June 5, 1999 21 Sivan 5759
by Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And the people did not journey until Miriam was brought in" (Bemidbar 12:15)
At the end of our perashah, Miriam, the sister of Moshe, speaks slander against her brother. Miriam loved her brother very much, but she spoke out to put an end to what she felt was an injustice against Siporah, Moshe's wife. Despite her good intentions, Hashem didn't like the slander, lashon hara, and He punished Miriam with leprosy. Moshe prayed for her and she was healed, but she had to remain outside of the camp for seven days until she was allowed to return to the camp.
The Torah tells us that a great honor was done to Miriam. The nation did not travel for seven days in order to wait for Miriam's return. Rashi explains that this was an honor due to her because she waited for her brother Moshe. When Moshe was a baby and he was placed in a basket and floated onto the Nile, his sister, Miriam, waited to see what would come of him. She was paid back now, that the entire nation waited for her. However, this might seem difficult, because after all, what was her great merit? It seems she was merely satisfying her curiosity! We can explain this with the words of Rabbi Yechezkel Abramsky, z"l. He says that after 120 years a person will be asked by Hashem, "tsipita liyeshua - Did you wait for the redemption (Mashiah)?" He is not asked, did he _hope_ for redemption, but did he _wait_ for the redemption. Waiting implies that he knows for sure that the Mashiah will come. He is just waiting for _when_ it will happen. This was Miriam's greatness. She knew Moshe would be saved; she was just waiting to see when and how he would be saved. In that merit, the entire nation waited for her.
We all know the arrival of Mashiah is close by. However, don't _hope_ that he comes - _wait_ till he comes. Shabbat Shalom.
by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"Why should we be excluded from sacrificing?" (Bemidbar 9:7) When a group of Jews who were ritually impure could not participate in the Korban Pesah, they reacted in an unusual way. They complained to Moshe and said, "Why should we be exempt from this misvah just because we are tny (unclean)? Isn't there something for us to do?" In the merit of this response, they were given a new misvah of Pesah Sheni, where a person can "make up" the misvah of Korban Pesah.
This attitude is very precious in the eyes of Hashem, and it is something we should think about. Many times we start to do a misvah, but it doesn't work out. How do we feel about being off the hook? Are we relieved, as if another burden is off of us, or do we feel the lack of opportunity to serve Hashem?
There was once a great Rabbi who came to a large yeshivah with a proposal. Whoever could answer his difficult question would have a chance to marry his daughter. The question was extremely difficult, and although many potential answers were suggested, no one came up with the right response, so the Rabbi headed back to his town. On the way back home, the Rabbi saw someone trying to catch up to him, and when he stopped, he realized it was one of the students from the yeshivah. "Did you think of another answer?" the Rabbi asked. "No, but I couldn't bear not to know the right answer," the student replied. The Rabbi then exclaimed, "You are the one for my daughter if you feel that way about Torah!"
We should analyze our approach to Torah and misvot and realize they are opportunities rather than burdens. That way we will fulfill them in a better way, and it will further enrich and uplift our lives. Shabbat Shalom.
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