by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS MASSEI 5774 BS"DCh. 33, v. 2: "Motzo'eihem l'massseihem …… masseihem l'motzo'eihem" - Their departure to their travels …… their departures to their travels - Medrash says that when there will be the final redemption and the bnei Yisroel will be ingathered to Eretz Yisroel from the far-flung corners of the world they will take the same route as the bnei Yisroel took when they left Egypt. We can thus understand these words of our verse to mean that when they departed Egypt to their travels, the Torah details this place by place, so that we will have a route to travel when we depart our residences to enter Eretz Yisroel. (Abarbanel)
Ch. 33, v. 15,16: "Va'yachanu b'midbar Sinoi, Va'yisu mimidbar Sinoi" - And they encamped in the desert Sinai, And they traveled from the desert Sinai - Although the verses are telling us their travels, stops and goes, there are places where the verse tells us that something took place there (see verse 14). If so, why does the verse leave out the pinnacle of all happenings in all their travels, the receiving of the Torah in the desert Sinai? The Torah is teaching us the lesson that we do not travel to the Torah and then leave it. We are to be constantly connected.
Ch. 33, v. 22: "Va'yachanu biK'heilosoh" - And they encamped in K'heilosoh - The Baal Haturim says that this name alludes to Korach's congregating people to stand up against Moshe, as per the verse in Bmidbar 16:19, "Va'yakheil a'leihem Korach es kol ho'eidoh." On the words in verse 25, "va'yachanu b'Makheilos" he says that this alludes to the incident where the verse says "va'yikohalu al Moshe v'al Aharon." Shaarei Aharon asks that this cannot be, as these words are in Bmidbar 20:2 where we find the incident of "mei m'rivoh." This only took place after they entered midbar Tzin, much later. He adds that we cannot be referring to the other verse discussing Korach, 16:3, because this is already alluded to in the word "biKheilosoh."
Perhaps we can answer the Baal Haturim's intention is 16:3, and there were 2 assemblies, one in verse 3, where Korach assembled only the leaders, "nsi'ei eidoh," and Makheilos alludes to the assembly of all the common folk whom he persuaded, "es kol ho'eidoh" (verse 19). (n.l.)
Ch. 33, v. 38: "Bachodesh hachamishi b'echod lachodesh" - The Trumas Ha'deshen asks why the Torah doesn't give us the exact date of Aharon's death earlier in parshas Chukas, where his death is also mentioned (20:28). He answers that since in our parsha right after Aharon's death the incident of Canaan wanting to wage war with the bnei Yisroel (gemara R.H. 3a) is mentioned (verse 40), it is appropriate to mention the date of Aharon's death, which is in the month of Ov, thus indicating the concept mentioned in the gemara Taanis 29b, that in the month of Ov the fortune of Yisroel is negative.
It is interesting to note that the Ralba"g says that the "fifth month" mentioned in our verse refers not to Ov, but rather to Shvat, since he interprets the "fifth month" to be the fifth starting with Tishrei. However, the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel clearly states in parshas Chukas 20:28 that Aharon died on the first day of the month of Ov.
Ch. 33, v. 52: "V'horashtem es kol yoshvei ho'oretz mipneichem" - And you shall chase away all the residents of the land from in front of your faces - When you come into the land and see the dress code, the behaviour, the manners of acting, you should chase them all away from you and not learn from them. (Dvorim Nechmodim)
Ch. 34, v. 4: "MeiHor Hohor t'so'u" - From Hor Hohor you shall delineate - Rashi says that Hor Hohor was in the north-west of Eretz Yisroel. We know that Aharon died on Hor Hohor, which was outside Eretz Yisroel, and to the south-east, diagonally in the exact opposite direction. Tosfos answers this by saying there were two places named Hor Hohor.
Ch. 35, v. 28: "Yoshuv horotzei'ach el eretz achuzoso" - The murderer may go back to the land of his heritage - The gemara Makos 13 says that although he may go back to his tribal portion, he may not go back to his ministerial position, if he had one. This is only true for an accidental murderer, but one who sinned, even a grievous sin, once he has properly repented he may go back to his previous prestigious position, and even to a higher position. (Ritv"o)
Ch. 35, v. 32: "V'lo sikchu chofeir lonus el ir mikloto loshuv lo'she'ves bo'oretz" - And you shall not take exoneration money for he who has run to his city of refuge to return to live in the land - During the time of the second Beis Hamikdosh many Kohanim G'dolim achieved their position through bribes. They died during their first year of service as a result of not being fitting for the service and having done the service of Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies. Our verse can thus be alluding to not accepting a bribe to instate a Kohein Godol for the purpose of his dying shortly thereafter, as just explained, and thus hastening the exit of the accidental murderer from the city of refuge. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 36, v. 11: "Vati'h'yenoh …… l'noshim" - And they became …… wives - The Ponim Yofos writes that they married on one day. This seems contrary to Sh.O. E.H. 62:1, which says that two sisters should not get married on the same day. This is sourced from Sefer Chasidim. Perhaps this is only so when they marry in the same city or if they are married off by their father. (Dvash V'cholov)
Yirmiyohu - Ch. 2, v. 6: "B'eretz lo ovar boh ish v'lo yoshav odom shom" - In a land that no man has passed and no person has resided there - This seems out of order. If no one has even passed through this land, surely no one has resided there. (see gemara Sotoh 47a) The Radak answers that the verse changes from ISH to ODOM. ODOM refers to primary man. Wherever Odom Horishon had decreed that it be inhabited, it eventually became inhabited. "V'lo yoshav Odom shom" means that Odom decided that no one will live there. (Our verse is saying that the land is so desolate that no one has passed through until now and it will never be inhabited, even in the future. Read "lo yoshav" as "lo yeisheiv.")
Ch. 2, v. 11: "V'ami heimir kvodo b'l*O* yo'il" - And My nation has exchanged its Honour for a useless object" - "B'l*O*" is spelled in a most unusual manner, "mollei Vov."
We find "LO," meaning NO, in 3 forms, the common Lamed-Alef, Lamed-Vov-Alef, as in our verse, and again Lamed-Alef, but with a Lamed-Vov "kri," as in Vayikra 11,21, and 25:30.
It seems logical to say that when we have the standard Lamed-Alef the intention of the word is totally NO. When it is a "ksiv" and a "kri" we have both intentions, as is the case with "bo'tei o'rei chomoh," the city presently has NO wall, but once there was TO IT a wall. When we have Lamed-Vov-Alef, a combination of Lamed-Alef and Lamed-Vov, the stress is in the main NO, with a secondary underlying TO IT.
The verse in Dvorim 18:14 says "Ki hagoyim ho'ei'leh asher atoh yoreish osom el m'on'nim v'el kosmim yishmo'u v'atoh lo chein nosan l'cho Hashem Elokecho." The nations that you will vanquish hearken to occult practices, while for you Hashem has not given this." Rashi says that Hashem has rested His Holy Spirit upon prophets and the "Urim" and "Tumim." As explained by MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l, this means that Hashem has invested some supernatural powers in occult practices, and they truly function, even though gentiles should not turn to them. For us there is the power of the prophet and the "Urim" and "Tumim." For us these occult pursuits are useless.
We can thus say that this is the intention of "b'l*O* yo'il." LO spelled Lamed-Vov-Alef means primarily NO, but secondary Lamed-Vov, means that for us the perceived powers that the nation has pursued and exchanged for Hashem is totally useless, "Lamed-Alef yo'il," but is still spelled with a Vov to indicate that for the idol worshippers it functions, "Lamed-Vov yo'il." (Nirreh li)
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