by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Parashas BamidbarWe start a new book of the Torah this week, Bamidbar. The parashah Bamidbar always comes before Shavuos The reason given is it is not fitting to have the Tochacha (the Curse) in Behaaloscha to be read the Shabbat before Matan Torah. The sedra deals with the tribes in the Wilderness; their number; their camping and traveling arrangements.
These are the offspring of Moses and Aaron in the day that Hashem spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
These are the offspring of Moses and Aaron : Rashi: But it only mentions the sons of Aaron? And yet they are called the "offspring of Moses" ? This is because he taught them Torah. This teaches us that whoever teaches Torah to the son of his friend the Torah considers it as if he gave birth to him.
What is bothering Rashi is clear enough. Rashi himself poses the question: It says "These are offspring of Moses.." but it makes no mention of them as it does of Aaron's sons. Rashi's answer is that Aaron's children were also Moses' children, so to speak, because Moses taught them Torah; they are considered his children - or better said, he is considered their father.
But what would you ask on this comment, on Rashi's answer?
Hint: See Exodus 18:3
A Question: Rashi's question isn't fully answered. Since Moses did have his own children, two sons Gershom and Eliezer why were they not mentioned? Certainly his own children are no less his than the children of Aaron whom he taught Torah.
In other words what is the basis of this drash?
Can you see anything in the wording that supports the drash?
Hint: Compare this verse with the one after it, 3:2.
WHAT IS BOTHERING RASHI?
An Answer: Our verse uses the word "Toldos" which means either progeny or offspring. The next verse says "These are the names of the sons of Aaron..." Our verse does not say "names" it says "Toldos" which implies a broader category. In fact, Rashi himself in the beginning of Parashas Noah where it speaks of the Toldos of Noah, said that "The main 'progeny' of the righteous is their good deeds." So the word "Toldos" can mean something you produce, not only children. Moses when he taught Aaron's children produced Torah knowledgeable people.
But we can still ask another question.
What would you ask?
A DEEPER QUESTION
A Question: Did not Moses teach his own children Torah as well? One would assume he did. So why mention Aaron's children and not Moses' children?
Not and easy question.
A DEEPER ANSWER
An Answer: The Ramban explains that the p'shat thrust of these verses is to tell us that the 4 sons of Aaron were Bona Fide anointed priests. Up until this time we only knew that Aaron was a priest. That is why it says in verse 3:2 " the sons of Aaron the anointed priests." Moses' sons were not priests so they weren't mentioned. They are referred to indirectly in verse 3:27 where it mentions the sons of Kehas one of which was Moses' father Amram.
The Ramban explains the basis for the drash and the p'shat in this verse. He ends his comment on this verse with these words: "For the Torah both explains (p'shat) and gives hints ( drash)." What he means is that the specially chosen words of the Torah carry both p'shat and drash within them. As in our verse the choice of the word "Toldos" clued us in to a drash interpretation while the verse still retains its simple meaning.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Somayach
A second series of What's Bothering Rashi? will come out IY"H during the holidays. Those who want to make a dedication for the volumes can contact me at Drbonchek@gmail.com
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
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