SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS CHUKAS-BOLOK 5766 BS"D
B'SHEVACH LO'KEIL BORI UMOSHI'I AS'CHIL MACHAZOR HATSHI'I
Ch. 19, v. 11: "Hanogei'a b'meis l'chol nefesh odom" - Whoever touches a
corpse of any human - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says, "vaafilu l'valda bar
yarchin," even to a newborn who was months (old). On the words of verse 13, "b'nefesh
ho'odom" he writes, "uv'valda bar tisha yarchin," and in a newborn who was
nine months. Even if his intention is that there was a gestation period of months
(our verse) and nine months (verse 13), it is problematic. Although there is
defilement only after a certain stage of fetal development, and this is his
intention in our verse, there is no requirement for a nine-month full term
gestation period for the corpse of a baby to defile.
Ch. 19, v. 14: "Zose haTorah odom ki yomus b'ohel" - This is the law when a
person will die in a tent - The gemara Shabbos 83b derives from these words
that it is only he who is willing to forfeit his life for Torah who will have the
Torah reside in him. The Oral Torah, the mishnoh and the gemara allude to
this point. The mishnoh begins with the letter Mem, "Mei'eimosai," and ends with
the same letter Mem, "vasholoM." The gemara begins with the letter Tof,
"Tana," and likewise ends with the letter Sof, "halochoS." These letters, which span
the mishnoh and the gemara spell MeiS. (Sefer Hazikoron Va'yaal Eliyohu)
Ch. 20, v. 1: "Va'yeishev ho'om b'Ko'deish" - And the nation settled in
Ko'deish - Ibn Ezra writes that this is the same Ko'deish mentioned in Dvorim 1:46,
"Va'teishvu b'Ko'deish yomim rabim." However, the Ramban disagrees, saying
that the verse in Dvorim refers to Ko'deish Barnei'a, which is in the Poron
desert, while our Ko'deish is in the Tzin desert. Tosfos in his commentary on the
gemara Shabbos 89a d.h. "midbor" posits that the Poron desert and the Tzin
desert are the same.
Ch. 20, v. 5: "Lo m'kome zera" - Not a place of sowing - Tosfos on the gemara
Chulin 88b d.h. "ela" writes that when then bnei Yisroel were in the desert
plants grew. The Rsha"sh asks that if this were so why did they complain that
this was not a place of sowing. It would seem that based on Tosfos's statement
and the ensuing difficulty posed by the Rsha"sh the wording of our verse is
very precise. They did not complain that there was no growth, but rather, that
it was not a PLACE for sowing. At the present vegetation grew as long as there
was an abundance of water from the wellspring of Miriam. Now that it came to a
stop they complained that on a natural level things would now not grow, as
intrinsically, the desert is a LOCATION where plants don't grow. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 20, v. 22: "Hor Hohor" - Mountain upon a mountain - Rashi says that
although the Clouds of Glory leveled everything in their path, three mountains
remained, Sinai, N'vo, and Hor Hohor. This is alluded to in the words, "V'HaSNeH"
einenu ukol" (Shmos 3:2). "HaSNeH" is an acronym for Hor Hohor Sinai Nvo,
which were not consumed by the Clouds of Glory. (Nefesh Brochoh)
Ch. 21, v. 34: "Al tiro oso" - Fear him not - Rashi says that Moshe feared Og
the king of Boshon because he had the merit of Avrohom in his stead (see
Breishis 14:13). Rabbeinu Bachyei entertains the opinion that Og of our parsha is
a descendant of Og who lived in the time of Avrohom. However, he categorically
dismisses this opinion and says that he was one and the same as in the time
On Bmidbar 13:26 he writes that Og was saved from death during the "great
deluge" in the merit of Avrohom. This is most puzzling as Avrohom was not born
until 1948, centuries after the "mabul." What merit can he draw from someone who
was not yet existent? Although there seems to be some level of "Avrohom
merit" predating Avrohom, based on the word "b' hiborom," whose letters after the
prepositional prefix spell Avrohom, indicating that in the future merit of
Avrohom the world was created, this does scant little to alleviate this question,
since Og had no special conduit of Avrohom merit at the time of the "mabul."
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 21, v. 34: "Al tiro oso" - Fear him not - The Holy Zohar in his
commentary on Vayikra 184b writes that this word "oso" and "ad d'rosh ochicho oso"
(Dvorim 22:2) are the only two places in the Torah that we have the word "oso"
spelled with a letter Vov after the letter Alef. Minchas Shai and others say that
our Torah Scrolls have each of these words spelled the same as everywhere
else, lacking this Vov.
Notwithstanding this issue, the Holy Zohar ties these two verses together
thematically. He says that Og was circumcised at the time that Avrohom had his
household servants circumcised (Breishis 17:27). It was this merit that Moshe
feared before Hashem's assurance/command that he not fear him. "Al tiro OSO"
means do not fear his SIGN of circumcision, hence "oso" with the extra letter
Vov. Likewise when a person comes to claim an object that you found, he is
required to give a distinguishing SIGN that it is his, "ad d'rosh ochicho OSO,"
until you interrogate/require your brother to give its SIGN, requiring an extra
letter Vov again. The Chasam Sofer on Vayikra 26:17 offers another connection.
Ch. 22, v. 4: "Atoh y'lach'chu" - Now they will lick up - The Kedushas Levi
explains Bolok's fear based on his interpretation of the words in parshas
Chukas, "Nosan bonov pleitim" (21:29), that thanks to the war that Sichon waged
with Moav and won, specifically the sons of Moav were saved. This means that they
were now able to convert to Judaism and marry a bas Yisroel. This is because
Sichon took over the land of Moav and there was intermingling through
marriage. Sichonites were the majority, and we have a situation a few generations
later where we don't know people's genealogy, so we follow the majority
possibility (see gemara Brochos 25a) and rule leniently. This is only true of Moav's
sons and not daughters, as they are permitted in any case, even when we know that
a particular woman is of pure Moav extract. Bolok feared that the bnei
Yisroel would intermarry with their sons and turn many of the Moavi people into Jews.
In Kerem Shlomo year #10 volume #8 page #47 the contributor questions this,
as Sichon was one of the seven prohibited nations, so how does their mingling
remove the prohibition to marry a bas Yisroel. A second question is raised as
well. Following the majority possibility should not apply here as the doubt is
a case of "kovua" and not "porish." It should be noted that the Chid"o in
Nachal K'dumim says the same as the Kedushas Levi.
Ch. 22, v. 5: "Bilom" - The gemara Sanhedrin 106a in a phonetic
interpretation of this name explains it pejoratively. Ben Y'hoyodo notes that if we spell
out Bilom in "milluy," counting the spelling of the letters themselves,
Beis-Yud-Sof, Lamed-Mem-Dalet, Alef-Yud-Nun, Mem-Mem, we have the same numerical
value as the word "TZoROS," troubles.
Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Breishis 36:32 writes that the king Bela is Bilom
of our parsha. Based on the gemara Sotoh 11a, which says that Bilom was one
of the three advisors of Paroh who dealt with the "Jewish problem," and he was
the one who advised, "HOVOH nis'chakmoh lo" (Shmos 1:10), Rabbeinu Chaim
Paltiel says that this advice offered by Bilom/Bela is alluded to in the following
words of the verse in Breishis, "v'shem iro DinHOVOH." He would later give a
judgment of "HOVOH nis'chakmoh lo."
A most interesting relationship emerges from the gemara Sanhedrin 105a. The
gemara says that B'or, the father of Bilom was none other than Lovon. This
makes Bilom Rivkoh's brother, our great-great-etc. uncle. This is also the opinion
of the Holy Zohar on Breishis 166b.
What emerges from this opinion is that Lovon/Bilom has been after us for
hundreds of years in his attempt to ch"v annihilate us. This might be an insight
into the words "Arami oveid ovi" (Dvorim 26:5) of Hagodoh fame. "Oveid" is in
the present form, even though the person when bringing his "bikurim" offering
is reciting this after Lovon's death. Hundreds of years of pursuing the same
goal of "oveid" might well give rise to using the present tense even later.
Alternatively, "ela shebchol dor vodor OMDIM o'leinu l'chaloseinu," hence the
present tense. We are to be assured that "v'haKodosh Boruch Hu matzi'leinu
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