Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 26, v. 62: "Shloshim v'esrim elef kol zochor miben chodesh KI lo hospokdu b'soch bnei Yisroel Ki lo nitan lohem nachaloh b'soch bnei Yisroel" - Rashi explains the first KI as because they were counted from the age of a month they were not included in the general census, and the second KI as the reason they were not counted from the age of twenty years as all others were, because they weren't given a portion of land in Eretz Yisroel.

Many explanations are given for the relatively small number of people in the tribe of Levi. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that this was an act of kindness by Hashem so that there would not be a large population of people who would over-burden the rest of the bnei Yisroel for support. The bnei Levi had almost no land for agriculture and were given 42-48 cities for their homes. They subsisted on the tithings given them by others. He says that this can be interpreted as the intention of our verse. The first KI is explained the same way as Rashi says. The second KI explains why they only had a census of 23,000 people; because they were not given an inheritance of land among the bnei Yisroel.

The Kli Yokor on Bmidbar 3:39 contemplates this explanation offered by the MESHECH CHOCHMOH, but discards it, saying, "There is no restraint to Hashem's ability to protect and provide for his servants (the tribe of Levi) who fulfill his will." The Kli Yokor also mentions some other explanations, explains his difficulties with them, and ends with his own answer. The Shaarei Aharon on Bmidbar 3:39 has a very comprehensive list of answers.

Ch. 28, v. 15: "U's'ir izim echod l'chatos laShem" - Although by the sacrifices of Shovuos in our parsha there is no mention of the word "chatos" as is pointed out in the gemara Yerushalmi Rosh Hashonoh 4:8 and the M.R. on Shir Hashirim, "Rabbi M'sharshioh says in the name of Rabbi Idi, 'Why is the word CHATOS not mentioned by the sacrifices of Shovuos, although it is mentioned by the sacrifices of every other holiday? This teaches us that Hashem says that one who fully accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah is considered as if he had never sinned in his lifetime,'" there is the mention of CHATOS by the sacrifices of Shovuos in parshas Emor 23:19, "Va'asi'sem s'ir izim echod L'CHATOS."

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that there is a special reason that the word CHATOS is appropriate in relation to the accompaniment to the "shtei ha'lechem." We have the unusual expression of "l'chatos laShem" by the mussof sacrifice of Rosh Chodesh in our verse. The gemara Chulin 60b says that there is an allusion to an atonement for Hashem through the Rosh Chodesh offering because when the moon renews itself, it is a reminder that Hashem diminished the size of the moon. It was once equal in size to the sun.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the atonement is not for the diminishing. That was justified, as explained in the above-mentioned gemara. It is needed because had the sun and moon remained equal in size, then those who might have had a propensity to take on the sun as a deity would have been discouraged by seeing that the sun had an equal, the moon. Now that the sun is larger, there is more latitude for making this mistake and Hashem is partly responsible, thus necessitating an atonement, kavyochol.

Similarly at the time of bringing of the new crop of wheat which is the main staple of life for humans, there is also a fear of people over-attributing powers to the sun which brought about the growth and maturing of wheat and all other vegetables and fruits. Therefore it is again in place to mention the word CHATOS. However, we see from this insight of the MESHECH CHOCHMOH that it is only in relation to the "shtei ha'lechem" and not to the holiday.


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