subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


Ch. 1, v. 10: "V'hinchem ha'yom k'chochvei hashomayim lorove" - And behold you are today like the stars of the heaven many - Rashi asks that "hayom," at the present time they were not as many as the stars of the heavens, as they were only 600,000 people. Rashi answers that they are compared to the stars in their permanence. The GR"A in A'deres Eliyohu says that they are not compared to the stars in number, but only in that they are many, like the star regarding "rove."

Ch. 2, v. 17: "Va'y'da'beir Hashem ei'lai leimore" - Rashi d.h. "Va'y'hi/Va'y'da'beir" writes that it is only after the people mentioned in verse 16 died that Hashem communicated with Moshe with a caring expression, "va'y'da'beir." >From the time of sending the spies until their death the bnei Yisroel were reproved, and in turn the expression of communication with Moshe was also one of reproach, "va'yomer."

The Mizrochi asks that Rashi himself says the exact opposite on Bmidbar 12:1 in d.h. "Vat'da'beir." He says that "dibur" is a harsh expression, as in "di'ber ho'ish adonei ho'oretz itonu koshos" (Breishis 42:30), while "amiroh" is a soft expression, as in "va'yomar al noh achai to'rei'u" (Breishis 19:7). The Mizrochi leaves this question unanswered, "v'tzorich iyun." The Sifsei Chachomim in the name of the Mahari"tz differentiates between "el Moshe" and "ei'lai." This seems to be a farfetched way of explaining Rashi, as Rashi clearly differentiates between "amiroh" and "dibur," and makes no mention of the use of the word "ei'lai." L'vush Ho'oroh and Tzeidoh La'derech differentiate between Hashem speaking face to face, connoting kindness, albeit with the expression "dibur," and Hashem speaking indirectly, through a medium, connoting harshness, albeit with the expression of "amiroh." The examples Rashi gave are of people talking, Miriam (Bmidbar 12:1) and Lote (Breishis 19:7).

The B'eir Baso'deh brings in the name of the Holy Zohar (3:132b) that "dibur" connotes speaking in a raised loud voice, while "amiroh" connotes speaking in a soft voice. The Holy Zohar asks, "If so, why does Hashem usually speak to Moshe with the expression 'dibur'." He answers that another prophet would quake, tremble, and fall down in a trance out of fear when hearing even an "amiroh" communication from Hashem, while for Moshe, the father of all prophets, even a strong communication brings no such reaction. Says the B'eir Baso'deh, "This is the intention of the verse 'Va'y'da'beir Hashem ei'lai LEIMORE.'" When Hashem speaks with a DIBUR expression, "ei'lai," to me, it is as if it were LEIMORE, a soft expression." He concludes that the question raised by the Mizrochi is thus resolved. The words of Rashi on Bmidbar 12:1 only apply to a person speaking or Hashem communicating with another prophet. However, when communicating with Moshe, "dibur" is considered soft, while "amiroh" is considered harsh. Although he does not elaborate on why "amiroh" is harsh, perhaps it is because when Moshe, who is capable of receiving a communiqu? in a sharp manner, receives it in a soft manner, it is a limitation of the clarity of the message, hence this is the harshness itself. It is somewhat like running a 220 volt appliance on a 110 volt current. If the appliance is made to be run on 220, the 110 charge is negative.

Perhaps we can now interpret every "Va'y'da'beir Hashem el Moshe leimore" as "And Hashem spoke to Moshe in the DIBUR manner," which is harsh, but because it was to Moshe it is LEIMORE, soft.

Ch. 2, v. 25: "Tachas kol hashomoyim" - Under all the heavens - How does every last person on earth fear? Not everyone was aware of all that transpired. Rashi answers that we derive from these words that the sun did not set at its regular time. Rather the day was extended so that Moshe complete his battle. This was noticed by all. Rashi and Rabbeinu Bachyei say that this took place by the war against Og. This is most puzzling as we are discussing the war against Sichon. The Maharsha"l in Y'rios Shlomo writes that we have a mistake in out text of Rashi and it should say Sichon, just as we find Rashi say Sichon in his commentary on the gemara Avodoh Zoroh 25a. The gemara there asks from a verse in Yehoshua 10, which states that the extention of the day by Yehoshua's battle in Givon had no equal before and will have no equal in the future. The gemara answers that although this had similarly taken place by Moshe, by Yehoshua the day was extended for an even longer period of time. Alternatively, by Moshe it was not accompanied with hail.

Note that Targum Yonoson ben Uziel who relates the miracle says that the sun and moon "ufaskin min l'meimar shiroso," they stopped saying praises. This is well understood when taking note of the expression used by Yehoshua to enact the miracle. He said "shemesh b'Givon dome," sun in Givon be mute. The movement of the celestial bodies is fueled by their singing praises of Hashem. Their stopping, in effect, means that they stop singing praises of Hashem.

Ch. 3, v. 11: "HaloH hee" - Is it not - "Halo" is always spelled with an Alef at the end, as it is a combination of the word "lo," no, and the prefix questioning Hei with a chatof-pasach vowel. Here it is spelled with a Hei in place of the Alef to create a word whose numerical value is 40. This alludes to the fact that in the future a king who will reign for 40 years will again reclaim these lands, King Dovid. As well the letter Hei is used to allude to King Dovid who is five generations down from his ancestor Salmone (Boaz, Oveid , Yishai, Dovid).

Alternatively, it alludes to Moshe who captured it from Og. Moshe was 10 cubits tall, jumped 10 cubits, and held a sword that was also 10 cubits tall. The total height of all this is 30 cubits and Moshe struck Og in his ankle, which was 30 cubits above the ground (see gemara Brochos 54b). Moshe was Hei-Hei cubits tall and he struck Og at Lamed height, therefore HaLoH. (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 3, v. 12: "LoReuveini v'laGadi" - To the Reuveinites and to the Gadites - Compare this with the next verse, "lachazi SHEIVET haMenasheh." Why isn't the word "sheivet" used in our verse by Reuvein or by Gad? Secondly, why do we find the suffix letter Yud by both Reuvein and Gad and not by Menasheh? Perhaps both these questions can be put to rest with the following insight: Only SHEIVET Menasheh and no one else from his family took land in this area, while Yoir, from Yehudoh, (see gemara B.B. and Ibn Ezra on verse 14) took an extended area to G'shur and Maachoh. Since Reuvein and Gad were not the exclusive tribes who took this land the word "sheivet" is not used. In the same vein, ReuveinI and GadI connote not just purely from their tribe but also anyone who was of their leaning, i.e. a person who was willing to forsake his tribe and live totally among Reuveinites or Gadites. This was not the case in the land tract of Menasheh. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 3, v. 18: "Vo'atzav es'chem " - And I commanded you - Rashi says that the command was to the bnei Reuvein and the bnei Gad. Sifsei Chachomim explains that the command cannot be to all the bnei Yisroel, even though they were addressed until now, because how can all go ahead of all.

This is very obvious. We also know all that has transpired in parshas Matos, so it is OBVIOUSLY it means only the tribes of Reuvein and Gad. Rashi would have no need to point this out.

Although in disagreement with the Sifsei Chachomim, possibly Rashi's intention is to point out that only the bnei Reuvein and bnei Gad and not the tribe of Menasheh was commanded to join with the other forces. This makes a lot of sense according to the opinions of the Lekach Tov and Chizkuni that the people of Menasheh had no interest in settling on the Trans-Jordanian side, but were punished to have stay outside Eretz Yisroel, or the Haa'meik Dovor that they were asked to be 'mashgichim" over the 2 tribes. If so, against their will they didn't receive a portion in Eretz Yisroel and in turn they are exempt from fighting alongside their brethren in their battles to claim their heritage in Eretz Yisroel. Rashi says that these 2 tribes must go ahead in battle to the exclusion of the tribe of Menasheh. (Nirreh li)



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

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel