Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 5: "V'nafsheinu kotzoh ba'lechem haklokeil" - Our soul is disgusted with "lechem," Torah, which is called "lechem" (as per Mishlei 9:5, "L'chu lachamu b'lachmi"), which is studied in a light-minded manner, "b'kalus rosh." (Rabbi Dovid of Tolna in Mo'gein Dovid)

Alternatively, since the manna was a very spiritual food, it was only fully appreciated by those who were on a high spiritual plane. After the sin of the golden calf people's souls were tainted and they could no longer appreciate the manna. (Rabbi Chanoch Henoch of Alexander in Chashovoh l'Tovoh)

Ch. 21, v. 5: "Ba'lechem haklokeil" - Rashi explains that their complaint was that there was no waste produced from the manna. "Is it possible for a human to eat and produce no waste?" This was the source of their sin. They did not believe that Hashem would relate to them in a manner that is beyond the boundaries of nature. (Rabbi Naftoli of Ropshitz in Zera Kodesh)

Ch. 21, v. 7: "Hispa'leil el Hashem v'yo'seir mei'o'leinu es hanochosh" - The people begged Moshe to pray to Hashem to remove their inclination, embodied in the primary snake, "nochosh hakadmoni," and they would no longer have an inclination to sin. (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vizhnitz in Tzemach Tzadik)

Ch. 21, v. 8: "V'ro'oh oso vochoy" - Rashi says that when they would look heavenwards they would be healed. This means that they recognize that all their trials and tribulations come from Hashem. This recognition is in and of itself their healing. (The Holy Baal Hatanya in Likutei Torah)

Alternatively, "v'ro'oh oso" refers to Moshe. He who looks upon the leader of the generation draws from him the power of healing. (Rabbi Avrohom of Trisk in Mo'gein Avrohom)

Ch. 21, v. 14: "B'sefer milchamos Hashem" - With the power of the BOOK, the Holy Torah, one can do battle against the evil inclination. (Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov of Biala in Divrei Vinoh)

Ch. 21, v. 18: "Bimchokeik b'mishanosom" - To have the Torah etched into one's being requires total reliance upon Hashem. (Sfas Emes)

Ch. 21, v. 23: "Va'yovo Yohtzoh va'yilochem b'Yisroel" - When there is discord among us, "yohtzoh" as in "matzoh umrivoh," the enemy will come to do war with us. (Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov of Biala in Divrei Vinoh)

Ch. 21, v. 28: "MeiCheshbon lehovoh" - From calculating one's actions comes the result of serving Hashem with a fiery passion. (Rabbi Eliezer Zev of Kretchnof in Rozo d'Shabbos)

Ch. 21, v. 30: "VaNirom ovad Cheshbon" - If one makes a spiritual accounting any feelings of haughtiness will dissipate, "vanirom ovad." (Rabbi Isomor of Konskovalle in Mishmerres Isomor)

Alternatively, one who is haughty, "vanirom," will surely lose the incentive to take a spiritual accounting of himself, "ovad cheshbon." (Rabbi Zev Volf of Zhitomer in Ohr Ha'meir)

Ch. 21, v. 30: "Ovad Cheshbon" - He who loses spiritual calculation will have to give an accounting for this. (Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac of Kamarna in Heichal Habrochoh)


Ch. 22, v. 4: "Kilchoch hashor es yerek haso'deh" - Why did Bilom express his fear of being overpowered to an ox that consumes grass? The Ramban explains that Moav did not fear that the bnei Yisroel would directly attack them, as they were prohibited from even causing Moav distress, "al totzer es Moav" (Dvorim 2:9). Rather, they feared being overpowered by another nation and the bnei Yisroel would vanquish them.

The writings of Kaboloh tells us that man is supposed to elevate mineral, vegetable, and animal. This is to take place in stages, with the mineral supplying sustenance for vegetable, the vegetable providing sustenance for herbivores, and the herbivorous creatures providing sustenance for man. Just as an ox consumes grass with the end goal being that the ox becomes food for man, so too, Moav feared that they would be consumed by another nation so that the bnei Yisroel would later consume that nation including Moav within it. (Kedushas Levi)

Ch. 22, v. 21: "Va'yokom Bilom baboker va'yachavosh es asono" - Rashi says that although Bilom arose early and saddled his donkey, Avrohom had already preceded him, "va'yashkeim Avrohom baboker va'yachavosh ves chamoro" (Breishis 22:3). Just as Avrohom went out to slaughter Yitzchok, and this would ch"v have meant the end of bnei Yisroel, nevertheless he was stopped. This is a precedence for Bilom's attempt to do the same, and that his diabolical plans would surely be thwarted. (The Holy Admor of Kotzk)

Ch. 23, v. 9: "Hen om l'vodod yishkone uvagoyim lo yis'chashov" - Behold they are a nation that is able to dwell on its own because they are considered insignificant by the heathen nations, and they do not bother with them. (Degel Machaneh Efrayim)

Ch. 23, v. 13: "Efes kotzeihu sir'eh v'chulo lo sir'eh" - If you only look at certain individuals among the bnei Yisroel it is possible that you will see flaws, "sir'eh," but if you look at them as a whole you will find no shortcomings, "lo sir'eh." (The Holy Admor of Kotzk in Ohel Torah)

Ch. 23, v. 21: "Lo hibit oven b'Yaakov .. Hashem Elokov imo usruas melech bo" - When the bnei Yisroel sin Hashem does not always look closely. When the bnei Yisroel accept Hashem as their G-d it is always IMO, with Him. When they accept Hashem as their King, it is BO, imbedded in Him. (Kedushas Levi)

Ch. 23, v. 23: "Ko'eis yei'o'meir l'Yaakov ul'Yisroel mah po'al Keil" - At every time, whether Hashem is bringing overt blessings upon a person, or is bringing trials and tribulations, a person has to improve himself by wondering, "mah po'al Keil," - what has Hashem wrought? If there is blessing one must feel that he is not deserving, so improvement is required. If difficulties come it must be as a response to bad behaviour, so this too should bring a person to improve his ways. (The Holy Admor Rabbi Yisroel of Rizhin)

Alternatively, there will come a time, "ko'eis," when not only will the simple folk, Yaakov, wonder, "What has Hashem done," but even the elevated of the nation, Yisroel, will also wonder. This will take place at the challenging days of the advent of Moshiach. (Yeitev Ponim in the name of the Holy Admor Rabbi Yisroel of Rizhin)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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