Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 26, v. 2: "S'u es rosh kol adas bnei Yisroel" - Count all the people of the bnei Yisroel congregation - Why was there a need to count them again so shortly after the previous census?

2) Ch. 26, v. 5: "Chanoch mishpachas haChanochi" - Chanoch the Chanochite family - Rashi explains the prefix and suffix for the names of the families, which are a letter Hei and Yud. The gentile nations mocked the bnei Yisroel, saying, "Of what value is their counting their families to their ancestral tribes? Since the Egyptians totally mastered over the men they surely did as they wished with the women, and the descendants are not those of the bnei Yisroel." Therefore Hashem gave His seal of purity on the families by adding a Letter Hei before and a letter Yud afterwards. These two letters are one of His Holy Names.

The bnei Yisroel had a count earlier in parshas Bmidbar. The verses there only give us the tribal heads and the census by tribes. Why wasn't the approbation of the letters Hei and Yud given earlier?

3) Ch. 28, v. 6: "Olas Tomid ho'asuyoh b'Har Sinai" - The daily Oloh offering which was processed at Har Sinai - Why is the daily oloh offering referenced back to the original oloh offering at Har Sinai?

4) Ch. 28, v. 10: "B'ShabbatO" - In HIS Shabbos - Is the word Shabbos male or female?

5) Ch. 28, v. 11: "Uvroshei chodsheichem" - And on the heads of your months - An expression corresponding to "your months" is not found by any Yom Tov. The verse does not similarly say, "B'shabbas Shabbatchem, b'yom Bikureichem, b'yom Sukoseichem." ("B'shovu'oseichem" in 28:26 is explained by the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh.) Why?



1) Since a large number of people had just died in a plague there was the need to count them again, just as a caring shepherd would recount his sheep if wolves killed many of his flock. (Rashi)

2) When the bnei Yisroel were put into Moshe's care they were given to him with a population count. As he was now close to the end of his life he is to count them before he gives them over to the next leader. (Rashi, Medrash Tanchuma #4)

3) In verse 53 Hashem tells Moshe that these people will receive the land allotments in Eretz Yisroel. There was therefore a need to count them in relation to their land inheritances. (Ibn Ezra)

This requires some clarification. Once the conquest of Sichon was complete why wasn't the census done immediately? Had it taken place immediately after the war with Sichon, the plague that brought about the death of 24,000 men might have been attributed to counting in a manner that was against halacha, as we later find a plague after Dovid's taking a census improperly. Hashem therefore waited until after the plague, so that the bnei Yisroel not delude themselves, and realize that the plague was the result of immoral behaviour. (Ponim Yofos)

4) Since some men sinned with Midyonite women, there was the fear that people would likewise believe that the Egyptian men sired many of those who were considered bnei Yisroel. There was therefore a need to count them again and add Hashem's testimony to their family purity now. (Holy Alshich) (See Ponim Yofos on verse 5.)

5) Hashem's Holy Spirit rests upon even a group of ten bnei Yisroel. However, there are greater levels of sanctity when there is a group of 100, 1,000, 22,000, and 600,000. When the bnei Yisroel heard that there were over 600,000 men they were extremely happy to know that a very high level of Hashem's Holy Spirit was upon them. Now that 24,000 men died in a plague they were crestfallen, thinking that they fell below the 600,000 plateau. The census was done to apprise them of their still having 600,000 men. (Holy Alshich)


The bnei Yisroel had a reputation of being moral and such a claim against them would fall on deaf ears. It was only after some of the men sinned with the women of Midyon that the claim would gain credence. The gemara Sotoh 10 says that if a man is not faithful to his wife, she will also be unfaithful to him. It was only at this point that there was a need to give the bnei Yisroel a seal of kashrus. (Ponim Yofos)


Rashi says that the reference to Har Sinai teaches us that the details of its processing are the same. Ibn Ezra derives from these words that the bnei Yisroel were prohibited from offering Oloh sacrifices in the desert after traveling from Har Sinai. He expands on this theme in Shmos 29:42. Sforno offers that these words flow into the next verse, which tells us that there are accompanying wine libations. This same sacrifice was offered at Har Sinai, but without accompanying libations, as it was before the sin of the golden calf. Now however, we process the Olas Tomid the same way, but in addition, "V'nisko "


Ibn Ezra says that Shabbos is a female form word. In HIS Shabbos refers to the DAY, a male word. He similarly posits that, "Kol shomeir Shabbos meichal'lO" (Yeshayohu 56:6), refers to the DAY of Shabbos. This seems to be in disagreement with Tosfos on the gemara K'subos 5a d.h. "Shemo," who posits that Shabbos is one of those words that appear in either male or female form. He even cites the same verse in Yeshayohu as a proof that it is a male form word.

I do not know why Ibn Ezra feels compelled to explain the verse in Yeshayohu and does not deal with "kol ho'oseh VO m'lochoh yumos" in Shmos 35:2.

Based on proofs from Tanach, how many words can you find that are both male and female?


This is because the custom of somewhat restraining from regular work is based upon the similarity between the bnei Yisroel's success in physical pursuits and the illumination of the moon. The moon is not self-illuminating, but rather, receives its light from another source. By restraining from work on the day of the renewal of the moon we testify that we also receive our success not through our brains and the sweat of our brows, but from Hashem. (Sforno)

The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains the word "chodsheichem" by saying that it is decreed by the court, so it is OUR head of the month.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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