by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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OROH V'SIMCHOH - MESHECH CHOCHMOH ON PARSHAS B'HAALOS'CHO 5766 BS"D
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'doloh mishelo'hem she'atoh MADLIK U'MEITIV 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 Daas Z'keinim asks 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 "eirev-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.
Ch. 12, v. 3: "V'ho'ish Moshe onov m'ode mikole ho'odom asher al pnei ho'adomoh" - And the man Moshe was exceedingly humble more so than any person on the face of the earth - Moshe, the greatest prophet who ever existed, and whoever will be, obviously knew of his own greatness. If so, how could he be so humble? A well-known answer is that although he surely recognized his greatness he felt that there was nothing about which to be so proud. He felt that he was given a special heavenly gift. Had someone else had the same opportunity he would have developed into an even greater person. Alternatively, he indeed did not have an accurate picture of himself. He was so self-effacing that he felt that he fell short of his capacity.
A most enlightening answer is offered by Rabbi Meir Simchoh haKohein, not in his classic Meshech Chochmoh, but rather in his commentary Ohr So'mei'ach on the Rambam hilchos teshuvoh 4:4, in the name of his grandfather Rabbi Chaninoh. Near the end of his very lengthy comments on the famous words of the Rambam dealing with the question of predetermination, reward and punishment, and free choice, he writes that since Moshe ascended to the heavens and was privy to see a glimpse of Hashem's sanctity that no one else ever saw, he clearly saw the connection between the spiritual and the physical. All his future actions had the added impetus of knowing as an eye-witness the results of complying or ch"v not complying with Hashem's wishes. Whenever a mitzvoh came his way he had no test. His belief in Hashem was not a test, as he had actually entered heaven. Moshe was therefore not as great as any other ben Yisroel in this aspect. Everyone else believed in Hashem without seeing, did mitzvos, and refrained from doing negative precepts with belief only.
A proof for this is that Hashem told Moshe, "v'gam b'cho yaaminu l'olom" (Shmos 19:9). How could Hashem guarantee this if Moshe still had free will? Perhaps he would later ch"v become a sinner and people would rightfully loose their trust in him. We clearly see that Moshe had such powerfully clear manifestations that he was beyond this.
He goes on to explain an argument in the Sifri on our parsha piska #45 based on these words of his grandfather. The Sifri explains the words of verse 7, "b'chol beisi ne'emon hu," in all My house Moshe is trustworthy. The Sifri brings an opinion that Moshe is not more trustworthy than the angels, and Rabbi Yosi posits that he is more trustworthy than even the angels. Rabbi Meir Simchoh explains "ne'emon," as one who acts out of faith. There is an argument between the Rabonon and Rabbi Yosi in the Mechilta parshas "bachodesh" parsha #4 if Hashem lowered the heavens down to Har Sinai's peak (Rabonon), or if only Hashem's voice emanated from the top of the mountain (Rabbi Yosi). It follows in kind that if Moshe was actually in the heavens he had at least the same exposure to Hashem as the angels and just as the angels are creatures that have no choice to do right or wrong because of their open exposure to Hashem's sanctity, so too, Moshe had this and in turn had no more faith, "ne'emon," than did the angels. Rabbi Yosi, who posits that Moshe did not literally ascend to heaven, and in turn had less spiritual exposure than the angels did, likewise was more "ne'emon," acted more out of faith and trust, than did the angels.
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