Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

Please send your answers and comments to: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


1) Ch. 13, v. 11: "L'ma'tei Yoseif l'ma'tei Menasheh" - Here we find not only Menasheh mentioned but also his father Yoseif. However, in verse 8 where the representative of the tribe of Efrayim is mentioned there is no mention of Yoseif. Why?

2) Ch. 13, v. 16: "Vayikra Moshe l'Hosheia bin Nun Yehoshua" - And Moshe named Hoshei'a the son of Nun Yehoshua - The gemara Sotoh 34b says that the name change alludes to Moshe's praying for Yehoshua, "Koh yoshiacho mei'atzas m'raglim," - may Hashem save you from the counsel of the spies. Why didn't Moshe pray for all the other spies as well?

3) Ch. 13, v. 28: "V'he'orim b'tzuros g'dolos m'ode" - And the cities are extremely fortified - Rashi says in the name of Targum Onkelos that "b'tzuros" means that they are built in a circular manner. Of what significance is this?

4) Ch. 14, v. 29: "Bamidbor ha'zeh yiplu figreichem" - In this desert your corpses will fall - Why was Hashem willing to forgive the sin of the golden calf, a sin in the realm of idol worship, at least to the extent that He did not decree death upon them, and by the sin of the spies, seemingly not as severe a sin, He decreed death upon the masses?

5) Ch. 15, v. 20: "Reishis arisoseichem chaloh torimu srumoh kisrumas goren kein torimu osoh" - The first of your dough you shall tithe as chaloh just as the tithing of the grain crop similarly you shall tithe it - The M.R. on our verse says that this parsha is placed next to the parsha of idol worship to teach us that one who is recalcitrant in tithing chaloh is equated to one who worships idols. How are we to understand this comparison? As well, why doesn't the verse simply tell us to tithe our dough? Why the need to compare it to tithing our crops?



1) Rashi in Sefer Hapardes page 93 and others say that here it is pointed out that Gadi ben Susi of the tribe of Menasheh is a descendant of Yoseif to indicate that Yoseif spoke negatively of his brothers (Breishis 37:2) and his descendant Gadi unfortunately did likewise. The representative of the tribe of Efrayim, Hoshei'a bin Nun, spoke positively of the land, hence Yoseif is not mentioned.

2) The Meshech Chochmoh explains that Yoseif is mentioned only by the tribe of Menasheh since in the future half the tribe would settle in Trans-Jordan (Bmidbar 32:33). We might think that a representative of the tribe was one who had no strong feelings for residing in Eretz Yisroel. The verse therefore stresses that the spy who was sent was a descendant of Yoseif, who was very strongly connected to Eretz Yisroel. Even when he was in Egypt for a number of years he proudly stated, "Ki gunove gunavti mei'ertz ho'Ivrim" (Breishis 40:15), that he was from Eretz Yisroel. Thus the verse indicates that the person sent would hopefully bring back a report that would encourage the bnei Yisroel to conquer and inhabit Eretz Yisroel. In spite of this, we later see that this was of no avail.

If one were to ask that the tribes of Reuvein and Gad had all their people settle in Trans-Jordan and yet there were representatives sent from those tribes, it seems that there was no choice but to send one person from each tribe. Alternatively, it is suggested by Rabbi Y. Bernstein zt"l that there is no indication that the bnei Reuvein and bnei Gad were anti Eretz Yisroel. They had a large amount of cattle and were very impressed by the grazing capacity of Trans-Jordan. They gave more importance to this than to residing in Eretz Yisroel. However, the half of Menasheh that resided in Trans-Jordan did not have this consideration and it seems that they were not terribly interested in living in Eretz Yisroel.

It seems that this explanation is not in consonance with the M.R. Breishis 84:19 mentioned by the Chizkuni (Breishis 32:32) who says that the reason half of the bnei Menasheh were given land in Trans-Jordan was not at their request, but rather as a punishment for their ancestor Menasheh causing the brothers to rent their garments in two when Yoseif's goblet was found in Binyomin's satchel.


The Holy Zohar page 157a writes that the reason the ten spies spoke badly of Eretz Yisroel was because they knew that their positions as tribal leaders would only last as long as they remained in the desert. Upon entry to Eretz Yisroel new tribal heads would be appointed.

Moshe felt that these great leaders would surely come to their senses and not let this personal consideration stand in the way of their bringing back a most promising report that would enthuse the bnei Yisroel to conquer Eretz Yisroel with a feeling of security. However he feared that Yehoshua would fall pray to a "frum" consideration. Eldod and Meidod prophesized that Moshe would die and Yehoshua would lead the bnei Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel (Rashi Bmidbar 11:28 and Sifri 11:21). Yehoshua was very upset with the remarks of Eldod and Meidod as evidenced by his response, "Adoni Moshe klo'eim," - my master Moshe, incarcerate them (Bmidbar 11:28). Moshe therefore feared that Yehoshua would report very negatively in the hope that the bnei Yisroel would refuse to enter Eretz Yisroel, and Moshe would remain their leader. This is why Moshe prayed only for Yehoshua. (K'hilas Yitzchok)


Rabbi Zalman Volozhiner answers that Rashi on Vayikra 14:3 comments that Hashem gave the bnei Yisroel good news when telling them that their homes in Eretz Yisroel would be afflicted with "tzoraas." They would be required to destroy their homes and upon doing so would discover precious items hidden in the walls by the previous occupants. However, the mishnoh N'go'im 12:1 says that the laws of "tzoraas" do not apply to homes that are built circularly. The spies in effect were thus bringing a report that would be a deterrent to their entering Eretz Yisroel. The structures are built circularly and there will be no need to destroy them and the hidden treasures will not be found.


1) Here the people incited one another to refuse entering Eretz Yisroel, "Va'yilonu al Moshe v'al Aharon" (verse 2), "Ad onoh y'naatzuni ho'om ha'zeh" (verse 11). However, by the sin of the golden calf, those who were involved accepted it of their own accord. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

2) Alternatively, by the golden calf they were at least pursuing spirituality, albeit through a false god. Here they were only looking to save their skins. (The Holy Admor of Kotzk)


When one tithes his grain produce, thus indicating that he is cognizant of Hashem's involvement in the successful crop, this is not a very great feat. After all, if not for the rains, good weather, lack of blight and other diseases, locust, his crops would have been a failure. However, once a person has his grain safely stored away and has it milled into flour, he feels that bringing his efforts to producing the final edible life-staple bread is totally in his own hands. This attitude is also denying Hashem's powers and involvement, akin to idol worship. Our verse therefore tells us that we should tithe the dough as we do the grain, with the same level of cognizance that this only took place through Hashem's involvement. (Birkei Yoseif)

Only raising the question of the comparison of tithing dough with tithing the grain crop and not dealing with the juxtaposition to idol worship, the Meshech Chochmoh explains that when one tithes his crop he is readily cognizant of Hashem's blessing and will give the Kohein a generous portion. If he is not successful in producing grain and is forced to purchase grain, he is not required to tithe it, "lokuach potur."

With dough, the responsibility to tithe exists even when it was purchased from another. Not seeing the blessing of Hashem, as per the explanation of the words "Ufochadto layloh v'yomom" (Dvorim 28:66), that this refers to one who is forced to purchase bread from the marketplace (gemara M'nochos 24), a person might not have the magnanimity of heart to tithe generously. Therefore our verse tells us that one should tithe as he does his own crop.



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel