8:2) “Behaloscha es-Ha’neros-When you light the lights.”  Rashi explains the connection between this Parsha and the end of the previous one. When Aaron saw all of the donations made by the Nesiim he felt bad that neither he nor his Shevet had any part of it. This is why the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was directed exclusively towards him. The Ohr Hachaim asks why was it this mitzvah when there was so many others that Aharon had to perform? The Nesiim only brought their Korbaonos this one time, while Aharon and his descendants were to perform them for all time? He answers that the Mitzvah of cleaning and lighting the Menorah was even greater than bringing the Korbonos because each day it was necessary to dismantle the Menorah in order to clean it. So in effect Aharon, by reassembling the Menorah, was completing the Mishkon every day.

   Another reason why this Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was given to Aharon is because Aharon’s descendants would be there to light the Menorah once again after the defilement of the Beis Hamikdosh by the Greeks. And in the future when there would no longer be any sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdosh the lighting would continue through the Mitzvah of Chanukah.

   (8:2) “Behaloscha es-Ha’neros-When you light the lights.” "When you cause to rise" The Posuk says that when lighting, the flame should be placed above the wicks in order for the fire to cause the flame to rise up. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that this is a lesson for Kiruv.  We are instructed to not only give the newly observant a taste of what religious life is about but to inspire, to ignite the fire within them.

    The Ramban asks the question why would this command of lighting the Menorah equal that which was done by the Nesiim? Theirs was brought of their own free will. Out of a feeling of love for Hashem, while Aharon was commanded to do this service whether  he wanted to or not? It would seem to be a greater gift for Aharon to have been able to serve Hashem the way he wanted to, without being told how. The Gemarrah in Kiddushin (32:A) writes “Gadol Hametzuveh V’oseh M’mi Sh’ayno Metzuveh V’oseh-Greater is the one who is commanded and acts than the one who is not commanded and acts.”

   Why is this so? The Shem Meshmuel writes that there are two parts to every Mitzvah. There is that which is revealed and that which is hidden. The revealed part is the physical act of doing a Mitzvah. The hidden part is the intent, the thoughts behind the actions. The same is true with the physical body. There is that which is hidden, the Neshama, and that which is  revealed, the body itself. When a person is engaged in performing the physical act of doing the Mitzvah he is able to affect the spiritual world. His actions create tremendous spiritual spheres that in turn can effect the physical world. How is it possible for a mere flesh and blood to make changes in the spiritual world? Because when a person does a Mitzvah he is in effect acting as a messenger of Hashem. And we have a rule that the messenger of a person is equal to the one who appointed the messenger, in this case Hashem. He therefore becomes empowered to be able to affect the spiritual world. But if a person does a notable act, one that may even be the correct thing to do, but it was not a mitzvah, it was not commanded by Hashem, it may not affect the spiritual world. Therefore greater is the one who is commanded and acts than the one who is not commanded and acts.

    There still remains two questions. One is if the other Nesiim gave their gifts of their own free will, what was preventing Aaron from doing the same? Why should he complain? He could have donated gifts as well? Second, what was so special about the lighting of the Menorah? He had several other duties in the Mishkon that he alone would perform? The Sifsei Kohen writes that since each of the Nesiim gave the exact same gift, they must have had Ruach Hakodesh. Aaron thought that this Ruach Hakodesh was withheld from him due to his participation in the Chet Ha’Eigel. But Hashem said that he would give him this special Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah. Why this mitzvah? We see that the Torah did not phrase this Mitzvah in the usual manner. It does not say B’hadlokas- when you light, but rather Behalosecha-when you cause to rise. The fire would be brought down just close enough to cause the flame to ignite on it’s own. This lesson was meant to apply to all Mitzvos. Hashem sends down the inspiration, but it is up to the individual to make the Mitzvah come alive. Just as each gift brought by the Nesiim was identical and yet the thought behind each one differed.  So too each Mitzvah must have within it the individual thought behind the Mitzvah. The Shem M’shmuel explains the difference between the Kohen and the Levi. The Kohen brings down the fire from the spiritual world to the physical world through the Korbonos. The Levi raises the physical world to the spiritual through Shira (song). Thus Aaron and his Shevet would be contributing to the Mishkon in the most special way by this Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah.

   According to this, if we are only supposed to do that which we are commanded, where do we find the individualism in life? The Torah alludes to this idea in the word “Behalosecha- when you cause to rise.” Each flame had to rise on its own. Just as each gift brought by the Nesiim was identical and yet the thought behind each one differed.  So too each Mitzvah must have within it the individual thought behind the Mitzvah.

   Another answer as to why the Mitzvah of the Menorah was given to appease Aharon could be the following from the Benei Yisaschar. The Torah writes (8:3) “Vayaas Kain-And so it was done.” In the beginning of the parsha it says “Vayaas Kain”. That Aharon did all he was instructed to do regarding the lighting of the Menorah. Why would I think otherwise? Why should I think he would make any changes? In Bereishis it says “Vayehe Kain” after each part of the creation was complete except by the creation of light. The reason was because Hashem hid the original light of creation for the Tzadikim in the future.

   It was up to man to decide whether to choose light or not. Hashem knew the outcome and removed that original light.  When Aharon lit the Menorah he took from this hidden light. He chose light over darkness. This tiny flame remained with Klal Yisroel all of the forty years in the  Midbar. That’s  why it says here “Vayas Kain” to complete what was missing by “Masse Bereishit”. This also explains the p'shat in Rashi who says that Aharon didn't change anything. “Vayaas Kain” means that Aharon didn't change that original light of creation.

   Alternatively Aaron was to uplift the Neshamas of Benei Yisroel. Very often a person will see a righteous person perform an act of exceptional piety. He might say “that is not me, I could never do something like that.” Aaron comes to tell us we can, we can change and be more. Vayas Kain-Aaron made the word “Kain/Yes” he changed our attitude to one of “Yes I can” When Rashi comments L’hagid Shvocho Shel Aaron Shlo Shina- To tell us the praise of Aaron that he did not change. This can be read differently - To praise Aaron that the word “Lo” changed to a Yes. That I can’t became I can!

   The Oznayim L'Torah writes that the center flame lit the heavenly Menorah and it required special intent. Although this Menorah was constantly traveling Aaron was always able to connect precisely with his heavenly target.

   (8:19) “Metoch Benei Yisroel-From amongst the children of Israel.” In this Posuk the words “Benei Yisroel” appear five times. Rashi says that this is to show the love of Hashem for Benei Yisroel because their name is reiterated as many times as the Chamisha Chumshei Torah. What is the p'shat and why specifically here in this Posuk, which is telling us about the service of the in the Ohel Moed? The Torah just finished talking about the sacred duties and responsibilities of the Kohanim and Levium and Hashem didn't want the rest of Benei Yisroel to feel left out and feel bad that they don't have such a connection to Hashem. He 

therefore shows them his love for them here and compares them with the Chamishe Chumshe Torah as if to say that the Kohanim and Leviim have the “Keser Kehunah” and the “Keser Leviah.” Hashem is telling Klal Yisroel that even more than these Kasarim is the “Keser Torah” which they have and they shouldn't feel bad.

   (9:17) “U’Lifi H’Oslos H’Onan Me’al H’Ohel V’Acharei Kain Yisu-And whenever the cloud was lifted from atop the Tent, afterwards the Children of Israel would journey.” It would seem the words “Acharei Kain” are not needed? Why did the Torah not just say when the cloud lifted they would begin to travel? The Torah wanted to make certain that we understand that Benei Yisroel journeyed only at the direct command of Hashem. Once the cloud lifted “afterwards” they awaited the command of Hashem to travel. (Ohr HaChaim)

   (10:35) Upside down nun. Rashi says it is to show that this Posuk of “Vayhe Binso H’aron” is not in the proper place. It is written here to make a separation between one evil and another. The previous Posuk of “Vayiso Mehar Hashem” is one evil. Why is that an evil? It could be that since they had just spent an entire year at Har Sinai they were not accustomed to the physical world with its real temptations. They were eating the Munn which satisfied on a spiritual level and as long as they were in the presence of Hashem this was not a problem. As soon as they left they began to complain about the lack of meat. It wasn't the meat that they complained about but rather the lack of the physical sustenance they craved. There is a principal that whenever Kiddisha leaves it creates a vacuum that is immediately replaced by Tumeh. So as soon as they left the influence of Hashem's presence there entered Tumeh and Yetzer Hora. Thats why they wanted meat to satisfy their physical cravings. The Munn only satisfied their spiritual needs. But when they left Sinai they realized that they also had physical cravings. On the one hand they left the influence of the Shechina on the other side the evil was the “Misonnim”-they complained there was no meat. Two reasons for the Nun the correct place for this Posuk is fifty (Nun) Posukim earlier. To show this there is a Nun and it's upside down. Right side up would infer fifty Posukim later.(Netzsiv)

   The Ohr Hachaim explains the Posuk differently. He says that this Posuk deals with the concept of the negative forces that entrapped the sparks of Kiddusha. The reason why Benei Yisroel had to travel to the Midbar was because that is the domain of these spiritually negative forces and other inhospitable places of the earth. They can be divided in to two categories. One is a seducer who tries to lure man into immoral and unethical behavior. The other consists of various types of destructive forces that simply attack and try to kill man. When the posuk says “Vayehe Binso Ha’aron” it refers to the Ark journeying while the sparks of Kiddusha cleave to it. As a result of establishing contact with the Holy Ark it causes the captors to explode. This is the meaning of the use of the word “Vayehe” which usually introduces an element of sadness. In this case the sadness of the Kelipas destruction. The words “Kumah Hashem Veyafutzu Ovecha- Arise Hashem and scatter your enemies the scattering of these “enemies” of Hashem the ones that merely want the destruction of man. “Veyanusu Mesonecha Mepanecha- Let those that hate you flee before you” are the seductive forces that attempt to make the servants of Hashem become disloyal to him. When the Ark stopped moving it meant that it had located those “sparks” and would be gathering them in. This can explain why at times they would camp for only a few days while at times the remained in one location for several years. “Uvenucha Yomar Shuvah Hashem Rivivos Alufe Yisroel- May Hashem (The Ark) bring back all the scattered sparks of Kiddusha in their tens of thousands.” The name Yisroel is equivalent to the term sanctity. This is also alluded to in the word “Aluf” which symbolizes something exalted.

   R.Ari Kahn has a unique take on this issue. The Gemarrah Shabbos says that the two upside down “Nuns” were placed as a sign post that these two Posukim are in the wrong place. According to those who hold there is no chronological order to the Torah, why would there now be concern for this particular order? Also that same Gemarrah says that the type of scroll that may be saved from a burning building on Shabbos is one that has the minimum amount of letters required to be considered a scroll. This is based on these two verses that contain 85 letters. We see that these two verses are considered a book by itself. The Midrash actually claims that there are indeed seven books of the Torah. Bereishis Shemos, Vayikra Bamidbar until these verses, is four. These two verses (5), the rest of Bamidbar and Devarim. Why are these two verses considered a Sefer by themselves?

   In order to understand this we must look at the context in which they appear. The Torah had been received, the Mishkan had been completed and consecrated, everything is in place for Klal Yisroel to begin marching into Eretz Yisroel. In fact they begin the march. Moshe tells his father in-law to join them. He even includes himself when saying we are going in. At this point the two parenthetical verses appear. What happens next is that the nation begins complaining. They complain about the traveling, they complain about the Munn, they complain about the lack of meat. Moshe hears the complaining and becomes literally suicidal. He says to Hashem (11:11-11:15)“Why have you afflicted your servant? Why have I not found favor in your eyes that you lay the burden of this entire people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I fathered them, that you should say to me, carry them in your bosom like a nursing parent carries the suckling child, to the land You swore to their fathers? From where should I have meat to give them? For they weep to me, saying ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry this entire nation alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if you deal thus with me, Kill me, I pray You, at once, if I have found favor in Your eyes; and let me not see my wretchedness.”

   What caused this drastic turnaround in Moshe? Almost ten months earlier he was ready to give his life to save Klal Yisroel and now he prays for his own death? R.Soloveitchik explained the difference lies in two different aspects of Avodah Zora. When Klal Yisroel did the Eigel the problem was form. What form do we serve Hashem? Moshe felt that once they receive the Torah they would shift their form of worship. But now, upon seeing how the people behaved he understood that the problem was more deeply rooted. The effects of two hundred years of slavery had made deep in-roads into the people. They were not as far away from Mitzraim as he had imagined and hoped. Moshe had a premonition that neither he nor his entire generation would enter the Promised Land. For him, like so many other Jews, the Promised Land would remain just that, a promise.

   But what about the two verses, the eighty-five letters that are called a complete book? The answer is they are the book that was never written. They are the first and last Posuk of the book that should have been but was not. If not for the complaints of Klal Yisroel the first verse would have been what Moshe said upon entering the land. “Vayehe Binso Ha’aron-When the Aron would travel” Moshe would say “let all of Hashem’s enemies flee.” They never would have had to raise a weapon. All of the enemies would have fled. This first verse would have contained the beginning of the redemption. The second verse represents the last verse of the book, the end of the redemption. “When the Ark rested, he would say return the Myriad of thousands of Israel.” This would be the resurrection of the dead when all the souls will return to Hashem. There was supposed to be far more information in this book. But with these two verses Hashem leaves a sign, a reminder of what could have been or what should have been and what will be in the future.

       The Ma’am Loez says the two nun's hint to Naseh Venishma by Har Sinai. The two nuns are upside down to hint that now Benei Yisroel are the opposite of what they were. The Naseh Venishma was turned upside down.

   (9:20) "Al Pi Hashem Yachenu v'al Pi Hashem Yisu-By the word of Hashem they camped and by the word of Hashem they travelled." At times they remained camped for extended periods of time, while other times they camped only briefly. This was to teach us that in the future there will be a very long exile. We will need to have faith through the long Diaspora. Even though Hashem may delay, we have faith that one day we will journey into the promised land.

   (10:18) "V'Noso Degel Machaneh Reuvein-Then journeyed the division of the camp of Reuvein." By each of the tribes the word "Benei"  precedes the name of the tribe. However  the word "Benei" is notably missing when introducing the tribe Reuvein? When Rochel died Yakov moved his bed into the tent of Bilah. This upset Reuvein who felt that his mother, Leah, would feel slighted. The Torah thus records (Bereishis 35:22) "Vayelech Reuvein Vayishkav es Bilah Pilegesh Aviv Vayishma Yisroel - V'yihu Benei Yisroel Shnaim Assar-Reuvein went and lay with Bilah his fathers concubine, and Israel heard - The sons of Jacob were twelve." Although most commentators suggest that Reuvein did not actually sleep with his father's wife, rather he merely intervened with his fathers sleeping arraignments by moved his father's bed into Leah's tent. The fact that the verse ends with "The sons of Jacob were twelve." would according to many commentators seem to suggest that despite this act, Reuvein was not cast out. The sons of Jacob were twelve."

   However the Malbim writes that Menashe and Ephraim were destined to be conceived from Yakov that night. His interfering with his father's sleeping arrangements caused that they were not born to Yakov, and this was considered as if he had lain with his father's wife.(Arizal)

   This explains why Yakov considered Menashe and Ephraim as his own sons (48:3) because they were supposed to have been born to him. "The sons of Jacob were twelve." means they were only twelve! This is why our verse omits the word "Benei" by the tribe of Reuvein. He caused a child (Benei) to be removed, from being born. (Nireh Li) 

   (10:29)  " Vayomer Moshe L'Chovev-Moshe spoke to his father in law Chovev" Rashi  says this name was given because he loved the Torah. This is the only place in the Torah where Yisro is called Chovev. This was to show that although Yisro returned to his land, it was not because of a lack of faith. He still loved the Torah.

   (11:4) “V’Hosafsuf Asher B’Kirbo His’avu Taivoh-And the collection [of nationalities] among them began to have strong cravings.” At this point the Torah mentions how the Eruv Rav influenced Klal Yisroel first by mentioning the foods they used to eat in Egypt, and then complaining about the Munn. Until ultimately they complained about the intimate relations that now were forbidden to them. As it says in Posuk (11:10) “Vayishma Moshe es-Ha’am Bocheh L’mishpchosav-And Moshe heard the people weep according to their families.” Rashi explains that “according to their families” means concerning their intimate relationships. Moshe responds by complaining to Hashem saying (11:11) “Why have you dealt poorly with me?” (11:12) “Have I given birth to these people?” (11:13)”From where do I have meat to give to this entire people?” (11:14) “I alone can no longer carry this entire people.”  Hashem responds by saying that Moshe should gather 70 elders to which he would transfer some of the spirit that was upon Moshe. What is going on here? Hashem’s response does not seem to address the question? And how were these elders going to help this situation?

    The people were complaining despite all of the miracles performed for them. This exhibited a tremendous lack of gratitude on their part. Where did this come from? The Chinuch! The lack of gratitude was a lack in Chinuch this is why Hashem told Moshe to gather 70 elders. They would be the ones to educate the people. We find today that America, going through the protests and riots, stems from a similar lack of Chinuch. There is a lack of appreciation for what this country has provided its people. This lack of gratitude is a lack in how a generation was educated.

   The Ramban explains that the Munn was given in the merit of Moshe. This was the food of angels. It was spiritual food. It was given physical form only for the purpose of Klal Yisroel. But at this point Klal Yisroel had just left from the spiritual high of being in the presence of Har Sinai for an entire year. This was a tremendous let down from an extremely lofty level. When the Posuk says         (11:4) “V’Hosafsuf Asher B’Kirbo His’avu Tavoh-And the collection [of nationalities] among them began to have strong cravings.” It means they began to crave cravings. The food we eat has an effect on us. Certain foods bring along certain characteristics with them that are intrinsic to the animals they came from. Animals follow their instinct, their nature. They don’t use their Daas to act. Therefore by eating them Hashem  we gain some of their nature. The Torah restricts certain animals because of the negative nature that they give off when eaten. This is why they wanted to eat meat. So what Moshe was saying here is “where will I get meat from?” When he was on Har Sinai he did not need to eat. He was on a level far above all of this. That is why the Munn fell in Moshe's Zechus. He was totally removed from the physicality of ordinary eating. He said “How can I give them meat?” because he could not be the vehicle for this physicality. Hashem therefore said to assemble the 70 elders. They would become the vehicle to bring the physicality of the food to the nation.

   (11:5) “Es Ha’Kishuim V’es H’Avatichim-The cucumbers and Melons.” Rashi says that the Munn did not have the taste of the items listed because it was harmful for nursing mothers. The question is, why did Hashem not allow the taste of these items in the Munn without the harmful side affects? Because had a mother been able to have every flavor in her Munn she would not be giving up anything in bringing up her child. Hashem did not want  them to lose touch with the concept of what it means to sacrifice for a child even in the desert.

   (11:10) "Vayishma Moshe es Ha'am Bocheh L'Mishpachosom- Moshe heard the nation weeping in their family groups." The Kol Torah  writes that the physical desire for relations with close relatives was extremely powerful in ancient times.  It was not until Zachariyah that the Sages were permitted to reduce this basic instinct.

   The question then is why here? These commands were given earlier at HarSinai? The Oznayim L' Torah writes that this demonstrates the powerful influence of a Holy place. It was only after leaving Har Sinai that such complaints could arise.

   (11:17) "V'Otzalti Min Haruach Asher Olehoh-I will take some of the spirit that is upon you."  After Moshe complains to Hashem that he cannot carry this nation of complainers any longer, Hashem replies that he will share some of Moshe's spirit with the 70 Elders. Why  did Hashem not just give the Elders power on their own, why take it from Moshe? The answer is that Hashem wanted to show Moshe that he had the power within him all along.

   (11:19) “Lo Yom Echod Tochlun, V’Lo Yomoyim, V’Lo Chmisha Yomim, V’Lo Asara Yomim, V’Lo Esrim Yom- Not for one day shall you eat, not two days, not five days, not ten days, not twenty days.” For a Torah that is known to have no extra letters contained in it, these words seem quite redundant? Why go through so many examples of days when merely saying “One Month” would have sufficed 

This response explains the nature of their sin. The complaint was that they “desired desire” The origin of desire is in the power of sight. We see something we imagine what it would be like and we act upon it. They could have had the Munn taste like meat. But it would never look like meat. A key ingredient to the desire of something is in how it appears to you. How the food is presented adds to the enjoyment of it. Our mission is to elevate the physical for a spiritual purpose. To use the Yetzer Horah for Kiddusha. This was missing from their request.

   The Baalei Tosfes write that when the Posuk enumerates the amount of days, it should be cumulative. The Torah is telling us all the days of the year that meat should be eaten - on Yom Tov and Shabbos! To elevate it. If we add one plus two plus five plus ten plus twenty plus the 29 day month gives us a total of 67 days. The total number of Shabbosim and Yom Tovim for the year. Rather than requesting meat for their base desires, these are the days that meat should be eaten.

   (12:1) "Vatidabaer Miriam V'Aharon B'Moshe al Odos H'Isha-And Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe because of the Cushite woman." (12:3) "V'Ho'Ish Moshe Anav M'Ode- Now the man Moshe was very humble." After Miriam and Aharon spoke negatively towards Moshe we find that the Torah proclaims him to be most humble. This would not seem to be the proper response to their accusations towards him? The Kol Torah  explains that Moshe had just  gone through one of the darkest periods of his life. He was depressed over the constant complaints of Yisrael to the point that he asked Hashem to end his life. Then he hears Eldad and Maidad's prophecy that he would not lead the nation into the promised land. He approaches his brother and sister for comfort only to hear them speak against him. But the Torah tells us that all of this did not change who Moshe was. He remained the most humble of men.

   Benei Yissaschar:

(12:13) “Kel Na Refah Na La”-In the Gemarra Brachos it says we learn from this posuk that if someone is asking for a cure for his friend he doesn't have to mention his name because Miriam's name wasn't mentioned here. Our Rabbis ask, if this were true then we shouldn't have to Daven because Hashem knows our thoughts. Therefore you must at least allude to the name. In this PosukRefah Na” is in Gematria Miriam Yocheved (Miriam and her mother). You don't have to say the name explicitly a “Remez” is enough


     In this week's Parshah of “Behaloscha we read about the Pesach Sheini. We learn that after missing bringing the Korban Pesach on the eve of Pesach, this group approached Moshe Rabbeinu and lamented their missing this Mitzvah/event, and were looking to find a solution and a “redo”. In reply, Moshe gets a message from Hashem that those who missed the first time around may bring it a month later. This is unusual, for we don’t see this concept of a redo in regards to other Mitzvahs such as Matzoh, Shofar, Lulav, or Shabbat that one may have missed. I venture to say, that it was precisely because they felt the vacuum of this missing mitzvah, and precisely because they acted upon it, and were seeking a way to remedy this fault/vacuum, that they were given the opportunity to make good and retrieve a lost treasure.

In todays Corona era, as we sit here thrown out of our shuls, it is incumbent upon us to seek to be able to return, and I believe that, that is part of the formula of return. I am not going to pontificate as to why we have this era of Corona and issues, that is way above my pay grade, but let’s face it; Hashem threw us out of shul. Of course, there are all the “apparent reasons” but ultimately, we comprehend that this, as all else, is an act of G-D. Conversely, we see the Torah itself directly take to task someone who while witnessing tragedy and chaos is indifferent and says “I’m good, nothing to see here”. To such a person Hashem says; “I will personally deal with him in regards to all these curses. Hashem does not want to forgive him (Deut. 29’ 18”).

Tangentially, we do learn something from all this in anticipation of Mashiach (who is tasked with ushering in a higher level of spirituality, and a recognition of the existence of Hashem.) When the third and final temple will be built, everyone will have to be mindful of being Tohar (pure) or Tomei (impure). Just as a Kohen may not impurify himself by entering a cemetery or an ongoing funeral, there will be many forms of impurity that everyone will have to guard against. Examples of these impure states are cemeteries, certain dead rodents, bodily emission both male and female, and other items, AND coming into physical contact, meaning touching or leaning, with someone who is impure. Anyone wanting to enter the Temple or eat from Korbanos/sacrifices will have to undergo a purity ritual including immersion in a kosher mikveh. To guard against unwanted touching, imagine all the social distancing that will be de-rigueur, and certainly no random handshaking or two cheek kisses. So, Hashem is just getting us used to it.

We were thrown out of shul. Generally, if someone is expelled it’s for disturbing, just as a host will mute you in a zoom meeting if you disrupt, or the boss at a meeting or the teacher in class. So just how bad is talking during the Amidah repetition? Well the Shulchan Orach tells us; (124’ 7”) he is a sinner, we admonish him publicly, and “his sin is an unbearable sin”. The only other time we find this expression, is when Kayin killed his brother Hevel. (Genesis 4’13”).

So how bad is talking by the Amida repetition? And missing Amain? (See Nitei Gavriel introduction to Kaddish Pg. 279) There are 7 levels in hell, plus an eighth on the floor of this pit- twice as dark and of double intensity. The “up to” 12-month journey of a soul being cleansed, provides for up to a month and a half for each stage This bottom layer, is reserved for the cleansing of those who neglected saying Amain. The Mourner’s Kaddish which provides relief and elevation to the Neshomah, can not address anything else before it addresses and cleanses the sin of not answering Amain, which corresponds to the first month and a half of the soul’s journey. (There are other delays known as Kaf Hakelah & Chibut Hakever, potentially a very tough part of the journey home, but generally, as a rule, those who repent before passing away, are granted a direct route to begin the cleansing process.) To complicate matters, I have seen somewhere that the kaddish said for a blatant and habitual talker is painful to the soul, for it lays bare the deceased’s disrespect to Kaddish and Amain, so why should the deceased benefit from this fresh kaddish. Nevertheless, ultimately, notwithstanding the shame of this, the kaddish in its holiness of uplifting all of creation, benefits the soul, for it is this soul that has caused that someone, to say this kaddish.

       In summary, as I see it, the shul and the Amidah are a moment in time that the congregation both individually and collectively communicates directly with Hashem. If one talks during this Amidah he is effectively disregarding the current proceedings and is inherently dissing G-D.

           The Mishnah Berura (ad loc.) adds that it is appropriate to appoint people to make sure no one talks. This I believe is the answer. If we promise not to talk at least by the Amidah repetition, and have each shul appoint three people in charge of this, Hashem will let us back in happily.

80 By; Bryan Abish. For comments / free subscription or to unsubscribe; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject; Dvar. J


 (4:21-22) “Vayidabaer Hashem el Moshe Leimor. Naso es Rosh Benei Gershon-Hashem told Moshe Take a census of the sons of Gershon.” It seems strange that this week’s Parsha should begin with the oldest son of the tribe of Levi. In last weeks Parsha the Torah began describing the duties of the Leviim by listing the sons of Kehas, the second of the tribe of Levi who had the most coveted job of carrying the holiest vessels of the Mishkon. The Parsha then ends and we find the narrative continues in this week’s Parsha with the duties of Gershon? Why was it necessary to separate the listing with a new Parsha? We know that Parshas Nasso is usually read on the Shabbos following Shevuos. Since the Festivals are related to the Torah portions in whose time they fall, there must be an allusion to the special qualities of this Shabbos. What is special about this Shabbos?

   Before the Torah was given there was a rift in the universe. From the time Adom ate from the Eitz Hadas there was a separation between Hashem and the physical world. It was impossible for the spiritual to exist in the physical. When the Torah was given there was a tremendous shaking in the physical world. Reports of earthquakes, volcano eruptions and floods are recorded by many different cultures and civilizations. The giving of the infinite Torah to the finite world was an unnatural phenomenon. But through this giving there was a mend in the cosmos. Heaven and earth could now be united. Thus the Mitzvos performed before Matan Torah lacked the quality of the Mitzvos performed after Matan Torah. Since all past events are reawakened at the time of year during which they first occurred, we understand that the Shabbos following Shevuos is an echo of the first Shabbos following the giving of the Torah.

   The duties of the sons of Kehas were connected to the highest forms of Keddusha. Therefore their function could exist in a world before the Torah was given. Only after the healing accomplished through Matan Torah could there be the duties of Gershon. The physical parts of the Mishkon now could be connected to their spiritual essence.

   The Gemarrah in Brochos says it is greater to do a Mitzvah when commanded than when not commanded. Why is this so? We would think it would be greater to do something when not forced to, when it comes from our own initiative. But doing a Mitzvah affects the entire universe. This can only be done when acting as an agent of Hashem. When Hashem commands us to do a Mitzvah, He is in essence making us an agent to perform His will thus empowering us to change the physical world. Matan Torah is the time we became empowered as Hashem’s agents to affect our world through His Mitzvos.

   The name of each Parsha exemplifies its essence. Nasso means to uplift but it also is connected to the word for prince. The bulk of this Parsha deals with the donations that were given by the princes of each tribe after Matan Torah. They each brought the same exact gift but for different reasons. They each looked at the world from a slightly different perspective. In so doing they elevated another aspect of the physical world.

   The Zohar writes that the name “Yisroel” is an acronym for Yesh Shishim Rebo Osios L’Torah-There are Six Hundred Thousand Letters in the Torah. We know there are 600,000 core Neshamas to Klal Yisroel, which was approximately the total number of Jews counted in last week’s parsha. (603,550) It therefore comes out that every Jewish soul has a corresponding letter in the Torah. The question however is what about the 22,300 Leviim? They were not included in the counting of the other tribes. Perhaps according to R.Zev Leff we can say the following. Every Torah scroll requires that there be lines, called Serutim, etched on the parchment in order to allow the writing of the letters to be uniform. The letters much touch the line at the top. There are no more than 30 letters permitted to a line but when counting spaces and paragraphs the average line contains 27 letters. If we divide the 603,550 letters in the Torah by 27 we come up with 22,353 as the amount of lines in the Torah. This is what the tribe of Levi represents. They are Mitoch Benei Yisrael - In the midst of Yisrael, the one’s we must look up to and who keep Yisroel in line.

   (4:32) “U’Vsheimos Tifkidu es Klei Mishmeres M’osom-By name you shall appoint the safeguarding of their load.” What does appointment by name mean? The Shelah writes that the carrying of these vessels were extremely difficult. They were made of heavy materials. Investing them with Holy Names served like a soul to a body, and just like a live being carries itself, and his weight is lightened, so too these Holy items had an inner spirit which made them lighter.

  (6:2) Rashi writes that the reason the Parsha of Nazir was written next to the Parsha of Sotah is that whoever sees a Sotah in her disgrace should take the vow of Nezirus. The question is why? If he witnesses such a traumatic sight it should cause him to feel distanced from sinning? The answer could be that a person does not see things randomly. If he happened to be in that place at that time, there is a reason he was there to witness it. That is why he needs to take the vow of Nezirus. There must be something he needs to correct in his life and the sight he witnessed is a message to him.

  (6:5) "תאר לא יאבר אל ראשו - No blade shall pass over his head" A Nazir must not shave his hair. Hair evokes mans resemblance to Hashem. It represents mans crowning glory of appearance. What makes hair symbolize strength?

   R.Bachya writes that the Nazir is on a spiritually higher level than the high priest. The high priests dominating attribute is that of Chesed  whereas the predominant attribute of the Nazir is Binah, which is ranked higher than Chesed. The word Nazir is a reference to the crown, which is worn by the high priest. This is the meaning of the words "the crown of his God is on his head". The reason he must not drink wine or become ritually Impure is to keep his distance from forces which are beholden to the left side of the emanations, the part which is perceived as representing spiritually negative influences. On the other hand, he is warned not to shave his hair because hair represents strength as we know from Sampson. Hair grows incessantly and continues to grow even after death if the corpse is in a moist environment. Each single hair is a symbol of the far-flung activities of Hashem, activities which deal with minute details, just as every single hair seems by itself insignificant. Hairs represent a continuous development in all directions of the globe. As a reminder of this concept of G-d the "All-Present", the Nazir is commanded to give the hair full and unrestrained opportunity to keep growing. The Nazir is cautioned not to destroy any part of his hair by means of a razor. It is similar to separating a sapling from its roots. Once separated it loses its nourishment and strength.

   There are three factors that motivate man’s behavior. Either because it feels good, because it looks good or because it is good. The Nazir  rises above everyone by not being like everyone. The word Nazir is an acronym for three words which describe the three motivations of man. The letter Nun stands for Nireh-appearance, what looks good. The letter Zayin  stands for Zos as in Zos H’Torah and represents what is Good. The letter Reish stands for Regesh describing what feels good. Thus the Nazir demonstrates his ability to rule over these three motivations.

  (6:7) "L’aviv U’L’emo L’achiv U’Lachoso Lo Yitamu-To his father or his mother, to his brother or to his sister he shall not contaminate himself.” We have learned in Vayikra (21:2) that a Kohen, who is also holy, is permitted to contaminate himself for close relatives while the nazzir is not? The Shem Meshmuel writes that a Kohen receives his Kiddusha from his 

family, from his father. While the Nazzir attains his Kiddusha on his own, with no connection to his family. Therefore, the Kohen, whose Kiddusha is derived from his family may participate in the funeral of a family member.

   The Kohen Gadol is not permitted to attend the funeral of family members. Although he is a Kohen from his family, he is Kohen Gadol due to is own merits. (Shem Meshmuel)

   There remains the question as to why the Posuk only mentions “Father, Mother , sister Brother” but not wife, son or daughter as it does in Parshas Emore with regard to the Kohein Gadol? R.Yakov Kaminetsky explained that a Nazir was usually not a married person. Therefore he had no wife, son, or daughter. 

 The Parsha lists each of the prince’s gifts to the dedication of the Mishkon. Twelve times the same gifts are repeated. Why this repetition? The Torah wanted to show how each tribe was valued equally. That had only the first offering been described the importance of the others would have been diminished.

   Also the repetition teaches that although the donations were identical, the thoughts behind each of them differed. Each Nassi with “Ruach Hakodesh” chose gifts and measurements that symbolized the traits and history of his own tribe. That’s why each is listed individually because although externally they were the same the reflections behind them differed.

   (6::23) כה תברכו את בני ישראל אמור להם״-So shall you bless the Children of Israel say to them." The word "אמור" is spelled full with the extra "Vav".

Three reasons are given.

1- "Vav" equals six representing the six blessings found in the priestly blessings.

2- The word אמור equals 247 the same as זמר meaning song, the blessings must be sung.

3- The word אמור including the word equals 248 all of the bodily limbs are blessed.

   If the Kohanim bless the nation, who blesses the Kohanim? R.Avigdor Miller  writes that they receive their blessings from another place. Hashem told Avraham whoever blesses you I will bless. So the Kohanim receive their blessings directly from Hashem.

      (7:1) “Vayehe Bayom Kalos Moshe L’hokim es HaMishkon-And it was the day Moshe finished erecting the Mishkon” Rashi writes that the word “Kalos” is related to the word Kalah-Bride. That on the day the Mishkon was erected, Israel were like a bride entering the wedding canopy. But have we not learned that the wedding was actually at Har Sinai by the giving of the Torah? It seems there are conflicting Midrashim. One holds that Har Sinai was merely the engagement of Klal Yisroel and here, by the dedication of the Mishkon, was the actual marriage.

  (7:1) “Vayehe Bayom Kalos Moshe L’hokim es HaMishkon-And it was the day Moshe finished erecting the Mishkon” The Torah always uses this as an expression of pain. The completion of the Mishkon should have been the most joyous not painful of days? The Zohar writes that the pain here was that the Shechina was now leaving its heavenly abode. In addition the Mishkon was actually plan B. Originally Hashem wanted to dwell inside each member of Klal Yisroel. Hashem now was to dwell in the Mishkon instead.

   (7:2) “Vayakrivu Nesiai Yisroel…Haim Nesiai Mattos-They drew near the princes of Yisroel..They were the heads of their tribes.”Rashi explains that these were the officers appointed over them in Egypt and were smitten because of them. Because these princes took a beating for their brethren, Hashem repaid them now by appointing them as princes over Yisroel. Thus the meaning of “Nesiai Mattos”  can be read as princes of the rod.

   (7:12) “ Vayehe H’makiriv Bayom H’Rishon ..Nachshon ben Aminodov- And it was the one who brought his offering on the first day, Nachshon ben Aminadav.” Again we find this term of pain regarding the first dedication of the Mishkon? However on the day that the Mishkon was dedicated we know that Ahron’s two sons died. Despite that terrible tragedy the dedications had to take place. Nachshon was chosen because of his display of self sacrifice at the splitting of the Red Sea they knew he would have the proper intention even though his sister was Elisheva, the wife of Aharon and the mother of Nadav and Avihu.

  (7:18) “B’yom Hasheni Hikriv Nesanel ben Tzuor- On the second day Nesanel the son of Tzuor brought.”  The word “Hikriv” is not found by the other tribes. Rashi elaborates on the significance of the donations given here. The question is why did he choose to comment on the second day and not comment on the first day? The answer is because the prince of the tribe of Yissacher, Nesanel, was the one who suggested that each prince make a donation. This is the meaning of the word “Hikriv” in this context. It was he who brought. Very often we find that the second person that gives tries to outdo the first by giving a little more. This could have escalated with each tribe. But Nesanel gave exactly the same as the first prince thereby preventing any possible escalation. Even though it could have been perceived as humiliating to give the exact same donation, he still took that upon himself. That is why the word “Hikriv” is spelled without the letter “Vav”.

   (7:19) “Karas Kasef Rashi says the numerical value of this gift was 930, the same as the number of years Adam lived. What significance does this have to the Mishkon? Also it says the weight of the silver was 130 Shekalim, equal to the number of years that Adam separated from Chava. What is the relationship to the Mishkon?

    The Maharal says that the Mishkon was a microcosm of the perfect world. Everything that was in the creation of the world was in the creation of the Mishkon. Adam was represented by a bowl (Ke'ara) because he was the mainstay (Ikar) of mankind. He included all of the Neshamas of future generations. Its weight was 130 Shekalem to symbolize that Adam was 130 years old when his successor Shais was born, who became the founder of mankind.

    Each of the princes gave their particular gift for a different reason, yet each gift was exactly the same. Each prince had something in their tribe, which they wanted represented in their gift. Even the names of the Nesium had significance. “Nachshon ben Aminadav” The name Nachshon comes from the word “Nachshol”(wave) this signifies that when Benei Yisroel reached the shore of the Yam Suf, this Nassi was the first to obey Hashem's command to go further. He leaped into the waves of the sea. The gift of the basin weighed 70 shekel to indicate that Shlomo and Moshiach, who both come from his tribe, would rule over 70 nations. The tribe of Dan had Shimshon come from that tribe. In the Parsha of Nazir there are 130 words. That’s why they gave the silver plate weighing 130 Shekalim. Each tribe had their own independent connection to the donations given.

    The Gemarrah in Sotah says that the proximity of the Parsha of Sotah with the Parsha of Nazir comes to teach us that if someone would see a Sotah it would compel him to declare himself a Nazir. The Ibin Ezra writes that the Parsha of Nazir is next to the Parsha of Birchas Kohanim to teach us that they both have Kiddusha. The Abarbanel takes this one step further by saying that it teaches us that even a simple Jew can attain the highest levels of Yidishkeit without having to be born into it like a Kohen. We can see another similarity between a Kohen and a Nazir. It says that the Nazir must bring a Korban after having been contaminated by coming in contact with a corpse. One of the reasons is because being on such an elevated state should have protected the people in his proximity from dying. We find a similar situation by a city of refuge. It says that if a person kills someone accidentally, he flees to this city to escape the wrath of the

Gadol is responsible for the lives of his people.(Shem Meshmuel)

   At the end of the parsha it says (7:84) “Zos Chanukas Hamizbeach B’yom Hemoshach Oso-This was the dedication of the Altar, on the day it was anointed” Then a few Posukim later it says (7:88) “Zos Chanukas Hamizbeach Acharei Hemoshach Oso-This was the dedication of the Altar after it was anointed”. Why the repetition just four Posukim later? It is very common for people to be excited when something is new. However as time passes the novelty usually wears off. The Torah is telling us that not only was there tremendous excitement on the day the altar was anointed but that even after it was anointed it did not lose it’s newness, but was cherished with the same awe as on the first day. (Chidushe Harim)

relatives of the deceased. He remains there until the current Kohen Gadol dies. This is for the same reason as the Nazir. The Kohain 

Gadol is responsible for the lives of his people.(Shem Meshmuel)

   At the end of the parsha it says (7:84) “Zos Chanukas Hamizbeach B’yom Hemoshach Oso-This was the dedication of the Altar, on the day it was anointed” Then a few Posukim later it says (7:88) “Zos Chanukas Hamizbeach Acharei Hemoshach Oso-This was the dedication of the Altar after it was anointed”. Why the repetition just four Posukim later? It is very common for people to be excited when something is new. However as time passes the novelty usually wears off. The Torah is telling us that not only was there tremendous excitement on the day the altar was anointed but that even after it was anointed it did not lose it’s newness, but was cherished with the same awe as on the first day. (Chidushe Harim)


The Chidah writes that a person should make an effort to not only learn Torah on Shevuos but try to be Mechadesh  new Torah on Shevuos. Why is it not enough to learn Torah on Shevuos?


  The Chasam  Sofer was asked a question from a neighboring Rav. There was a person on his death bed on the second day of Shevuos. He had no children but had a brother who lived far away. His wife would not be able to remarry if she didn’t perform Yibum or Chalitza. The question asked was may we write a Get on Yom Tov before the husband passed away? The Rav of the town decided against it. Now we know the second day of Shevuos is only D’Rabonon since it is only Yom Tov out of doubt when Rosh Chodesh was. However there is no doubt by the Yom Tov of Shevuos because we know exactly when it comes out. We know because we are counting 49 days from Pesach thus the 50th day is Yom Tov! If that is the case why do we keep two days of Yom Tov on Shevuos? One answer is to keep it uniform with all the other holidays.

   If we think about it we should ask a more serious question. That of the Magen Avrohom who asks why we celebrate on the sixth day of Sivan when we know that the Torah was really given on the seventh? It therefore comes out that the second day of Shevuos is more strict than other second days of Yom Tov because that was the actual day of the giving of the Torah. Why then do we celebrate Shevuos a day early?

  The Gemarrah on Shabbos tells us that when Moshe when up to Har Sinai to receive the Torah he was confronted by the angels who complained that the Torah should not be given to mere humans, it belongs in heaven. Hashem told Moshe to respond. Moshe answered them and said “Do you have parents to honor? Were you enslaved in Egypt?” 

  We are then left with an even bigger question, what was it that the angels were thinking? Did they not know what was in the Torah?  

   The Beis Halevy comments that it wasn’t just the fact that we were given 613 Mitzvos at that time. It wasn’t just that we were Makable theTorah, but we were given something much more at that time. When Hashem gave us the Torah He also gave us the reins of the Torah. We are now in control of the blueprints to the world. That is the significance of Matan Torah. The angels were complaining How can you give so much power to mere flesh and blood mortals? This was the struggle on that day. When we say the blessing on the Torah we say “Asher Nosan Lonu Toras Emes Vnotah B’Socheinu” Hashem placed within us the power to define reality. This is what we celebrate on Shevuos

  If this is true then which would be the best day to celebrate Matan Torah? What is the greatest expression of the fact that we have control over reality? Hashem wanted to give the Torah on the sixth of Sivan but Moshe said it is better to add one day and give it on the seventh, on Shabbos. Moshe added a day on his own accord. This is the greatest expression of how man is in control over reality. This is the sixth of Sivan. When Moshe exercised that control. We are given the opportunity to connect with Hashem. We are able to use our intellect to better understand our creator. To connect to the divine.

   This is why the Chidah says it is specifically on Shevuos, that we should attempt to be Mechadesh  new Torah. Through this we may be worthy of better connecting with Hashem.



  The fourth Sefer of the Torah is referred to as Sefer HaPekudim-The Book of Numbers. There is clearly a lot of counting in this book. Why would Hashem need Moshe to count the people? Hashem knows the numbers? Moreover we know that Hashem does not approve of counting people either, as we find when Dovid HaMelech counted people, a plague resulted. The Gemara in (Yoma22b) quotes a verse in Hoshea (2:1) that says “Benei Yisroel should not be counted or measured.” The Gemara itself asks this question, because the verse begins “And the number of Benei Yisrael shall be as the sand of the sea, which shall not be counted or measured.” The first part implies that there is a number to be given to Bnei Yisroel, whereas the second part rules otherwise?

  One answer given is that Hashem may count the people, but man may not. The question then is why? The phrase used is (1:2) “Mispar Shemos Kol Zachor L’Gilgilosom-The number of names every male according to their headcount.” This is an unusual phrase? The numerical value of the phrase Mispar Shemos-The number of names is 1128 the same as “Vhayu Mispar Beni Yisroel Kichol Hayam-The number of the Children of Israel will be as the sand on the shore.” They cannot be counted.

   If Hashem was ordering a count He would have used the phrase Tisperu Osam- count them! But the Posuk             reads (1:3) “M’Ben Esrim Shana V’Maalah...Tifkedu-From the age of twenty you shall count them.” which is a different word for counting. The word Pekidah  means to consider, take note of something as in  “Hashem Pokad es Sarah-Hashem took note of Sarah’s barrenness.” Thus the “Book of Numbers” is really the “Book of Considerations”! The counting of Pekidah serves to stress the value of the individual. Hashem, in considering each Jew is lifting each of them up. Now we can understand the Gemara, which says that it is only acceptable for Hashem to count the people, and not for man to do so. For it is only Hashem who is able to recognize the true value of every Jew. It is only He who gives everyone the correct consideration.  The word L’Gilgilosom-Headcount has a numerical value of 536 the same as the word L’Alos-to lift up.

             (1:1) “Vayidabaer Hashem el Moshe Bamidbar Sinai…B’echod L’chodesh Hasheni B’Shaneh Hashenis L’tzeisum M’eretz Mitzrayim- Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai…On the first of the second month, in the second year after their exodus from the land of Egypt.” So begins the fourth Sefer of the Torah. What would logically be the verse that precedes this verse? If we look at the end of  Sefer Shemos we find an event that took place just prior to this one. (Shemos 40:34) “Vayichas H’onan es-Ohel Moed u’Kovod Hashem Molei es H’mishkon-The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Hashem filled the Tabernacle.” This took place one month before the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar. The entire book of Vayikra could have been written after Bamidbar and we would not have noticed a difference.

   The Ramban writes that the book of Shemos is the book of redemption. But the redemption is not complete until the presence of Hashem is returned to this world. The closeness to Hashem that man lost after the original sin needed to be restored. Once that had been accomplished the Sefer Vayikra serves as an instruction manual of how to maintain that closeness.

   Sefer Bamidbar begins with a count of the people plus the directives of how they were to travel in formation through the dessert. The first ten chapters of Bamidbar all deal with the preparations of what should have come next, the marching into Eretz Yisroel. This is why Sefer Vayikra ends with the laws of Shemita plus the Tochacha. They were preparing to enter into the land. Up until the tenth chapter in Bamidbar everything was falling into place.

   Chapter eleven is when things begins to fall apart. The people begin complaining for no valid reason. They want meat, they seek Taiva (desires) they are not content with the heavenly Munn. To the point that Moshe becomes so distraught that he tells Hashem (Bamidbar 11:15) “V’Im Kocha At-Oseh Li Horgaini Nah-And if this is how you deal with me-Kill me now!”

   What was to have been the climactic ending turned into a series of missed opportunities and wrong turns. Instead of marching into the Promised Land the people were destined to wander for 40 years until every member of that generation died out. The question however is that if the Torah was given at Har Sinai in its entirety how can we say that the people changed course? How could the Torah intend them to march straight through when the outcome was already known? The answer is that the Torah like man has a body and a soul, a physical and spiritual side. On Har Sinai what Moshe received was the soul of the Torah the exact way the lessons were to be given over was not written down until the last day of Moshe’s life. Much of Torah is learned from the narration of the events that transpired. But if those events did not occur the lesson would have been taught in a different manner. If the sin of the Golden Calf did not happen we still would have had a Yom Kippur but from another source. Would Moshe have hit the rock if he already knew what was written in the Torah?

   Through all of this the will of Hashem ultimately is done. We can either take the direct route to the Promised Land or the longer detour through the various exiles Israel has endured.  This is the price of Bechira, having free choice.

 (1:1) “Vayidabaer Hashem el Moshe Bamidbar Sinai-Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai.” The word Bamidbar has the same letters as the word Midabaer - to speak. This could be the reason why this Parsha is always read before Shevous. Because the Chasam Sofer writes that Shevous is to Pesach what Shemini Atzeres is to Succos. Pesach was the freeing of speech and Shevous is the establishment of speech. We learn it from the first Posuk in chapter 3. It says “these are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe.” But only Aharon’s children are mentioned. Rashi writes that we see from here that someone who teaches others is as if he bore them. The power of speech is the tool with which Hashem created the world. It’s what separates man from the animals. By using speech a person can affect the course of another person’s life. What he hears can cause a profound effect forever. It can influence the way a person acts in the future and can cause a ripple effect to others as well. The extension of this is the idea behind the Mourner’s Kadesh, which is said in memory of a deceased person. Even after a person has passed on to the next world, his child’s merits can continue to earn him reward in the World to come, even though his own earning power has ceased. This week’s Parsha hints at how powerful sharing Torah can be.

   (1:2) “Kol Zachor L’Gilgolosom- Every male according to their head count.” The word “L’Gilgolosom” has the same root as the word Gilgul  which means a reincarnation of a soul. Moshe was able to look at every single male member of the nation, and determine how many reincarnations that soul would need to correct the failures of a previous life in order to attain perfection. He blessed each of them accordingly. The Gematria of the word “L’Gilgolosomequals 536 the same as the words L’Mechilas Chet-the pardoning of sin.

  (1:3) “M’ben Esrim Shana V’maloh Kol Yotze Tzvah-From twenty years and up all who are able to go to war.” This phrase is repeated in the counting of each tribe. Would it not have been 

enough to mention it once? The Ksav V’kabalah asks this question and explains that this was a testimony to the purity of Klal Yisroel. Only those who are pure of heart, free of sin were permitted to go to war. This is why that phrase is repeated by each tribe, to attest to the purity of all of them.

   (1:4) “V’Itchem Yiyu IshIsh L’mateh-And with you will be one man from each tribe.” The Minchas Ani interprets the verse homiletically. A man who considers himself  “L’mateh” on the “Bottom” below others, who does not draw attention to himself, is truly a leader, a Rosh among men.

   (1:18) “ Vayisyaldu al-Mishpechosom-And they established their genealogy.”They brought their birth certificates as the Egyptians kept meticulous records.  We have a tendency to discount where we came from. Our generation tries to be independent, to break away from the past. We don’t become as great as we can because we don’t realize who we come from. The concept is not that I don’t need to work on myself because of where I come from, the concept is that because of my Yichus I have much to live up to. This is why the Pobove Rebbe would explain the words Vayisyaldu al-Mishpechosom as they gave birth to themselves based on their ancestry.

  (1:22). “L’Benei Shimeon- Pekudav B’mispar Shemos-To the sons of Shimon ... their counted ones to the numbers of names” The word "their counted ones" ('pekudav') does not appear by any of the other tribes. Why does the Torah then use it specifically with regard to Shimon, asks the Birkas Avraham? Perhaps, he suggests, it is because the tribe was destined to be decimated in the fortieth year, after the episode with Zimri ben Salu. The Torah is therefore hinting here that although this was the number of souls that there were now (rendering Shimon one of the largest tribes), this would change drastically later (to render them one of the smallest tribes). We might add that the word "Pekudav" has connotations of missing (or being reduced), and that the Torah is therefore hinting that their numbers would later be reduced ( Ba'al ha'Turim Bereishis 50:24).

   (1:30) “Lemate Zevulon” All of the tribes counted are accompanied by the prefix  “vav” (umateh Naftali). Why is it omitted in the case of Mateh Zevulon? Zevulon engaged in commerce supporting the Shevet Yissascher. The Torah writes Zevulon without this prefix to show that shevet Zevulon is in no way inferior or secondary to Yessascher. He stands alone. This teaches us that he who supports Torah is just as great as he who studies himself.

   Due to Zevulon's great merit why weren't they worthy to have an easier occupation than to be sailors and require them to venture so far from home?

   The Gemara in Keddushin (82.) says that sailors, because of their perilous work are continually reminded that their lives are totally in Hashem's hands and they pray constantly to keep safe. As a result sailors have a strong appreciation of the value of Torah. This is one reason why Zevulon supported Yessascher. So Zevulon's difficult livelihood added to the great schar they had in supporting the Torah of Yissascher.    

   (1:44) “Vayihu Kol Hapikudin Shesh Meyous Eleph...All the countings totaled Six Hundred and three thousand, five hundred fifty.” The Zohar writes that the acronym of the word Yisroel stands for Yesh Shishim Ribuy Osious L'Torah-There are six hundred  thousand letters in the Torah. There were six hundred thousand core Neshamos at the time of the birth of the nation. Therefore each Jew has a corresponding letter. But this count did not include Shevet Levi? How can the most honored tribe be excluded from having a portion of the Torah? Rabbi Zev Leff suggests the following. A Sefer Torah must be written with specific guidelines. Every column, every space, every line is calculated. There are on average 27 letters per line in a Sefer Torah. If you divide the number of souls 603,550 by the average amount of letters per line, you arrive at 22,273 lines which is the number for the Tribe of Levi. 22,273. This means that Shevet Levi is represented in the Torah as lines. Thus their role is to keep Yisroel in line. This could also be the explanation of the words that refer to the counting of Shevet Levi is (1:49) “B'toch Benei Yisroel-In the midst of Benei Yisroel.”

       Ramban (3:39) The Leviim numbered only 22,000. Why was Shevet Levi smaller in numbers than the other Shfatim? The Sefer Sharei Ahron contains eight answers to this question. Here are two of them.

   The Ramaban writes - When the Klal Yisroel was in Mitzraim, Shevet Levi didn't have to do hard labor like the rest of the Jews. In Shemos it says “The more they afflicted them the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.” Hashem caused all the other Shvatim who were working to increase and multiply in a supernatural manner. Since the Leviim were not so afflicted they multiplied only by natural means. On the other hand Shevet Yehudah was the most populous of the Shevatim. This could perhaps be attributed to the fact that they suffered the most in Mitzraim. The Shevet Yehudah was the tribe of Malchus. So for them to experience slavery was of greater suffering than the other Shevatim, with the exception of Yosef, which was also a tribe of Malchus. When the sum of the tribes Efraim and Menashe are totaled we find they are the second most populaces.

  The Kli Yakar answers that following the Gadol Hador who was Amram, Shevet Levi separated themselves from their wives for an extended period of time. This resulted in the that tribe having the least amount of descendants.

   (1:49) “Ach es-Mateh Levi Lo Tifkod-But the shevet Levi do not count.”  Rashi says that since Hashem knew that all those who were included in the counting would die in the Midbar, he did not want Shevet Levi to be included, because they did not sin by the Chet HaEigel. This seems rather strange because we know that the reason the Torah gives is due to the Chet Hameraglim? The Divrei Dovid explains that really Shevet Levi should have been included in the decree of the spies for when the destroyer is let loose it does not discriminate. The decree was for the entire generation of the Midbar. However the merit of not partaking in the sin of the Golden Calf saved them from this decree.

   The Shem Meshmuel writes that there are two parts to every Mitzvah, that which is revealed, the actual act of a Mitzvah, and that which is hidden, the intent of the heart. The revealed aspect relates to the revealed world (Olam Hazeh). The hidden aspect relates to the hidden world (Olam Habo). Just as in man there is the hidden part, the Neshama, and the revealed part, the Guf. So a Mitzvah performed physically without intent is like a body without a soul. The same is true in reverse. A soul without a body cannot perform any Mitzvos. We use the physical world to amend the spiritual spheres. The way we are able to accomplish this is through acting as Hashem’s agent. The Gemarrah says  Sheluchei Adam Kimoso. The agent of a person is equated to the person himself. Therefore if we are Hashem’s agents we can affect the spiritual realms by fulfilling his commands. This can shed some light on the statement Hashem said at Matan Torah (Shemos 19:5) “V’Atoh Im Shamoa Tishm’u B’koli U’Shemartem es Brisi-If you will listen to my voice and guard my covenant.” If you will listen is the part of Mitzvos that has to do with the mind, with comprehending the Mitzvos as to the intent with which they must be performed. Guard my covenant is the part that has to do with physically performing the Mitzvos. We see that Hashem placed the Hearing before the doing. And yet when Klal Yisroel said Nasseh V’Nishma, (We will do and we will hear, placing the doing before the hearing) Hashem said “who revealed 

this secret to my children, this phrase that is used by the malachim?” The point is that from Hashem’s perspective Klal Yisroel comes first. That hearing and perceiving Hashem’s will on a deeper level, is what completes a man. The doing of his will is for Hashem’s sake. It affects the spiritual realms. But Klal Yisroel at that point, by Matan Torah, was on the level of the Malachim, who do Hashem’s will first then entertain the intellect.

    If this is correct then we can understand the words of the Midrash that says after the Chet H’Eigel Klal Yisroel fell from this exalted level of Naaseh. They no longer look to satisfy Hashem’s will before their own. Why does the Midrash say that they only lost the Naaseh aspect of this level? Because the commentaries explain that the intent of Klal Yisroel was not to worship Idolatry. What they were seeking was a replacement for Moshe Rabeinu, whom they thought had died.  The Satan had shown them a vision of Moshe being carried away on his death bed. But based upon what we said earlier regarding Mitzvos affecting the spiritual world, this is only true if Hashem commanded the Mitzvah. The act of making the Eigel, even if justified, was not an act commanded by Hashem. It was only to satisfy their need for an intermediary. With this in mind we can return to the original question. Why Rashi connects this sin with that of the Meraglim. By the Meraglim the motivation for that sin was to remain under Hashem’s care. They wished to dwell in the theory of the Torah, in the Shemiya, rather than the actual doing of the mitzvos which is what conquering Eretz Yisroel would have brought about. So it comes out that the sin of the spies was a test to see if they had overcome the mistake of the Eigel. While the sin of the Eigel caused the sin of the Meraglim.

    Shevet Levi on the other hand was not involved with the Chet HaEigel. They proved their loyalty to Hashem at that time and for all times. When Moshe descended with the Luchos and saw the Eigel he proclaimed (Shemos 32:26) “Mi L’Hashem Aylie-Whoever is for Hashem come to me.”  At which point the entire Shevet Levi gathered to Moshe’s side. They never wavered in their faith in Hashem. Therefore Hashem said that Shevet Levi will be mine. Their mission in this world would be the service of Hashem for they had shown themselves to be worthy. They had not fallen from the status that Klal Yisroel reached by Matan Torah which was the level of Adam before the Chet of the Eitz Hadaas, a level where the body and soul wanted the same thing. The words (3:6) “Hakrev es Mateh Levi-Bring Shevet Levi near” equals in gematria 812 (counting the words) which is the same as the word V’lasos-and to do. Their Naaseh (doing) was proven to be faithful. There was no need for them to work the land as the rest of Klal Yisroel did. This is why they were not represented in the sending of the spies. One, because they had no portion in the land, and two, because there was no need to test them after the Chet HaEigel.

    (1:54) “Vayasu Benei Yisroel K’kol Asher Tziva Hashem es Moshe Kain Asu-The children of Israel did everything that Hashem comanded them, so they did.” These last words appear to be extra? Rather it comes to highlight that they immediately took their places and allowed the tribe of Levi to enter. They all wanted to be close to Hashem, but they followed his command.

  (2:17) “K’asher Yachanu Kain Yisa’u-As they encamp so shall they journey.” The arrangement BeneiYisroel followed when they encamped was required also during travel. Some suggest that underlying this verse is a profound concept relevant to the observance of Shabbos, namely the impact it can have on the other six days of the week. The nature and quality of one’s “encampment” his day of rest when he pauses from the frantic pursuit of a livelihood that occupies him throughout the week, will determine the way he travels during the next six days. If a person spends his Shabbos simply indulging in food and sitting around idly, then it cannot possibly have any kind of spiritual impact upon the upcoming week. The next six days will be just like his Shabbat-mundane and without any meaning. If however one spends Shabbos as a day of spiritual growth, then this is how he will “travel” during the coming week. The rest of the week will assume a meaningful spiritual quality.

   (3:4) “Vayomus Nadav VAvihu Lifnei Hashem-Nadav and Avihu died before Hashem.” Only Hashem knew why they died. If so, the fact that they brought an alien fire was not sufficient reason for their death.

  The reason is that the two young Kohanim spoke against Moshe and Aaron and said “When will these two old men die so we can take over leadership of the generation?”(Sanhedrin 52A)

   In punishment Hashem killed them in a way that everyone could understand the offering of the alien fire that represents a new and unauthorized form of service. There was justice in this in that their twisted outlook was truly an “Aish Zarah” in contrast to Aish Das (fire of religion) of Moshe. The words “Vayomus Nadav V’Avihu Lifnei Hashem” equal B’Gematria 739. The same as the word L’Kitores (the incense).

  (3:15-16) “Kol Zachar M’ben-Chodesh Vomaleh Tifkidaim-Every male from the age of one month and above you shall count.-Vayifkod Osom Moshe Al-Pi Hashem-And Moshe counted them according to the word of Hashem.”  Rashi says that once they leave the category of a viable child, they are to be counted. Later on in the parsha when Moshe is told to count the first born he writes. “Once they have left the questionable status of a viable child.” Why are there two different terms used to describe basically the same thing? The first counting was not done by Moshe. Rashi says that Moshe said to Hashem. “How can I go into their tents to know their numbers?” This was resolved by a Bas Kol issued from each tent proclaiming how many children were in each family. This is the meaning of the words Al Pi Hashem. But by the counting of the first-born it just says, “Kasher Tzivah Hashem-As Hashem commanded.” (3:42). Since this counting was by Hashem there was no doubt as to the child’s viability. Whereas by the first born the counting was done by natural means, therefore it uses the term Sofek (doubt). If this is the reason that Rashi gives for there to be a Bas Kol, why wasn’t it necessary by the first born as well? They too were counted from one month and up? Yet there is no mention of Al Pi Hashem there?

   To answer this we must look to the beginning of the parsha. (1:2) “S’ou es-Rosh Kol Adas  Benei Yisroel-B’mispar Shemos-Take a census of the entire assembly of the children of Israel- by number of the names.”  The term “Mispar Shemos-the number of their names.” Appears twelve more times in this section. And again in posuk 18. By the Leviim it is omitted. (3:15) But with reference to the first born (3:40) it says “Sah es Mispar Shemos-Count the number of their names.”  The reasoning is that the names of all the Jews in this census was recorded so that when they reached Eretz Yisroel they would know how to apportion the land. For we find at the end of parshas Pinchas it says (26:53) “L’Ayleh Taicholek H’aretz B’nachalah B’mispar Shemos-To these shall the land be divided as an inheritance, according to the number of names.” This refers to the written names of those who were counted in our parsha forty years earlier. So the counting here was done by writing down each name. It was therefore unnecessary for Moshe to enter the tents of Klal Yisroel or the first born. But because all of those counted at this time were destined to die in the Midbar, only by having the names recorded were they able to determine how to apportion the land. And since Shevet Levi was not included in the division of the land, their names were not recorded. It therefore became necessary for a personal counting. The Leviim were brought closer to Hashem through this census, therefore the Divine Presence took part in their counting. By the first born, they were being distanced from Hashem, because they were being replaced by the Leviim. Therefore the Divine Presence did not take part in their counting.


   The Parsha begins with the words “ Im Bechukosaye Teilech. If you will go in my ways.” We read this portion of the Torah every year before Matan Torah. This is in order to put the curses that are contained in this weeks parsha behind us before the new year. In fact they are read twice. Once before Rosh Hashana and once before Matan Torah. The question is what is the connection of these curses to Matan Torah?

   We know that whenever a person sins he creates a Malach Rah, a bad Angel, that causes bad things to occur to him. Every time something bad happens to a person it's for a reason. Even the smallest thing such as pulling the wrong coin out of one’s pocket is a form of punishment for some transgression, or if a person were to stub his toe. All of these things are considered paying off the debts of sin. Except in the case where a person says all of these things are just happening by accident. They are not part of any master plan but just plain bad luck. If a person doesn't attribute these happenings to Hashem then Hashem say's I will leave you to your random luck. I won't play a hand in your fate. Then any misfortunes that occur are not removed as payment for the debt of his sins. This is born out by the verse (26:21) "V'Im Teilchu Imi Keri-If you will behave with me casually." The word "Keri" has the same numerical value as the words "Derech HaTeva. (She'ris Yisroel)

   This is why we read from this portion prior to Matan Torah. We want the curses to come in the meaning full way. So that they can reduce our debts and we can enter the New Year with a fresh beginning.

   (26:5) “V’achaltem Lachmacha L’Sova-You will eat your bread and be saisfied.” Rashi says that the blessing will be inside of you. Whatever amount you have will satisfy you. However the verse before says that Hashem will bless your crops to be abundant. If there is abundant food why do we need the blessing of “V’achaltem Lachmacha L’Sova-You will eat your bread and be saisfied.”? There is an additional blessing here. There are times when a person can have abundance and still not be satisfied. The blessing here is two fold. There will be plenty and you will be satisfied.

   (26:13) “V’ani Hashem Asher Hotzaisi M’Eretz Mitzrayim-I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt.” Why not proclaim the G-d who created the world? The previous verse mentions that Hashem will walk with us and we will be His people. What is the connection here? How can we reach such a level as to walk along side of Hashem? Because Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, out from being mere slaves.

   “V’Olech Eschem Komimyus-And you will walk upright.”You will be able to go into Eretz Yisroel not horizontal as in a box. But rather upright.

     (26:31) “V’Lo Areyach B’Reiach Nichoach-I will not savor the fragrance of your sweet odors.” This phrase “Reiach Nichoach” is found frequently in the Torah. It is explained by Rashi to mean that Hashem is pleased that He commands and Yisrael follows. But if there is no temple and no sacrifices being brought, of course Hashem will not savor their sweet smells? The Ohr Hachaim explains this to mean that Hashem will not even be pleased with the good deeds of the Jewish people at that time.

     (26:40) "V'Hisvadu es Avonom ...B'Maalom Asher Mo'alu Bi Vaf Asher Holchu Imi Keri-You will confess your sins...for the unfaithfulness with which they betrayed me and also for walking contrary to me." What is the difference between being unfaithful and walking contrary to Hashem? In Posuk 43 it gives two reasons for the curses. Shmita and not learning Torah. Perhaps this is referring to these two sins. Waking contrary to Hashem is not learning Torah as in the beginning of this Parsha "I'm Bechukosai Teylechu." Shmitah refers to being unfaithful, not believing that Hashem will provide during the Shmita year.

(26:42) “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov V’af es Brisi Yitzchok V’af es Brisi Avraham Ezkor V’Haaretz Ezkor- I will remember my covenant with Yakov and also my covenant with Yitzchok and also my covenant with Avraham I will remember, and I will remember the land.” There are several difficulties that present themselves with this posuk. 1. Why are the Avos mentioned in reverse order? 2. Why is the land mentioned? 3. Why is there no mention of remembrance by Yizchok? And why is Yakov’s name spelled full with the “Vav”?

   The Ramban develops a theme that the two Tochachot refer to two different time periods. The first, in this Parsha, refers to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh. The second in Parshas KiSavo, predicts the conditions of the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdosh. The Ramban proves this theme by bringing many examples from the Posukim in the Tochacha. For example “Az Tirtzeh Ha’aretz es Shabsoseha-Then the land shall make up for it’s Shabosos” (26:34) in the first Tochacha refers to the Golus Bavel, the seventy years of Golus between the first and second Temples paralleled the seventy Shmita years that were not kept during the first Beis Hamikdosh. By contrast, in the second Tochacha it states “V’hefitzcha Hashem B’chol H’Amim Miktzei H’aretz V’ad K’tzei H’aretz- Hashem will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the Earth to the other end of the Earth” (28:64) This occurred when Titus took captives from Eretz Yisroel and spread them across many countries. He took the younger captives and left their parents weeping as it says. “Bonecha U’binosecha Nosnim L’am Acher V’einechah R’ous Vein Lel Yodechah-Your sons and daughters shall be given to another people, your eyes shall see and your hands will be powerless.” (28:32)

   If we take the Ramban’s theme a step further we can suggest that there is a third Tochacha, which Rashi states was the harshest curse of them all. (31:18) “V’anochi Haster Aster Ponai-I will surely hide my face.” This is what Moshe Rabbeinu said, near the end of the Torah, before giving over the leadership to Yehoshua. The most often asked question about the Shoah was “How could Hashem let such unimaginable suffering befall his people?” In other words how could Hashem hide his face, as it were, from his people?

   If we now look at the Posuk, the order of the Avos makes sense. Each covenant refers to the three periods we discussed and in that order. Yakov represents the Midah of Emes. The first Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of Avodah Zorah, false Gods which is the opposite of truth. The second Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of groundless hatred.

   Yitzchok’s Midah was Gevura-strength. That generation had individual strength but they channeled it only towards themselves like Essav who took that Midah of strength and used it to conquer anyone who stood in his path. This could be why the punishment of the second Beis Hamikdosh, was carried out by the descendants of Essav namely Rome.

   Avraham had the Midah of Chessed. He was able to spread that Chessed to his surrounding nations without himself becoming assimilated. The European Jewry experienced tremendous freedoms to express their Yiddishkeit, but unlike Avraham, many who became involved with the building of their host nations became assimilated.

   This then explains the order of the Avos in this Posuk. But with regard to the mentioning of the land perhaps we can say that as we see today, the entire world is involved with the Mid-East. This tiny piece of land is the basis of conflict around the world. The fact that Klal Yisroel is connected to the land and will never again give it up, could be what the end of the posuk is referring to. “V’Haaretz Ezkor- I will remember the land.” I will remember the sacrifice that Klal Yisroel makes to keep the land and perhaps through this the redemption will come.

   We now are left with two questions. Why the “vav” in Yakov’s name? And why is there no mention of remembering by Yitzchok? Rashi explains both of these questions as follows. Yitzchok needs no remembering because his ashes from the Akeidah remain gathered before Hashem constantly. Secondly this is one of five places that Yakov took the letter “Vav” from Eliyahu Hanavi's name as collateral in order to insure the eventual redemption of his descendants. The question remains though regarding Yitzchok as to why? Why was this act of the Akeidah different than so many acts of Kiddush Hashem that are recorded in the Torah? So different that it remains a constant reminder before Hashem? Was not Avraham’s self sacrifice at Ur Kasdim as great? The image of Yakov is said to be on the very throne of Hashem. Is that not enough of a reminder?

   The Maharal answers that Yitzchok so negated his physical existence that his soul actually left his body. He became the first case of Techiyas Hamaisim in the Torah. Yitzchok, was the first Jew born of two Jewish parents, was the paradigm of all future Jews to follow. All of his R’mach Avarim were given over to the service of Hashem. This possibility of reincarnation had to be instilled into Klal Yisroel from the start.

   According to what we have said, that Yakov’s name is spelled with a “Vav” to insure the eventual redemption of his descendants. We may suggest that this Posuk hints to when that eventual redemption will take place. “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov-- I will remember my covenant with Yakov.” When will He remember? The Goan of Vilna writes that for every Posuk in the Torah there is a corresponding year in history. The world as we know it is predicted to remain for six thousand years. However there aren’t six thousand Posukim in the Torah. There are only 5846 according to the Bible Scholar. What does this mean? We have a principal that says Acharis K'Reishis-The last is like the first. Just as the first redemption, Yetzias Mitzraim was shortened, (Originally we were destined to serve in Egypt for 400 years but we were redeemed after 210 years) so too the final redemption will be shortened. If we calculate the Gematria of this Posuk (26:42) “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov V’af es Brisi Yitzchok V’af es Brisi Avraham Ezkor V’Haaretz Ezkor” it equals 5288. What is missing to bring Moshiach is the Zechira of Yitzchok’s Mesiras Nefesh. The difference between 5846 (the amount of Posukim in the Torah) and 5288 (the Gematria of this Posuk) is 558 which equals Kol Ramach H’avarimAll 248 limbs. This represents the essence of who Yitzchak was. His willingness to sacrifice himself totally to Hashem. The willingness of Klal Yisroel to sacrifice their entire being, that Mesiras Nefesh is what is needed to bring the final Geula.

   (26:45) “Vzocharty Lochem Bris Reshonim Asher Hotzaisi Osom M’Ertez Mitzrayim L’Aynei H’Goyim Lihiyos Lochem L’Elokim- And I will remember for them the covenant of the First ones, those who I have taken out of Egypt before the eyes of the nations to be G-d unto them.” This verse needs expounding. Who is the remembering connected to? Rashi says it is the Tribes. But the Posuk says “who I have taken out of Mitzrayim”? The twelve tribes never left there, but rather died there. It can’t mean Bnei Yisroel because that is who is being spoken to? This occurs before the sin of the spies and the decree of death for that generation!

   The Meshech Chochma writes that it refers to the bones of the tribes that were taken out of Egypt as a reminder that we belong in Eretz Yisroel. We should not think that Hashem will allow us to assimilate totally. Whenever we came close to assimilation, Hashem would cause us to be exiled. The Meshech Chochma wrote that Berlin is not Jerusalem and thus predicted the Holocaust.