CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHAS B'MIDBAR 5775 - BS"D
1) Ch. 1, v. 4: "Ish rosh l'veis avosov hu" - A man as the head to the household of his fathers he is - What is added with the word "hu?"
2) Ch. 2, v. 2: "Ish al diglo" - A man to his standard - M.R. on parshas B'shalach takes the words "Va'y'hi b'shalach Paroh," and phonetically explains "Vai-hi" as a cry of WOE. Numerous explanations are offered as to who cried out "woe." One is that it was Paroh. When he eventually ran after the bnei Yisroel and found them assembled in an orderly manner, each tribe around its flag, he cried out "woe" to me that I emancipated what I thought was a lowly people, and now I find them a proud organized people, with tribal groupings. We thus see that the bnei Yisroel already grouped themselves by their tribal ancestry. What is added with our verse?
3) Ch. 3, v. 1: "V'eileh toldos Aharon uMoshe" - And these are the children of Aharon and Moshe - Why is Aharon mentioned here ahead of Moshe?
4) Ch. 3, v. 10: "V'hazor hako'reiv yumos" - And the foreigner who comes close shall be put to death - We find these exact words again in verse 38. Why is this repeated?
5) Ch. 3, v. 51: "Va'yiten Moshe es kesef hapduyim l'Aharon ulvonov al pi Hashem kaasher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe" - And Moshe gave the silver of the redeemed ones to Aharon and to his children as per the word of Hashem just as Hashem commanded Moshe - The seeming redundancy at the end of this verse deserves clarification.
We commonly find that when a person is given a prestigious appointment, lifting him up from a previous mundane position, that he becomes conceited and behaves in a haughty manner, no longer acquainting himself with the same social milieu. Our verse praises the people who were appointed as tribal heads. The gemara Megiloh says that the word "hu" indicates that the person remained the same from beginning until the end, for example, "Hu Achashveirosh," that he was bad from the beginning until the end. Even though the person was appointed as tribal head, HU, he remained the same humble person. (Mayonoh Shel Torah)
Our verse is a command that REQUIRES their being grouped that way.
Why indeed was this command not given immediately upon their exiting Egypt, or at least, just after leaving Yam Suf? MVRHRHG"R Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l explains that family groupings can lead to divisiveness, a poison that can even destroy the unity of the bnei Yisroel's encampment in the desert. However, this is only true before the receiving of the Torah. Once the bnei Yisroel received the Torah, it was a most powerful unifying tool and there was no further fear of tribal groupings being divisive. To the contrary, once there was a central unifying force, displaying unique tribal traits would be to their advantage, indicating to each tribe to excel in its unique manner.
The M.R. answers that when Aharon embarked on the census, which included the family pedigree, some of the bnei Yisroel chided him, saying that before he asks for their family status, he should first examine his own son Eliezer's, as he married a non-bas Yisroel, as stated in Shmos 6, he married a daughter of Putiel, a.k.a. as Yisro. Hashem took note of the shaming of Aharon and when He commanded that the census be taken He mentioned Aharon ahead of Moshe.
Another explanation might simply be that since the verse goes on to only mention Aharon's children and not Moshe's, Aharon is mentioned first. (Nirreh li)
The reason Moshe was not criticized for marrying a daughter of Yisro can be explained with the words of Sefer Chasidim #504. He says that a person should not delay getting married. We can derive this from Moshe. He surely should have taken a bas Yisroel for a wife, but since he was away in Midyon and was getting on in years, he married a woman from those who were available to him.
The gemara Arochin11b answers that our verse only tells us that a foreigner is one who has no involvement at all with the service, i.e. a Yisroel or Levi doing the Kohanic service, is put to death (see Ibn Ezra). The latter verse tells us that even if one could have theoretically had the appointment, but in fact did not, he is also put to death. This is the source for the ruling "M'shoreir sheshi'eir b'shel chaveiro chayov misoh," a Levite who was appointed to sing who did the gate service (opening and closing) is liable to the death penalty, even though they are both Levites and each one could have been appointed to the other's job.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains that if the verse only said, "al pi Hashem," then one might assume that although Moshe complied, he did so with the motivating factor being that his brother and nephews would derive the benefit of receiving these monies. The verse therefore adds that he not only did as Hashem commanded but also that the only impetus was Hashem's command.
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