who argued. If Aharon's behaviour was so laudable, why didn't Moshe do the same?
We know that the laws of "poroh adumoh" are the least understood of all the mitzvos. Hashem has chosen to give us this command in spite of knowing that we would not comprehend it. This is a most powerful tool in training us to learn to follow His rules simply because He has told us to do so, even without seeming rhyme or reason. This is not to say that we should not pursue understanding the logic of mitzvos, but nevertheless, we are still to do them even if we have zero understanding. When we fulfill such mitzvos we possess a most powerful tool in persuading others to keep the Torah. The greatest teacher is by example, not by lecturing. We can sometimes talk our faces blue in attempting to convince our children, students, etc., to keep the mitzvos, and alas, sometimes to no avail. If our reasoning does not grab them they likely will not be motivated to follow suit. When they see that we do mitzvos which we do not comprehend, they see our obedience to a Greater Power. This will likewise bring them to do mitzvos, even though they too, do not comprehend them.
"Zose chukas haTorah," - this is the statute of the whole Torah. "Poroh adumoh" is totally not understood, but, "asher tzivoh Hashem," we do it because Hashem has so commanded. This is the most powerful tool for "leimore," to be able to successfully transmit the whole of Torah to others. (n.l.)
The double expression means that they conveyed their words of complaint to Moshe and demanded a response. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)
Possibly, this might mean that they did not say these words outright, but instead they said something softer that contained the message, "v'lu govanu ……" (Nirreh li)
Just as the gemara Yoma relates that the manna appeared for the more righteous people in a more convenient manner, and for the less righteous in an inconvenient manner, the water likewise had this nature. For the righteous the water gushed forth easily, while for the less righteous it needed more effort, expressed as "v'hotzeiso." (Sifsei Kohein)
The gemara K'subos 17 says that when a master teacher passes on there should be 600,000 people in attendance at his funeral because, just as the Torah was given in the presence of 600,000 people, so too, when a person who is the human embodiment of the Torah, is taken from us, there should be 600, 000 people present. Hashem did not command Moshe to have 600,000 people present when Aharon would be buried because Moshe himself had the stature of 600,000 people. However, Moshe, in his great humility, did not see it this way, and felt that 600,000 people should be present, hence "lei'nei kol Yisroel." (Pri Yaakov in Shaar Bas Rabim)
Yalkut Shimoni on the words in T'hilim 85:11, "Chesed ve'emes nifgoshu tzedek v'sholo-m noshoku," writes that "chesed" is Aharon, while "emes" is Moshe. Obviously, each of these people embodied both of these traits in abundance. However, by designating Aharon only with "chesed" and Moshe only with "emes," it is teaching us that they each excelled in a trait to its extreme. Thus Aharon's "chesed," with its outgrowth of "sholo-m," mentioned immediately afterwards, was uniquely his, and likewise, Moshe's "emes," with its outgrowth of "tzedek," to its extreme, was uniquely his trait.
Moshe, as the law giver of the nation had no choice but to carry through "tzedek" with "emes" to its fullest. Hence, he admonished people, while Aharon "looked away," with the intention of people liking him and being very receptive to his words. Aharon's "chesed" was coupled with "sholo-m," where one could "bend" the truth to bring peace, "mutor l'shanose mipnei darkei sholo-m." Moshe, by virtue of his position and responsibilities it encompasses was not able to change the truth even an iota, even for the noblest of reasons. (Binyan Yehoshua)
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