by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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IN HONOUR OF THE FIFTH BIRTHDAY OF CHAIM BORUCH GOLDWASSER AMU"SH
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BMIDBAR 5773 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 3: "Atoh v'Aharon" - You and Aharon - Based on the opinion that this census was also done with the use of coins it is very well understood why Aharon was needed. When funds are collected from the public two appointees must do it. (Tiferes Y'honoson)
Ch. 1, v. 4: "V'itchem yi'h'yeh ish ish lama'teh" - And with you there shall be a man representing each tribe - We do not find this by the count of parshas Ki Siso. It is only over here, where the census impacts on the division of the land, "Lorav tarbeh nachaloso v'limat tamit nachaloso" that tribal heads accompanied Moshe and Aharon as they took the census. This obviates any possible future complaints that there was a miscount and a tribe was shortchanged. (Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikelsburg)
Ch. 1, v. 5: "V'eileh shmos ho'anoshim asher yaamdu itchem" - And these are the names of the men who will stand with you - The need to specify by name the tribal leaders is that we should not mistakenly believe that tribal leaders are always needed in the census count. This is not so, as we see in parshas Pinchos (also Ki Siso). It is only because these tribal leaders brought their own personal offerings for the inauguration of the Mishkon that they were elevated and able to go along with Moshe and Aharon. It is not that any tribal leader takes part in the census. (Tiferes Y'honoson) Compare this to the previous offering.
Ch. 1, v. 18: "Va'yisyaldu" - And they were born - This means that they submitted their birthdays. This bit of information was necessary as there was a minimum age to be included in the census. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 1, v. 19: "Kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe va'yif'k'deim" - As Hashem commanded Moshe and he counted them - There seems to be no information in this verse that is not already related earlier. The verse is stressing that Moshe not only did as Hashem told him, but also that he took the census with no other reasons in mind. It is normal for a head of a country to have a census taken so he can know how many people to expect in his army, how much food is needed to feed the country, etc. Moshe counted for none of these reasons, only because Hashem told him to do so. Hashem's war can be won whether His army has many or few soldiers as per Shmuel 1:14:6. (Dorash Moshe)
Ch. 1, v. 42: "Bnei Naftoli" - The sons of Naftoli - Why by this tribe do we not have the prefix Lamed that we have by every previous tribe? Since Naftoli was the last one counted the tribe lacked a certain stature that all the others had, namely, that they ere counted ahead of the following tribe(s). the letter Lamed is the tallest of the letters and alludes to stature, height. (Agra D'kaloh)
Ch. 1, v. 45: "Va'yi'h'yu kol pikudei vnei Yisroel" - And all of the countings of the bnei Yisroel were - Our verse mentions bnei Yisroel but does not offer their total. The next verse offers their total but does not state that it is of the bnei Yisroel. We know that an "ayin hora" comes upon things that are counted. This is why our verse says no total. The Torah must give us a total, so in the following verse it does so but at least leaves out that it is the total of the bnei Yisroel, all this to avoid an "ayin hora." (Sifsei Kohein)
Ch. 1, v. 50: "Hafkeid es haLviim" - Appoint the Lviim- We find the word in one other place, "Hafkeid olov rosho" (T'hilim 109:6). The connection is based on the gemara near the end of Sukoh, which says that whoever is greater has a greater evil inclination. Once the Lviim are given a position of greatness, "Hafkeid olov rosho," the evil inclination is "olov," also elevated. (Ksav Sofer)
Ch. 2, v. 20: "V'olov mateh Menasheh" - And upon him was the tribe of Menasheh - Rashi comments that "olov" means next to him, not literally upon him. Why did Rashi wait until here to say this? In earlier verses we also have "v'olov." Earlier we might take "v'olov" literally, meaning that the next tribe mentioned was above the afore-mentioned tribe spiritually. However, here we cannot say this since Menasheh was subordinate to Efrayim, as the pennant for this group of three tribes carried Efrayim's name. (Rabbi Shmuel Alter)
Ch. 3, v. 3: "Eileh shmos bnei Aharon" - These are the names of the sons of Aharon - The previous verse tells us that the sons of Moshe are also to be enumerated and yet, we only have the sons of Aharon. As Rashi comments, our Rabbis say that this teaches us that he who teaches his friend's son Torah it is as if he was the father. The words of chaza"l are "Maa'leh olov hakosuv." Rebbe Reb Heshel explains that these words are to be taken literally in the following sense. The mishnoh in the second chapter of B.M. syas that one should save the lost article belonging to his Torah teacher ahead of saving his own father's item. This is "maa'leh olov," that the teacher is ABOVE being the father.
Ch. 3, v. 3: "Eileh shmos bnei Aharon" - These are the names of the sons of Aharon - The previous verse tells us that the sons of Moshe are also to be enumerated and yet, we only have the sons of Aharon. Our Rabbis say that this teaches us that he who teaches his friend's son Torah it is as if he was the father. Why is this pointed out by Nodov and Avihu? After all, Moshe taught the whole nation Torah? In truth, teaching Torah to anyone is a great merit. What is gained by having it considered as if it was taught to one's own child? The advantage is that "Bro m'za'keh abo," a son's good deeds bring merit to the father. Moshe being the greatest person of the nation did not need a merit from the students. However, as Rashi point out in parshas Shmini, Moshe told Aharon that Nodov and Avihu were greater than either of them. By teaching them Moshe gained "bro m'za'keh abo." (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 3, v. 47: "V'lokachto chameishes chameishes shkolim" - And you shall take five shkolim from each - There were 273 firstborn beyond the 22,000 Lviim who were a redemption for the first 22,000 firstborn. The extra firstborn were to each redeem himself with five shkolim. A lottery was made to decied who were the non-redeemed by Lviim firstborn. There is a disagreement between Rabbi Yehudoh and Rabbi Nechemioh how this was done. According to Rabbi Nechemioh the system was such that a miracle made it work out. According to Rabbi Yehudoh 22,273 lots were made with 22,000 of them having ben Levi and 273 with 5 shkolim written on them. Moshe told all the firstborn, "Come and take your lots according to the lottery." What is added on by his saying "According to your lottery?" As Rabbi Nechemioh said to Rabbi Yehudoh, the firstborn who would have complained with his system, saying that whoever was earlier in taking a lot had a better chance of taking one that said ben Levi, since at the beginning there were so many of them. Moshe therefore first made a lottery with only numbers from 1 through 22,273 on them and each person took one and this created the order in which they would draw the actual ben Levi or 5 shkolim lottery. (Lvush)
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