Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


Ch. 8, v. 2: "B'haalos'cho es ha'neiros" - Rashi (Medrash Tanchumo #5) says that this parsha is juxtaposed to that of the heads of the tribes bringing their offerings for the dedication of the Mishkon at the end of parshas Nosso, to tell us that Aharon was pained by not taking part in the dedication ceremony. Hashem consoled him by telling him that he would have the mitzvoh of kindling the menorah. Although kindling the menorah is a most wonderful act, nevertheless, how did it compensate for an act of DEDICATION? The Meshech Chochmoh brings that the gemara Yoma 24b states that the kindling of the menorah is not considered a service in the Mikdosh that reuqires a Kohein. In the commentary Tosfos Y'shonim Rabbi Yoseif asks, "If the kindling is not a service requiring a Kohein why does our verse say 'Da'beir el Aharon ...... b'haalos'cho es ha'neiros?'" The Meshech Chochmoh answers that Hashem gave him the mitzvoh of lighting the menorah for the very first time, an act of dedication. This was to be done with the evening lighting, as per the mishnoh in M'nochos 49a, that the menorah is to be inaugurated only by lighting all seven lamps and with the evening lighting. He was consoled by being given a mitzvoh that was also an act of dedication. Regarding the menorah for all later times and generations the verse says "yaaroch oso Aharon u'vonov." Only the preparation and cleaning of the lamps requires a Kohein, but not the kindling except for the inaugural lighting which Hashem said that specifically Aharon should light. The next verse says "Va'yaas kein Aharon ...... kaa'sher tzivoh Hashem es Moshe." This refers only to his lighting the menorah as an inauguration and not for the rest of his life, as we have no indication that he lit it always. (It should be noted that the Ramban says that this verse tells us that Aharon always lit the menorah even though he was not required to do so.)

It is quite possible that this insight of the Meshech Chochmoh is encapsulated in a few words that Rashi (Medrash Tanchumo #5) says, "shelcho g'dolooh mishelo'hem she'atoh MADLI uMEITIV es ha'neiros." The order of lighting is always cleaning out the residue of the previous lighting, "hatovoh," before lighting. However, at the time of the first lighting, the dedication of the menorah, Aharon would first light and then afterwards clean. This would also explain why "hatovoh" is mentioned at all. The verse does not mention it, so why does Rashi? The answer is that he wants to point out that Hashem appeased Aharon with the inaugural lighting, hence lighting before cleaning.

Perhaps this gives us a new insight into "L'hagid shvocho shel Aharon shelo shinoh" (Rashi on 8:3 - Sifri 8:5). Since we are discussing specifically the dedication according to the Meshech Chochmoh, the Sifri stresses that the same enthusiasm that Aharon had when he dedicated the menorah was present even 40 years later, even though he had lit it thousands of times. To answer the original question of how the lighting of the menorah is a compensation for missing out on taking part in the dedication, perhaps another answer can be offered. At the beginning of parshas Trumoh the verses list the materials to be brought for the building of the Mishkon. In 25:6 the verse says to bring "shemen lamo'ore," - oil for lighting. The Baa'lei Tosfos ask that oil for lighting is not a material for building the Mishkon, but rather, an object that is offered in the daily service of kindling of the menorah. They answer that just as a king who has a palace built for himself has it well lit, so too, the oil of the menorah when lit will light up the Mishkon. This is considered part and parcel of the building of the Mishkon. The Baa'lei Tosfos likewise use this concept to explain the listing of incense among the building materials.

It is now simply understood that the daily lighting of the menorah is not a service done in the Mikdosh, but rather, a daily completion of the Mishkon, a daily rededication. This would also explain why the lighting of the menorah may be done by a non-Kohein, as it is not a service, but rather, building the Mikdosh.

This would also explain why during Chanukah a miracle was needed for eight days so that only pure oil was used. Even though commentators say that for a dedication we do not want to use or may not use the rule of "tumoh hutroh b'tzibur," - defiled objects may be used when pure ones are not available for the services of the Mikdosh that are communal (which in reality means that they have a set time), nevertheless, this only explains why pure oil was needed for the first lighting, but why did the next seven days require pure oil? According to the above it is well understood, as lighting every day was a new dedication of the Mikdosh, as it is considered a completion of BUILDING the Mikdosh. (See the Ramban for another answer connected to Chanukah).

Ch. 11, v. 4: "Hisavu taavoh" - Literally, this means "they lusted to have a lust."

The M.R. Bmidbar 15:24 and Tanchumoh Bmidbar #16 say in the name of Rabbi Shimon that the people did not actually lust for meat, as the literal words of the verses indicate, but rather they lusted physical relations with relatives now forbidden to them, as is indicated by a verse in T'hilim 77:27. It says "Va'yamteir a'leihem ke'ofor SH'EIR." Sh'eir refers to incest as is written in Vayikroh 18:6, "Ish ish el kol SH'EIR b'soro lo sik'r'vu l'galos ervoh."

The Shaarei Aharon says in the name of the Eitz Yosef, Eshed Hancholim, and Meshech Chochmoh that the words "hisavu taavoh" give us the insight into understanding the literal and the Medrashic interpretations as one. The experience of spiritual exposure and the acceptance of the Torah at Har Sinai had a spiritual uplifting and purifying effect on the bnei Yisroel. The eating of manna, a very spiritual food sent from heaven, likewise added to the positive effect on the bnei Yisroel. The "Asafsuf," the multitudes of "eiruv-rav," wanted to continue having relations with their relatives, as was permitted before the giving of the Torah. They knew that their lust was weakened by eating the spiritually fortified manna. They therefore requested meat, which would bring them back to their former selves, which would nurture a lust for things physical, particularly relations with their relatives. The lust for meat was a lust to bring on the lust for physical relations with their relatives.

Moshe responded with (11:13), "Mei'ayin li bosor." Ever since Moshe received the Torah at Har Sinai he had been on an even higher plane than before. He had no further relations with his own wife (gemara Y'vomos 62a). He said that he could not be a conduit for something so physical as meat, which could bring to a lust for incest.

At this point Hashem responded with (11:16), "Esfoh li shivim ish." The seventy new prophets who were not as removed from this world as Moshe was, would become the conduit to bring quail (slov) to the people who desired it.


See also Sedrah Selections 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 parsha@shemayisrael.co.il

Jerusalem, Israel