by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NOSSO 5761 BS"D
L'ILUY NISHMAS OVI MORI R' CHAIM B"R SIMCHOH Z"L HK"M
Ch. 4, v. 22: "Nosso es rosh bnei Gershon GAM HEIM" - Count the sons of Gershon AS WELL. This refers to the next verse, which says that they should be counted from the age of thirty years. Not only should the bnei K'hos be counted from the age of thirty years (4:3), since "ben shloshim lako'ach" (Pirkei Ovos 5:24), and they had the task of carrying the holy vessels of the Mishkon which were quite heavy, on their shoulders (7:9), but the bnei Gershon should be counted from the age of thirty years AS WELL, even though they had the task of carrying the curtains which were lighter. (Ponim Yofos)
Ch. , v. : "U'v'sheimos tif'k'du" - Whom or what was appointed by name? The Ramban says that specific people by name were given specific amounts of the Mishkon components to carry. However, the Medrosh Hagodol says that names were given to the "kroshim," the beams that formed the walls of the Mishkon, which are mentioned in the previous verse. This means that numbers are to be written upon them so that upon re-assembly each beam would be placed in its same position.
The source for this requirement is in Shmos 26:30. The verse says "vaha'keimosoh es haMishkon k'MISHPOTO." In the gemara Yerushalmi Shabbos 12:3 Rabbi Ami asks, "Is there a "fair law, mishpot," for the structural beams of the Mishkon?" He answers that this teaches us that the beam that merited to be placed in the north side of the building should be placed in its same position when the Mishkon is re-assembled. Thus the beam had a claim, MISHPOT, to its position. Perhaps we can say that the intention of the word MISHPOT is POSITION, as we find in Breishis 40:13, "V'nosato chose Paroh b'yodo kaMISHPOT horishon," - And you shall place the goblet of Paroh into his hand as was your POSITION originally.
Ch. 5, v. 6: "Limol maal baShem" - Why not "umo'al maal" in the past tense, just as we find in Vayikroh 5:21, "u'mo'aloh maal," where it discusses the same situation of one who has stolen and upon being apprehended has sworn that he has not stolen (gemara B.K. 110a). The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that by using the future tense the verse teaches us that when a person steals and knows that he might later be apprehended he has already decided in his mind that he is ready to deny, even with an oath, that he stole. Perhaps it is pointed out here and not earlier in parshas Vayikroh since our verse discusses "viduy," confession. When confessing a sin one must understand the full depth of the sin, in this case that at the time of the theft he had already decided that he was ready to swear falsely.
Ch. 5, v. 7: "V'hisvadu es chatosom" - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 1:1 writes that when a person sins, whether intentionally or unintentionally, when he has decided to repent he should verbally confess to having sinned. This is a positive mitzvoh. He uses our verse as his source for this halacha. Why did the Torah decide to place this ruling in our verse, which discusses theft, as it could just as easily have been pointed out by any sin that the Torah mentions?
The Chidushei HoRI"M answers that Hashem gives us our life force which enables us to carry out our actions. He wants us to use this power only for mitzvos and not for committing sins. If we commit a sin, besides the sin itself, we have also misused, stolen, the power Hashem imbued in us, and hence it is most appropriate to place the mitzvoh of confessing sins in the parsha of theft.
Ch. 5, v. 7: "V'nosan laasher osham lo" - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates this as "l'man d'is'chayiv lei," - to the one he owes. (There is a disagreement in the text of Targum Onkeles, with some texts stating "lidchov lei," meaning "to the one he caused a loss," while others have the text reading "lidchayiv lei," having the same meaning as Targum Yonoson ben Uziel. The difference is that "to the one he owes" does not specifically mean to the one he has personally caused a loss, as the words "lidchov lei" connote, but rather, any person to whom he morally owes, directly or indirectly.) This translation fits in very well with the ruling Rabbi Noson derives from these words (gemara P'sochim 31a), that if A owes B and B owes C, C may go directly to A to claim his debt, even though C never had any dealings with A. (Marpei Loshon)
Perhaps an allusion to the fact that Rabbi Noson would extrapolate this ruling from these words might be: V'NOSAN - Rabbi Noson derives from "laasher osham lo."
How appropriate it is to have this ruling placed by the law of stealing from a convert, where the Torah rules that if upon wanting to return the stolen object the convert who was robbed has already died and there is no heir, the object is given to Hashem, Who in turn said to give it to the Kohanim. Sforno explains that since there is no heir, the ownership of the object reverts to Hashem as per 5:8, "hamushov laShem," as He is the Owner of the deceased owner, and in turn Hashem bequeaths it to the Kohanim. This is the same concept that Rabbi Noson derives when A owes B and B owes C.
Ch. 5, v. 8: "V'im ein lo'ish go'eil l'hoshiv ho'oshom eilov" - Rashi says, "When the thief who swore falsely relents and admits that he has sinned." What is Rashi pointing out that is not apparent in the verse itself? Rabbi Moshe Berdugo in "Rosh Mashbir" explains that we might have thought that the ruling of this verse that the stolen object goes to the Kohein applies to any case where a person steals from a convert who has no heirs, and the thief wants to make amends and return the stolen object, but since the convert is no longer alive it goes to the Kohein. However, this is not so. In such a case the thief may keep it, as is the ruling when a convert who leaves no heirs dies, whoever gets possession of his property first owns it. Rashi tells us that the ruling of giving the object to the Kohein applies only when the thief has sworn falsely when the convert was still alive and upon relenting and wanting to return it, finds that the convert has died and has left no one to inherit him. (Chomas Anoch - Chid"o)
Ch. 5, v. 11: "Va'y'da'beir Hashem el Moshe LEIMORE" - The M.R. chapter #9 says that the word LEIMORE in this lead-in verse to the parsha of "sotoh" - the wayward wife, teaches us that the rulings of this parsha apply "l'doros," to all generations. Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Tiferes Yonoson says that the intention of the M.R. is that this parsha applies to later generations ONLY. In the desert there was no need to go through the "sotoh" water procedure as the gemara Yoma 75a says that the Manna told all. If a woman was unfaithful to her husband, her portion of manna did not fall at the threshold of her home, but rather at her father's home, indicating that she has sinned and should be sent to her father's home. Thus there was only a need for clarification in later generations when the bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel.
Ch. 5, v. 28: "V'im lo nit'm'oh ho'ishoh u't'horoh hee v'niksoh v'niz'roh zora" - These words teach us that if the suspected "sotoh" is found to be not guilty, not only may she remain with her husband, but she will also receive a blessing in the realm of bearing children, as per the gemara Sotoh 26a. The M.R. 9:9, Tanchuma #6, and Yalkut Shimoni at the end of remez #705 relate the following: A man was suspicious of his wife's activities with another man after she had gone into seclusion with him. He warned her not to repeat this, but she took no heed and repeated her improper actions. As required by halacha, he started his trip to Yerusholayim with his wife, to have her tested by drinking the dreaded "bitter sotoh water." It was a lengthy trip, and the woman's sister lived in a community that was on the way to Yerusholayim. They stopped there for overnight lodging. When the two sisters had some privacy, the host sister asked her visiting sister the purpose of the visit, as it was not the season for the holiday pilgrimage to the Holy City. Her sister responded that she was on her way to be tested with the "sotoh" water. The host sister asked if she was indeed guilty, to which she responded in the affirmative.
The host sister suggested a most novel scheme. Since they were extremely similar in appearance, she offered to switch clothes with her errant sister and pretend to be the "sotoh." The guilty sister readily agreed, realizing that she would otherwise be put to the test and have only two options; to admit her guilt and be divorced and sent away in shame with no financial support, or to drink the waters and risk death.
The ruse worked and the imposter was not caught by her sister's husband. She drank the waters, suffering no negative affects, and happily started the trip homeward. They once again stopped at the home of the sister, and when the guilty one stepped out of the house to greet her sister who had saved her life, they embraced and kissed each other on the lips. A bit of the flavour of the "mei sotoh" still lingered in the imposter's throat and entered the mouth of the guilty sister. There was an immediate reaction. The adulteress's body started to swell and she died shortly thereafter, having received the ultimate kiss of death.
The following question is raised: Since the imposter sister was not guilty of adultery does she receive the blessing of this verse, or does it only apply to the woman who actually went into seclusion and received a warning from her husband not to do it again and secluded herself again against her husband's warning? The Pnei Dovid (Chid"o) in the name of Eitz Hachaim page 73 says that even an imposter gets the blessing as it is the automatic result of "mayim k'doshim" (5:17).
Ch. 5, v. 20: "V'AT ki sotis" - The word "v'at" seems totally superfluous, as the Kohein is addressing the "sotoh." What need is there for this pronoun of direct address? The Apirion answers that the gemara Sotoh 47b says that for the "sotoh" water to do its supernatural work requires that only the woman has acted immorally and her husband is free of all sin in this realm. Hence the verse stresses, "v'AT ki sotis," - You, and only you, have turned away from the right path, and because of this you will be punished as per verse 20. If, however, your husband has likewise sinned, the "sotoh" water will not bring about this result, hence "AT" and not your husband too.
Ch. 6, v. 2: "Ki yafli lindor neder nozir l'hazir" - The gemara Sotoh 2a says that we derive from the juxtaposition of the parsha of "sotoh" to the parsha of "nozir" that one who sees a "sotoh" going through the humiliating procedure of clarifying if she has sinned, should distance himself from wine by becoming a "nozir." This is alluded to in our verse as its numerical value is exactly equal to that of "Kol horo'eh sotoh b'kilkuloh yazir atzmo min hayayin." (Birkas Peretz - Hornesteipler Gaon)
The Ibn Ezra quotes the above-mentioned gemara. He then presents his own thought on the juxtaposition of these two parshios. The lesson is regarding a "noziroh," a female who abstains from wine. If she distances herself from wine and lets her hair grow wild and unkempt (verse 5) she won't sin through immorality as the "sotoh" did. Abstaining from wine which intoxicates removes a major provocation, and if she doesn't trim and fashion her hair to make it attractive she will not be in the mood to have physical relations.
Ch. 6, v. 2: "NOZIR" - This word either means "separated," as we find in Vayikroh 22:2, "v'yinozru mikodshei vnei Yisroel," indicating that the "nozir" separates himself from wine, or "a kingly crown," as we find in verse 7, "ki nei'zer Elokov al rosho," indicating that a person who is able to control his lust for intoxicating drink is master over himself and not a slave to his desires. (Ibn Ezra and Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 6, v. 9: "V'chi yomus meis olov b'fesa pisom" - We find in verse 11 that the bird offering that the Nozir is required to bring for become defiled is a sin atonement offering, "v'chi'per olov mei'asher choto al hano'fesh." What sin has the Nozir committed by becoming defiled in this situation of "yomus meis olov b'fesa pisom?" Why is he responsible for something that is beyond his control?
We find at times that an evil person being in the proximity of a righteous person highlights the sins of the evil person. This was expressed by Lote in Breishis 19:19, "pen tidbokani horo'oh vomati," as explained there by Rashi. We find the same by the widow in M'lochim 1:17:18, "boso eilai l'hazkir es avoni u'l'homis es bni." By virtue of a person taking upon himself abstinence as a "nozir' he has greatly sanctified himself, as we find that he is called "kodosh" in verse 5. He is therefore partially to blame for the death of those who come in contact with him, as he highlights their shortcomings. (Toldos Yitzchok)
Ch. 6, v. 24" Y'vorech'cho Hashem v'yishmrecho" - The M.R. 11:12 says that "Y'vorech'cho" refers to financial blessing and "v'yishmrecho" refers to being guarded against destructive forces, "mazikim." The Sfas Emes says that the blessing of wealth is guarded through "v'yishmrecho." We can translate "v'yishmrecho" as - He will make you as dregs - "shmorim." Just as dregs lie at the bottom of the wine, out of sight, so too don't your flaunt wealth and it will be guarded.
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