CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS KORACH 5766 - BS"D
1) Ch. 16, v. 1: "Va'yikach Korach" - What did Korach take?
2) ) Ch. 16, v. 2: "Va'anoshim mibnei Yisroel chamishim u'mosoyim" - Who were these 250 men?
3) Ch. 16, v. 7: "Rav lochem bnei Levi" - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma #5) raises the question, "Since Korach was very intelligent, why did he pursue such absurdity, 'shtoos?'" Why is the term "shtoos" used for Korach's attempted revolution?
4) Ch. 16, v. 34: "Nossu l'kolom" - Which voice?
5) Ch. 18, v. 9: "Zeh y'h'yeh l'cho" - From this point onward the Torah enumerates many of the 24 benefits that Kohanim receive. What are they?
Answer to questions on parshas Shlach:
1) Ch. 13, v. 2: "V'yosuru" - We find this episode is recounted in Dvorim 1:21 through 2:1. However, we find different expressions for spying there. In verse 22 it says "v'yach'p'ru" and in verse 24 it says "va'y'raglu." What are the differences among these three words, which all basically mean to spy?
The Haksav V'hakaboloh and the Malbim explain that the bnei Yisroel requested to send scouts prior to their entry en masse since the inhabitants of the land surely heard of the intended plans of the bnei Yisroel to enter and conquest the land, and they would bury their treasures in the hope of later retrieving them. Hence the word "v'yach'p'ru" is used, indicating spying to find out where treasures are BURIED. The form "losur" is used when spying with an eye towards finding the good. (A proof for this seems to be Dvorim 1:33, "losur lochem mokome lachanos'chem." "L'ra'geil" is used when the spying is done with the intention of finding the negative (see Rashi on Vayikra 19:16). They were sent so that "v'yosuru" and they said that they would go "v'yach'p'ru," but they did "va'y'raglu," and were therefore punished.
2) Ch. 13, v. 4: "V'ei'leh shmosom" - What governs the sequence of the tribes mentioned in this and the following verses?
1) The Ramban says that they are in order of the stature of each representative of his tribe. He adds that this is also the guideline for the order of counting in Bmidbar 34:17 onwards.
2) The Sforno disagrees and says that they were all of equal stature. The deciding factor is age, starting with the oldest representative.
3) MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l finds the Sforno problematic as Yehoshua was older than Ko'leiv and was mentioned later. He offers that there was no order, as we see on the words in Dvorim 1:22, "Vatik'r'vun eilai kulchem," a recount of the parsha of the spies, that Rashi comments that these words indicate that they came in an "arvuvia," a chaotic, disorderly group, with the youths shoving their elders, and the elders shoving the tribal heads.
3) Ch. 14, v. 24: "V'avdi Cho'leiv" - Since Yehoshua was also not swayed by the rest of the spies, why wasn't he also praised?
1) He deserved no praise because he was protected by Moshe's prayer in 13:16, as per the gemara Sotoh 34b. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
2) The praise of Ko'leiv ended with the reward of "v'zaro yorishenoh." Since Yehoshua would not have any children this could not be said about him, so no praise was said. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
3) Ko'leiv's reward of entering and inheriting the land was appropriate to mention, but Yehoshua's reward of taking over the leadership from Moshe when they would enter the land was inappropriate to mention at this time. (Ramban)
4) Praise was only given because of quieting the people's complaints. This was done by Kol'eiv only. (Ibn Ezra)
5) As per the words of the Radak on "ruach a'cher'es," Ko'leiv deserved special praise because he stood up against the spies even though he did not have the power of prophecy.
4) Ch. 15, v. 34: "Ki lo forash ma yei'o'se lo" - If they did not know which form of death penalty should be carried out, how did the witnesses warn him properly according to Rabbi Yehudoh (Sanhedrin 80b) who requires that the warning include specifically which death penalty the sin carries?
The Chizkuni and Tosfos on B.B. 119a d.h. "she'ne'emar" ask this.
1) The Chizkuni answers that we must say that the witnesses warned that there is a possibility that any of the four types of death penalty might be exercised.
2) Tosfos answers that the death penalty in this case was a "horo'as sho'oh," a special directive that Hashem told Moshe.
3) The Margolis Ha'yam answers that the prerequisite of a specific warning is only required to remove the doubt that possibly if the transgressor would know exactly to which death penalty he is culpable he might refrain from sinning. Hashem told Moshe that He knows that this would not have been a deterrent.
4) Alternatively he answers that Moshe through his power of prophecy knew this and was able to carry out the death penalty. He adds that although there were prophets for many generations to come, they were not allowed to judge and administer justice through the power of prophetic knowledge. However, there are medrashim that indicate that Kings Dovid and Shlomo did use prophecy to decide who was guilty.
5) According to the simple understanding of Rashi that this sin took place before Matan Torah on the "second Shabbos," and indeed this is the opinion of the Sifri Zuto and is mentioned in the Yalkut Shimoni, which states that it took place on the 21st (or 28th according to another text) of Iyor of the first year in the desert, although the prohibition against desecrating Shabbos was already given in Moroh, the law of specificity of witnesses' warnings was not yet given.
5) Ch. 15, v. 39: "V'lo sosuru acha'rei L'VAVchem" - The gemara Brochos 54a derives from the word "L'VOVcho" in Dvorim 6:5 that one should serve Hashem with both aspects of his heart, the good inclination and the bad inclination. This is derived from the doubling of the letter Veis in the word "l'VoVcho," since it would have been sufficient to say "libcho." If we carry this through to our verse we should also derive from it that one should not spy out after his heart's two inclinations, the good and the bad. How are we to understand that one should not spy out after the good inclination?
Possibly this can be explained with the words of the Malbim mentioned above in the answer to #1. He differentiates among the synonyms "losur, l'ra'geil," and lachpor." He says that "l'ra'geil" means to spy out in search of the negative, while "losur" means to spy out the positive. According to this we can venture to say that the verse tells us that when we pursue a positive act, a mitzvoh, we should not search out the good inherent in the mitzvoh as the sole reason for doing it. This is dangerous because in certain circumstances one might conclude that the reasoning does not apply and then refrain from doing the mitzvoh. The main driving force to do a mitzvoh should simply be because Hashem commanded us to do so. (Nirreh li)
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