CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS CHUKAS 5772 - BS"D
1) Ch. 20, v. 8: "V'dibartem el ha'sela" - The gemara Taanis 9a says that the bnei Yisroel received the clouds of glory by virtue of Aharon, the wellspring by virtue of Miriam, and the manna by virtue of Moshe. When Miriam died the wellspring stopped, but was reinstated by virtue of Moshe and Aharon. When Aharon died the clouds of glory dissipated, but were reinstated by virtue of Moshe. Since Moshe had the merit to bring about the clouds of glory, the water, and the manna, why were the earlier two of these three brought about by the merits of his siblings?
2) Ch. 20, v. 10: "Shimu noh hamorim" - The rebellious ones please hear - Rashi says that this word is sourced in the Greek language to mean "fools." Obviously it has the simple meaning of "teachers." Rashi combines both and says that Moshe rebuked them, saying that they were fools who attempt to teach their teachers. If this word has a straightforward meaning in Loshon Hakodesh, why is there a need to also give it another level of meaning in a foreign language?
3) Ch. 20, v. 25: "V'haal" - And bring up - The Baal Haturim notes that this word only appears in the Torah one other time, "v'haal es hatzfardim" (Shmos 8:1). He does not explain the "mesoroh" connection. What explanation do you have?
4) Ch. 20, v. 26: "V'hafsheit es Aharon" - And undress Aharon - This would take place on Hor Hohor, removed from the Mishkon compound. How was he permitted to wear his priestly attire there, as it contains shatnez, which is only permitted when doing a priestly service?
5) Ch. 21, v. 33: "Va'yeitzei Og …… lamilchomoh" - And Og went out …… to the war - When Sichon went out to do battle against the bnei Yisroel, the verse says "Va'yilochem b'Yisroel" (verse 23), he actually engaged in war, while here it only says that Sichon "went out to the war." Why the difference?
The Lubavitcher Rebbi zt"l, whose yahrtzeit is on the third of Tamuz, explains that there are people who take care of the needs of the public in specific fields, i.e. a shochet, a teacher, etc. However, the leader of the people is responsible for all of the needs of the people. This is the sign of a true leader. Thus Moshe had to encompass the merit to reinstate the wellspring and the clouds of glory for the bnei Yisroel. When there is another person whose merit can bring the clouds and the water there is nothing wrong with delegating these matters to others.
This is because their behaviour was not that of a ben Yisroel. We have the utmost of respect for the previous generation. The Greeks felt that the older generation was backwards and the newer the better. The behaviour of the bnei Yisroel, "morim es mo'reihem," teaching their teachers, was the trademark of the Greeks. This is why Rashi included a Greek angle to this word. (Rabbi Yisroel Yehoshua Trank)
Perhaps we can say that based on the Medrash Tanchuma chapter #14 cited by Rashi on Shmos 8:2, which states that only one frog emerged from the Nile and people smote it, causing it to spew forth many, many more frogs, we have an insight. Had the Egyptians not smitten the frog they could have saved themselves much woe. After all, how much damage can one solitary frog inflict? Similarly, upon the death of Aharon there would have been no difficulty experienced by the gentiles. However, Canaan, upon hearing of Aharon's passing fought the bnei Yisroel (21:1). They suffered a humiliating defeat (verse 3). They should have learned a lesson from the Egyptians' smiting the frog. (Nirreh li)
The M.R. asks this. We do fid an exception to this rule, and it is when a Kohein (Godol) processes the "poroh adumoh." Our Rabbis teach that the death of the righteous provides atonement, as does the "poroh adumoh." Aharon, being a devoutly righteous person, was permitted to wear shatnez, as going to his death on Hor Hohor provided the same benefit as processing the "poroh adumoh." (Ha'dei'oh V'hadibur)
This can be explained with the gemara Brochos 54b. Og literally lifted a mountain off the ground and rested it upon his head, readying himself to lower it upon the complete encampment of the bnei Yisroel ch"v. The mountain ended up coming down upon his head and while he was confounded Moshe overcame him with a sword. While Sichon actually waged war. Og only went out to do war. He was stopped dead in his tracks before even one projectile was thrown at the bnei Yisroel. (Divrei Avrohom)
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