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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 30, v. 12: "V'nosnu" - And they shall give - This word is a palindrome. The gemara Shabbos 151b relates that Rabbi Chiya told his wife that when she sees a needy person she should offer him alms so that when her descendants will be needy they will also be offered help. She asked him if he was cursing her and he responded that this is simply the reality, the rolling wheel, where the top becomes the bottom, as per the verse, "ki biglal hadovor ha'zeh," a "galgal," a rolling wheel. This word is the same forwards and backwards to show that it goes both ways, and also has the cantillation "kadma v'azla," meaning go forward (give) and it will come (you will receive). (GR"A)

Ch. 30, v. 13: "Machatzis hashekel" - Half a shekel - why a half? The gemara Yerushamli Shkolim 2:3 says that since half a shekel equals 10 "geiroh," a person should realize that by serving a false god he has sinned to a level that is equal to transgressing all Ten Commandments.

Tzror Hamor says that there is a message that it is insufficient to just donate charity, even a large sum, to effect forgiveness. One must be contrite and regret having sinned similar to an incomplete unit of coinage.

Ch. 30, v. 34: "Kach l'cho samim" - Take for yourself spices - The gemara Krisus 6b derives from this verse that there are eleven components in the incense. All release a pleasant fragrance when burned save "chel'b'noh." The smell it emits is malodourous. Rabbi Chana bar Bizni quoting Rabbi Shimon Chasida says that we may derive from the inclusion of "chel'b'noh" in the incenses that when there is a fast day we should include even non-religious people in our prayer group.

The Maharsh"a comments that since there are eleven spices in the "k'torres," we have ten pleasant fragrance spices besides the "chel'b'noh." Similarly, it is only when we have at least ten Torah-true bnei Yisroel in the prayer quorum that we accept an eleventh who is not up to par. An allusion to this is that we find Avrohom begging Hashem to save S'dom in the merit of ten righteous people (Breishis 18:32), but he did not ask for the saving of S'dom in the merit of nine righteous people.

It is interesting to note that in chesed L'Avrohom Ein Hakorei nohor #46 he says that if the concept of having an "avaryon" included with a quorum of ten is that he too is considered righteous, a sort of "bitul," nullification, and if so, when there are two "avaryonim" twenty righteous people are needed.

In today's world of so many people unfortunately not having the opportunity of exposure to Torah true education, they are not to be considered "avaryonim." (n.l.)

Ch. 30, v. 36: "V'shochakto mi'menu hodeik" - And you shall grind it fine - The gemara Krisus 6b says that when a person grinds the spices he should say "Heiteiv hodeik hodeik heiteiv." This supports the statement of Rabbi Yochonon that when the wines for libation are pouring out of the barrel, quiet must prevail, as talk is detrimental for the wine. When the spices are ground speech is beneficial.

Some explain that talk is beneficial because the warmth of speaking is good for the spices and they can be ground better. Others explain that talk is beneficial for the grinders, as when one does a tedious boring job he often slacks off, but when accompanied by a chant or a tune he does the job better. We find this in halacha, as the Shiltei Giborim writes that a labourer is allowed to sing a tune at work and we do not consider this slacking off. When a person works with alacrity he will grind the spices better. We might thus say that "Shehakole yofeh labsomim" should really be read "labAsomim," the incense makers. However, this thought is to be discarded. (It seems that this is because Rabbi Yochonon mentioned both wine pouring and spice grinding in one statement and by the wine it is surely the negative affect on the wine and not the pourers. Similarly by the incense his statement is about the spices and not the grinders, albeit that there is a positive outcome for the spices.) (Eitz Chaim)

Ch. 31, v. 14: "Ushmartem es haShabbos" - And you shall safeguard the Shabbos - The previous verse already said this. As well, why there does it mention Shabbos after the safeguarding and here before the safeguarding? Besides the previous verse telling us the basic requirement to keep the laws of Shabbos, our verse mentions safeguarding before. This is the study of its halochos. There is no way one can observe the laws of Shabbos without first doing a lot of studying. (n.l.)

Ch. 31, v. 17: "Uvayom hashvii shovas va'yinofash" - And on the seventh day He ceased and rested - On Shabbos every en Yisroel receives a "neshomoh y'seiroh," a second spiritual soul. When Shabbos leaves the "neshomoh" leaves us. This is alluded to in the word "va'yinofash," which is akin to "vy ovad nofesh," woe, a soul is gone. The final letters of these words of our verse spell "shtayim," that there are two souls. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid)

Ch. 32, v. 27: "Ivru v'shuvu mishaar l'shaar" - Pass by and return from gate to gate - This was done to bring atonement for those who were witness to the grievous sin and did not protest against the actual sinners. By passing by all the gates it gave an opportunity to protest against those who killed the sinners, and yet they didn't. This brings them atonement. Just as their sin was through complacency, so too, they were complacent about the severe punishment, indicating that they agreed that the sin was terrible. (Sforno)

Perhaps the Sforno's intention is that in the word "v'shuvu" lies an allusion to this act bringing "teshuvoh" for those who were complacent.

We see a parallel to this insight in his commentary at the beginning of parshas Pinchos on the words, "B'kano es kinosi b'sochom" (Bmidbar 25:11).

Ch. 33, v. 7: "V'hoyoh kol m'va'keish Hashem yeitzei" - And it would be that each seeker of Hashem would leave - This is the source for foing into exile to learn Torah. (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 33, v. 10: "V'kom kol ho'om v'hishtachavu" - And the whole nation would arise and bow - It was not for the vision of the cloud pillar that they rose and bowed, but rather, for the Holy Spirit that was clothed within it. This is akin to bowing in front of a Torah Scroll. We do not bow in honour of its beautiful coverings and accoutrements. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 33, v. 11: "Umshorso Yehoshua bin Nun naar lo yomish mitoch ho'ohel" - And his servant Yehoshua son of Nun would not leave the tent - There was a young ben Torah who always ran to help people who needed help. When he matured he went into business although he excelled in Torah study.

The Chazon Ish explained that the gemara R.H. 31b says that Rabbi Yochonon ben Zakai learned for 40 years then taught for 40 years. It is obvious that he had numerous opportunities to teach others during the first 40 years. We see that one must maximize his learning for a long time and then he can help others. The Chofetz Chaim learned for many, many years, and it was only in the last years of his life he turned over the world spiritually. (P'eir Hador)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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