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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'HAALOS'CHO 5770 BS"D

Ch. 8, v. 1: "B'haalos'cho es ha'neiros" - When you elevate the lights - The medrash says that there are seven lights on the menorah and we circumcise a child on the eighth day. These two points are the intention of the verse in Koheles, "Tein cheilek l'shivoh v'gam lishmonoh." Another medrash says that a non-believer asked Rabbi Akiva whether Hashem's creations or man's creations are worthier. When he heard the answer that Hashem's are greater he responded with this question: "If so, why didn't Hashem create the bnei Yisroel pre-circumcised? Rabbi Akiva answered that Hashem, by creating males uncircumcised, gave us the opportunity to do this great mitzvoh.

We know understand the intention of the previous medrash. The west light, "ner maarovi," miraculously remained lit continuously on a daily basis. The person who was to light the menorah daily extinguished it and then lit it again as part of the daily lighting of the menorah. Why did he extinguish it to just light it again? The answer is so that he should have the mitzvoh of kindling all seven lights. This is the connection to circumcising. Hashem could have created the bnei Yisroel already circumcised, but did not do so to allow for them to do this mitzvoh. (Divrei Yoseif)

Ch. 8, v. 16: "Ki n'sunim n'sunim heimoh li mitoch bnei Yisroel" - Because they are given given to Me from the midst of the bnei Yisroel - The L'viim are given to Hashem to do their rituals. However, their involvement in these activities (and their not receiving substantial land apportionments) leaves them bereft of income. The bnei Yisroel are commanded to give the L'viim "maa'seir" tithes to sustain them. Thus they are given to Hashem for their ritual responsibilities, and are given by the bnei Yisroel through their support and sustaining them. This is the double "n'sunim." (Sforno)

Ch. 10, v. 2: "A'sei l'cho shtei chatzotzros kesef" - Make for yourself two silver trumpets - The gemara Menochos 28a says that all the vessels Moshe created were suitable for him to use and also for people in later generations. However, the trumpets Moshe made were only to be used by him, and not others. This is derived from the word "l'cho" of our verse. Rabbi Yechezkel Abramski says that this is an allusion to the concept that although other vessels used for various mitzvos were appropriate for all generations, meaning that mitzvos apply at all times and are not to be tampered with, but when it comes to the mediums used to ignite interest in the masses, i.e. the trumpet blowing to gather the people, what Moshe did is not specifically what should be done in later generations. The leaders of future generations must decide what is an appropriate medium to stir up people's interest.

This insight seems to stress the word "l'cho" in the phrase "v'hoyoh L'CHO l'mikro," rather than the earlier "a'sei L'CHO."

Ch. 11, v. 4: "V'hosafsuf asher b'kirbo hisavu taavoh va'yeishvu va'yivku gam bnei Yisroel va'yomru mi yaachi'leinu vosor" - And the assembled ones who are within them lusted a lusting and the bnei Yisroel also cried and said who will feed us meat - One interpretation of the "asafsuf" is that they were the heads of the Sanhedrin. This is most puzzling. Why they, of all the people, would have a drive to eat meat, when they had manna, the best food available?

In a previous edition the insight of the Eshed Hancholim, Malbim, and others was cited. They explain that these people had manna as their only food. It was very spiritual, and in turn it affected them in a spiritual manner, making it easier to serve Hashem, since "you are what you eat." They felt that if they could eat meat and still pursue spirituality, they would grow even greater.

Now, a variation on this concept is offered. They wanted to develop a lust to eat meat, but still not eat it. This would be akin to the insight of the Mahara"m Shiff on Pirkei Ovos, which says that one should eat only bread with salt and drink measured water. The mishnoh goes on to say, "Im atoh o'seh kein ashrecho," if you do so you are fortunate. The words "im atoh o'seh kein" are enigmatic. The mishnoh just told us to eat with great austerity. What is added with "im atoh o'seh kein?" He explains that one who does not have the means to eat more than a dry piece of bread with salt and drink a limited amount of water because of his dire financial circumstances is not the one who is "ashrecho " He is forced by his circumstances. It is only the one who is "im atoh o'seh kein," you are able to eat and drink richer foods and drinks, but restrain your self and behave austerely, then "ashrecho v'tov loch."

This was the intention of the heads of the Sanhedrin. However, they made a big mistake. Even though they might have had a lofty intention, but the rank and file people only witnessed the complaints of not having meat and did not understand the inner intention. They outright asked, "Where's the BEEF?!" The heads of the Sanhedrin were responsible for this and were punished. (Torah Lodaas)

Ch. 11, v. 6: "Nafsheinu y'veishoh" - Our soul is dry - This is a most unusual way of expressing that their daily fare was boring. Something like "maacho'leinu yoveish" would seem to be more accurate. On the words in Vayikra 23:27, "V'ini'sem es nafshoseichem" the Holy Zohar asks why fasting is considered paining one's SOUL. He answers that when one is allowed to eat he recites numerous blessings over the food. By being prohibited to eat or drink on Yom Kippur everyone has to forgo making numerous blessings, and in turn this is considered paining one's SOUL. (This deserves clarification as blessings over food, save grace after meals is Rabbinic according to most authorities. - see Pnei Yehoshua on perek Keitzad M'vorchin)

Before eating manna only one blessing was recited. (There is also an opinion that no blessing was recited, not before and not after.) This is the "NAFSHEINU y'veishoh." (Rabbi Dov Berish Weidenfeld, Tshebiner Rov)

Ch. 12, v. 3: "V'ho'ish Moshe onov m'ode mikol ho'odom asher al pnei ho'adomoh" - And the man Moshe was very humble more than any man on the face of the earth - Very often people throw disparagement upon others simply to aggravate them and hope to be entertained by their reaction, all the more so when it is aggressive. The story is told of a Rov who walked from his home to his shul and after a while some young unruly non-bnei Yisroel began deriding him and hurling insults at him. He told them to stop, to no avail. When this continued on a daily basis he took an even stronger stand and even voiced empty threats if they wouldn't stop. They even increased their insults both quantitive and qualitive. He was at his wits' end and didn't know what to do. He spilled out his heart to a visiting Rov who told him what to do. His advice: "From now on when they begin deriding you offer them a few pennies for each insult they throw your way. They will surely increase their insults at the beginning, but you can be sure it will taper off shortly and then come to a total stop." It worked, just as the other Rov predicted. He asked the Rov why it worked and received this answer: "You are a complete stranger to them as they have had no previous dealings with you. They must have hurled insults at you because you are Jewish, a good target, and they were bored and wanted to elicit an angered response from you. Once you showed them that it did not bother you in the least and especially when you even offered a reward for receiving insults the quickly tired of their game."

The Imrei Emes says that this insight into human nature is alluded to in T'hilim 38:13,14, "V'dorshei ro'osi dibru havos umirmos kol ha'yom yehgu, Vaani k'cheresh lo eshma uch'i'leim lo yiftach piv." When I behave as a deaf person, I do not hear, then my derider reacts, "uch'i'leim lo yiftach piv."

Ch. 12, v. 7: "B'chol beisi NE'EMON hu" - This phrase has been explained in many manner in the 5759edition. One explanation is that Moshe not only received prophecy from Hashem, but also was able to ask his own questions to Hashem. (Rabbi Chaim haLevi Brisker) I believe that this might be included in the last words of the Ibn Ezra mentioned above in #1, "V'y'da'beir mah she'yitz'to'reich."

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's soul had a component of Moshe's soul, as is mentioned in numerous sforim. This explains many things, for example, why even those who when counting the Omer say LO'omer, and still call the 33rd day Lag BO'Omer. Lag BO'Omer has the same numerical value as Moshe.

Rabbi Chaim haLevi Brisker's explanation of our verse coupled with the neshomoh connection gives us an understanding of a statement in the gemara Sanhedrin 98b. It says that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said that if there are only as few as two people in the world who have a clear vision in their communicating with Hashem, "aspaklaria ham'iroh," then they are he and his son Rabbi Elozor. The gemara says that this statement seems to contradict a maxim that there are always at least 36 righteous people who have "aspaklaria ham'iroh" vision. The gemara answers that the uniqueness of Rabbi Shimon and his son lies in their being able to "enter without permission." This seemingly enigmatic statement is well understood in light of the explanation of "b'chol beisi ne'emon hu." Rabbi Shimon had the capacity of Moshe in that he may "enter and initiate a conversation," which is not the case with the 36 righteous people of the generation. (n.l.)

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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a


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