subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

shore.gif (51285 bytes)

Back to This Week's Parsha Archive of previous issues


JUNE 17-18, 2005 11 SIVAN 5765

Pop Quiz: Who was originally intended for the jobs that the Leviim were given?


"Why should we be excluded from sacrificing?" (Bemidbar 9:7)

When a group of Jews who were ritually impure could not participate in the Korban Pesah, they reacted in an unusual way. They complained to Moshe and said, "Why should we be exempt from this misvah just because we are tameh (unclean)? Isn't there something for us to do?" In the merit of this response, they were given a new misvah of Pesah Sheni, where a person can "make up" the misvah of Korban Pesah.

This attitude is very precious in the eyes of Hashem, and it is something we should think about. Many times we start to do a misvah, but it doesn't work out. How do we feel about being off the hook? Are we relieved, as if another burden is off of us, or do we feel the lack of opportunity to serve Hashem?

There was once a great Rabbi who came to a large yeshivah with a proposal. Whoever could answer his difficult question would have a chance to marry his daughter. The question was extremely difficult, and although many potential answers were suggested, no one came up with the right response, so the Rabbi headed back to his town. On the way back home, the Rabbi saw someone trying to catch up to him, and when he stopped, he realized it was one of the students from the yeshivah. "Did you think of another answer?" the Rabbi asked. "No, but I couldn't bear not to know the right answer," the student replied. The Rabbi then exclaimed, "You are the one for my daughter if you feel that way about Torah!"

We should analyze our approach to Torah and misvot and realize they are opportunities rather than burdens. That way we will fulfill them in a better way, and it will further enrich and uplift our lives. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any person" (Bemidbar 12:3)

At The end of the perashah Aharon and Miriam criticize Moshe due to their concern over Moshe's wife, Siporah. Why does the Torah choose to speak of Moshe Rabenu's humility immediately after the criticism? Rashi explains that the trait of humility is to be modest and patient. The Ramban explains that Moshe displayed incredible modesty and patience by not responding to them. He preferred to avoid an argument rather than try to explain his behavior and convince his brother and sister that he had done nothing wrong. One needs the trait of humility in order to overcome one's pride to avoid a conflict. Of course humility doesn't mean fooling oneself into believing that he is a good-for-nothing. Moshe Rabenu surely knew where he stood as he knew that the Torah wrote about him that he was the greatest prophet. As a Jew Moshe was obligated to believe every word written in the Torah. Moshe Rabenu knew Hashem better than anyone; therefore he felt more keenly how minute he was compared to Hashem.

Now, knowing what true humility is, we can consider our own actions to see whether or not we are humble. Ask yourself, "Do I react to honor exactly the same way as I react to shame?" A humble person will treat everyone the same way, for he knows that the true measure of a person is where he stands before Hashem. The way others treat him does not impact who he really is. A truly humble person will not feel special when he is treated respectfully, nor will he feel degraded when put to shame. The Hobot Halebabot says one should always ask himself, "Are you balanced yet?"

Rabbi Yehudah Sadkah, the Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef, once participated in a meeting of Torah educators, where one of the teachers, who was obviously quite upset, insulted Rav Yehudah in front of everyone else. A nephew of Rav Yehudah witnessed this event and became enraged, and was determined at a later time to rebuke the man for what he did. Later Rav Yehudah visited his nephew and asked him, "What do you think of the man who insulted me today?" "I will not rest until that man publicly begs your forgiveness," replied his nephew. "Yes, that is what I thought you would say. You are familiar with the Gemara that says, 'Those that are insulted but not affected...are like the powerfully rising sun' (Shabbat 88b). Why does the Gemara refer to those people in the plural? Rather say 'He who is insulted.' The answer is that there are always others, friends or relatives, who suffer with him. Still, not only must the victim swallow his pride, but also those who were hurt along with him."

May we merit to "become balanced" like our great leaders, Amen.

Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

Never Enough

"Speak unto Aharon and say to him, When you light the lamps..." (Bemidbar 8:2)

Rashi explains the reason for the Torah's juxtaposition of the perashah of the Menorah upon the perashah of the Nesi'im. When Aaron observed the numerous offerings brought by the Nesi'im for the dedication of the altar, he felt dejected that neither he nor any member of his tribe was included in this auspicious occasion. Hashem said to him, "By your life, yours is greater than theirs, for you will kindle and prepare the lamps." The Ramban questions Aharon's discontentment, given the fact that the number of korbanot which he offered during the seven days of milu'im (inauguration) far surpassed those of the Nesi'im.

Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal z"l resolves the Ramban's question in the following manner. By his inherent nature, man can desire something to the extent that no amount of it will satisfy him. He cites the Midrash on the pasuk in Mishlei (5:9) "A lover of money is never satisfied with money." One who has one hundred wants two hundred. This lustful characteristic can and should be channeled toward spiritual pursuits. He states that, in fact, it is precisely for this reason that Hashem has endowed man with such relentless desire. This stubborn trait of persistence should imbue one with the will to strive to excel in misvah performance and to reach greater goals in the service of Hashem without becoming weary of this sublime devotion. Indeed, as the Midrash continues, "One who loves misvot, will never be satisfied with misvot." Aharon exemplified this ideology. No matter how many misvot he was able to perform, it did not suffice to quell the burning desire within him to add to his spiritual responsibilities. He attained the apex of spirituality, anointment as Kohen Gadol, and he was privileged to perform services that no other Jew could perform. He, nonetheless, experienced a feeling of discontent at his exclusion from the dedication of the altar. Aharon is truly representative of one who dedicates his entire being to Torah. (Peninim on the Torah)

Spell Bound

"The man Moshe was exceedingly humble" (Bemidbar 12:3)

Why is the word "anav" spelled without a "h"?

The final words respectively of the five humashim are Yerecho, Sinai, Mas'ehem, Bemisrayim and Yisrael. The last letter of each of these words together add up to one hundred and twenty-six, which is also the numerical value of the word "anav" without a "h".

The Torah is telling us that though Moshe knew the entire Torah until the very last letter, still he was not conceited, and he remained forever "the humblest of all people."

Alternatively, when there was no water and the people quarreled with Moshe, Hashem told him to gather them together and speak to the rock to give its waters. Moshe and Aharon gathered the entire congregation before the rock and said to them, "Listen now, you rebels, from this rock notzi lachem mayim - shall we bring forth water for you?" (20:10). Water from a rock is an exceptional miracle; thus, instead of taking the credit for themselves and saying "notzi - shall we bring forth," they should have said "yotzi - He [Hashem] will bring forth."

Hashem conducts Himself with man middah keneged middah - measure for measure, and punishes in a way that resembles the offense. Since Moshe omitted the "h", which would have alluded to Hashem, in describing his humility, Hashem also omitted the "h". (Vedibarta Bam)

Why do we do that?

Question: Why do we smell besamim during habdalah on Saturday night?

Answer: On Shabbat, each person receives an extra neshamah which leaves him when Shabbat ends. The besamim serve to console him over the fact that this extra neshamah is leaving him. (Sefer Ta'amei Haminhagim Umekorei Hadinim)

Answer to Pop Quiz: The firstborns.

A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

Please preserve the sanctity of this bulletin. It contains words of
Torah and should be treated with respect.
Past issues of this bulletin are available on the Internet courtesy of the
Shema Yisrael Torah Network. To view them or to see many other Torah items, please go to their site.
Other Torah e-mail you may enjoy:
send e-mail to and put in the message:
subscribe aram-soba

Please pass this bulletin along to a friend. You may subscribe to
this bulletin by sending e-mail to
and putting in the message: subscribe jersey-shore.
To unsubscribe, send the message 'unsubscribe jersey-shore' to

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
Jerusalem, Israel