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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 30, v. 6: "Kol n'do'rehoh ve'eso'rehoh" - All her vows and her prohibitions - The words "kol n'do'rehoh" appear by the father's approving and by his annulling his daughter's vows. By the husband this term is only found by his abstaining/approving. The N'tzi"v in Haameik Dovor explains that a husband is empowered to nullify only vows that either affect his personal relationship with his wife or a matter that causes her emotional pain. Therefore, we cannot express his ability to negate to "KOL n'do'rehoh." However, a father can negate anything. Even though the same limitation applies as with the husband, there is a special ruling that if one's child comes in front of a court to seek possible "hatoroh," the court may tell the child that the parent is being taunted by people about his child's laxity with vows, and had the child known of this likely outcome he would not have taken on the vow. Thus a father can say that he is pained by any vow the child makes, hence "KOL n'do'rehoh" even by annulment. See the Haameik Dovor for further explanation. I don't fully grasp this insight, as this is "hatoroh," not "haforoh."

Ch. 30, v. 6: "VaShem yislach loh" - And Hashem will forgive her -Rashi explains that this refers to a woman who vowed and her husband heard of it and nullified her vow. She was unaware of this and transgressed her vow. Rashi's words are most puzzling, as our verse is discussing a father and daughter. Some texts have these words of Rashi on verse 13, where it discusses a man and his wife.

Ch. 30, v. 15: "Heikim osom ki hecherish" - He has established them because he remained silent - Once he is aware of her vow and remains silent until nightfall he is considered as having given his tacit approval. This concept is not limited to verbal matters. The Ibn Ezra on the words, "Lo tignovu" (Vayikra 19:11) explains the plural form. "He who sees a theft and remains silent is also considered a thief."

Ch. 31, v. 4: "L'chol matos Yisroel" - For all the tribes of Yisroel - Rashi comments that these words teach us that even the tribe of Levi sent soldiers. The question is obvious: If so, why does the next verse say that 12,000 were sent when it was 13,000? Answers were offered in an earlier edition of Sedrah Selections. A few more explanations:

1) The tribe of Shimon sent no soldiers. Since this was a war against Midyon because of their causing the bnei Yisroel to sin with their daughters, if the tribe of Shimon was represented it would cast a serious spiritual stain on the war effort, as their tribal head fell prey to sinning. (Imrei Shefer)

2) The tribe of Efrayim sent no soldiers. This is because everyone knew that upon completion of this war Moshe's life would come to an end. As well ,everyone knew that the next leader would be Yehoshua, who was from the tribe of Efrayim. To avoid casting aspersions upon their tribe, that they were eager to participate for their own personal interests, they did not participate. How appropriate it was to replace them with the tribe of Levi, which usually would not participate in combat. They had a vested interest in not having the war take place so that their leader Moshe, who was of their tribe, would remain alive and in his position. Nevertheless, they fully participated. (Biurei Mahara"i)

3) Alternatively, Efrayim did participate and had the intention of bringing Yehoshua into the position of leadership as early as possible. We still only have 12,000, meaning 12,000 who were inducted against their will, "va'yimosru" of the next verse. Efrayim's tribe went eagerly. (Biurei Mahara"i)

4) Although there were 13,000 people sent, only 12,000 were sent as "chalutzei tzovo." The tribe of Levi was sent to guard the Holy Ark, to pray, and simply to have the merit of this holy tribe present at the battlefield. (Mahara"l of Prague in Gur Aryeh)

Ch. 31, v. 6: "Uchlei hakodesh" - And vessels of sanctity - The gemara Sotoh 43a explains that this refers to the Holy Ark and the "luchos." This is a plurality either because the Holy Ark is made up of two parts, the container and the lid, as well as the "luchos." This explanation is only in consonance with the opinion that there were two "aronos," a wooden one that Moshe made and a gold one that Betzaleil made (see Rashi to Bmidbar 10:33). The "luchos" resided in the wooden one until Betzaleil crafted the golden one. At that time the broken "luchos" were transferred from the golden one to the wooden one, and it was only the wooden ark with its contents that were taken to war. Indeed, when the golden one was taken to war when fighting the Plishtim, it was captured.

The gemara Yerushalmi cites an opinion that there never were two "aronos." There was only one of gold, and it was never supposed to be taken to war. According to the Yerushalmi the "klei hakodesh" were Kohanim's vestments as per the Tosefta Sotoh 7:9. Rashi says that this refers to the Holy Ark and the "tzitz," which would be needed in warfare to cause those who would take flight into the air, to fall down.

Ch. 31, v. 6: "Vachatzotzros" - And trumpets - The gemara Sotoh 43a explains that this refers to "shofros." In Bmidbar 10:1-9 we find mention of two silver TRUMPETS in relation to war. The Maharsh"o wonders how the gemara says "shofros," which are not the same as trumpets. The Ramban in his commentary to gemara Taanis 17a in his second explanation offers that the trumpets were only used while still within the borders of Eretz Yisroel, while "shofros" would be used outside Eretz Yisroel, and the preparation for and the actual war against Midyon took place outside Eretz Yisroel. Therefore our gemara took the liberty to explain "chatzotzros" as "shofros." The Avnei Nezer in his responsa O.Ch. #425 raises a difficulty on this answer. The Sifri says that we sound "chatzotzros" whether the war will be waged outside or inside Eretz Yisroel. The R'shash offers a novel explanation of this gemara, a total turn-around of the straight-forward way of understanding our gemara. The gemara is forewarning the following misunderstanding: The gemara Shabbos 36a lists a number of paired words, where each one had a specific meaning in Tanach, different from its partner, which with the passage of time, colloquially was switched. As used in Tanach, one pair is "chatzotzros" and "shofros," with the former meaning trumpets and the latter animal horns that are hollowed out. With the passage of time people used the words with the switched intention. Our gemara is therefore clarifying that the word "chatzotzros," which now in daily jargon means hollowed out animal horns, really means "shofros," trumpets.

Ch. 31, v. 10: "V'eis kol o'reihem b'moshvosom" - And all their cities in their residences - A few explanations of these words:

1) The prefix letter Beis in "B'moshvosom" means WITH their homes. The cities and the residential buildings were laid waste. This is to the exclusion of storage and commercial buildings, i.e. silos, wine cellars, etc. (Rabbeinu Saadioh Gaon, Ibn Ezra)

2) Occupied cities and not long abandoned cities (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

3) Cities and their occupants (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

4) Only cities within the land of Midyon, but not Midionite communities in other lands (Haameik Dovor)



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

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