by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues
OROH V'SIMCHOH - MESHECH CHOCHMOH ON PARSHAS PINCHOS - BS"D
Upon returning victorious from the battlefield, the king was faced with a dilemma. Should he openly disgrace the commanding officer who would have lost the battle if he had been left to his own strategy, or should he not do so since in fact the battle ended sucessfully? Should he only reward the underling who so brilliantly saved the day? If so, this would leave the commanding officer unreprimanded. He decided on a plan that would accomplish both ends. He awarded the underling with a citation, but had it presented by the commanding officer. Thus recognition was given to the person who deserved it and the commanding officer was indirectly reprimanded, as he should have normally received the accolade, and instead he personally presented the citation to another.
So too, Moshe, the leader of the bnei Yisroel, had the opportunity to be the one to act zealously to protect Hashem's honour. Hoever, he did not act and Pinchos did. Hashem therefore told Moshe to verbally present the reward to Pinchos.
2) The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that had Hashem told Pinchos directly, even though the message would have been prophetic, it would have been a message that Pinchos was not told to pass on to the bnei Yisroel. A prophecy of this sort is open to being rescinded if the recipient later becomes undeserving, as we find that Yaakov feared that through his sinning he might not merit the blessings Hashem promised him (gemara Brochos 4a). However, a positive prophecy given to one prophet to tell another person, once it is verbalised to the other person cannot be retracted, as per the Rambam in his preface to his commentary on the mishnoh. This is why Hashem said to Moshe "lochein EMOR."
3) Possibly, there might be another reason for involving Moshe. The first appointing of a Kohein was done by Hashem. Hashem originally planned it for Moshe and subsequent generations, but Moshe lost this opportunity when he stubbornly refused to be the agent to facilitate the exodus from Egypt (Shmos 4:14). Although Moshe lost permanent K'hunoh for himself and for his successive generations, nonetheless, he had the status of Kohein Godol during the eight days of the dedication of the Mishkon. As explained in the Droshos hoRa"n drush #8, Moshe was the conduit for prophecy that spilled over to the 70 elders in parshas B'haalos'cho (11:17). So too, he had to be the one to relate to Pinchos that he and all his future generations were now elevated to the status of K'hunoh, serving as the conduit of this heavenly downpour of sanctity.
Ch. 26, v. 3: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe vElozor haKohein osom" - And Moshe and Elozor the Kohein spoke to them - As Rashi in verse 4 explains, Moshe and Elozor told the bnei Yisroel that Hashem commanded that a census be taken. Why do we not find Moshe and Aharon telling the bnei Yisroel in parshas Bmidbar that there was a command that they be counted?
In parshas Bmidbar each tribe was advised by its tribal head that there was a census coming up. This is self-understood, as most tribal communal matters were attended to by their heads. Now that the tribal head of Shimon had so grievously sinned and brought about the death of 24,000 people, the stature of all tribal leaders was lowered precipitously. Moshe and Elozor had to go to all the tribes and advise them of the nation-wide census, and at the same time this was a consolation to them, indicating that they still were under the supervision of spiritually stalwart leaders. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 26, v. 62: "Shloshim v'esrim elef kol zochor miben chodesh KI lo hospokdu b'soch bnei Yisroel KI lo nitan lohem nachaloh b'soch bnei Yisroel" - Rashi explains the first KI as because they were counted from the age of a month they were not included in the general census, and the second KI as the reason they were not counted from the age of twenty years as all others were, because they weren't given a portion of land in Eretz Yisroel.
Many explanations are given for the relatively small number of people in the tribe of Levi. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that this was an act of kindness by Hashem so that there would not be a large population of people who would over-burden the rest of the bnei Yisroel for support. The bnei Levi had almost no land for agriculture and were given 42-48 cities for their homes. They subsisted on the tithings given them by others. He says that this can be interpreted as the intention of our verse. The first KI is explained the same way as Rashi says. The second KI explains why they only had a census of 23,000 people; because they were not given an inheritance of land among the bnei Yisroel.
The Kli Yokor on Bmidbar 3:39 contemplates this explanation offered by the MESHECH CHOCHMOH, but discards it, saying, "There is no restraint to Hashem's ability to protect and provide for his servants (the tribe of Levi) who fulfill his will." The Kli Yokor also mentions some other explanations, explains his difficulties with them, and ends with his own answer. The Shaarei Aharon on Bmidbar 3:39 has a very comprehensive list of answers.
Ch. 28, v. 5: "Vaasiris ho'eifoh so'les l'minchoh" - Regarding the meal offering that accompanies the lamb that is brought as an "oloh" sacrifice along with the "omer" first grain the Torah says that its volume is "u'minchoso shnei esronim so'les" (Vayikroh 23:13). This is double the normal volume of flour brought as an accompaniment to a lamb offering. The Toras Kohanim 10:7 says that this is an acception, "yotzoh min haklal." The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that the intention of the Toras Kohanim is not to point out that the volume is an acception (perhaps because this is obvious, as we find no other variation anywhere in the Torah to 1/10th an "eifoh" for a lamb, 2/10ths for a ram, and 3/10ths for an ox), but rather the "acception" is the order in which the words appear in the verse. We always find that fine-flour, "so'les," is mentioned first, and then the volume, as in parshas Shlach "so'les isorone" (Bmidbar 15:4). However, by the flour offering of the "omer" lamb we have an acception, "Vaasiris ho'eifoh so'les l'minchoh," with the amount mentioned before the word "so'les." This statement is quite puzzling. Although we find by all the "m'nochos" in parshas Shlach that "so'les" precedes the volume, in our verse as well as in verses 9 and 12 we find the volume preceding the word so'les."
Ch. 28, v. 15: "U's'ir izim echod l'chatos laShem" - Although by the sacrifices of Shovuos in our parsha there is no mention of the word "chatos" as is pointed out in the gemara Yerushalmi Rosh Hashonoh 4:8 and the M.R. on Shir Hashirim, "Rabbi M'sharshioh says in the name of Rabbi Idi, 'Why is the word CHATOS not mentioned by the sacrifices of Shovuos, although it is mentioned by the sacrifices of every other holiday? This teaches us that Hashem says that one who fully accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah is considered as if he had never sinned in his lifetime,'" there is the mention of CHATOS by the sacrifices of Shovuos in parshas Emor 23:19, "Va'asi'sem s'ir izim echod L'CHATOS."
The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that there is a special reason that the word CHATOS is appropriate in relation to the accompaniment to the "shtei ha'lechem." We have the unusual expression of "l'chatos laShem" by the mussof sacrifice of Rosh Chodesh in our verse. The gemara Chulin 60b says that there is an allusion to an atonement for Hashem through the Rosh Chodesh offering because when the moon renews itself, it is a reminder that Hashem diminished the size of the moon. It was once equal in size to the sun.
The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the atonement is not for the diminishing. That was justified, as explained in the above-mentioned gemara. It is needed because had the sun and moon remained equal in size, then those who might have had a propensity to take on the sun as a deity would have been discouraged by seeing that the sun had an equal, the moon. Now that the sun is larger, there is more latitude for making this mistake and Hashem is partly responsible, thus necessitating atonement, kavyochol.
Similarly at the time of bringing of the new crop of wheat which is the main staple of life for humans, there is also a fear of people over-attributing powers to the sun which brought about the growth and maturing of wheat and all other vegetables and fruits. Therefore it is again in place to mention the word CHATOS. However, we see from this insight of the MESHECH CHOCHMOH that it is only in relation to the "shtei ha'lechem" and not to the holiday.
FEEDBACK AND SUBMISSIONS ARE APPRECIATED. SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM
Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org