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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 4, v. 22: "Bnei Gershon GAM HEIM ...... mi'ben shloshim shonoh" - Why the extra words GAM HEIM? The Ponis Yofos answers that one might think that only the bnei K'hos should be counted from the age of thirty years (Bmidbar 4:3) since they were not given wagons for their portage of the Oron Hakodesh. They therefore needed to be men of strength and the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 5:24 says that from the age of thirty a person comes into his full strength. Rashi on Bmidbar 4:2 says that the above mishnoh derives this from the youngest age for the census of the bnei K'hos. We might therefore think that the members of the Gershon family who had wagons to transport the structural components of the Mishkon and were not required to do the actual carrying, should be counted from the age of twenty as are the rest of the bnei Yisroel. Our verse tells us that THEY TOO should be counted from the age of thirty, as are the bnei K'hos.

Ch. 5, v. 15: "V'heivi ho'ish es ishto el haKohein" - The Moshav Z'keinim says that "the Chosid," (perhaps Rabbeinu Simchoh Baal Machazor Vitri or Rabbi Eliezer of Garmeiza Baal Rokei'ach) asks a simple question on the parsha of "Sotoh," - the wayward wife. If we are in doubt if she was faithful to her husband, why don't we simply approach this as we do to all doubts. The woman has a status of kashrus unless proven otherwise. If there are witnesses to her sinning, then she is guilty and is punished accordingly. If there are no witnesses then she should be considered innocent. Why does the Torah create a new status of doubt, carrying in its wake restrictions on their marital relations, and entailing a complicated ritual that includes erasing of Hashem's Holy Name and the bringing of sacrifices?

He answers that if the Torah would not give us this new ruling, which carries with it the risk of the woman dying as a result of the Sotoh ritual, almost no man would fulfill the mitzvoh of "aliyoh l'regel," - the pilgrimage thrice a year to Yerusholayim. Although all men above the age of thirteen years are required to make the pilgrimage, no doubt some men would stay behind, as there are some exemptions that are perfectly legitimate. Although women should also make the pilgrimage, it is obvious that many women can't do so, as they are burdened by bringing up toddlers, and the trip is simply impossible. The husband will fear that while he is away his wife might stray.

Because of this fear, many men would not leave their homes for "aliyoh l'regel." Now that there is the fear of being brought to the Beis Hamikdosh for the shameful public display of the "sotoh" process coupled with the possibility that if found guilty, the wayward wife would suffer a celestially orchestrated gruesome death in public, weighing over the wife's head, the husband will be confident that even in his absence his wife will walk the straight and narrow. If he fears that an infidelity has taken place he can use the "sotoh" procedure option.

Ch. 5, v. 15: "V'heivi es korbonoh ...... kemach s'orim" - The flour offering of the Sotoh is unique in that it is the only flour offering brought by a private person that is of the "s'orim" grain. All others are wheat. There is another "s'orim" offering, "minchas ho'omer." However that is paid for by public funding and as well is a public offering, "korban tzibur." ("S'orim" is commonly translated as barley. However Rabbi Dovid Luria, the Bichover Rov, has a compelling proof that "s'orim" is oats, not barley.) The restriction against eating grain of the new crop, "chodosh," is lifted when the Omer offering is brought on the second day of Pesach and the restriction on bringing grain of the new crop as a flour offering to the Beis Hamikdosh is lifted when the two breads, "shtei ha'lechem," are offered on Shovuos (Mishnoh M'nochos 10:6). If one were to bring his wife to the Beis Hamikdosh for the "sotoh" ritual between Pesach and Shovuos would the "sotoh" flour offering of "s'orim" allowed to be "chodosh" since "s'orim" of "chodosh" was already brought in the form of "minchas ho'omer," or does even this "minchoh" fall under the purview of the restriction of "chodosh" until after "shtei ha'lechem" are brought? Answer next week.

Ch. 5, v. 28: "V'niksoh v'nizroh zora" - When Chanoh found herself barren after being married for a number of years to Elkonoh, she prayed to Hashem to be blessed with a child. The gemara Brochos 31b relates that in Chanoh's prayers she told Hashem that if He would grant her a child, fine. If not, she threatened to go into seclusion with a man other than her husband. Her husband would warn her not to go into seclusion with that man and she would do it anyhow. This would force her husband to bring her to the Mikdosh for the "sotoh" ritual. She would go through with it and would be found innocent.

Then the fulfillment of our verse "v'niksoh v'nizroh zora - if found innocent she will have children" - would have to take place. She thus felt that she could force Hashem's hand, so to speak, into granting her a child.

The Beis haLevi points out that there was one snag in Chanoh's strategy. If Hashem would grant her a child through the power of her prayers alone, all would be fine. However, if she would go through the motions of becoming a "sotoh" etc., she would cause the erasure of Hashem's name (5:23). In Shmuel 1:1:10 the verse expresses Chanoh's praying as "Vatispa'lel Chanoh AL Hashem." The Rda"k translates AL as EL, "TO Hashem." However, says the Beis haLevi, since going through the "sotoh" procedure would entail the erasure of Hashem's name, we can interpret the word AL as REGARDING, a more literal way of translating AL. Chanoh prayed to Hashem, beseeching Him to grant her a child. She said to Hashem that if necessary she would go through the "sotoh" process, which includes erasing Hashem's name. She therefore prayed "AL Hashem," regarding (the erasure of) Hashem's Holy Name, beseeching Hashem to grant her a child without having to erase His Holy Name.

Ch. 6, v. 23: "OMORE lohem" - The word OMORE, meaning "SAY," should have been vowelized "EMORE," as we find in Vayikroh 21:1, "EMORE el haKohanim." The Nachalas Yaakov of Liso answers that we find in Vayikroh 9:22 "Va'yiso Aharon es yodov el ho'om va'y'voracheim." Rashi says that Aharon blessed the bnei Yisroel with the priestly benediction, "Y'vo'rech'cho, Yo'eir, Yiso," the three verses of Birkas Kohanim of our parsha (6:24,25,26). The Nachalas Yaakov says that we see from this that Aharon with his power of divine inspiration knew the text of the priestly benediction before it was given in our parsha. As mentioned above, the command form "SAY" is "EMORE." The word for "it was already said" is "OMUR." Our verse wants to integrate into one word the command "SAY" and to state that the text of the Birkas Kohanim was already said, "OMUR," by Aharon through his power of divine inspiration. The compromise form for "EMORE" and "OMUR" is "OMORE."

However, the opinion of the Ramban on Vayikroh 9:22 is that according to Rashi the parsha of the text of the priestly benediction was given before the parsha of Shmini.

Ch. 7, v. 3: "Sheish eglos TZOV" - We have numerous translations for the word TZOV.

1) COVERED wagons. This is explained as the same source word "m'tzupoh," Tzadi- Beis - Tzadi-Pei, as the Beis and Pei are interchangeable (Rashi Vayikroh 19:16) since their sound is produced by the same part of the mouth.

Rabbi S.R. Hirsch explains that they were covered out of respect for their contents. Although the Mishkon's vessels were covered by "bigdei srod," the beams of the Mishkon and other Mishkon components were not, thus the need for covered wagons. (Rashi as per M.R. according to the opinion of Rebbi)

2) HANDSOME appearance, as in Shmuel 2:1:19, "haTZVI Yisroel." (variant text in Rashi)

3) Calves that are specially suited to pull wagons. Perhaps the word source is "tzovo," - army. People who are active in army duty are usually very strong. (Ibn Ezra, Rda"k, and Rabbeinu Bachyei)

4) FULL and BULGING, as in Bmidbar 5:21, "bitneich TZOVOH." Some say that the source is "tzov," a rodent that has a bulging round cover, perhaps a turtle. (Ramban and Ibn Ezra)

5) PAIRED calves. The source is the Aramaic "tzavso," meaning a pair. (Targum Yerushalmi and M.R.)

6) COLOURFULLY PAINTED. The source word is "tzeva," paint. (M.R. according to the opinion of Rabbi Yishmo'eil)

7) WHOSE CONTENTS ARE ORDERLY. This is a second opinion into the words of Rabbi Yishmoel who says both "tz'vu'os" and "m'tukosos." (Haksav V'hakaboloh) Perhaps the source word is similar to "nitzov," - standing erect and orderly.

8) Wagons to which the animals are TIED. The source word is the same as "tzvosim" - tied bundles of grain (Rus 2:16). (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

9) ARMY wagons. The structure of these wagons was similar to that which people who are in the army use to carry their supplies with them. (Rabbi Yitzchok ben Rabbi Shimshon Katz, son-in-law of the Mahara"l of Prague)

10) DURABLE wagons. In spite of the great weight that they carried they were durable. The source word is similar to "mutzov" or "nitzov." ((Rabbi Chaim Paltiel and Paa'nei'ach Rozo)

11) SLOW MOVING. Because of their great size and the tremendous weight of their cargo, they could only proceed slowly. This is the nature of the rodent called "tzov," perhaps a turtle, which moves slowly. This fits very well with Yeshayohu 66:20, "U'vaTZAVIM u'vaprodim u'vakirkoros." The "tzavim" were large heavy slow moving wagons, while the wagons called "kirkoros" where light-weight, small, and fast moving, from the source word "m'charkeir" (Shmuel 2:6:14), describing King Dovid's dancing in a quick and light-footed manner. (Ramban and Rivosh)

Ch. 7, v. 88: "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach ACHA'REI himoshach oso" - Four verses earlier we find the words "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach B'YOM himoshach oso." The Holy Admor of Kotzk says that to have enthusiasm at the time of the inauguration of the Mishkon comes easily, as is human nature when encountering anything of interest for the first time. The true test of being connected to something is after the glamour of the newness fades. One should feel the CHANUKAH, the dedication, "ACHA'REI himoshach oso," afterwards, with the same enthusiasm as "B'YOM himoshach oso."

Perhaps a new interpretation of a nomenclature given to the last day of Chanukah, "ZOSE CHANUKAH," can be understood in a new light. On a simple level the name "ZOSE CHANUKAH" is given to the eighth day of Chanukah because the Torah reading of that day includes "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach B'YOM himoshach oso" (7:84). Since this is the last day of Chanukah, it is human nature that the excitement of Chanukah has dissipated. Yet we find the message of Chanukah is "maalin bakodesh," - we elevate ourselves in sanctity, demonstrated by following the opinion of Beis Hillel, that we increase the number of Chanukah lights each night. Perhaps the reason the last day of Chanukah is called "ZOSE CHANUKAH," is not in reference to "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach B'YOM himoshach oso" (7:84), but rather to our verse, "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach ACHA'REI himoshach oso," teaching us that we must take the values taught by Chanukah with us for later, and to retain them with great enthusiasm.



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