Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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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?

2) Ch. 13, v. 4: "V'ei'leh shmosom" - What governs the sequence of the tribes mentioned in this and the following verses?

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?

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?

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?

Answer to questions on parshas B'haalos'cho:

1) Ch. 8, v. 2: "El mul pnei ha'menorah" - What is the "mul pnei ha'menorah?"

1) The central light - Three lights on each side of the central one should tilt towards it. (Rashi)

2) The celestial menorah that is in heaven - There is a Mikdosh in heaven with all Mikdosh vessels that corresponds to the earthly Mikdosh. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

3) The Holy Ark and the tablets inside it (Responsa Rivo"sh)

4) The curtain that divides between the Holy and the Holy of Holies (Chizkuni according to the opinion in the gemara M'nochos 98b that the seven lights of the menorah stood north to south)

5) The Shulchon, the show-bread table that stood across from the menorah, as is stated in Shmos 40:24, "Va'yo'sem es ha'menorah ...... mul hashulchon" (Chizkuni according to the opinion in the gemara M'nochos 98b that the seven lights of the menorah stood east to west, Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor, Rashbam)

6) The trunk of the menorah, its central stem (Abarbanel)

7) The side on which the steps were placed for climbing up to cleanse and light (N"tziv)

2) Ch. 8, v. 2: "El mul pnei ha'menorah yo'iru SHIVAS ha'neiros" - It would seem that the verse should have said SHEI'SHES, the SIX lights, if "pnei ha'menorah" means the central stem.

1) After the six lights, three on each side, are properly lit, together with the middle light, seven lights shall shine.

2) This teaches us that all seven lights shall be equal in size and should have an equal amount of oil so that they should burn equally long (barring the miracle of the "ner maarovi). (Breiso of M'leches haMishkon)

3) The lights shining is symbolic of growing in Torah knowledge. The three lights on each of the two sides represent the students, while the central one represents the teacher. Not only do the students gain from the teacher's knowledge, but the teacher gains from his students questions. Hence all seven lights will shine when the students bend themselves towards their teacher. (Shaarei Simchoh)

4) Once the six lights subordinate themselves to the middle light, they grow in stature and become equal to the middle one and they all shine equally. This is also symbolized in the ruling that the menorah shall be made of one solid piece of gold, and not of separate pieces welded together. (Avnei Zohov)

3) Ch. 9, v. 2: "V'yaasu vnei Yisroel es haPosach" - And the bnei Yisroel shall make the Pesach - Parshas Bo is replete with commands to offer the Paschal lamb. Why was it necessary to repeat this?

1) Rashbam offers that the previous Pesach took place in Mitzrayim and lasted only one day. As well there were numerous differences in the details of how the sacrifice was to be offered. Therefore our verse, said in the following month of Nison, commands that the bnei Yisroel process the Pesach offering and keep the Yom Tov according to the details outlined in parshas Bo for later generations, and not to copy the way it was done in the previous year.

2) Sforno offers that since they just had the festive eight day inauguration of the Mishkon, the bnei Yisroel might mistakenly think that such a heavy dose of spiritual activity would make a Pesach experience coming on its heels redundant, as we find that King Shlomo had the inaugural festivities of the completion of the Beis Hamikdosh over-ride Yom Kippur, the verse therefore advises that they should still have the Pesach Yom Tov take place.

3) The Ramban offers that since the mitzvoh of bringing a Pesach offering only began after the bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel, as per the verse, "V'hoyoh ki sovo'u el ho'oretz" (Shmos 12:25), since the bnei Yisroel were now in the desert, there would actually not have been a mitzvoh to offer the Pesach offering if not for this specific directive.

4) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh offers that since the Torah says regarding the Pesach sacrifice, "Kol ben neichor lo yochal bo" (Shmos 12:43), that an estranged person shall not partake of the Paschal lamb, and the Medrash Tanchuma explains that this refers both to a non-Jew and a Jew who has unfortunately denied Hashem, when the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf they thought that they no longer had the privilege of bringing a Paschal sacrifice. Although they were aware of Hashem's relenting and not planning to destroy them to a man, but they did not as of yet know that their sin was forgiven. We can thus interpret the introductory letter Vov of "V'yaasu," as meaning that besides My rescinding the punishment of annihilation, their sin is also cleansed, and they may therefore bring a Pesach offering.

5) Va'y'da'beir Moshe offers that since that year the eve of Pesach would fall on Shabbos there was a special command to slaughter the Paschal lamb at the expense of Shabbos. This was not known earlier, as the word "b'moado," of our verse teaches us this. It is now well understood why this point of information was transmitted specifically at this time and not earlier in parshas Bo.

4) Ch. 11, v. 4: "Hisavu taavoh .. va'yomru mi yaachi'leinu bosor" - Lusted a lusting .. and they said, 'Who will feed us flesh' - Since they had large herds of cattle, why didn't they have a steady supply of meat? As well, the manna could take on the flavour of almost any imagined food.

1) They were in the complaint mode and this truly had no basis. (Rashi - Sifri)

2) Only some of the people owned cattle. (Ramban)

3) Those who complained were the "asafsuf," the "eirev rav." They took no cattle out of Egypt as their cattle were killed during the plagues of pestilence and hail. (Ponim Yofos)

4) They expected to cross over the Jordan River and do war with the Canaanites. They would be unable to bring their cattle along with them, and it was for this period of time that they complained. (Baal Haturim)

5) They only complained to test Hashem, to see if He was capable of supplying them with meat in the desert, as is stated in T'hilim 78:18, "Va'y'nasu Keil bilvovom lishol ochel l'nafshom." (Sforno)

6) They were actually complaining about the restrictions placed upon them regarding relations with relatives. "Bosor" refers to the carnal pleasures of the flesh (see gemara Yoma 75a). (Kli Yokor)

7) They complained about having a large steady supply of meat for an extended period of time, as indicated by the words "mi yaachi'leinu," in the future tense. Their own cattle did not satisfy this demand. (Ponim Yofos)

8) They wanted meat that tasted like fish, as indicated by the words, "mi yaachi'leinu bosor, Zocharnu es hadogoh." They demanded this only to test Hashem. He responded with quail, which are a form of meat (fowl) that tastes somewhat like fish. (Minchoh V'luloh)

9) They did not want a steady diet of manna, as it was a spiritually uplifting food, and they wanted to serve Hashem with no outside help. (Eitz Yoseif and Eshed Hancholim)

10) They wanted to avoid eating manna, as it disclosed their spiritual level, landing further from their doorstep and also in a more unrefined form when they sinned. (K'hilas Yitzchok)

11) Slaughtering their own cattle would entail bringing the animals as "shlomim" offerings. This placer numerous restrictions upon people. It could only be eaten when in a pure state, required brining it to the Mishkon and having the blood services done. They wanted a simple lustful type of meat, not tied up in rituals, as indicated by the first words of the next verse, "Zocharnu es hadogoh." Just as fish are eaten without ritual preparations, the meat that they lusted was meat with no rituals involved. (Meshech Chochmoh)

12) As mentioned earlier, the "asafsuf" had this lust. They were not among those who studied Torah. The gemara P'sochim 49b says that a boor should not eat meat. The "asafsuf" did not taste the flavour of meat in their manna. (M'oroh Shel Torah)

Please note that some of these answers are in response to the question of their having their own cattle, while some answer the manna question, and some answer both.

5) Ch. 12, v. 7: "B'chol beisi NE'EMON hu" - What does NE'EMON mean?

1) Moshe may enter My domain, just as a friend visits at any time he wishes, and Moshe may speak regarding any matter he needs. (Ibn Ezra)

2) Moshe has seen more than any other prophet, and yet keeps many matters to himself, as we find the term "V'NE'EMAN ruach y'cha'seh dovor" (Mishlei 11:13). (Chizkuni)

3) Moshe has been ENTRUSTED with the knowledge of My Holy Name which encompasses the traits of mercy and kindness even to sinners. These are Hashem's dearest traits. One keeps his dearest possessions in his home. "B'chol beisi," with all the dearest traits that I have, "NE'EMON hu," Moshe is entrusted. (Ramban Shmos 33:19)

4) Moshe is trusted by all of My household. (This refers to the bnei Yisroel as per Targum Onkeles and Targum Yonoson ben Uziel.) Since he views the prophecies in clear terms he is trusted to not misinterpret the message. (Rosh)

5) When one doesn't totally trust his messenger, he has messages sent through him conveyed in an encoded manner, so that the messenger cannot misuse the information. Moshe is trusted by Hashem and the bnei Yisroel, therefore the prophetic messages are given to him in a completely clear manner. (Rivosh)

6) Moshe has remained faithful to his wife and has not divorced her, even though when he married her he was a fugitive who had a death sentence hanging over him and now he was a king (see gemara Sanhedrin 110a). "Bayis" refers to one's wife (see gemara Yoma 2a). (Moshav Z'keinim) This interpretation gives us a new insight into the blessing that is common to give to a newly-wed couple, "Tizku livnos bayis NE'EMON b'Yisroel."

I have difficulty according to this interpretation with the word "beisi," as it should have said "beiso."

7) Other prophets only receive prophecy when they are either asleep or awake but in a trance or some other unusual physical phenomenon where their soul is not fully connected to their body. Their body, not being totally purified, is a hindrance to receiving a Divine message. Not so Moshe. He receives prophecy while in a normal state, since his physicality is in total consonance with the spiritual. Translate NE'EMON as in Yeshayohu 22:23, "Yo'seid b'mokom NE'EMON," a peg securely placed. Likewise, Moshe's neshomoh was securely connected to his body when he received a prophecy, unlike any other prophet. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

8) Moshe was ready to receive prophecy at any moment, as he was always ritually pure. Read NE'EMON as reliable at any time. (S'fas Emes)

9) Moshe not only received prophecy from Hashem, but also was able to ask his own questions to Hashem. (Rabbi Chaim haLevi Brisker)

I believe that this might be included in the last words of the Ibn Ezra mentioned above in #1, "V'y'da'beir mah she'yitz'to'reich."

10) Moshe knew how to make use of the "Sheim Ham'forosh" with which Hashem created the heavens and the earth, and yet did not take advantage of this ability. He is NE'EMON to not use this power even though he is able to do so. (Haa'mek Dovor)

11) When Moshe says a prophecy no other prophet can contradict him. His prophecy reigns supreme (see Rambam hilchos yesodei haTorah 8:3). Other prophets can be contradicted by another prophet. (Rabbi Yitzchok Zev haLevi Brisker)

12) Moshe is devoted and dedicated to properly executing Hashem's bidding. (Shem miShmuel)

13) The Rambam in hilchos yesodei haTorah 7:6 says that Moshe is not only capable of communicating with Hashem without preparation or having a quasi out-of-body prophetic experience, but also is guarenteed that upon his request Hashem will always respond. This is derived from the words in our parsha "Imdu v'esh'm'oh mah y'tza'veh Hashem lochem" (9:8). Moshe is NE'EMON, reliable, to always receive a response from Hashem. (Taken from the words of the Eimek haN'tzi"v on 9:8, although not his interpretation of NE'EMON)



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

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