CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHIOS CHUKAS-BOLOK 5769 - BS"D
1) Ch. 20, v. 1: "Vatomos shom Miriam" - With the passing of Miriam the wellspring stopped flowing and did not begin flowing until Moshe activated it, as per the gemara Taanis 9a. The medrash says that because Miriam sang at the splitting of the "Yam Suf" the wellspring flowed in her merit. Since all of the bnei Yisroel sang as well in which way did she have a unique merit?
2) Ch. 20, v. 5: "Lo m'kome zera u's'einoh v'gefen v'rimone umayim ayin lishtose" - Three questions can be asked on this incident, starting with the bnei Yisroel's first encamping in Ko'deish.
A) Why does the verse says "VA'YEISHEV" ho'om b'Ko'deish" (20:1), rather than the more common "va'yichan" or "va'yachanu."
B) Why did they suddenly complain here about the inhospitable conditions?
C) Why did they wait until after the death of Miriam and after the incident of "mei m'rivoh" (verses 7 through 13) to send a message of intent to the king of Edom (verse 14), and not do so immediately upon coming there, as they did with Sichon the king of Emori (verse 22)?
3) Ch. 20, v. 29: "VA'YIRU kol ho'eidoh ki gova Aharon" - Since the Torah clearly relates that Moshe and Elozor accompanied Aharon up mount Hore Hohor and that Aharon died there, how could the complete congregation SEE that Aharon died (see Rashi)?
4) Ch. 22, v. 5: "P'soroh al hanohor" - What is accomplished by pointing out that Bilom resided near a river?
5) Ch. 22, v. 12: "Lo so'ore es ho'om ki voruch hu" - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma #5) says that Hashem's message was the same as the folk saying, "One tells a honey bee, 'Give me not your honey nor your sting.'" What in depth explanation parallel is there in comparison to the bee?
It seems that the intention of the medrash is that she sang accompanied by musical instruments, indicating a higher level of trust in Hashem than the men had, as mentioned in the medrash as well.
The Malbim asks these questions and answers that they were now at the edge of the land of Edom, one of the three lands, Keini, Knizi, and Kadmoni, whose lands they were promised as their inheritance, along with the lands of the seven nations occupying Eretz Yisroel. Entering with Moshe would have ushered in the Messianic period and their conquest and inheritance would have immediately included the three Trans-Jordanian lands as well. They therefore did not camp there, but rather "VA'YEISHEV," they settled there, thinking that they had come to the eastern border of their permanent inheritance. Upon seeing that it was arrid and uninhabitable, they complained, saying that the promised land was not fit for agriculture, and had no water either. They did not send a message to the king of the land requesting permission to traverse the country because they planned to conquer and inhabit it. However, this hinged upon Moshe's meriting to enter Eretz Yisroel along with the rest of the bnei Yisroel. After the death of Miriam which led to the lack of water and eventually to Moshe's "sinning" by the incident of "mei m'rivoh," they were informed that Moshe would not enter the promised land, and they realized that they would only conquer the lands of the seven nations in Eretz Yisroel. Only after this, when they knew that they would not conquer the three Trans-Jordanian lands they instead planned to only traverse the land on their way to Eretz Yisroel. Only then did they find it necessary to ask for permission.
Rabbi Yoseif Sho'ul Natanson answers that immediately upon Aharon's death the clouds of glory dissipated. Thus everyone had a visual indication that he died.
Tiferes Y'honoson answers that we seldom find that prophecy is given to someone outside of Eretz Yisroel. Yechezkel's receiving prophecy while in chutz lo'oretz, in the land of Kasdim, is explained by his being "al n'har Kvor," by the river K'vor (Yechezkel 1:3). Since a body of water is a place of purity, even outside Eretz Yisroel it is possible to receive prophecy there.
Possibly, another explanation for Lovon's ability to receive prophecy can be offered. According to the medrash that Bilom was Lovon, since Lovon received a prophecy from Hashem to not harm Yaakov (Breishis 31:24), once one receives a prophecy he can later receive a prophecy even outside Eretz Yisroel, as per the gemara Mo'eid Koton 25a, which derives this from the word "K'vor," indicating that prophecy had already come to him earlier, "k'var." (Of course, this explanation does not answer our question.)
What remains to be explained is how Lovon received his earlier prophecy, as he was not in Eretz Yisroel when he received it. Perhaps since Lovon intended to harm Yaakov and Yaakov's life was in danger, Hashem spoke to Lovon, warning him to do Yaakov no harm.
This is explained most beautifully by the Admor of Vishov. Although one may not eat a bee as it is a non-kosher insect, nevertheless its honey may be consumed, in spite of the Torah law that an extract of a non-kosher object is also not kosher, "yotzei min hato'mei tomei" (Y.D. 81:1). The reason one may eat honey is because it is not considered an extract of the bee itself, but rather just the nectar of flora that the bee carries in its body and deposits in a honey comb (Y.D. 81:8). However, the venom of its sting is produced by its body. Thus Bilom is told, "Bnei Yisroel do not need your blessing, your honey, as the blessing doesn't emanate from you, but rather, is the word of Hashem transmitted through you. The bnei Yisroel surely don't want your curse, your sting, which is produced by your body."
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