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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 9, v. 7: "Lomoh nigora" - Why should we be restricted - The word "NiGoRA," is an acronym for "ni'h'yeh Goyim R'sho'im A'reilim." Why should we be like these people who may not offer a Paschal lamb? (Oznayim laTorah)

Ch. 9, v. 21: "O yomom volailoh" - Or a day and a night - Rashi on Yechezkeil 12:3 writes in the name of Rabbi Menachem that "yomom" throughout Tanach does not mean a day, but rather, day after day, with a minimum of two days. Rashi says that this translation is "emes." The difficulty with "yomom" in our verse is quite obvious. Perhaps we can say that the intention is that the cloud stayed in place for a day, a night, and the following day. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 10, v. 9: "V'chI sovo'U milchomoH b'artz'cheM" - And when you will come to do war in your land - Yalkut Shimoni #725 derives from this verse that we should pray "malchios, zichronos," and "shofros" on Rosh Hasonoh. Where is Rosh Hashonoh alluded to in this verse? Perhaps it is in the final letters of the first four words of our verse, Yud-Vov-Hei-Mem, whose numerical value is 61, the same as "ha'yom," which the Holy Zohar writes refers to Rosh Hashonoh.

(Nirreh li) Ch. 11, v. 4: "Hisavu taavoh" - They lusted a lust - Numerous commentators explain that the people who wanted to know, "Where's the beef," had a spiritual request. They found that the manna was so spiritual that it affected them in a positive manner. They had a greater natural tendency to gravitate towards the spiritual. They were upset with this new situation. They requested the most physical of foods, meat, so that they would have a natural craving towards physicality, and would hopefully, still follow the Torah's dictates. Their mistake obviously was that when Hashem gave them a more spiritual environment, even if it came easily, without as much effort, they should attempt to function and accomplish as much as they can WITHIN this environment. This explanation of their complaint seems to be found in T'hilim 78:18, "Va'y'nasu Keil bilvovom lishol ochel l'NAFSHOM." They asked for food that they felt would further their "nefesh," their spirituality. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 11, v. 4: "Mi yaachi'leinu bosor" - Who will feed us meat - Tosfos on the gemara Arochin 15b d.h. "hisavu" asks, "Why did they ask for meat? Hashem had promised them meat in Shmos 16:8, 'B'seis Hashem lochem bosor.'" Rashi answers that they had a limited amount of meat earlier and they now asked for more. Rabbi Shimshon answers that the quails stopped coming at the time of "matan Torah."

Why would the quail no longer be available from the time of "matan Torah"? The gemara Chulin 88b says that the requirement of covering the blood of a slaughtered bird with earth negates the possibility of slaughtering a bird when in the desert. One of the requirements of the earth used is that it is capable of providing nutrients that would allow plant life to grow. Desert sand does not have this ability. The law of "kisuy hadam" only began after the giving of the Torah.

If one were to ask, "The Ra"n writes that there is a way around this difficulty. Slaughter the bird and absorb some of its blood in your clothes. Later, wash out the blood with a minimum of water so that the water takes on the colour of blood, and then cover the blood-water mixture with proper sand. If so, why didn't they have quail even after 'matan Torah' and do as the Ra"n advises?" The answer is that the clouds of glory cleaned and pressed their clothing daily, removing all stains. (Y'dei Moshe)

Ch. 11, v. 6: "Ein kole" - There is nothing - Literally these words are translated as "nothing everything." Indeed, they admitted that the manna had every taste, but it also only had the look of manna. Thus it had both characteristics, "nothing," by virtue of its boring daily look, and "everything," by virtue of its taste. (Sheivet Musor)

Ch. 11, v. 7: "V'hu kizra gad" - And it is (round) like coriander seed - A most novel explanation: The manna is like the children of the tribe of Gad. Just as they did not receive a land inheritance in Eretz Yisroel, so too, the manna would no longer sustain them once they would be in Eretz Yisroel. (Yalkut Dovid)

Ch. 11, v. 8: "V'hoyoh taamo k'taam l'shad hasho'men" - And its taste was like the taste of an item mixed with oil - The gemara Yoma 75a says that the manna had the taste of any item one would wish. The exceptions are the five vegetables mentioned in this verse, which are deleterious for a pregnant woman. Could the manna take on the unique taste of a non-kosher item? The Chid"o in Chomas Anoch says that it could.

Ch. 11, v. 10: "Bocheh l'mish'p'chosov ish l'fesach oholo" - Crying over his relatives each man to the opening of his tent - Rashi explains that the people cried over the restrictions against marrying close relatives. "What do the words "l'fesach oholo" add to this? Perhaps they not only cried over the marriage restrictions, but also over the fact that they could not be alone, "yichud," with their close relatives. They could not invite them unattended into their doorways. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 11, v. 10: "Uv'ei'nei Moshe ro" - And in the eyes of Moshe bad - Moshe looked upon himself as a bad leader. He attempted to bring the masses to soar spiritually and all they were concerned with was, "Where's the beef and the veggies?" (Rabbi Shimshon R'foel Hirsch)

Ch. 11, v. 12: "Kaasher yiso ho'omein es ha'yoneik" - As a male caretaker will carry a nursing child - When a child cries and is being attended to by his mother, she can attempt different ploys to quiet him down. If nothing works then she can resort to nursing him. Moshe, while in the desert, where the foods they requested were unavailable, considered himself like a male caretaker of a child, who does not have the option of nursing him. (Abarbanel)

Ch, 11, v. 13: "Ki yivku olai leimore t'noh lonu vosor" - When they cry to me saying give us meat - The word "leimore" seems superfluous. However, this word shows their implicit trust in Moshe's powers. They cried to Moshe to SAY to Hashem, "t'noh lonu vosor," and his request would surely be honoured. Moshe, in his great humility, felt that his request would not be honoured, as his merits were insufficient. This is why he said "Mei'ayin li bosor." (Rabbi Yoseif Zvi Dushinsky)

Ch. 11, v. 16: "Esfoh li shivim ish" - Assemble for me seventy men - How would this alleviate the problem? The bnei Yisroel felt that the only elite were the members of the Levite and Kohein families, and they were destined for mediocrity. If so, why should they limit themselves to eating only holy food? Hashem told Moshe that He would pour a wealth of spiritual sanctity upon members of each tribe. Now the masses would have the impetus to elevate themselves spiritually, and this would be easier to achieve if they only ate manna. (Meshech Chochmoh)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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