CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS NOSSO 5767 - BS"D
1) Ch. 4, v. 22: "Bnei Gershon GAM HEIM ...... mi'ben shloshim shonoh" - Why the extra words GAM HEIM? Why wouldn't I think that they should be counted, just as the descendants of K'hos are?
2) Ch. 5, v. 7: "V'hisvadu es chatosom" - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 1:1 writes that when a person sins, whether intentionally or unintentionally, when he has decided to repent he should verbally confess to having sinned. This is a positive mitzvoh. He uses our verse as his source for this halacha. Why did the Torah decide to place this ruling in our verse, which discusses theft, as it could just as easily have been pointed out by any sin that the Torah mentions?
3) Ch. 5, v. 15: "V'heivi es korbonoh ...... kemach s'orim" - The flour offering of the Sotoh is unique in that it is the only flour offering brought by a private person that is of the "s'orim" grain. All others are wheat. There is another "s'orim" offering, "minchas ho'omer." However that is paid for by public funding and as well is a public offering, "korban tzibur." ("S'orim" is commonly translated as barley. However Rabbi Dovid Luria, the Bichover Rov, has a compelling proof that "s'orim" is oats, not barley.) The restriction against eating grain of the new crop, "chodosh," is lifted when the Omer offering is brought on the second day of Pesach and the restriction on bringing grain of the new crop as a flour offering to the Beis Hamikdosh is lifted when the two breads, "shtei ha'lechem," are offered on Shovuos (Mishnoh M'nochos 10:6). If one were to bring his wife to the Beis Hamikdosh for the "sotoh" ritual between Pesach and Shovuos would the "sotoh" flour offering of "s'orim" allowed to be "chodosh" since "s'orim" of "chodosh" was already brought in the form of "minchas ho'omer," or does even this "minchoh" fall under the purview of the restriction of "chodosh" until after "shtei ha'lechem" are brought?
4) Ch. 5, v. 18: "Mei haMORIM" - Why are these waters called "bitter"?
5) Ch. 6, v. 9: "V'chi yomus meis olov b'fesa pisom" - We find in verse 11 that the bird offering that the Nozir is required to bring for become defiled is a sin atonement offering, "v'chi'per olov mei'asher choto al hano'fesh." What sin has the Nozir committed by becoming defiled in this situation of "yomus meis olov b'fesa pisom?" Why is he responsible for something that is beyond his control?
The Ponis Yofos answers that one might think that only the bnei K'hos should be counted from the age of thirty years (Bmidbar 4:3) since they were not given wagons for their portage of the Oron Hakodesh. They therefore needed to be men of strength and the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 5:24 says that from the age of thirty a person comes into his full strength. Rashi on Bmidbar 4:2 says that the above mishnoh derives this from the youngest age for the census of the bnei K'hos. We might therefore think that the members of the Gershon family who had wagons to transport the structural components of the Mishkon and were not required to do the actual carrying, should be counted from the age of twenty as are the rest of the bnei Yisroel. Our verse tells us that THEY TOO should be counted from the age of thirty, as are the bnei K'hos.
The Chidushei HoRI"M answers that Hashem gives us our life force which enables us to carry out our actions. He wants us to use this power only for mitzvos and not for committing sins. If we commit a sin, besides the sin itself, we have also misused, stolen, the power Hashem imbued in us, and hence it is most appropriate to place the mitzvoh of confessing sins in the parsha of theft.
The gemara M'nochos 86b says that even this type of flour offering may not be brought from "chodosh." Although you may feel that you are not held responsible to know this gemara, however, it is also an open Rashi in parshas Emor. On the seemingly superfluous word "bikurim" in 23:17 Rashi says that the above gemara derives that even a "minchas Sotoh" brought between Pesach and Shovuos must also be "yoshon."
1) Rashi explains that the waters are called bitter waters because of the bitter outcome if the woman is guilty. This explanation is found in the Sifri 5:58.
2) The Ramban quotes the gemara Sotoh 20a, which says that this word teaches us that an object is placed into the waters which gives it a bitter flavour.
We find at times that an evil person being in the proximity of a righteous person highlights the sins of the evil person. This was expressed by Lote in Breishis 19:19, "pen tidbokani horo'oh vomati," as explained there by Rashi. We find the same by the widow in M'lochim 1:17:18, "bosso eilai l'hazkir es avoni u'l'homis es bni." By virtue of a person taking upon himself abstinence as a "nozir' he has greatly sanctified himself, as we find that he is called "kodosh" in verse 5. He is therefore partially to blame for the death of those who come in contact with him, as he highlights their shortcomings. (Toldos Yitzchok)
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