by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'MIDBAR 5767 BS"DCh. 1, v. 4: "Ish lama'teh ish rosh l'veis avosov" - A man for the tribe a man who is a head to his father's house - Many people who are in positions of power and prominence have an outer veneer of being very public minded and of having great moral standing. However, in their personal lives they are low-down creatures. The Torah requires that the people placed as tribal heads even be respected within their family, which knows the true person in his daily activities. (Al haTorah)
Ch. 1, v. 4: "Ish rosh l'veis avosov hu" - Each man a head to his father's house he is - Oft times when a person is elevated to a high position, he cuts ties with even his family, as he feels that he is now of a different order. The Torah therefore says that even when he becomes a head, that he remain "l'veis avosov." (Mayonoh Shel Torah)
Ch. 1, v. 22: "Livnei Shimon …… p'kudov" - To the sons of Shimon …… his count - This is the only tribe where we find the word "p'kudov."
1) The word form P-K-D also has the meaning of "absent, missing." This alludes to the fact that Shimon's tribe would lose many people. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel, Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid, Rabbeinu Z'charioh)
2) This alludes to this tribe's sinning, as in the verse, "Pokeid avone ovos." (Medrash Hagodol) Rabbeinu Bachyei adds that this is specifically the sin of selling Yoseif, where Shimon was the major player.
3) Moshe asked that an agent bring the count of each tribe to him, hence "ufkudeihem," their count, but the tribe of Shimon, unrequested, brought it themselves directly to Moshe. (Mo'ore Ho'a'feiloh) I don't understand why this would change from plural to singular.
Ch. 1, v. 37: "L'ma'tei Vinyomin chamishoh ushloshim elef v'arba mei'os" - To the tribe of Binyomin thirty-five-thousand and four-hundred - Compare this with the census of the tribe of Don in verse 39, 62,700. This is most unusual, as Binyomin had ten sons, while Don had but one. There is no guarantee that if one is blessed with an abundance of anything, i.e. children, money, wisdom, strength, that later generations will enjoy the same abundance, and vice versa as well. (MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l)
Ch. 1, v. 52: "V'iSH aL diglO l'tzivosoM" - And each man at his flag to their groupings - The final letters of these words spell "sholo'm," peace. When each person stays in his proper place, peace flourishes. (Rabbeinu Yoel)
Ch. 1, v. 53: "V'shomru haLviim es mishmeres mishkan ho'eidus" - And the Levites should guard the guarding of the sanctuary of the testimony - The L'viim were counted for this job from the age of thirty days. How can a thirty-day old baby be a guard? This teaches us that the Mishkon did not require true security guards. Rather, the guarding was spiritual in nature, and was accomplished simply by having a Levite placed at the perimeter of the Mishkon. (Avnei Ozel)
Ch. 2, v. 1: "Ish al diglo v'osos" - Each man at his flag with signs - Rashi offers two explanations for "signs." The Medrash Hagodol says that the signs refer to the sign of the Zodiac. When Hashem said to Avrohom, "Ha'beit noh hashomaymoh," He showed him the globe of the earth encircled by the twelve signs of the Zodiac, each encircling a 90 degree arc. Hashem said that Avrohom's descendants would likewise encircle the Holy Aron in the desert.
Ch. 2, v. 24: "Ushlishim yiso'u" - and they shall travel as the third group - One would think that the order of the four encampments follows the logic that Yehudah, as the representative of kingship, travels first, Reuvein second, as the "b'chor," Efrayim third, as the representative of the second firstborn, that of Rochel, and Don last. However, the Tzror Hamor says that Yoseif (Efrayim) is the next most prestigious, and it is therefore that he is third. The third position is more honourable than the second. This is because we find the third and three being very important in numerous instances, the third month (giving of the Torah), Torah-N'viim-Ksuvim, Avrohom-Yitzchok-Yaakov, and Yoseif himself was tripled (??) in merits.
Ch. 2, v. 31: "Lo'acharonoh" - Last - In our printed Chumoshim the word is "lO'acharonoh," with a "komeitz" under the Lamed. The Chizkuni says it should be read "lAacharonoh," with a "pasach" under the Lamed.
Ch. 3, v. 1: "V'eileh toldos Aharon uMoshe" - And these are the children of Aharon and Moshe - Moshe's children are not mentioned. This is because Moshe's children did not experience the exodus from Egypt, nor the splitting of Yam Suf. (Rabbeinu Z'charioh)
Ch. 3, v. 6: "Hakreiv es ma'tei Levi" - Draw the tribe of Levi close - The M.R. 3:1 says that these words are the fulfillment of the verse, "Tzadik katomor yifroch k'erez baLvonon yisgeh" (T'hilim 92:12). The Holy Baal Shem Tov explains that there are two types of righteous people, one who serves Hashem in totality, keeping all His precepts properly, but not having any direct affect on others. The other type of tzadik is one who not only acts properly, but also makes a concerted effort to bring others to fulfill Hashem's mitzvos. The former tzadik is likened to an "erez" tree, which grows very tall, but produces no fruit. The latter tzadik is like the date tree, a "tomor," which produces fruit. This is the intention of the gemara Brochos 34b, when it says, "In the location where repentants stand, even a totally righteous person does not stand." The righteous person who stands among sinners and brings them to repent is on a higher level than one who does not stand among them to influence them to improve. The "BAAL teshuvoh" is the master over teshuvoh, by influencing others positively.
"Hakreiv es haLviim," by bringing others closer, Moshe is like the "tomor."
Ch. 3, v. 51: "Va'yi'tein Moshe es kesef hapduyim l'Aharon ulvonov al pi Hashem kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe" - And Moshe gave the money of the redeemed to Aharon and his sons as Hashem commanded him - Since the verse already said "al pi Hashem," what need is there to repeat this with "kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe"? The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that although Moshe gave the money to his brother and nephews because Hashem commanded him to do so, one might believe that he had a secondary reason as well, namely to have his relatives be the recipients of this windfall. The verse therefore adds "kaasher ……" to tell us that this was Moshe's only intention.
Ch. 4, v. 20: "V'lo yovo'u liros k'vala es hakodesh vo'meisu" - And they should not come to see when the holy items become covered and they would die - The verse in Yeshayohu 57:1 says, "Ki mipnei horo'oh ne'esaf hatzadik," Because of the bad the righteous one is collected. Our Rabbis explain that a righteous person sometimes dies before his set time to avoid his seeing the generation sinning. This is alluded to in these words. And they, the righteous people, should not see at the time of the holy nation, as per the words of Yirmiyohu, "Kodesh Yisroel laShem," being swallowed up in sin, and they, the righteous people, would die. (Nishmas Chaim)
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