CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS KI SISO 5768 - BS"D
1) Ch. 30, v. 34: "KaCH l'CHo samiM" - The Baal Haturim points out that the last letters of these three words spell the word ChoChoM. This is an allusion to the gemara Horios 13b, which says that wine and fragrance give a person wisdom. It is obvious how the allusion for fragrance lies in these words, but why does the Baal Haturim mention wine which is not discussed in this verse?
2) Ch. 30, v. 36: "V'shochakto mi'menoh ho'deik" - The gemara K'risus 6b says that when the spices are ground a person says "ho'deik hei'teiv hei'teiv ho'deik," because the sound is beneficial for the spices. Rashi says that a Mikdosh worker says these words while the spice grinder does his work. The Rambam in hilchos klei Mikdosh 2:5 says that the grinder himself says this. However, his text of the chant is "ho'deik hei'teiv ho'deik hei'teiv." Why is this beneficial?
3) Ch. 32, v. 4: "Va'yikaCH miyodoM va'yotzaR osO" - And he took from their hand and he formed it - These words indicate that Aharon not only accepted the gold to form the golden calf, but that he actually formed its shape. On the other hand in verse 24 we find him telling Moshe that they gave him the gold and he simply took it, threw it into fire, and a golden calf emerged, not that he formed it.
4) Ch. 32, v. 13: "Z'chor l'Avrohom l'Yitzchok u'lYisroel" - Here the name Yisroel is mentioned, while in Dvorim 9:27 it lists our Patriarchs as Avrohom, Yitzchok, and YAAKOV. Why?
5) Ch. 32, v. 15: "Va'yi'fen va'yei'red Moshe min hohor" - When one faces an outstanding scholar and is ready to leave, he does not turn around and leave, as he would then have his back towards the Torah scholar. Surely when one is facing the Holy presence of Hashem and takes leave, he should not turn around. If so, why did Moshe turn and descend?
The Nachalas Yaakov Yehoshua answers this with a statement of the Chidushei HoRI"M. He said that people mistakenly assume that a person who speaks a lot is a fool and one who speaks very little is a wise man. This is not the case. When the need arises for one to speak, be it divrei Torah, correcting a wrong, etc., one should speak out. It is wrong to remain silent. When there is no such need one should refrain from speaking. It totally depends upon the situation. A wise person is one who knows when to speak and when to be quiet. (See Koheles 3:7.)
The gemara Z'vochim 87a says that when the wine for the Mikdosh libations was poured from barrels into smaller vessels, those pouring would not talk as this was deleterious for the wine. On the other hand, the gemara Krisus 6b says that when the incense spices were ground, the grinders said "Ho'deik heiteiv heiteiv hod'eik," since talking is beneficial for ground spices. This, says the Nachalas Yaakov Yehoshua, is the reason the Baal Haturim mentions both wine and fragrances as an allusion to wisdom. A wise person is both quiet and talkative, similar to the nature of wine and fragrances.
1) The Abarbenel says that the grinder grinds the spices with a pestle. As he shakes around the spices in an orderly manner and they come under the crushing blow of the pestle, they become a relatively fine powder. To make sure that the banging of the pestle is done evenly, we have him continuously say these two syllable words, assuring that he bangs at equal intervals, resulting in evenly ground spices.
2) However, the Mei'am Lo'eiz in the name of the Kolbo writes that by saying these words the spices benefit. These words have their sounds come mostly from the throat, and this throat vapour is beneficial. It would seem that this opinion would fit well with the opinion that the grinder says the chant, as he stands next to the spices that he is grinding. If a Mikdosh worker says the chant, he may well be standing quite a distance from the spices, and there would be no benefit. If indeed he would be required to stand nearby, this should have been mentioned either by the gemara or an halachic authority.
Later in this verse we find that the golden calf was "ma'seichoh," molten. We can thus say that a form was created into which the molten gold was poured, and the golden calf took shape by itself. An allusion to Aharon's not directly forming the actual calf can be found in the final letters of "Va'yikaCH miyodoM va'yotzaR osO," which spell "chomer," material.
Even though our verse says "va'yotzar oso bacheret," Rashi in his first explanation says that this was a tourniquet used to fuse the jewellery that was brought. Even according to Rashi's second explanation that this was a tool used for etching and shaping, we can say that these words refer to the form into which the gold was poured. "Va'yaa'seihu eigel" refers back to the material that was brought. (Nirreh li)
The Mahari"l Diskin explains that the name Yisroel is specifically used here because when Hashem gave Yaakov the name Yisroel He promised that "goy ukhal goyim yi'h'yeh mi'meko" (Breishis 35:11). Our Rabbis interpret this to mean that Binyomin , Efrayim, and Menasheh would descend from Yaakov, and that they would develop into a large assemblage. Thus when Hashem told Moshe here that He planned to begin the nation anew with Moshe as its Patriarch (verse 10), Moshe countered with invoking the name Yisroel, indicating that there was a promise of Binyomin, Efrayim, and Menasheh being part of the nation. This would be to naught according to Hashem's plan. Thus Moshe provided a defense for all of the bnei Yisroel.
1) The Tzror Hamor writes that Moshe would have turned away even earlier, upon his completing his discussions with Hashem, but out of embarrassment he turned to face "the music" at the last possible moment, when descending the mountain. This does not answer the question raised above, and it was not the Tzror Hamor's intention to do so.
2) MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l answers that since Hashem told him in verse 7, "lech reid ki shicheis amcho," that Moshe was commanded to descend, it is obvious that if one descends a mountain while facing it he will be greatly slowed down. Moshe had to turn away and see where he was going to be able to fulfill Hashem's command with alacrity.
3) Actually, Rabbeinu Bachyei says that Moshe descended while still facing Hashem's presence.
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