CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS SHLACH 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 13, v. 2: "V'yosuru" - We find this episode is recounted in Dvorim
1:21 through 2:1. However, we find different expressions for spying there. In
verse 22 it says "v'yach'p'ru" and in verse 24 it says "va'y'raglu." What are the
differences among these three words, which all basically mean to spy?
2) Ch. 13, v. 4: "V'ei'leh shmosom" - What governs the sequence of the tribes
mentioned in this and the following verses?
3) Ch. 14, v. 24: "V'avdi Cho'leiv" - Since Yehoshua was also not swayed by
the rest of the spies, why wasn't he also praised?
4) Ch. 15, v. 34: "Ki lo forash ma yei'o'se lo" - If they did not know which
form of death penalty should be carried out, how did the witnesses warn him
properly according to Rabbi Yehudoh (Sanhedrin 80b) who requires that the
warning include specifically which death penalty the sin carries?
5) Ch. 15, v. 39: "V'lo sosuru acha'rei L'VAVchem" - The gemara Brochos 54a
derives from the word "L'VOVcho" in Dvorim 6:5 that one should serve Hashem
with both aspects of his heart, the good inclination and the bad inclination.
This is derived from the doubling of the letter Veis in the word "l'VoVcho,"
since it would have been sufficient to say "libcho." If we carry this through to
our verse we should also derive from it that one should not spy out after his
heart's two inclinations, the good and the bad. How are we to understand that
one should not spy out after the good inclination?
Answer to questions on parshas B'haalos'cho:
1) Ch. 8, v. 2: "El mul pnei ha'menorah" - What is the "mul pnei ha'menorah?"
1) The central light - Three lights on each side of the central one should
tilt towards it. (Rashi)
2) The celestial menorah that is in heaven - There is a Mikdosh in heaven
with all Mikdosh vessels that corresponds to the earthly Mikdosh. (Rabbeinu
3) The Holy Ark and the tablets inside it (Responsa Rivo"sh)
4) The curtain that divides between the Holy and the Holy of Holies
(Chizkuni according to the opinion in the gemara M'nochos 98b that the seven lights of
the menorah stood north to south)
5) The Shulchon, the show-bread table that stood across from the menorah, as
is stated in Shmos 40:24, "Va'yo'sem es ha'menorah ...... mul hashulchon"
(Chizkuni according to the opinion in the gemara M'nochos 98b that the seven
lights of the menorah stood east to west, Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor, Rashbam)
6) The trunk of the menorah, its central stem (Abarbanel)
7) The side on which the steps were placed for climbing up to cleanse and
2) Ch. 8, v. 2: "El mul pnei ha'menorah yo'iru SHIVAS ha'neiros" - It would
seem that the verse should have said SHEI'SHES, the SIX lights, if "pnei
ha'menorah" means the central stem.
1) After the six lights, three on each side, are properly lit, together with
the middle light, seven lights shall shine.
2) This teaches us that all seven lights shall be equal in size and should
have an equal amount of oil so that they should burn equally long (barring the
miracle of the "ner maarovi). (Breiso of M'leches haMishkon)
3) The lights shining is symbolic of growing in Torah knowledge. The three
lights on each of the two sides represent the students, while the central one
represents the teacher. Not only do the students gain from the teacher's
knowledge, but the teacher gains from his students questions. Hence all seven lights
will shine when the students bend themselves towards their teacher. (Shaarei
4) Once the six lights subordinate themselves to the middle light, they grow
in stature and become equal to the middle one and they all shine equally.
This is also symbolized in the ruling that the menorah shall be made of one solid
piece of gold, and not of separate pieces welded together. (Avnei Zohov)
3) Ch. 9, v. 2: "V'yaasu vnei Yisroel es haPosach" - And the bnei Yisroel
shall make the Pesach - Parshas Bo is replete with commands to offer the Paschal
lamb. Why was it necessary to repeat this?
1) Rashbam offers that the previous Pesach took place in Mitzrayim and
lasted only one day. As well there were numerous differences in the details of how
the sacrifice was to be offered. Therefore our verse, said in the following
month of Nison, commands that the bnei Yisroel process the Pesach offering and
keep the Yom Tov according to the details outlined in parshas Bo for later
generations, and not to copy the way it was done in the previous year.
2) Sforno offers that since they just had the festive eight day inauguration
of the Mishkon, the bnei Yisroel might mistakenly think that such a heavy
dose of spiritual activity would make a Pesach experience coming on its heels
redundant, as we find that King Shlomo had the inaugural festivities of the
completion of the Beis Hamikdosh over-ride Yom Kippur, the verse therefore advises
that they should still have the Pesach Yom Tov take place.
3) The Ramban offers that since the mitzvoh of bringing a Pesach offering
only began after the bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel, as per the verse,
"V'hoyoh ki sovo'u el ho'oretz" (Shmos 12:25), since the bnei Yisroel were now in
the desert, there would actually not have been a mitzvoh to offer the Pesach
offering if not for this specific directive.
4) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh offers that since the Torah says regarding the
Pesach sacrifice, "Kol ben neichor lo yochal bo" (Shmos 12:43), that an
estranged person shall not partake of the Paschal lamb, and the Medrash Tanchuma
explains that this refers both to a non-Jew and a Jew who has unfortunately denied
Hashem, when the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf they thought that
they no longer had the privilege of bringing a Paschal sacrifice. Although they
were aware of Hashem's relenting and not planning to destroy them to a man,
but they did not as of yet know that their sin was forgiven. We can thus
interpret the introductory letter Vov of "V'yaasu," as meaning that besides My
rescinding the punishment of annihilation, their sin is also cleansed, and they may
therefore bring a Pesach offering.
5) Va'y'da'beir Moshe offers that since that year the eve of Pesach would
fall on Shabbos there was a special command to slaughter the Paschal lamb at the
expense of Shabbos. This was not known earlier, as the word "b'moado," of our
verse teaches us this. It is now well understood why this point of
information was transmitted specifically at this time and not earlier in parshas Bo.
4) Ch. 11, v. 4: "Hisavu taavoh .. va'yomru mi yaachi'leinu bosor" - Lusted a
lusting .. and they said, 'Who will feed us flesh' - Since they had large
herds of cattle, why didn't they have a steady supply of meat? As well, the manna
could take on the flavour of almost any imagined food.
1) They were in the complaint mode and this truly had no basis. (Rashi -
2) Only some of the people owned cattle. (Ramban)
3) Those who complained were the "asafsuf," the "eirev rav." They took no
cattle out of Egypt as their cattle were killed during the plagues of pestilence
and hail. (Ponim Yofos)
4) They expected to cross over the Jordan River and do war with the
Canaanites. They would be unable to bring their cattle along with them, and it was for
this period of time that they complained. (Baal Haturim)
5) They only complained to test Hashem, to see if He was capable of
supplying them with meat in the desert, as is stated in T'hilim 78:18, "Va'y'nasu Keil
bilvovom lishol ochel l'nafshom." (Sforno)
6) They were actually complaining about the restrictions placed upon them
regarding relations with relatives. "Bosor" refers to the carnal pleasures of
the flesh (see gemara Yoma 75a). (Kli Yokor)
7) They complained about having a large steady supply of meat for an
extended period of time, as indicated by the words "mi yaachi'leinu," in the future
tense. Their own cattle did not satisfy this demand. (Ponim Yofos)
8) They wanted meat that tasted like fish, as indicated by the words, "mi
yaachi'leinu bosor, Zocharnu es hadogoh." They demanded this only to test
Hashem. He responded with quail, which are a form of meat (fowl) that tastes
somewhat like fish. (Minchoh V'luloh)
9) They did not want a steady diet of manna, as it was a spiritually
uplifting food, and they wanted to serve Hashem with no outside help. (Eitz Yoseif
and Eshed Hancholim)
10) They wanted to avoid eating manna, as it disclosed their spiritual
level, landing further from their doorstep and also in a more unrefined form when
they sinned. (K'hilas Yitzchok)
11) Slaughtering their own cattle would entail bringing the animals as
"shlomim" offerings. This placer numerous restrictions upon people. It could only
be eaten when in a pure state, required brining it to the Mishkon and having
the blood services done. They wanted a simple lustful type of meat, not tied up
in rituals, as indicated by the first words of the next verse, "Zocharnu es
hadogoh." Just as fish are eaten without ritual preparations, the meat that they
lusted was meat with no rituals involved. (Meshech Chochmoh)
12) As mentioned earlier, the "asafsuf" had this lust. They were not among
those who studied Torah. The gemara P'sochim 49b says that a boor should not
eat meat. The "asafsuf" did not taste the flavour of meat in their manna.
(M'oroh Shel Torah)
Please note that some of these answers are in response to the question of
their having their own cattle, while some answer the manna question, and some
5) Ch. 12, v. 7: "B'chol beisi NE'EMON hu" - What does NE'EMON mean?
1) Moshe may enter My domain, just as a friend visits at any time he wishes,
and Moshe may speak regarding any matter he needs. (Ibn Ezra)
2) Moshe has seen more than any other prophet, and yet keeps many matters to
himself, as we find the term "V'NE'EMAN ruach y'cha'seh dovor" (Mishlei
3) Moshe has been ENTRUSTED with the knowledge of My Holy Name which
encompasses the traits of mercy and kindness even to sinners. These are Hashem's
dearest traits. One keeps his dearest possessions in his home. "B'chol beisi,"
with all the dearest traits that I have, "NE'EMON hu," Moshe is entrusted.
(Ramban Shmos 33:19)
4) Moshe is trusted by all of My household. (This refers to the bnei Yisroel
as per Targum Onkeles and Targum Yonoson ben Uziel.) Since he views the
prophecies in clear terms he is trusted to not misinterpret the message. (Rosh)
5) When one doesn't totally trust his messenger, he has messages sent
through him conveyed in an encoded manner, so that the messenger cannot misuse the
information. Moshe is trusted by Hashem and the bnei Yisroel, therefore the
prophetic messages are given to him in a completely clear manner. (Rivosh)
6) Moshe has remained faithful to his wife and has not divorced her, even
though when he married her he was a fugitive who had a death sentence hanging
over him and now he was a king (see gemara Sanhedrin 110a). "Bayis" refers to
one's wife (see gemara Yoma 2a). (Moshav Z'keinim) This interpretation gives
us a new insight into the blessing that is common to give to a newly-wed
couple, "Tizku livnos bayis NE'EMON b'Yisroel."
I have difficulty according to this interpretation with the word "beisi," as
it should have said "beiso."
7) Other prophets only receive prophecy when they are either asleep or awake
but in a trance or some other unusual physical phenomenon where their soul is
not fully connected to their body. Their body, not being totally purified, is
a hindrance to receiving a Divine message. Not so Moshe. He receives
prophecy while in a normal state, since his physicality is in total consonance with
the spiritual. Translate NE'EMON as in Yeshayohu 22:23, "Yo'seid b'mokom
NE'EMON," a peg securely placed. Likewise, Moshe's neshomoh was securely
connected to his body when he received a prophecy, unlike any other prophet. (Haksav
8) Moshe was ready to receive prophecy at any moment, as he was always
ritually pure. Read NE'EMON as reliable at any time. (S'fas Emes)
9) Moshe not only received prophecy from Hashem, but also was able to ask
his own questions to Hashem. (Rabbi Chaim haLevi Brisker)
I believe that this might be included in the last words of the Ibn Ezra
mentioned above in #1, "V'y'da'beir mah she'yitz'to'reich."
10) Moshe knew how to make use of the "Sheim Ham'forosh" with which Hashem
created the heavens and the earth, and yet did not take advantage of this
ability. He is NE'EMON to not use this power even though he is able to do so.
11) When Moshe says a prophecy no other prophet can contradict him. His
prophecy reigns supreme (see Rambam hilchos yesodei haTorah 8:3). Other prophets
can be contradicted by another prophet. (Rabbi Yitzchok Zev haLevi Brisker)
12) Moshe is devoted and dedicated to properly executing Hashem's bidding.
13) The Rambam in hilchos yesodei haTorah 7:6 says that Moshe is not only
capable of communicating with Hashem without preparation or having a quasi
out-of-body prophetic experience, but also is guarenteed that upon his request
Hashem will always respond. This is derived from the words in our parsha "Imdu
v'esh'm'oh mah y'tza'veh Hashem lochem" (9:8). Moshe is NE'EMON, reliable, to
always receive a response from Hashem. (Taken from the words of the Eimek
haN'tzi"v on 9:8, although not his interpretation of NE'EMON)
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