by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'HAALOS'CHO 5762 BS"D
Ch. 8, v. 2: "B'haalos'cho es ha'neiros" - When you cause the lights to burn upwards - The Ibn Ezra explains the juxtaposition of this verse to the last verse of the previous parsha. The last verse of the previous parsha tells us that Moshe heard the word of Hashem in the Ohel Mo'eid. Because the menorah was lit in the Ohel Mo'eid, Moshe received prophecy even at night. The Meshech Chochmoh in parshas T'za'veh explains that the logic behind this might be similar to the rule that the judgement of monetary matters can only begin to be deliberated only by day, as per Choshen Mishpot 5:2, derived from the words, "V'hoyoh b'YOM hanchilo es bonov" (Dvorim 21:16). Yet if the courtroom is illuminated it is permitted to begin the court proceedings at night (Sefer M'iros Einayim ad loc s.k. 37).
With this insight we can understand the words in Shmos 27:20, "V'yikchu EI'LECHO shemen zayis zoch." The word EI'LECHO deserves elucidation. (See the explanation of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh.) The Meshech Chochmoh explains that EI'LECHO, similar to the word L'CHO, often means for your benefit. See the words of Rashi on Breishis 12:1, "Lech L'CHO." Here too, having the oil for the kindling of the menorah is for the benefit of Moshe. Similarly, since the Ohel Mo'eid was illuminated at night it gave the Sanctuary a quasi-daytime status, and Moshe was able to receive prophecy even at night.
The Ramban vehemently disagrees, citing the words of the Mechilta parshas Bo Pis'cha #1, which derives from the words, "Va'y'hi b'YOM di'ber Hashem el Moshe" (Shmos 6:28), that Moshe only received prophecy by day. Although there are midroshim that say that Moshe was capable of receiving prophecy at any time even without preparation, according to the Ramban we must understand this to mean anytime by day, as at night no prophecy was transmitted. The Abarbenel sides with the Ibn Ezra and says that the intention of the Mechilta with the words he received prophecy only by day means that he received prophecy while fully alert, as one is usually alert by day, and not when he was in a trance or asleep, i.e. receiving the communication in a dream, a state one is usually in by night. He adds that the Rabbis' statement that Moshe received prophecy at any time bolsters his opinion.
The Rambam seems to contradict himself. In hilchos yesodei haTorah 7:6 he writes that Moshe had prophecy at any time he wanted, while in his commentary on mishnayis in his preface to Sanhedrin chapter Chei'lek, foundation #7, he writes that other prophets who received prophecy by day would do so only after they fell into a deep sleep, while Moshe would receive prophecy by DAY while fully awake.
Ch. 9, v. 8: "Mah y'tza'veh Hashem LOCHEM" - What Hashem will command TO YOU - Targum Onkeles translates LOCHEM as "regarding you." Rabbeinu Bachyei says that out of Moshe's great humility he did not want to proudly say, "what Hashem will command to ME," so he said "to YOU."
Ch. 9, v. 10: "Ish ish ki y'h'yeh to'mei lo'nefesh" - If any man will become defiled through a human body - Contrast these words with the case where Moshe approached Hashem for an answer to an halachic query that the daughters of Tz'lofchod asked. They wanted to inherit the property of their father who died and left over no sons. Moshe asked Hashem, and Hashem responded, "Kein bnos Tz'lofchod dovros" (Bmidbar 27:7), - the daughters of Tz'lofchod speak properly .. We find that Hashem incorporated the daughters of Tz'lofchod, who raised the question, in His answer. Here however, Hashem's response did not mention the men who came to Moshe and raised their question. Rather, Hashem responded, "Ish ish," - if any man will become defiled, in a generic manner.
The gemara Sukoh 25a says that Rabbi Yosi of the Galil posits that the men who asked this question were the pallbearers of Yoseif's coffin. The halacha is that one who carries a coffin does not contract impurity if he is not carrying the majority of the weight of the corpse. Thus, these people were not sure that they were defiled, as perhaps the weight was distributed in such a manner that one became impure while another did not.
Hashem, on the other hand, knew if any of them carried the majority of the weight and became defiled. Therefore Hashem did not respond by mentioning them directly, because for some, or possibly all of them, if they were three or more people, it did not apply. This is why the response was, "Ish ish," - if any person.
The rule is that when a doubt in the ruling of defilement arises in a public place, "so'feik tumoh birshus horabim," the ruling is towards leniency, and we retain the status of purity. If so, why weren't these men permitted to offer a Pesach sacrifice? The answer is that if each person were to come alone to ask, Moshe could have responded individually, "You are not defiled and we will presume that your colleague is defiled." However, since they came at the same time, Moshe was not able to give this answer. Although in certain rulings of doubt, one may issue rulings that if compared one to the other are contradictory, he may not give contradictory rulings simultaneously. (Ponim Yofos)
I don't fully understand this, since if the pallbearers were three or more people, each one could have been bearing the minority weight of the corpse and all could remain undefiled.
Ch. 9, v. 21: "O YOMOM volayloh" - Or a day and a night - Rashi on Yechezkel 12:3 on the words "U'glei YOMOM l'ei'nei'hem" writes in the name of Menachem that YOMOM differs from Yom in that YOMOM means DAILY. I don't know how he would explain the word YOMOM in our verse.
Ch. 10, v. 35: "[ Vayhi .. Yisroel [" - [And it was .. Yisroel [ - This verse is preceded and followed with inverted letters Nun (gemara Shabbos 115b). The Mei'am Lo'eiz explains that the letter Nun is written twice to allude to "Naa'seh" and "Nishmo" (Shmos 24:7). The reason these letters are reversed is because our Rabbis tell us that after receiving the Torah, the bnei Yisroel left Har Sinai quickly and eagerly, just as a school child leaves class quickly (Tosfos on gemara Shabbos 116a d.h. "Puronus"). Just as they turned their backs on Har Sinai, so too, the letters Nun are reversed, forming a configuration of someone whose back is turned.
Ch. 11, v. 5,6: "Zocharnu .. ves hashumim, Bilti el hamon ei'neinu" - We have remembered .. and the garlics. Only manna do our eyes see - Rashi (Sifri) adds that they complained, "Manna in the morning, manna in the evening." The Tzrore Hamor brings that he read that Rabbeinu Meshulom was the personal physician of an Arab king. One day the king said to him, "Your ancestors were ingrates. Hashem miraculously sent them a most wonderful food, manna, and they were so unappreciative that they even complained, saying that they were lacking gourds, melons, water cress, onions, and garlic, very simple vegetables."
Rabbi Meshulom responded that this seemed to be a very proper criticism, but perhaps by the following day he would have an explanation for their seemingly untoward behaviour. Rabbi Meshulom went to the king's personal chef and told him, "Do not serve the king garlic at the end of his meals any more, as I find that it is deleterious to his health." Since Rabbi Meshulom was the king's personal physician this command did not raise any question of authenticity to the chef and he naturally complied.
After the king's next multi-course meal he was not served garlic, as he was always accustomed. He was quite bothered and called for his chef, taking him to task for not serving him garlic. The chef said that he was simply complying with the command of the king's physician, who told him to not serve the king garlic anymore because of health considerations. The king immediately called for Rabbi Meshulom. He gave Rabbi Meshulom a resounding telling off, stating that without garlic to round off his meal he felt a heaviness from all the food that he ate. Rabbi Meshulom responded, "May the king pay close attention to his own words. For missing garlic as afters at one meal, a meal replete with many choice tasty delicacies, the king is complaining bitterly and taking me to task. As well, the king has a vast variety of finely prepared foods served to him, never being bored with repetitively being served the same limited number of items again and again. Yet without garlic the king feels sorely lacking. What justifiable claim does the king then have against my ancestors who had only manna to eat, day in and day out for 40 years, and complained that they were lacking a few types of vegetables?"
Ch. 11, v. 14: "Lo uchal onochi l'vadi lo'seis es kol ho'om ha'zeh ki cho'veid mi'meni" - I am not able on my own to carry the burden of this nation because it is too much for me to bear - Why all of a sudden at this junction was it too much for Moshe to bear? We don't find Moshe saying this by any other insurrection or mass sinning of the bnei Yisroel. The Chizkuni answers that Rashi (Sifri) on the words in verse 1, "Vativar bom aish Hashem vatochal biK'TZEI hamacha'neh" brings the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Menasia that biK'TZEI means in the KATZINIM, the leaders and great people of the nation. Since the leaders who shared the burden with him had just died, Moshe was at a loss.
Ch. 12, v. 3: "V'ho'ISH Moshe ONOV m'ode" - And the man Moshe was very humble - The Rada"k in Sefer Hashoroshim entry ISH writes in the name of his father, Rabbi Yoseif, that the word "ISHon," the pupil of the eye, is sourced from the word ISH. The addition of the letters Vov-Nun indicate a diminutive of the basic word. An example he gives is that Shabbos is the basic Shabbos, while Shabbosone, with the Vov-Nun addition refers to the small Shabbos, the addition called Tosfos Shabbos. The reason the pupil of the eye is called "ISHon" is because when you look into someone's pupils you will see yourself, an ISH, greatly diminished.
I heard a recorded lecture given by Rabbi Pesach Krohn shlit"a who said that this is a great lesson in humility. When you come in contact with someone else you should view yourself as the small one, as is demonstrated by your size in the pupil of the other person's eyes, while you should view the other person as greater than you.
Perhaps this concept is alluded to in the words of our verse. We find the word ONoV spelled lacking the letter Yud between the Nun and the Vov. This leaves us with Ayin-Nun-Vov. Our verse says that Moshe the ISH was very humble, as he saw in everyone else's eye, Ayin, (AYIN is "eye" in Loshon Hakodesh) Nun-Vov, the addition to ISH, turning it into ISHON, that makes a person diminutive, humble.
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