- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(13:2) “Shelach-Send out.” The incident concerning the spies is the forbearer of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. The numerical value of the word Shelach is equal to 338. Not coincidently the year of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh was 3338.
The Sefas Emes writes that Hashem created the world and He creates situations in which the world can attain perfection. Through the Exodus came the birth of Klal Yisroel and now the world would be headed for that perfection. That perfection was to take place in two stages. The first stage was to receive the Torah. Klal Yisroel marched on to Har Sinai and after counting forty nine days stood at the foot of the mountain ready for Kabolas H’Torah. The second stage was to take that Torah and enter the land of Israel. Klal Yisroel and the Holy Land together would bring the ultimate perfection of the world. After leaving Mitzrayim, Klal Yisroel was anxious to reach that first stage, to receive the Torah. But we don’t find that same enthusiasm for the second stage. Klal Yisroel were reluctant to leave the lofty position in the desert, the spiritually high level they had attained, for a life of seemingly mundane existence. They felt this would be a step down from where they were. But in fact this is the purpose of us being here. From the time before man is born his Neshama wishes to remain in heaven. But as soon as it comes into man it wishes to cling to every moment of life in this world. In fact the only way to insure a place the World to Come is through taking the physical and elevating it. This is what the spies could not see. Hashem’s command was to place the Torah with the help of Klal Yisroel into the land. “ Shelach Lecha Anoshim V’Yosuru es-H’oretz- send out men and bring Torah to the land. The word Yosuru in this verse refers to Torah.
(13:2) “Shelach Lecha Anoshim-Send for yourself people.”The Kli Yakar comments that we find a similar phrase in Bereishis when Hashem tells Avraham “Lech Lecha” There Rashi comments the word “Lecha” implies for your good and for your benefit. In our case there does not seem to be any benefit in sending out the spies? Why does the same word not imply the same meaning? He answers that by Moshe being denied entry into the land, he would have died in the second year out of Mitzrayim. By sending the spies it comes out to be for Moshe’s benefit in that he was able to live another forty years.
(13:2) “Shelach Lecha Anoshim-Send for yourself people.” Why does this section immediately follow the section about Miriam? Rashi quotes the Midrash Tanchuma that these evil people witnessed how Miriam was punished for the words spoken against her brother, but they didn’t learn from it.
What was the Loshon Hora that Miriam spoke about her brother? We know that after Matan Torah Hashem wanted Klal Yisroel to be Mamleches Kohanim- a Kingdom of Priest. The Kohein eats from the sacrifice and the owner receives atonement. He takes the physical world and elevates it. This was to be the role of all Jews. Moshe was above all physicality. When the command to Klal Yisroel was given to return to their tents after Matan Torah, Hashem said to Moshe V’atoh Po Omaid Imodi-You remain here with me. Klal Yisroel was to return to the physical world and use the Torah to elevate it. But Moshe was beyond that. According to some of the commentaries he didn’t need to even eat or drink the rest of his life. This was what his sister Miriam didn’t understand about her brother. How could he teach them to use the Torah to elevate the physical world when he himself was not partaking of it? But that was what Hashem wanted of him. This was also the mistake of the Miraglim. They felt it was beneath them to stoop down to a physical existence. They wished to remain in the Midbar where they could spend the entire day immersed in the spiritual world, with Hashem providing all of their needs. This was a mistake that cost them their lives.
Chazal teach us that the women of that generation were righteous, and it was their merit that redeemed us from Egypt. They also had a tremendous love for the land, but the men did not. They rejected the land. The women also refused to give their jewelry for the worship of the Golden Calf. They remained consistently devoted to Hashem’s Torah and to his servant Moshe. Every time a new rebellion broke out the women upheld Moshe’s position and supported his leadership.
This is perhaps the background to the Gemarrah that says the men of that generation went so far as to warn their wives not to be secluded with Moshe. It is impossible to think that anything in Moshe’s behavior would provoke such strange jealousy. But the explanation is that whenever the men criticized Moshe’s leadership they would hear their wives speak with such admiration of Moshe that it caused them to become jealous. They would each ask themselves; Why does she speak so highly of him? Why can she not tolerate any criticism of him?
Until now the women were opposed to any criticism of Moshe Rabeinu. They did not want any other leader or any other G-d. When Moshe went up to Har Sinai they waited for him to come down. These women, like Jewish women in every generation, had strong influence on their husbands and did not permit any rebellion against Moshe or his policies.
All of this ended when Miriam spoke Loshon Horah. She spoke about the fact that Moshe did not maintain marital relations with his wife, but had separated from her, after receiving communication from Hashem. This caused uproar among women in the camp, who feared that such conduct would become common among Yisroel. Now when the men rose up against Moshe the women no longer protested. It was as if the women silently acquiesced. All of this occurred because of what Miriam said about Moshe. This is why it has become one of the six Zechiras and why this section of the spies follows the section of Miriam.
It is interesting to note that in the entire Parsha of the Miraglim the word Miraglim does not appear even once? Perhaps we can say the following. The sin of the Meraglim was that they wished to stay in the theory of Torah rather than actually go into Eretz Yisroel and practice what they learned.
The Shem MiShmuel uses the nature of the sojourn in the desert as compared to their
settlement in Eretz Yisrael, to explain the behavior of the Meraglim. As long as they were in the desert living purely spiritual lives, they could achieve the necessary levels of Kedusha. However, once they crossed the Jordan they would have to earn their food, clothing and housing through natural means. They did not believe in their own spiritual ability to transform these material things into holy things, Kodesh, therefore they wished to remain in the unnatural world of the desert. They did not believe that they could make Olam Hazeh into Olam Habo. The mission of Klal Yisroel is to take the physical, the Olam Hazeh, and elevate it into the spiritual, Olam Habo. Both are needed to achieve this goal. They knew that upon entering into Eretz Yisroel all of this would change. The Gematria of the word Meraglim is equal to the words “Olam Hazeh V’Olam Habo-This world Plus the next world.” This was missing in them and is missing in the Parsha.
(13:2) “Shelach Lecha Anoshim-Send for yourself people.” Many of the commentators deal with the question of what exactly was the sin of the spies and what was their motivation. The fact that they didn’t want to leave the protection of the Midbar, that they wanted to remain in the theory of Torah rather than the actual doing of the Mitzvos, could be their motivation. Their sin, speaking Loshon Hora about the land was certainly one. But perhaps worse was the negative perception they attributed to everything they saw. (13:32) “Eretz Ocheles Yoshveha-A land that devours its inhabitants.” They witnessed funerals everywhere they went. The inhabitants of Canaan had a custom of not burying their dead. What they did was accumulate their dead until such time when a great person passed away. In this instance it was Iyov. They believed that with the merit of a great person the souls of their departed would be swept along and gain entry into heaven. What the Meraglim failed to see was what was beyond the exterior. Hashem was providing them with cover in order not to be detected. The Gemarrah in Berachos says that everything Hashem does is ultimately for the good. The Meraglim set out with a negative outlook and therefore saw everything in a negative light.
This sin can be traced back to the very first sin, of the Eitz Hadas. The first words immediately following the eating of the Eitz says (Bereishis 3:7) “Vatipokachnah Aynei-And there eyes were opened.” Their vision was now a mixture of Tov V’rah, of good and evil. It was now difficult to see Hashem in everything, to see the good in the world, to even see the good in the evil. This now became man’s mission. Had Adom been able to hold out until Shabbos arrived, he would have been permitted to eat from the Eitz Hadas. Shabbos would have added that dimension to the creation that was needed to bring the exterior physical world back to its spiritual roots. The Gematria of the words “Vatipokachnah Aynei-And there eyes were opened.” equals 789. The same as the words “Shelach Lecha Anoshim”
(13:16) “Vayikra Moshe L’Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshua-And Moshe called Hoshea bin Nun Yehoshua.” Prior to the departure of the twelve spies, Moshe Rabbeinu changed the name of his disciple Hoshea to Yehoshua. That changed contained within it a prayer that Hashem save Yehoshua from the plot of the spies. The question is, why did he pray for Yehoshua alone and not for Calev and the others? Also it remains to be explained why Moshe agreed to send the spies in the first place if he was aware of a plot to malign Eretz Yisrael?
(13:16) “Vayikra Moshe L’Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshua-And Moshe called Hoshea bin Nun Yehoshua.”
There are four people in the Torah who had a letter added to their names. Avraham, Sarah, Yisro and Yehoshua. Yehoshua had the letter "Yud" added. Avraham the letter "Hey" Yisro the letter "Vav" and Sarah the letter "Hey". All of these extra letters comprise the name of Hashem "Yud Hey Vav Hey." The understanding is that all of these people brought souls closer to Hashem. Avraham and Sarah began the Kiruv movement. Yisro was the first person to convert after the giving of the Torah. Yehoshua converted people as well. Hashem repaid these acts by giving a part of His name to each of them.
The Vilna Gaon in Emuna VeHashgacha explains that there are three ways in which Hashem manifests His Divine Providence. The first is called Hanhagah Nissis, the manifestation of overt miracles. This was the manner in which Hashem related to us during the forty years in the desert. A Cloud of Glory accompanied us by day and a pillar of fire by night; we ate the Heaven-sent Manna; and our thirst was quenched by water from a well that flowed from a rock, which accompanied us on our journey. When we sinned, Divine retribution followed immediately in an unmistakable fashion.
The second type of Divine Providence is called Hanhagas Nissim Nistarim. In this stage, Hashem relates to us through hidden miracles. This describes the manner in which Hashem related to us in Ertez Yisrael, prior to our exile. At that time, a direct relationship between nature and Torah observance was evident. When we kept the Mitzvos and toiled in Torah, the rains fell in their proper times and amounts, health and wealth were our lot; and when we sinned, drought and famine followed. Since our exile from Eretz Yisrael, we have experienced the third type of Divine Providence, Hester Panim. In this stage, Hashem hides His face from us and our ability to see Hashem’s Divine Providence in the world becomes impaired.
The Vilna Gaon explains that the various manifestations of Divine Providence differ only in our perception. In reality, Hashem controls and guides the world equally in each phase. Hashem merely hides His face in the latter period. In the desert Klal Yisroel were aware that upon entering Eretz Yisrael the manner in which Hashem related to us would change from one of open miracles to one of miracles within nature. Munn would no longer descend from the heavens; rather we would plow and plant and harvest in order to eat. A well would no longer accompany us; rather we would depend on rainfall to quench our thirst. Their mistake, however, was to reason that if their lives were apparently subject to the same natural order as the rest of the world, then their ultimate success or failure depended on their own military prowess. This was their error.
It was this mistaken outlook from which Moshe prayed that Yehoshua would be spared because Yehoshua was the one who would lead Klal Yisroel into the land. Moshe reasoned that he could better prove to the people their mistake by letting them actually see Eretz Yisrael. He hoped that they would realize the impossibility of conquering Eretz Yisrael with their own might. And yet Hashem had assured them that they would in fact conquer the land. They should have concluded that Hashem obviously planned to continue aiding them, even if in a less openly miraculous fashion. The name Yehoshua means- May Hashem save you. This divine name of Hashem means the synthesis of the natural and spiritual worlds. The Yud,, the only letter not touching the ground, represents Olam Habo of creation while the Hey represents Olam Hazeh. Moshe prayed that Yehoshua see the veil of how Hashem works in nature to perform His will. This is why nature-Hatevah and Elokim have the same numerical value. It was for this reason that the letter Yud was added to his name.
(13:16')- “Vayikra Moshe LHoshea Bin Nun Yehoshua.-And Moshe called Hoshea bin Nun Yehoshu.” Rashi says it was to Daven for him- that Hashem should aid Yehoshua in the matter of the Meraglim. Why did Moshe Daven for Yehoshua and not for Calev?
The Kli Yakar says that Yehoshua was from the tribe of Yoseph who spoke negatively about his brothers. Moshe was afraid that he would go in the footsteps of his Grandfather and join the other spies in speaking negatively about Eretz Yisroel.
The Chafetz Chaim (along with Midrashim) says that when a person finds himself in the company of people of a lesser moral stature there are two approaches. One is to state his opinion every step of the way and be confrontational. The second is to remain silent and only speak out when the right opportunity presents itself. Each approach has its pro’s and con’s. The first approach could be beneficial in keeping a person from becoming influenced by his surroundings. If he keeps himself strong and protests every step of the way it is less likely that they will affect him. On the other hand if makes his opinion known there is the possibility of them finding a way to counter his opinion with logic of their own. They might find ways to persuade him to see things their way. The second approach could be beneficial in that the other people will think he is just as much apart of their plan as they are and not try to change him. He could then wait for the most opportune time to have his words make the greatest impact. The flip side of this is that there is the possibility of his becoming influenced by his surroundings.
This represents how Calev and Yehoshua each had their own way of handling situations: Yehoshua would speak his mind publicly and would have totally differed with the Meraglim openly. He therefore needed the Tefilla of Moshe, which was a Tefilla that the Meraglim wouldn't physically harm him once they would hear his protests. Calev, on the other hand, wouldn't openly differ with them for two reasons: 1- So that they wouldn't harm or even kill him. And 2- In order to eventually get them to listen to his opinion, he would, at first, appear to agree with them and then would say his true opinion in front of the Nation. Therefore, Moshe didn't have to Daven for him that they wouldn't harm him. (Calev, himself, was afraid they would harm him. This is why he went to Daven at Moras Hamachpela. In the end, it did happen this way. When the Meraglim returned from their trip, it was only Yehoshua alone who had a dissenting opinion. Calev appeared to agree with them. Calev then said, “Is this the only thing that “Ben Amram” did to us!” This got their attention in a positive way and then Calev was able to silence them. This could be the understanding of the words Hashem used to describe Calev (14:24)”V’avdy Kaleiv Ekev Hayisah Ruach Acheres-But my servant Calev has a different spirit in him.” Rashi explains this means Echod b’peh V’echod B’lev-One way in his heart and another in his mouth. He differed with the Meraglim in his heart and would wait to reveal his true intention. But, meanwhile outwardly, with his speech, he seemed to agree with them.
We find that the name of Calev is mentioned first at times and the name of Yehoshua is sometimes mentioned first. This is to teach us that they were equal. But we see that Yehoshua was the one chosen to lead Klal Yisroel after Moshe? How can we say they were equal? What it means is that they were equal in their approach. But in order to be a leader in Klal Yisroel one could not be Echod b’peh V’echod B’lev-One way in his heart and another in his mouth.
How was Calev able to withstand the peer pressure of the other Meraglim? When they first arrived in Eretz Yisrael The Posuk reads (13:22)“Vayavo ad Chevron-He arrived at Chevron.” Rashi learns from the singular use of the word he came, that it refers to Calev. His first order of business was to pray at the Moros Hamachpelah, to pray at the graves of the Avos. Later on the Posuk says (14:24)”V’avdy Kaleiv Ekev Hayisah Ruach Acheres-But my servant Calev has a different spirit in him.” What is this other spirit that he possessed? The Arizal writes that he was a Gilgulim of Eliezer Eved Avraham.The name Kaleiv ben Yefuneh equals Avraham in Gematria. The words Ruach Acheres equals Anachnu Benei Bonov Shel Avraham- we are the grandchildren of Avraham. We are the grandchildren not just Calev, meaning anyone has the capability to receive this spirit of our ancestors.
This could perhaps also explain a question at the end of the Parsha where we find the Mitzvah of Tzitzis. Rashi there explains that Tzitis are equal to all of the 613 Mitzvos and the numerical value of the word Tzitzis equals 600. The problem is that this is true if the word Tzitzis is spelled with two Yuds, which is not the case all three times, that it is mentioned here. The Rebenu Bachyah answers that the third time Tzitzis is mentioned its written L’Tzitzis it’s spelled with a Lamed which equals 30. So if you add up all three times the word Tzitzis is written it averages 600. We have said that the Yud represents Olam Habo of creation while the Hey represents Olam Hazeh. Why do we call the other world “the world to come” rather than the other world or even the next world? If Olam Hazeh means this world then the appropriate term should have been the other world? Olam Habo means the world that is not yet made. By performing Mitzvos in this world we are creating our next world. The world to come means not yet here. Perhaps though we can say that the reason the word Tzitzis is spelled without the Yud is because through the 613 Mitzvos it becomes our job to make the Yud of the world to come, to build our own Olam Habo.
There is a connection between the Chet of the Meraglim and the Chet of the Eigel. With regard to the Chet of the Eigel that there is mention of that generation not going into Eretz Yisroel except for the Leviim. But this punishment was really only said by the Meraglim? Why should it also apply to the Chet of the Eigel? The answer is that they are connected. The Tiferes Tzion writes that the incident of the Meraglim determined whether or not Benei Yisroel had done a complete Teshuva for the Chet of the Eigel. By the Eigel they erred in thinking that Hashem needs intermediaries to run the universe. They thought that when they saw Moshe lying on his deathbed being carried away, that they would now need something tangible to direct their prayers to. That was the purpose in making the Eigel. That is also why right after they were forgiven for the Chet they were given the Mitzvah to build the Mishkon so as to have a place to direct their prayers. By the Meraglim they should have had Emunah that Hashem would conquer Eretz Yisroel with open miracles. The sin of the Meraglim proved that Benei Yisroel had not fully repented from the Chet of the Eigel. Therefore the death decree originally said by the Eigel was now to be enacted.
(13:11) “L’mateh Yosef L’mateh Menashe-From the tribe of Yosef from the tribe Menashe.” Why is it that the Torah mentions Menashe with Yosef and not Efraim? Because since Yosef had once called his brothers spies, so too Menashe, had once called the tribes spies. During the time when Yosef was testing his brothers, Menashe was sent to retrieve them by falsely accusing them of being spies. But Efraim was not part of any of this. He therefore was able to have a descendant (Kaleiv) who could distance himself from these spies.
The Arizal writes that when Yosef accused his brothers of being spies, he was not talking about the present, but actually referring to the future. The souls of the ten sons of Yakov were transmigrated into the ten people chosen by Moshe to tour Eretz Yisroel. Among the ten brothers who stood before Yosef was Yehudah, the ancestor of Kalev, who did not participate with the other spies. Since Yosef accused them all of being spies although one w
was innocent, he in turn was punished that one of his children would be involved with the spies. Menashe was the interpreter at the time when the brothers stood before Yosef. He also said the words “Meraglim Atem-You are spies.” Therefore the Torah emphasized that Gaddi son of Susi represented both Yosef and Menashe, because they both accused Yehudah unjustly.
(13:16) “Vayikra Moshe L’Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshuah- And Moshe called Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshuah.” Why is it that Moshe found it necessary to assist Yehoshua and not any of the other tribes? One answer could be that since the prophecy, foretold by Eldad and Meidad, about Yehoshua replacing Moshe to lead Klal Yisroel into the land, would have an effect on Yehoshua’s judgment. Therefore Moshe felt that adding a letter would strengthen his resolve.
(13:20) “Hyesh Bah Eitz Im Ayin- See if there is a tree or not.” The Zohar explains the word “Eitz” to mean “the tree,” the Eitz Hachaim in Gan Eden. It says that the men sent to spy the land were all righteous men. What went wrong? How could they have been corrupted so quickly? After hearing the prophecy that Moshe would not be leading the people into the land but would die in the desert, they misunderstood Moshe’s words to mean they should be looking for Gan Eden, for the Tree, the Eitz Hachaim. By doing so they would be able to bypass the decree of death against Moshe and go into the land with him. When the tree was not found they returned with the plan to discourage entry into Eretz Yisroel so as not to leave Moshe behind.
(13:20) “Hyesh Bah Eitz Im Ayin V’hischazaktem V’lokachtem M’pri H’aretz-See if there are trees or not And you shall strengthen yourselves and take from the fruits of the land.” The question is if there are no trees how are they to take fruits? Rashi explains that trees, refers to men of merit. The Chasam Sofer explains that if there are trees ie. men of merit then how can we tell if the fruits are good because of the land. Perhaps it is in the merit of these men? But if there are no trees (men of merit) than you should take the fruits to see how good the land is. The Satmar Rebbe answers that this Posuk is telling us how to know if men are men of merit. It is only by looking at the fruits of the trees, by looking at their fruits. Through the children we can tell the stature of a man.
(13:20) “V’hischazaktem V’lokachtem M’pri H’aretz V’hayomim Yemey Bekurei Anavim-And you shall strengthen yourselves and take from the fruits of the land and the days were the days of the first-ripe grapes.” Why would there be a need to strengthen themselves before taking fruits? What is the Torah trying to convey with this term? From the end of the verse we learn that these were the days prior to Tishabav. Moshe knew that these were days when the Yezter Hora is strong. He therefore instructed them to strengthen themselves through the fruits of the land. Eretz Yisroel contains an intrinsic spirituality that they could tap into. This is hinted at in the words “V’hayomim Yemey Bekurei Anavim- and the days were the days of the first-ripe grapes.” The word Bekurei also can mean prior. The letters prior or before the letters of Anavim spell Smael, the Soton. These were the days of the Soton.
When the Meraglim came upon the fruits of the land Kalaiv reminded them that Moshe had instructed them to bring some back. They refused not wanting to show the merits of the land, until Kalaiv threatened force. That is why they chose tremendously oversized fruits in order to tell the people that they could not survive there. This is also why each of the Meraglim took part in carrying the fruits except Kalaiv and Yehoshua.
(13:24) “L’Mokom Hahu Koroh Nachal Eshkol al Odos H’Eshkol Asher –Korsu M’shom Benei Yisroel-That place was called the valley of Eshkol because of the cluster which the children of Yisroel cut down from there.” The Kli Yakar writes that this was the turning point in the mission of the spies. The words “Asher –Korsu M’shom Benei Yisroel- which the children of Yisroel cut down from there” Can be read as - the children of Yisroel were cut off from there. The intent was not to showcase the tremendous fruits of the land. Rather the intent was to show just as these fruits are abnormal so too the people of the land are abnormal and we cannot conquer it.
(13:26) " Vayeichu Vayvo'u-They went and they came." What is this double speak? This leads to another question. If the spies were fulfilling a Shelichus why weren't they protected? As we know a Sheluchei Mitzvah Aynon Nezikin- A messengers is protected. But this is the meaning of the words "Vayeichu Vayvo'u-They went and they came." they went as a messenger and they came with their own agenda. Because they had their own agenda they were not protected.
There is a difference of opinion regarding how many spies actually went into the land. According to most commentators it was twelve. Rabbi Akiva maintains there were 24. The posuk says (13:2) “Ish Echad Ish Echad-One man one man” from each tribe. The double use of this phrase implies two men from each tribe. The question therefore arises, but we know that a quorum of ten men is learned out from the ten spies? How can R.Akiva say there were 24?
There is a Gemorrah in Brochos that says “Habo L’taheir M’sayin Oso-If a person wishes to better himself they aid him.” What does it mean they aid him? It should say He helps him in the singular form. But the meaning is as follows. There is a concept called Transmigration of souls (Ibur Neshamas) where the souls of previous Tzadikim are sent to accompany and assist a person attempting a worthy but difficult task. There is a story about the Arizal who once stood up for a student of his that had just entered the room. When questioned about this he responded that he saw the Neshama of Pinchas ben Yair enter the room with his student. What had happened was that this student had just finished risking his life to perform the mitzvah of Pidyan Shevuyin. Assisting him on that task was Pinchas ben Yair. The Arizal sensed this and stood up when he entered the room.
Another case of Ibur Neshamas is by Aharon H’kohein. We have a rule “Ain Kateger Nasseh Saneiger- The prosecutor may not be the defender. Aharon was not permitted to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur wearing gold because of his role in the sin of the Golden Calf. This may be true of Ahron’s role as Kohein Gadol but what about all of the future Kohanim that were not involved in the Sin of the golden calf? Why could they not enter wearing gold? The answer is that every subsequent Kohein that entered the Holy of Holies did not enter alone. The soul of Aharon accompanied them. Therefore every future Kohein Gadol entered wearing white. With this we can understand the Posuk that says “B’zos Yovo Aharon el Hakodesh-With this Aharon would enter into the sanctuary.” The word B’zos has the numerical value of 410, the exact number of years that the first Beis Hamikdosh stood. The question then is why is only the first Beis Hamikdosh hinted at and not the second? The answer is that only during the first Beis Hamikdosh was Aharon accompanying the Kohein Gadol. All subsequent Kohanim of the second Temple were not worthy and did not benefit from Aharon’s assistance
With this we can answer the original question of this week’s Parsha. R.Akiva says there were 24 Meraglim. This is true Ish Echad Ish Echad one man plus one transmigrated soul for each shevet. In Bereishis, when Yosef accused his brothers of being spies he said the words “Meraglim Atem” referring to his brothers, but it was to be taken literally. Their souls would in the future transmigrate into the spies of our Parsha. But when they reached the Valley of Eshkol the children of Yisroel were cut off (Asher –Korsu M’shom Benei Yisroel) from the original sons of Yakov. Thus they no longer were 24 men. This is the meaning of the words “Asher –Korsu M’shom Benei Yisroel-That Benei Yisroel were cut off from there.” The heavenly assistance was removed and they were left with only ten. It comes out from this that when the spies said the land is too difficult to conquer the people there are too mighty, they were right. It was impossible for them to overcome such obstacles. It was only with the help of Hashem that they would succeed. This is a very important lesson we need to learn here. Whenever we are faced with a daunting task and feel that it is impossible to achieve, we must begin, go forward and Hashem will send us the help that is needed.
(13:30) “Vyahas Kaleiv es-Ha’am…Vayomer Oloh Naleh- Ki Yochol Nuchal Lo-Kalev silenced the people and said we shall surely ascend for we can surely do it.” Rashi says even if our destination would be heaven and he were to say make ladders and go up there, we would succeed in all his words.(Sotah 35a) What is the meaning of this Gemarrah? On a simple level Kalev meant even if the walls of the Canaanite cities are as high as the heavens as the spies are quoted as saying in Devarim (1:28) they would prevail. The Sefas Emes says that the spies understood that the time was not yet right to enter the Land. But it says in Koheles (3:1) “Everything has its season, and there is a time for everything under heaven.” It is only under heaven, that is, within the realm of natural cause and effect, that man can calculate if the time is right for something or not. But Moshe ascended to heaven itself to receive the Torah. Under his leadership the intensity of Divine Providence over the nation of Israel was such that they could not be said to be under the heaven. This is what Kalev meant by saying “we could make ladders and go up there.” If Moshe tells us to do it, even to the heavens, that is even beyond the natural plane where cause and effect as we perceive it does not apply.
(13:30) “Vyahas Kaleiv es-Ha’am el-Moshe- Kalev silenced the people to Moshe.” Why is Moshe mentioned? It could just have said Kalev silenced the people? Rashi says this enabled him to quiet the people. They thought he was going to speak against Moshe as the other spies had done. He said “is this the only thing that the son of Amram did?” He then proceeded to list all of the miracles that Moshe did for them. The Meshech Chochma explains it differently. We learned in the previous Parsha that Eldad and Meidad said prophecy that Moshe would not lead them into Eretz Yisroel. Up until this point all of their experiences had been through Moshe. Now that they heard he would not lead them into the land they feared that Hashem would not perform miracles in the same manner as before. This is the meaning of the words “Kalev silenced the people to Moshe.” He silenced their complaints about not being able to conquer the land without Moshe. “Vayomer Oloh Naleh- Ki Yochol Nuchal Lo- and he said we shall surely ascend for we can surely do it” Klal Yisroel can do it. We see this from the fact that during the entire forty years in the desert, while Hashem was angry with that generation, that Hashem didn’t speak to Moshe. It wasn’t until the entire generation died out that we find Hashem once again speaks to Moshe. We see from here that it was due to the merits of Klal Yisroel that Moshe was able to perform so many of the miracles.
(14:24) “V’avdi Kolev Eikev Hoysah Ruach Acheres Emo-And your servant Kalev has a different spirit in him.” In this Posuk it say's that Kalev had a different spirit in him and Hashem will be bringing him into the land. The question is what is this different spirit mentioned with regard to Kalev? The Kol Torah says that the Posuk is referring to Miriam his wife. She had tremendous confidence in Yisroel plus a great love for the land. This aided Kalev to withstand the influence of the spies. Some believe that Kalev had a second wife as well. Basya Bas Pharaoh.
The Malbim says that this different spirit was acquired from his visit to the Moros Hamachpela. We see that the first thing he did upon entering Eretz Yisroel was to pray to the Avos for strength. Even though this was a dangerous endeavor. We learn from this that the dead have the ability to give strength to the living and affect our world. The words Ruach Acheres is equal to 823 in Gematria the same as Anachnu Benei Bonav Shel Avraham- We are descendants of Avraham. Kolev kept his connection to the Avos close to his heart.
We know that a Sheliach for a Mitzvah is protected. If so why were the Meraglim not protected? Perhaps we can say that since Kalev is called Hashem’s servant, only he remained true to his mission. The words Ruach Acheres equals 823 the same as the words Sheluchey Mitzvah Aynon Nezikim-A messenger for a mitzvah is protected.
The Arizal writes that he was a Gilgulim of Eliezer Eved Avraham. The words Ruach Acheres Emo equals 870 the same as B’Gilgul Neshamos-The transmigration of souls.
Why is Yehoshua not mentioned here since he too was able to enter into Eretz Yisroel? The answer is that just as Yehoshua delayed in his response to the spies’ slander, Midah keneged Midah Hashem delayed including him when he mentioned who would enter the land. We learn from here the gravity of delaying a Mitzvah. There is a story of a great Rav who visited one of his students in a dream after he passed away. In the dream he was standing at the entrance to Gan Eden but not going in. The student asked him why he was not going in? He replied that during his life he would not dress in his Shabbos clothing at the start of Shabbos, but would delay putting them on. His punishment for this was to stand at the entrance of Olam Habo and not enter until Shabbos morning.
(14:34) “Arbaim Yom-Yom L’shana Yom L’shana-Forty days a day for a year a day for a year.” There is a famous rule written by the Ramban which states “Maseh Avos Simin L’bonim-The events of our forefathers are sign for the descendants.” Every event recorded in the Torah and particularly in Sefer Bereishis is the root of some future event. Where can this decree of 40 years of wandering be rooted? R.M’yuchas, a Rishon from Greece writes that when Yakov was being transported back to Israel for burial, the route they took was identical to that of Klal Yisroel while they wandered through the wilderness. The formation of the tribes was identical. The Egyptian people that accompanied them for the funeral were reminiscent of the Erev Rav that followed Klal Yisroel through the desert. The forty days it took to embalm Yakov correlates to the forty years they spent in the Midbar. In fact this would explain the double loshon used “Yom L’shana Yom L’shana- a day for a year a day for a year.” One day for the current sin, and one day for the sins of the past.
Non of the Jews died before the age of 60 for their punishment was to die in the wilderness not to die prematurely. Therefore those who were 20 years old at the time needed 40 years to complete their punishment.
Rabeinu Bachya writes that this is meant to teach us the mercy Hashem has even when He metes out punishment. It would have been impossible for the spies to cover the entire land of Israel in just 40 days. Therefore Hashem made a miracle that they would be able to accomplish this in that short of a time. Obviously Hashem knew in advance what the punishment was to be. He therefore made each days travel enough that it would cover a year.
(14:34) “Arbaim Yom-Yom L’shana Yom L’shana-Forty days a day for a year a day for a year.” Really it should say a year for a day not a day for a year? The decree was to wander the desert for forty years? The word “Yom” is referring to the day Tisha B’av the one day of each year that Yisroel died. (Soforno)
The night after the Meraglim returned and spoke Loshon Hora about Eretz Yisroel was the ninth of Av. They all returned to their tents and cried. Even the heads of Sanhedrin complained to Moshe saying that they would rather die in the desert than be killed by Idol worshipers in Eretz Yisroel. So Hashem said it will be as you wish. You will all pass away in the wilderness. Part of the punishment went to their son's, having to wander in the wilderness for forty years until all the men of that generation who were above the age of twenty reached sixty and died. Each year on the night of Tishabav the men who reached the age of sixty would dig their own graves and rest in them till morning. Afterward Moshe would call out “All those alive arise!” But still that generation was on such a very high level, having heard Hashem's voice at Har Sinai, that they resembled Angels and in death their bodies did not decay. For accepting Hashem's decree to the extent of preparing their own graves, their sins were atoned and they retained Olam Haboh.
(14:40) "Asher Omar Hashem Ki Chatanu- That Hashem said we sinned." Many ask why their repentance was not accepted? They now we're saying " We are ready to go up to the place that Hashem has spoken, for we have sinned." From these words we see they were not sincere. If you connect the words "Hashem has Spoken" with the words " we have sinned" it reads; Hashem said we sinned, but we say we have done nothing wrong. Their Teshuva was not sincere.
The Parsha ends with the Mitzvah of Tzitzis. (16:39) V'lo Sosuru Acharei L'vavechem V'acharei Eynechem-And you shall not spy after your heart and after your eyes.”What is the connection between this mitzvah and the Meraglim? Rashi explains that Tzitis are equal to all of the 613 mitzvos and the numerical value of the word Tzitzis equals 600. We add the eight strands and the five knots and come up with 613. The problem is that this is a very unusual way of using Gematria? It seems to be forced? But that is exactly the answer. Why does the Posuk of Tzitzis first mention the heart and then the eyes? This brings us back to the beginning of the Parsha. The sin of the Meraglim was one of vision. They saw what they wanted to see. When they entered the land they had preconceived ideas about what they would find. They followed their hearts and subsequently their eyes found what they wanted to see. The same holds true about the Gematria. If you are looking for 613, for Kiddusha then you will find a way to make it work.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
- Hits: 1102
(19:1) “Dabaer el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.” The Parsha begins with a very general statement to be holy, then goes on to list many Mitzvos. The Parsha closes (20:26) repeating “You shall be Holy to me for I Hashem am Holy.” Why the repetition? The Baal HaTurim writes that there are 70 Mitzvos in this Parsha to contrast how we are to be separated from the 70 nations of the world. The words Kedoshim Tiyhu imply a certain separation. Hashem has given us an instruction manual towards this goal. It is the Torah and the Mitzvos contained therein. Through the actions of performing these Mitzvos we are able to take the physical world and elevate it to a level that is G-D like. As we say when we make a blessing “Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvosav-As we are sanctified through your commandments.” When performing these positive commandments we activate the Kiddusha that Hashem invested in them. Thus we become holy.
(19:3) “Ish Imo V’Aviv Tirou V’Es Shabsosai Tishmaru-Every man; Your mother and father shall you revere and my Sabbaths shall you observe.” From the juxtaposition of these two commandments- to revere parents and to observe Shabbos- the Sages derive that if a parent commands a child to desecrate the Shabbos the order must not be obeyed.
The Zohar writes that the connection between these two commandments is that when one introduces a Torah Chidush on Shabbos he honors his parents. What does this mean? On Shabbos we are given a Neshama Yeserah-An extra soul. When that soul returns upon the conclusion of the Shabbos, it is asked what new Torah concept it introduced during that week? This becomes a tremendous merit for the parents residing in the upper world.
(19:23) "Ki Sovo el Ha'aretz-When you come to the land." The history of the world also began with the planting of trees at the time of creation. However the Mitzvah to plant trees upon entering the land is not written in the usual way. It would normally included the words "the land that I will give you" this indicates that it applies to any land even outside of Eretz Yisroel. The Kol Torah writes that this Mitzvah was given to Benei Yisroel to wean them from selfishness. People given great prosperity are tempted to use it for themselves. By prohibiting the use of their produce for three years they will learn how to detach from the physical and realize that everything comes from Hashem.
These two Parshious are usually read together. This implies that after death there will be Kiddusha. We learn this from the Korban Shelamim. The Shelamim may be eaten for a day a night and another day. This is a Chidush for most sacrifices can only be eaten for a day and a night. The Chasam Sofer explains that one of the basic differences between Klal Yisroel and all the other nations is in how they view this world. From the time of the flood, where the descendants of Noach were told that the cycle of day and night will not cease, day is mentioned before night. For them day represents this world and is the priority. For them that’s all there is. Night represents darkness and death to them there is nothing more and is thus secondary.
Torah view is that this world is compared to night and that the real existence is in the world to come. The Shelamim teaches us that there is a time after death, another day, a day of Techiyas Hamaisim. This world was created for us to serve Hashem. The reward for which will be given in Olam Habo. But there is another time when the body and soul will be reunited to once again serve Hashem. For the soul without the body cannot grow and cannot serve Hashem. This will be an eternal world which Hashem will bring and is hinted here in the Shelamim which means whole.
This Parsha goes on to discuss many Mitzvos. One of which is the Din of not judging a person until you have been in his shoes. The Midrash says about this that it means “Dan Likav Zechus”. The Baal Shem Tov says that you “will be” in that person’s shoes. He brings the story of Dovid Hamelech with Batsheva, that had an appearance of wrong doing and Hashem sent a Navi to him who told him a story about a poor person who had only one sheep which he took in just like a member of his family. The rich person one day had a guest over and instead of taking from his own stock took this poor persons only sheep. When Dovid heard this he was furious and said that person should pay for what he did. At this point the Navi told him this rich person is you. You have 18 wives yet you took Batsheva from this man who had only one wife. Dovid admitted his wrong and did Teshuva. The point is Hashem tests a person to see how he reacts to certain events and that is how he is judged. He is shown a similar thing in a different light to see how he reacts. Will he be understanding or show no mercy. However he reacts thats how he is treated. So a person shouldn't judge someone because he is in the other persons shoes.
Hashem told Moshe to warn Benei Yisroel not to do like the Mitzrim and not to be like the Canaanites. One is where they have been the other is where they are headed. Why are these mentioned here? The Torah wanted to emphasize that these Halochos of morality, which the Torah commands, are for all the generations. The Torah does not minimize the enormous power of these human tendencies. But by bringing in Benei Yisroel's origins it shows that these can be overcome. A person’s surroundings are no more conducive to sin than the one found in either Egypt or Caanan.
(20:22) "Ushomatem es Kol Chukosay ...Vlo Soky Eschem Ho'Aretz-You shall Guard all my my decrees..so that the land will not disgorge you." The Goan of Villna once wrote with regard to the Sefer Devarim, that every chapter in the Sefer represents a decade in the history of the world. Chazal write that Hashem looked into the Torah and created this world. Thus the Torah is the blueprint of creation. If we were to look at some of the major events in history and how they relate to Klal Yisroel we would not only find a hint to these events, but a defining statement about that chapter of history.. This verse, which is the 3,338th verse in the Torah, corresponds to the year 3,338 which is the year of the destruction of the first temple and the subsequent exile of Klal Yisroel from the land for the very sins which it warns against.
Moshe Emes V'Toroso Emes.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
- Hits: 1943
(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharons two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.”
The Parsha deals with the death of Aharon's two sons plus the Sa'er L'Azozel - The Scapegoat. There seems to be a connection between the two that is more than just the proximity of the subjects. The sacrifice made on Yom Kippur required two goats. One for Hashem the other for the Azozel. Similarly there were two sacrifices of Aharon's two sons Nadav and Avihu. In a sense they too were scapegoats in that when Moshe was comforting his brother he told him that he knew there would have to be a sacrifice of a life but he thought it would be himself and his brother. But he now sees that Nadav and Avihu were even greater than they. He said that is what Hashem meant when he said "B'Krovay Akodesh-With my close ones I will be sanctified." The words "B'Krovay Akodesh"have a numerical value of 725. The same as the words Sa'er L'Azozel.
(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.”
This verse seems to be a bit redundant. Acharei Mos, means Vayamusu? It seems as though we are speaking here of two deaths. The first when the fire appeared and consumed their souls. The second is the fact they died childless. Not having anyone to carry on their heritage meant that their eternal life had come to an end.
The Parsha begins by telling us a new reason for the death of Nadav and Avihu. Before it was the strange fire here it doesn't mention this but rather the fact that they approached Hashem. The two Posukim would seem to contradict each other. R.Akiva says the contradiction is resolved by a third Posuk in Bamidbar which says “they offered a strange fire before Hashem” (26:61), this teaches us that it was the offering not the illegal entry that caused their death. The Chachomim say that the sins of Nadav and Avihu were that they didn't marry. They wanted to devote their entire life, body and soul to serving Hashem. “Bekirvasam Lifnei Hashem”. They wanted to be close to Hashem. They wanted to be separated from the normal way of life ie. marriage. But by doing this they would abstain from doing the first mitzvah of Pru Urevu. Therefore they were punished. A righteous person does not have to separate himself from the rest of the world. The Torah teaches us to elevate the physical world and make it holy.
(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe- (16:2) "Vayomer Hashem el Moshe" Vayidabaer is an expression of harshness, while Vayomer is a softer expression. The first is harsh for after witnessing the punishment of death a very serious dialogue takes place. Vayomer, a softer expression is used to console Aharon after the tremendous loss of two of his sons.
The Ohr Ha'Chaim explains that there are several questions relating to the first Posuk of this Parsha. Why does the Posuk say “Shenei Benei Aaron” instead of calling them by name? What is the connection to their deaths and the fact that this week’s Parsha deals with the service of Yom Kippur? And why does it say the word “Vayamusu-and they died” after it had already said that we are speaking after the deaths of Aaron's two sons? He answers that all of this relates to the fact that Aaron was not totally forgiven for his part in the Chet of the Eigel. When Moshe prayed for Aaron the effect was that two of his son's were spared. But two of his son's were destined to die. This is why they are called Aaron's two sons. The fact that there was still a residue of Aaron's involvement with the Eigel caused that Hashem removed his protection from his pious ones enabling them to stumble. This would also explain why Aaron was not previously commanded regarding not entering the Kodshe Kodshim at any time until here. Aaron had not yet been qualified to enter the inner sanctum of Hashem until the atonement that the death of his two sons brought. This could be the meaning of the Posuk (16:3) “Bezos Yavo Aaron el-Hakodesh-With this shall Aaron enter into the Holy.” Only after removing any of the residual guilt through these deaths could Aaron now be permitted to enter the Kodshe Kodshim.
How is it that Hashem chose this day to take their lives, a day of tremendous Simcha for Klal Yisroel? It was Aaron's sin-offering on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mikdosh that was the final rehabilitation of the sin. Now there could be this connection to the Avodah of Yom Kippur which was the day that the Chet Ha'Eigel was actually forgiven.
There is a Midrash that explains how Nadav and Avuhu entered the Holy of Holies without even consulting each other. The question is why should they have had to consult each other? We don't see this by any other Mitzvah? This was actually another one of their sins. We know that when the Kohen Gadol enters the Holy of Holies he must enter alone. No one is permitted to be there when he enters. Nadav and Avuhu both entered because they did not consult one another. Neither one knew what the other was about to do. This is an important factor. They had heard what Hashem told Moshe regarding the Mishkon. They knew that Hashem wanted to sanctify His name by taking one of his closest one's. They all assumed it would be either Moshe or Aaron. In order not to lose such great leaders they both decided to give up their own lives instead. One of them would have been enough. But since they didn't consult each other they were both taken.
(16:2) “Vayomer Hashem el-Moshe Dabaer el-Aharon Achicha V’Al Yovoh B’chol-Aise el-Hakodesh.” Hashem tells Moshe to tell Aaron, right after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, not to come into the Kodshe Kodshim whenever he wished. This is the Parsha of the Avodah of Yom Kippur. Many Siddurim have this mentioned by the prayers of Yom Kippur. There is a reason why this Avodah is brought here, by the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. It has to do with Kaporas Aveiros. But in Parshas Shimini where the incident is originally recorded it gives several reasons as to what their sin was. They did an act that was not commanded, they drank wine before bringing the Korban, they refused to get married, they decided Halacha before their Rebbe, they walked behind Moshe and Aaron saying when will these two die so that we can replace them and of course the strange fire. How can it be that two such great people, as they apparently were, could have so many Aveirous? In fact Moshe had told Aaron that this is what Hashem told me that He would be sanctified through His holy ones. Which Moshe thought was to be either himself or Aaron. But it seems that they were even greater than them! We have learned that when Moshe went up to Har Sinai Aaron and the 70 elders stayed behind. But they could remain at a level much higher than the rest of Klal Yisroel. And Nadav and Avihu were mentioned there too. So we see that they were on a very high Madrege. They experienced a certain revelation at that time which we can't even comprehend.
Perhaps we can say that what Nadav and Avihu were trying to do was to correct the original sin of Adam. Klal Yisroel had attained this level of Adam before the Chet, when they stood at Har Sinai. But the Chet of the Eigel put an end to that. Nadav and Avihu were not involved in the Chet of the Eigel. They were still on the level of Naseh Venishma, where they were compelled to act without asking. To act instinctively out of the tremendous love that flowed from their witnessing the inauguration of the Mikdosh. They wished to take Klal Yisroel to the next level. This might explain all of the above difficulties. Why they said “When will these two die so that we can replace them.” They wanted to divest their generation from the past, from a physical existence. Why they took wine - to be able to transcend the physical, and why they refused to marry.
The Chidushe HaRim explains that when a person does a Mitzvah with total devotion his soul should leave him and cleave to Hashem. The only reason that such a person should live is because Hashem commanded the Mitzvah and Hashem wants a person to live and do the Mitzvos But in this case there was no command so they had no merit with which to restore their lives. This is why the Posuk says “they brought a fire which he had not commanded.” This would also explain the meaning of “Be'Korvasam Lifnei-Hashem Vayamusu” in our Parsha.
But this is not the method that Hashem wants. Hashem does not want us to be totally in the spiritual realm. Klal Yisroel at that time was not ready for this stage. From the service of Yom Kippur we can learn a tremendous lesson about this. The Torah tells us that they had to take two goats of equal value and appearance. One was to be sacrificed on the altar, while the other was sent away to be thrown off a cliff. The cost of these two goats was taken from the communal fund. They therefore did not skimp on spending when it came to a sacrifice to atone for all of Israel. So how is it that it would be going to waste, thrown over a cliff? The answer is that there are two ways we spend money in our lifetime. One is on spiritual matters the other for physical and personal pleasures. The return for money spent on the spiritual is everlasting. But in retrospect we see that Monies spent on pleasures are usually wasted. The lesson here is that Hashem doesn't mind if we spend money for personal satisfaction. But it has to be balanced with equal spending for Tzedakah and Mitzvos too. The two goats therefor had to be equal in value.
(16:3) “B’Zos Yovo Aharon el-Hkodesh-With this Aharon may enter the Holy.” The Shem M’shmuel writes that the word “B’zos” are the letters Zayin Aleph Tof, Zayin, seven which is nature, Aleph Tof are the letters of the alphabet which is the spiritual, the letters with which the Torah was written. Aharon must only enter with a mixture of that which is physical and spiritual. He is attempting to enter the holiest place, where the binds of physical space do not apply. In the Temple we find the limits of physical space suspended in the Holy of Holies. The day which Aharon must enter there is the holiest day. He enters as a man but inside becomes angelic thus combining the spiritual and physical worlds.
(16:3) “B’Zos Yovo Aharon el-Hkodesh-With this Aharon may enter the Holy.” There is a Gemorrah in Brochos that says “Habo L’taheir M’sayin Oso-If a person wishes to better himself they aid him.” What does it mean they aid him? It should say He helps him in the singular form. But the meaning is as follows. There is a concept called Transmigration of souls (Ibur Neshamas) where the souls of previous Tzadikim are sent to accompany and assist a person attempting a worthy but difficult task. There is a story about the Arizal who once stood up for a student of his that had just entered the room. When questioned about this he responded that he saw the Neshama of Pinchas ben Yair enter the room with his student. What had happened was that this student had just finished risking his life to perform the mitzvah of Pidyan Shevuyin. Assisting him on that task was Pinchas ben Yair. The Arizal sensed this and stood up when he entered the room.
Another case of Ibur Neshamas was by Aharon H’kohein. We have a rule “Ain Kateger Nasseh Saneiger- The prosecutor may not be the defender. Aaron was not permitted to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur wearing gold because of his role in the sin of the Golden Calf. This may be true of Aaron’s role as Kohein Gadol but what about all of the future Kohanim that were not involved in the Sin of the golden calf? Why could they not enter wearing gold? The answer is that every subsequent Kohein that entered the Holy of Holies did not enter alone. The soul of Aharon accompanied them. Therefore every future Kohein Gadol entered wearing white. With this we can understand the Posuk that says “B’zos Yovo Aharon el Hakodesh-With this Aharon would enter into the sanctuary.” The word B’zos has the numerical value of 410, the exact number of years that the first Beis Hamikdosh stood. The question then is why is only the first Beis Hamikdosh hinted at and not the second? The answer is that only during the first Beis Hamikdosh was Aaron accompanying the Kohein Gadol. All subsequent Kohanim of the second Temple were not worthy and did not benefit from Aaron’s assistance.
(16:8) "Goral Echad L'Hashem V'Goral Echod L'Azazel -One lottery for Hashem and one for Azazel" We know that all of the sins of Klal Yisroel were placed upon the scapegoat and sent out alive to the dessert. What then was the purpose of the first goat L'Hashem? The Ohr Ha'chaim writes that it was to atone for unintentional sins, while the goat for the Azazel carried the more severe intentional sins. The Oznayim L'Torah writes that the services performed for the two of them complement each other and together constitute one sin offering. The reason for this is that the sin offering atones for severe symptoms as well as minor ones, for intentional as well as unintentional ones, for the entire Jewish people, as well for individuals. It would be impossible to place all of these sins on one goat and then offer it to Hashem as a sin offering, the pollution would be too overwhelming.
The Parsha continues and discusses the service of Yom Kippur. The central theme of which was the Se'or Le'Azzazel. Two identical goats were selected. One goat was to be brought to the ultimate place of Kiddusha, the other to be taken outside of Eretz Yisroel to the wilderness to a place of death and Tumeh. When a Korban Chatas was brought it was to atone for unintentional sins. Any intentional sins were considered an abhorrence to Hashem and could not be erased by this sacrifice. On Yom Kippur even sins committed intentionally were erased through this scapegoat. This is why it had to be taken outside the Holy Land. It can be better understood by means of a parable. A King examined the garments of his son and found that some of them were soiled. If the garment had a single stain the king would remove it and return the garment. But if he came across a garment which was greatly soiled he would hand it to one of his servants to launder. That servant would not mind getting his hands dirty while washing the garment. Just as the one who takes the goat to the wilderness becomes Tameh. The Ohr Ha'Chaim writes that numerous animals became bodies which housed the souls of former sinners whose souls were given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves through another re-incarnation on earth. The chances are that the goat which was chosen by lot to be the scapegoat to carry away the sins of all of Benei Yisroel, was such an animal.
(16:21) “V’Shelach Beyad Ish Iti Hamidbarah-And send it with the designated man to the desert.” Rashi says that this man was appointed before Yom Kippur. The Chizkuni say that “Ish Iti” means the man whose time has come. That the person who was selected would die during the course of that year. But although he knew that his life would end after his mission, he did not hesitate to perform it. On the contrary he was eager to be apart of Klal Yisroel’s atonement for all of their sins. The question is why did it have to be through someone whose time had come? To answer this we must first understand how this process of atonement worked. Chazal explain that every time a person sins, a bad angel is created. If that person does Teshuvah this destructive angel departs from him, but stands aside waiting to see if the person repeats the sin. If the person does sin again, the angel returns to him to join forces with the new destructive angel created by the second offence. They then unite in their acts of sabotage and accusations.
If the person does not repeat the sin, the bad angel stays away until Yom Kippur. On that day, when the Kohen Gadol says Viduy for Benei Yisroel, all of their bad angels surround him, both the angels of the “wilful sins” and the angels that were waiting on the sidelines. So when he emerges from the Holy of Holies he is on a higher level than even the ministering angels. He then commands all of the bad angels to go onto the head of the he-goat, and they obey. This animal contains so much negativity that it is not even permitted to be sacrificed on the altar. Rather it had to be taken away to the desert. The concentration of negative was such that the only person other than the Kohen Gadol that was able to stand in such an environment was a person whose time had come, someone who had nothing to lose, who could not be sabotaged by an accusing angel.
(16:24) “ V'rochatz es-B'soroh Bamayim B'Mokom Kodesh-And he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place.” Rashi explains that the “holy place” where the Kohen would purify himself was a mikveh on top of the “House of Parve.” What was this place? How did it get that name? Rabeinu Chananel explains that Parve is the name of a gentile sorcerer. He so desired to see the service of Yom Kippur, that he actually dug a tunnel beneath the temple in order to view the Kohen Gadol perform in the Holy of Holies. He was captured and put to death but because of his misplaced devotion the holy place was named after him.
(16:29) "The native born and the proselyte" Why did the Torah need to mention the proselyte by the Mitzvah of Yom Kippur? The convert is obligated to all the Mitzvos? The Ohr Hachaim writes that this is a case of a newly converted and since he is newly converted he has nothing to confess. I might therefore think he need not observe Yom Kippur. The Torah is telling us that he must still keep Yom Kippur.
(17:13) “Ve'Eish Eish Mibenei Yisroel-Asher Yatzud Tzayid Chaya oh-Of Asher Yai'achel Ve'shafach es-Damo Ve'kisahu be'Afar-Every person of Benei Yisroel that traps any wild animal or fowl that is permitted to be eaten, he shall spill it's blood and cover it with earth.” We learn from here that only animals that are intended for food may be hunted. It is not permitted to hunt animals for sport.
It says “If you hunt a beast or fowl, before you eat it, you shall pour out its blood and cover the blood with dust. “When Cain killed Hevel and left the body lying on the ground unburied the birds and animals dug a hole and buried Hevel in it. For this reason they are deserving of having blood covered with earth if they should meet a violent death.
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(9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini Koroh Moshe L’Aharon U’Vanav U’Lziknai Yisroel-It was on the eighth day that Moshe called to Aharon and his sons and to the elders of Israel.” Rashi comments that it was to announce that it was by divine command that Aharon entered the Mishkon and served as the high priest. That they not say he did this on his own authority. But even though Moshe proclaimed that he was acting only at Hashem’s behest, how could he make the people believe him if they had doubts? The Tiferes Shlomo writes that Moshe had within himself the spirit of the entire nation. When he served Hashem with all his heart, all the people were inspired with him. When he announced that he was carrying out Hashem’s command, the people felt a surge of enthusiasm at the service that was about to be carried out. When they became conscious of this spirit of holiness, they realize that it could be possible only because it was indeed Hashem’s command that was being performed. (Otzar Chaim)
(9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” The word “Vayehe” always hints to some sadness. Here it is the death of Aharon’s two sons. Nadav and Avihu. Many reasons have been given for their death by many commentators. Actually in Parshas Mishpatim by the giving of the Torah, we learned that Nadav and Avihu gazed at G-d while they ate and drank (Shemos 24:10) for this reason they may have deserved death but Hashem delayed their punishment not to mar the joy of the giving of the Torah. Instead He waited until this day, the day of the dedication of the Mishkon. It’s quite puzzling that this eighth day would be chosen since it is considered the most joyous day since the creation of the world?
R.Avigdor Miller gives the following explanation. Based on the Mesilas Yesharim he explains that in this world happiness is fleeting. In order for us to focus on the next world, Hashem’s plan is to interject sadness into people’s lives as a sobering experience. To teach us that you must always remain focused on the principal that true unadulterated joy will only come in the next world. What better time to insert this lesson than the most joyous day in the history of creation.
One answer is given by the Dubneh Maggid who gives the following parable. There was once a king who wished to build a great city. He wanted to spare no expense in having the finest of everything. He would bring the best craftsmen to build his palace and the most expensive materials were used. But it would not be complete unless they also included the finest people. So they went to seek out the most competent professionals. They found a doctor who had a reputation for being able to cure all types of ailments. Not long after he arrived, one of the elders of the city took ill. When the doctor went to visit him, he saw this man was gravely ill but the doctor said he would take the position and cure him. But soon after he began treating him he died. The king said to him “What kind of doctor are you? You said you could heal him?” To which the doctor replied “ If the people will think I can heal any type of illness, they will begin neglecting their health and only rely on me to cure them. Thus my coming here would be a disservice to the city. Now that they know that I cannot fix everything they will take heed of their health.”
The same is true regarding the Mishkon. The Mishkon was a place to reconnect the sinners with Hashem. But if they thought it can cure every sin they would begin neglecting the Torah and Mitzvos that is incumbent upon them. Therefore on the very first day of the functioning Mishkon Hashem needed to demonstrate this fact. This sent the most powerful message to Klal Yisroel. That even the most righteous sons of Aharon Hakohen are not above such judgements.
(9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” This was actually the first working day of the Mishkon. Why is it referred to as the eighth day? R. Dovid Feinstein writes that it comes to show how the preparations leading up to the dedication of the Mishkon are just as important as the dedication itself. The Gemarrah in Megillah point out that there are similarities between the wording here and the wording found at the six days of creation. The word “Hashimini” with the letter “Hey” indicates a special day just as the word used by the first Shabbos uses the “Hey”to express the uniqueness of “Yom Hasheshe” the sixth day of creation. Being that this was the culmination of what the world was created for, to bring the Shechinah back down to the physical world, it means that this was the continuation of Masser Bereishis. Seven represents the Tevah, the physical laws of the world, and Shimini represents above the physical, beyond the laws of nature.
But perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation. Man was created on the sixth day. He sinned on that same day and death was introduced into the world. However that sentence was delayed. In fact man was not expelled from Gan Eden until after Shabbos (MiMochros HaShabbos) which was actually the “Eighth” day of creation. We now have come full circle. Now we return to the “Eighth” day, the day the Shechina returned to this world for the first time since it left on the very first Eighth day!
“Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” is equal to 504 in gematria. The same as the word “V’Solachtah- I have forgiven you.”
Rashi quotes the Gemarrah that says this day was as joyous to Hashem as the day the heaven and earth were created. We learn this from the similarity of words in Bereishis, which uses the word “Vayehe”and the opening of our Parsha where the word “Vayehe” is used as well. The Shem M’shmuel writes that really this was the first day of the working Mishkon.
We usually find that the number “eight” is more valued than the number seven. It is known that seven represents nature and eight is considered above nature. However here it seems to be reversed. All of the seven days of the inauguration of the sanctuary the Kohanim had to remain inside the tent of meeting and sacrifices were considered the holiest of holy only being allowed to be eaten in the courtyard of the Ohel Moed. On the eighth day the priests were not restricted to one place and the sacrifice was plain Kodesh and was permitted to be eaten in any place that was free of contamination just as the rest of the year?
To explain this concept we must look at the words of the Zohar with regard to the eating of matzoh. If matzoh is beneficial to our soul why is it not eaten all year long? He answers with a Moshel of a person who is ill and given a strict diet. Once he has regained his strength and has recovered from his illness he once again permitted to eat whatever he wishes. So too with regard to matzoh. When Klal Yisroel were in their infancy matzoh was required to strengthen their spiritual fortitude. Once strong they were not only permitted to eat Chometz they were required to elevate it through consumption. This can also be said of the days of inauguration. For at the outset more caution was called for. Seven represents nature and nature is physicality. Man needs to be cautioned not to drown in physicality. Moshe prepared the Tabernacle for seven days elevating it and preparing it for Aharon to take over. On the eighth day Moshe called to his brother and his sons raising them to the level required to serve in the Mishkon. Only after seven days would this be possible.
This hints to the very first Shabbos of creation and was a direct attempt to correct the original sin. The intent was that there be a Shabbos after y. Therefore when the seventh day of Shabbos arrived seven days of work had been completed. The intent being for the Shabbos day to sanctify the previous work days to the extent that they would never lose that Kiddusha. That is why Chazal say that had Man waited for Shabbos to come before the first sin, the world would have reached its perfection. The light of Shabbos, which is above nature, would have illuminated all of creation. Here the eighth day served as the completion of the seven inaugural days. But it was not enough to prevent the tragedy that occurred and marred the greatest day since the creation of the world.
In this weeks Parsha we have the final steps in the dedication of the Mishkon. There were ten miracles that occurred on that day. The culmination of which was the fire coming down through the Kodeshe Kodshim across the courtyard to the Mizbeach and consuming the Korbon in front of the entire nation. At that point they all screamed and bowed. Miraculously there was enough room for everyone to bow. The need for that miracle was to teach Yisrael that spirituality is not bound by space. It demonstrated that it was equally possible for the vastness of G-D to reside in a limited small place. In a Tabernacle.
The Parsha begins with the word “Vayehe” which always indicates a form of sadness. Besides the death of Aaron's two sons there was also another sadness associated with the Mishkon. Originally each Jew was to be worthy of the Divine Presence resting on him, but after the Chet of the Eigel it was necessary for the Mishkon to be the resting place of the Shechina. So it was truly sad that the Mishkon was dedicated because along with that joy was the realization that they had lost the opportunity for even greater closeness to Hashem.
After Aaron performed the service he stood in the courtyard in front of the altar awaiting the heavenly fire to descend but nothing happened. At this point he said to Moshe “Why did you put me up to this? It’s obvious that Hashem hasn’t forgiven me for my role in the Chet H’eigel.” At which point Moshe and Aaron prayed together and a fire descended and consumed the sacrifice. The question is why did the revelation of the Shechina not immediately follow Aharon’s service? The answer is that by withholding the heavenly fire Hashem demonstrated that His presence cannot be evoked automatically. That by just mixing together certain ingredients one cannot cause the Shechina to appear. Pardoning of sin is not something that is guaranteed by just going through the motions but depends ultimately on the individual and the spirit with which a sacrifice is brought.
(9:24)"A fire came forth from before Hashem ותצא אש מלפני ה׳“ This fire contained five miracles. It came down in a pillar, it was shaped like a lion, it consumed both wet and dry and was without smoke. It was one of the four original elements of creation.
(10:1) “Vayikchu Benei Aharon Nadav V’avihu Ish Machtaso-The sons of Aharon Nadav and Avihu each took his firepan.” When Nadav and Avihu saw the great love that Hashem showed by consuming the Korbonos they felt a tremendous need to reciprocate. What they did was with the highest intentions. Why then should they have deserved death? The Chidushe HaRim explains that when a person does a mitzvah with tremendous devotion his soul should leave him and cleave to Hashem. The only reason that his soul does not leave is because Hashem commanded the Mitzvah and Hashem wants a person to live and do the Mitzvos. But in this case there was no command so they had no merit with which to keep the body and soul from separating. This is why the Posuk says of their sin “they brought a fire which had not been commanded.”
According to Jewish tradition the universe is a composite of the four basic elements, fire, air, earth and water mixed in varying proportions. The basic idea of the four elements is spiritual. They are really the emanations of the four letters of Hashem's holy name.YHVH. The elements as we encounter them in the physical universe are the very outermost expressions of these spiritual emanations. The level of physicality is always the very surface layer of reality that covers the metaphysical that lie concealed underneath.
The Sefer Nefesh Hachaim explains that as we encounter these elements in an everyday experience, fire always goes up toward heaven. It never burns in a downward direction. It has the capacity to transform all physical objects into smoke. Symbolically, the elements fire represents the drive towards spirituality, a drive to return to the creator and be consumed by a spiritual union with him.
Earth is at the opposite extreme. It never falls up but always descends down to the bottom of any solution. Symbolically fire and earth are two extremes. Burning passion for spirituality versus total apathy towards any spiritual movement. One of the four elements in man is fire. It is the predominant element, since it energizes him and enables him to move and function. Therefore Hashem's blessing is most needed there. In the temple a constant fire was required from below to mask the fire that descends from above. The aim of the blessing is wholeness, assuring that there is nothing missing and nothing extra. Too much fire can cause haughtiness, while too little can weaken his strength and ability to fulfill his purpose in the world.
This could explain the small “Mem” in the word Mokdah in Parshas Tzav (6:2)
When the sons of Aharon added fire without being commanded it caused a corresponding fire to come down into them that was more than they could handle and they were consumed. For Hashem responds according to the persons actions. This is why their bodies were not affected. The fire from heaven that fuels the soul caused an overload.
(10:3) "Vayidom Aharon- Aharon was silent" The word "Vayidom" means more than just silent. The root of the word is Domaim which means inanimate like a rock. Aharon was not just silent on the outside while bursting with pain inside. He was able to be accepting throughout. When a tragedy as great as this occurs it is Hashem speaking. This could be the meaning of Moshe's words of consolation to his brother. "Vayomer Moshe el Aharon Hu Asher Dibaer Hashem- Moshe said to Aharon this is what Hashem said." Do not read it as what Hashem said but rather "This is Hashem speaking."
(10:3) "Vayidom Aharon- Aharon was silent" What was it that he could have said? The Yalkut says he could have said "Ben Shemonas Yomim Yimol-On the eighth day we do Bris Milah." What does this have to do with the death of Nadav and Avihu? The Gemarrah writes that Avraham Avinu stands positioned at the gates of Gehenom and prevents anyone circumcised from entering. The message is that there is life after death for those who keep the Torah. The words "Vataitze Aish M'Lifnei Hashem-A fire went out from before Hashem" has the numerical value of 1034 the same as the phrase "Ben Shemonas Yomim Yimol-On the eighth day we do Bris Milah."
The Korbon that was brought on this first day of the Mishkon was to atone for the Chet of the Eigel and also the Chet of the selling of Yosef. Why was this done here and what is the connection between the two Averos? One of the reasons the brothers had for selling Yosef was that they saw in him there would come out Yirovum who later was the one to erect the Avodah Zara in Beis El. When the Jews would go up to the Beis Hamikdosh they had to pass this Avodeh Zara. So now that their own descendants committed this Chet of Avodah Zara by the Eigel they had to have a Kapora for the Chet of Yosef as well.
According to those who hold that the sin of the Eitz Hadas was committed through the use of the Grape vine, this was the reason Nadav and Avihu are considered to have sinned by becoming intoxicated with wine. Because what they really wanted to do was correct the sin of Adom by using the wine for the correct reason. But they were not commanded to do so.
Immediately following their deaths we find Moshe speaking to Aharon, stating that “I knew Hashem would be honored through the one’s closest to Him, but I always thought it would be you or me. Now I see that they were even greater than us." Many commentaries debate Nadav and Avihu's sin. They drank wine before entering the Holy of holies. The decided ``Halacha in front of Moshe. They refused to marry. They were anxious to take over the leadership from Moshe and Aharon. How could Moshe think they were greater than Moshe and Aharon? The Sefas Emes writes that before the sin of the golden calf, Klal Yisroel were on the level of Naaseh V'nishma. After that sin they lost that level. Nadav and Avihu being from the tribe of Levi, were not involved with the sin of the golden calf, they remained on the level of Naaseh V'nishma a level where doing precedes hearing. They wanted to lead the nation to this higher level. But the nation was not yet ready for that greatness.
The Sefas Emes writes that when Moshe consoled his brother he quoted Hashem's words “B’krovaye Akodesh-through my closest I will be honored.” The Gematria of B’krovaye Akodesh equals 719. There are only five words in the entire Torah that have the same numerical value. The first four are Ashkis- I will destroy, V’shechasa-He will destroy, Satis-you have gone aside, and Taktir-You shall burn. Each of these can be related to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu in some way, but just as there are four cups on Passover representing the four exiles, there is in every generation those Neshamas that have to be sacrificed before the redemption arrives. But there is a fifth word, and there is a fifth cup. The fifth word that equals 719 is V’hashevoso- you shall restore it. Just as there is a fifth cup representing the final Geulah, there is a fifth word here representing return to Hashem. The sacrifice of Nadav and Avihu’s Neshamas, B’krovaye Akodesh-through my closest I will be honored, show how their sacrifice was not in vain.
Where did these two holy souls go after they left the bodies of Nadav and Avihu? The Arizal says they entered into the body of Pinchas and the three of them became Eliyahu Hanavi. This is precisely what the fifth cup represents, Eliyahu. The gematria of Pinchas is 208 the same as Nadav and Avihu plus Eliyahu H'navi. The negative effects of the fire that consumed Nadav and Avihu was rectified in Eliyahu H'navi who left this world, whole, in a chariot of fire.
(10:1) “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which they were not commanded.” When Moshe Rabeinu was on Har Sinai receiving the Torah he was challenged by the Angels who believed that the Torah should not be given to man. Hashem told Moshe to respond to them. When his arguments won them over he was given gifts by all of the angels. The angel of death, thinking that his role in the world was completed, gave Moshe the secret of warding off death. Through the burning of incense death can be held at bay. This secret became known to Nadav and Avihu. The Chasam Sofer writes that this is the meaning of the words “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which they were not commanded.” One of the names for the Angel of Death is “Lo-Lamed Aleph” which is the reverse of Hashem’s name Aleph Lamed (Kael) . It comes out then, that their actions were a result of listening to the Angel of Death! “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which Lo commanded.”They were commanded by the angel named “LO”
(10:19)"בנים הנותרים-"Aaron’s remaining son’s” Even though Moshe directed his speech to Ahron's sons they remained silent. This behavior displayed their merit unlike their brothers who spoke before their Rebbe. That's why they are referred to as the surviving sons.
The Parsha goes on to inform us what animals are permissible to eat. This is one of the proofs to the authenticity of the Torah since it is impossible for any human to have known two thousand years ago every species of animal that exists. Even today scientist are finding out new things about the animal world, yet the Torah wrote specific details about these animals that are the only ones of their kind to have these signs. Recently it was found that the two pipes that are cut in the throat of an animal are connected to the brain by a nerve in the spine. This led the scientific community to claim that the ritual slaughter of animals done by Jews is inhumane. A study was conducted and the results of the scientists were confirmed. Every animal that did not have split hooves or chewed its cud had this nerve in its spine. And every animal that either chewed its cud or had split hooves did not have this nerve.
The Parsha details the events of the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkon. This was considered the greatest day since the creation of the world. The Shechina was brought back down to this physical world through the efforts of man. The Parsha goes on to describe the tragic events that marred this day with the death of Aharon’s two sons Nadav and Avihu. But the parsha ends with the details of what is permissible as food. The animals that are considered kosher, what signs determine if they are pure, what insects are permissible? It would seem out of place for the Torah to include this in this Parsha?
If we were to take a step back we would see how vital this information is for us right here. From the very beginning food is what caused the very first separation between man and G-d, when Adom and Chava ate from the forbidden fruit. We find that at every turn we use food to create a connection with Hashem. At the birth of a child we make a Kiddush for a girl or a Shalom Zachar for a boy. For a Yartzeit we make a Kiddush. At every opportunity we use food to reconnect. If a person would stop eating for only a few days the body and soul would separate permanently. This is why today in place of the sacrifices we have prayer which comes from the same place as food.
The Torah has given us the means to reconnect to Hashem. Now we have the instructions of how to maintain that connection. In the chain of life every stage advances over the previous one. The inanimate is consumed by the animal world; they in turn become a part of them. Animals are consumed by man and in turn become a part of him. The greatest merit for an animal is to be consumed by a Tzaddik, to become a part of his Mitzvos. Originally man was vegetarian. Only after the generation of the flood did meat become permissible to man. After a generation of corruption where the entire world had to be destroyed the process of correction began. As the souls of that generation transmigrated into other life forms the need for animals to be consumed by man became necessary for their correction. The Torah outlines those animals whose nature and character are kind and gentle, to be the one’s incorporated into man.
11:43-Rashi says, by eating these unclean foods, you will become unclean on earth. And thus Hashem says, I will in turn cause you to become unclean in the world to come! The consumption of these foods impedes a persons ability to elevate and sanctify himself. It creates a barrier between a Jew and his perception of Hashem. Just as painkillers dull the nerves, forbidden foods dull the spiritual antenna.
(11:44) “V’Heyisem K’doshim Ki Kodosh Ani-You will be holy for I am Holy.”Whenever the Torah writes the word “Holy” referring to man it is spelled without a “Vav”. When referring to Hashem it is spelled with the “Vav” The idea behind it is that all Kidusha comes from Hashem. The letter “Vav” is the letter of connection from above to below. The word Shmini equals Kodesh in Gematria. But just as we know how to make Kiddush nowadays this Parsha, with all of the laws of Kasheruth teaches that we must know how to make Havdalah as well.
Va'Yikre Parshas Zechor
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(1:9) “Eishe Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A fire offering, a satisfying aroma to Hashem.” This idea of satisfying aroma is given additional meaning by R. Eliezer Askenazi. He says that when the Torah uses this expression, it is not to have us appreciate the great value of the sacrifice, on the contrary, it is to have us appreciate its inadequacy. Since the person bringing the offering might think that his sin is pardoned, the Torah informs him that this is not so. This sacrifice is only a satisfying aroma, a hint of what that person could do in the future. A pleasing aroma from afar hints at the existence of an object that is even better than its aroma. So too the sacrifice is an indication of the Maasim Tovim to come. Therefore the word Aroma is used to designate something whose approach is felt before it is actually present. The Korban is merely giving evidence of what he intends to do.
Rashi explains based on a Midrash that Hashem has Nachas Ruach from the fact that His word was spoken and his children comply. The question is if that is the case why is this term only mentioned here and only in regard to certain sacrifices? Every Mitzvah performed is a case of “His word spoken and his children complying.” Why are these sacrifices singled out?
If we look at the first mention of a concept in the Torah we can glean a better understanding of its root. At the end of Parshas Noach we find the first mention of a “satisfying aroma.” After the flood, when Noach emerged from the ark, he brought a sacrifice which was totally consumed. Perhaps we could suggest that this phrase is used only in a case where there is no gain for the one performing the sacrifice. Every subsequent mention of a “satisfying aroma” is either by a Korban Olah or Mincha each of which is totally consumed. The owner has no share in the sacrifice. Giving of themselves with nothing in return is the ultimate expression of sacrifice.
However there are several discrepancies with regard to how this phrase is expressed. Of the 33 times it appears in the Torah it is spelled with a “Vav” in the word “Nichoach” only 3 times. The other times it appears without the “Vav”. But in the first mention of this “satisfying aroma” in the Torah, the root of this concept, we see a unique spelling, different than in every other incident. There it uses the letter “Hey” as the definite article in front of the word Nichoach (Reach Ha'Nichoach) which has a total numerical value of 307 with the letters, which is the same as the amount of words in the chapter of the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate giving of one's self – The Akeidah.
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There is no other Parsha in the Torah that begins with the word Vayakel. The Baer Moshe says that this Vayakel corresponds to the Vayakel by the Chet of the Eigel. There it says the nation gathered against Aaron to make the Eigel. We know that the Mishkon was an atonement for the Chet of the Eigel, let the gold they give here by the Mishkon be a Kaporah for the gold they gave by the Eigel. But what is this comparison of the words Vayakel? It’s not just a question of semantics.
The Chazal say that Hashem created the world by using the twenty two letters of the Aleph-Bet. He looked into the Torah and created the world. The Ari’zal says that each Neshama has a corresponding letter from the six hundred thousand letters in the Torah. So when two or more Neshamas get together especially for a Mitzvah they form certain letter combinations that create spiritual spheres that have an effect on the physical world. When Hashem wants to manipulate events on this world he brings two people together, either for a short time or for a longer period of time like having someone move next door to someone just to create that certain combination of letters. This is why the Mitzvah to pray with a Minyan is so great. The gathering of letters for a Mitzvah produces awesome spiritual structures. But the same is true if the gathering is for something negative. It creates a negative spiritual sphere. This is what happened by the Sin of the Golden Calf. That Vayakel was for a negative reason. The making of the Eigel. This created a terrible spiritual structure especially since the entire nation, all the letter combinations, were involved. In order to combat this there had to be another gathering, Vayakel for a positive purpose, the building of a place for the Shechina to dwell.
Before the sin of Adom and Chavah they lived an idyllic existence, without having to work at all. All of their needs were provided for them with no effort on their part. Once they sinned and were driven from Gan Eden, they needed to perform the thirty nine Melachot, the various activities that must be done to prepare food, clothing and shelter. On Shabbos we return, to some extent, to the existence of Gan Eden by refraining from these thirty nine Melachot, as though reenacting the idyllic conditions in which Adom and Chavah lived before the sin, when they didn’t have to perform any work.
Chazal teach us that when Benei Yisroel stood at Har Sinai and proclaimed “Naaseh V’Nishmah”they removed the spiritual defects of Adom and Chavah’s sin. At that moment they rose to the level of Adom and Chavah in Gan Eden. They were then destined to return to the idyllic existence of Gan Eden, where they would once again not need to perform any work. This changed with the sin of the Golden Calf. When the people sinned, they repeated in a sense, the sin of Adom and Chavah in Gan Eden in that they lost once again that idyllic existence. This time the fate of the world’s existence stood in the balance. Chazal teach us that the world was created on the condition that Benei Yisroel would accept the Torah. For more than 2,000 years after the world’s creation until Matan Torah, creation was not complete. It was like a painting whose ink was still wet. The world was not ready to stand on its own because its continued existence was in doubt, dependent on Israel’s acceptance of the Torah. If so the sin of the Golden Calf, which reversed the spiritual effects of Matan Torah, rolled back the process of creation. Thus the world’s very existence suddenly came back into question.
The process of building the Mishkon, which served to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf, meant recreating the world. The world had to be created anew since the spiritual effects of Matan Torah had been reversed. In fact the Gemarrah Magillah writes that the day of the inauguration of the Mishkon was as joyous as the day of the world’s creation!
From this we can understand why the command of Shabbos was repeated before the people were instructed to build the Mishkon. Building the Mishkon was essentially repeating the process of building the world. Therefore just as the world’s creation included Shabbos, the construction of the Mishkon had to include Shabbos as well.
(35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’ash Melocho U’Bayom Hashvii Yihiyeh Lochem Kodesh Shabbos Shaboson-Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you a complete day of rest.”When the Torah uses the word “T’aseh” it implies that the work will be done with or without any human input. This is one of the most fundamental concepts of the Torah. People find it hard to comprehend that refraining from work on Shabbos supports our success at work during the week. However it is important for us to realize that it is not our efforts that bring us abundance and success, they are motions we must go through, but they are not the source of success. Blessings come not from working, but from refraining from work on Shabbat. Shabbos provides the blessing for the entire week. The greater the observance of the Shabbos, the greater the blessing for the remainder of the week. This Posuk comes to teach us that if the Sabbath is observed then and only then, will the work be done for you.
This would also resolve another question. At the end of Parshas Terumah we find the warning not to violate the Shabbat after all of the instructions for the Mishkon.were given. Here in our Parsha it is reversed the warning of Shabbos comes before the directives to build the Mishkon. Why? The answer is that after giving over the instructions the Torah emphasized that Shabbos must not be violated. However here, at the onset of the actual construction, the message is that keeping Shabbos is what creates the blessings not only for the construction of the Tabernacle, but for the continuation of creation as well.
(35:2) “ Sheshes Yomim T’aseh Melocho U’Bayom Hashvii Yihiyeh Lochem Kodesh Shabbos Shaboson-Six days work may be done, but the seventh day shall be holy for you a complete day of rest.” In Shemos 16:23 the Torah mentions Shabbos but there the words Kodesh come after the words Shabbos while here they precede it? Rabeinu Bachya explains that this is related to Tosfos Shabbos the concept of adding sanctity to the Shabbos. What remains to be explained is why the indication to add to Shabbos is placed after mentioning Shabbos in Shemos 16:23 and before mentioning Shabbos here? It would seem that we would be adding to the start of the Shabbos first then adding to the end of Shabbos second. But one of the reasons to add to the Shabbos is because we do not know the exact time when Shabbos begins or ends. However the generation of the Midbar had a changing of the guard between day and night when the pillar of clouds that surrounded the encampment changed for the pillars of fire at night. There was therefore no need for them to have Tosfos Shabbos, but when Moshe Rabeinu died both of these types of pillars ceased. According to most opinions Moshe died on Shabbos afternoon hence the first time that Klal Yisroel were in doubt as to when the day ended was as Shabbos ended. Therefore there was an addition to the Shabbos at its end before there was an addition at its beginning the following Friday.
(35:3) “Lo Sovaru Aish B'chol Moshvoseichem-You shall not kindle a fire in all of your dwelling places.”Many reasons are given as to why fire is singled out from among the 39 different “M'lochos” R.Yonasan Eibeshitz explains that the first set of Luchos contains reference to keeping Shabbos because in six days Hashem created heaven and earth. Fire however was not created until after the first Shabbos. Therefore the warning comes here.
(35:22) “Vayovoyu H’Anoshim al H’Noshim-The man came on the women.” To donate towards the Mishkon. The men were above the women because after the sin of the Eigel, in which the women did not participate, the men were now Baalei Teshuva and thus higher than the women.
(35:23) “V’chol Ish Asher Nimtzeh Ito-Every man with whom was found.” Why is this term used here? The Ramban writes that everyone had gold and silver. But these items were not common by everyone. Not everyone possessed acacia wood or colored ram skins.
(35:25) “V’chol Isha Chachmas Lev B’Yodeha Tavu-Every wise hearted woman spun with her hands.” Of course she would use her hands? Why was this necessary to mention? To teach us a very important lesson. It is not enough to be wise in theory, but one must also act upon that wisdom.
(35:27) “V’Hanisi’im Heviu es Avnei Ha’Shoham-And the leaders brought the Onyx stones. A Yud is missing from the word Nesi’im, Rashi explains that because they were lax in donating materials to the Mishkan, opting to wait until everybody else donated, with the intention of filling in whatever was missing. The Kli Yakar writes that they should have anticipated the possibility that people would donate all the needs of the Mishkon leaving them with nothing to bring. Chazal inform us that this almost did happen. Were it not for the clouds that transported the precious stones with the Munn they would have had nothing to donate. This is the meaning of omitting the letter “Yud” which transforms the word Nesi’im from leaders into clouds. The question is if they exhibited a lack of alacrity why should they be rewarded by having precious stones fall at their doorstep? If they missed the opportunity to donate it should not be given to them on a silver platter? We must take a step back in order to understand what is being related here.
When a project is begun the first thing determined is “How much will it cost?” No where did the Torah tell us how much material was needed. The previous Parshas described in detail the various stages of the Mishkon’s construction. The miraculous way the Ark took up no space, the way the women spun the wool while still attached to the sheep. But Hashem is not really interested in the physical structure of the Mishkon. Instead it’s written “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shchanti B’sochom-Make for me a sanctuary that I may dwell in YOU!” Throughout the parsha we find the words “Kol Nediv Lev-Every motivated heart.” This is what Hashem wants from us, our hearts. Therefore it was the noble intentions of these princes that is being rewarded.
Another question still remains. If the precious stones came to them from the clouds, they really were not donating anything from their own? The answer is that these stones came to them with the Munn. But there was a daily amount that fell according to the needs of that family. Therefore when the Munn fell with the stones, there was less Munn for them that day. This became their sacrifice made towards the Mishkon. "
(35:3) “Vaymalu Oso Ruach Elokim B’Chochah-Hashem filled him wisdom.” Betzalel was not just given the wisdom to be able to build the various pieces of the Mishkon. The Posuk says he was filled with this knowledge. Usually the term used would be Nosain-to grant or Chonain-to bestow. What is the meaning behind this filling of wisdom? R.Pinchas Oretz, a student of the Sefas Emes writes that when a great Tzaddik works on himself his wisdom is not merely contained in his head, but encompasses his entire being. We see by the blessings that Yakov gave to Ephraim and Menashe that the Torah uses the term “V’sekale es Yodo” when describing how Yakov switched his hands placing his right hand on the younger son. The word Sekale comes from the word Seichel. In other words his hands had a certain Daas. At the Akeidah Avraham sent out his hand to sacrifice Yitzchok. Meaning he forced his hand to obey his will. Avraham is Gematria 248. Every one of his 248 limbs was conditioned to serve Hashem automatically so his hand refused because this wasn’t really the will of Hashem. Hashem only wanted him to bring Yitzchok up for a sacrifice but not actually become it. Avraham didn’t know this. He thought that his subjectivity was holding him back. This was his son. So he needed to consciously send out his hand. King David had thoughts of going one place but his feet carried him to the Beis Hamidrash. Thus we see how the body can be conditioned to perform on it’s own. This is what was needed in the building of the Mikdosh. The Mikdosh was not just a place for the presence of Hashem to descend. The Torah writes “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shochanty Besochom-Make for me a sanctuary that I might dwell in you.” The word Besochom-in you means that we each have to make ourselves a sanctuary in our hearts. The Malbim explains each part of the Mikdosh corresponded to one of the 248 limbs of man. He writes that the Aron that housed the Luchos represented the head of man. The Aron was actually made up of three parts, the inner box of gold, the middle box of wood and the outer box of gold. Science tells us that the brain too has three parts to it. There is the Cerebrum, Cerebellum and the Medulla. Each of the various parts to the Mishkon mirrored a different part of man. Now we can understand why Betzalel was filled with knowledge. Every part of his being was to be used to its fullest extent.
But how did Betzalel merit this gift? The Posuk tells us that Hashem chose Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur. He was the grandson of Chur who was killed attempting to prevent the Chet H’Eigel. What does it mean to give up life for the sake of Hashem? When a person elevates every part of his body, when each of the 248 limbs become attuned to the will of Hashem there is nothing separating that person from becoming attached to his creator. All of the barriers become removed. This is what Chur accomplished. This is what he gave over to his grandson Betzalel. His sacrifice was not in vain.
(35:30) “Re’uh Karah Hashem B’Sheim Betzalel Ben Uri Ben Chur-See Hashem has designated by name Betzalel Ben Uri Ben Chur.” Why is the term “See” used here? What was there to see? The Torah does not usually include the grandfather when naming someone. Here attention is being drawn to the fact that his appointment at the age of only thirteen was significant. His grandfather was being rewarded for his self sacrifice in trying to prevent the sin of the Golden Calf. The word “See” is used because Betzalel looked just like his grandfather! Thus everyone could see the obvious appointment as being divine.
(35:31) “ Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim B’Chochma, B’Sevunah U’Bedaas-He was endowed with Divine spirit, with wisdom, with insight, with knowledge.”According to Kabbalah Chochma-Wisdom refers to learning received from others; Sevunah-Insight, is the intelligence to grasp something using one’s own mind, based on wisdom previously learned; Daas-Knowledge is Divine inspiration. However, according to some Chochma-wisdom, represents the gift of intelligence, Binah- insight, being closer to reason, implies the comprehension resulting from intellectual analysis and reasoning. Daas-Knowledge designates knowledge in its highest, most perfect form.
In either case Betzalel possessed all three aspects of wisdom. He grasped the very attributes by which the plans for Creation were established.
(35:32) “V’Lachshov Machshovos-To devise plans with ingenuity.” He was given the ability to read minds. To know how the items were donated, with what intentions. This enabled him to know where the donation should best be used. If given with the right intentions it was used for something with greater Kiddusha.
(35:34) “Ulihoros Nosan B’libo Ohlohav ben Achisomach-And to teach he gave to his heart Olihav ben Achisomach.” We know who Betzalel was. He had the lineage of his ancestors. But who was Ohaliav? Very little is written about him. Rashi says that he was from one of the lowest tribes and was intentionally selected to be joined with Betzalel who was from one of the greatest tribes, Yehuda, Kingship. This was to show that in Hashem’s eyes both are equal if they put in the effort. But we are speaking about the Mishkon here. This is the place where Hashem was to rest his Shechina. This was not something to be given over to an incompetent person just because we want to make a point. But to understand this we have to understand what the Mishkon represents. The Mishkon was a microcosm of the world. Hashem created the world originally with strict Din. The name Elokim is used throughout the beginning of Breishis. Rashi says that Hashem saw the world would not be able to withstand the strict justice so he tempered it with Rachamim by using the name of Hashem that denotes mercy. Here regarding the Mishkon we find the Midah of Din, but where do we find the Midah of Rachamim? The Midah of Din is found by the Posuk introducing Betzalel it says (35:31) “Vayimaleh Oso Ruach Elokim- Hashem filled him with the spirit of Elokim, of strict judgment. By Ohalihav the wording is different.The Torah writes instead (36:2) that Hashem-the name of Rachamim filled his heart with wisdom. The name Ohalihav is the letters of Ayli Ohav-“My G-d loves me.”
The women of the Midbar donated the brass mirrors they had from Mitzraim. Moshe at first was against this because he felt that they were used for inciting the Yetzer Hora. But in reality Hashem coveted them because they helped the women perform a righteous deed by causing the men to take an interest in them even though they had worked till exhaustion. These donations were used for the Laver which held the drink used for the Sotah a drink that reunited the husband and wife.
Another question is how were the women able to make donations if all their possessions belonged to the husband they would need his permission to give away anything? It could be that the reason for the husband owning everything is only because he is the provider but in the Midbar Hashem was the provider since all their needs were taken care of. So they were equal in what they owned.
There is juxtaposition in this week’s Parsha. In Kisisa when it speaks about Shabbos first the Mishkon is mentioned then Shabbos. Here it speaks about Shabbos first. The reason is because originally before there was a Chet of the Eigel they were on a level that they could make a Mishkon and then on top of that have Shabbos. But after the Chet it was impossible to make a Mishkon a place where the Shechina rests. So they needed the Kidusha of Shabbos to bring them to the level where they could make the Mishkon.
We need two Shabbosim to bring the Moshiach this means one to build on the other. We read four Parshas in Adar. One - Shekalim to create Achdos in Klal Yisroel. Two - Amalek after we are united we can overcome Amalek. Three - Parah after getting rid of Amalek we need to purify ourselves. Four - Chodesh when we are ready for a new beginning. Like the moon which is always renewed Klal Yisroel is eternal because every end is always a new beginning.
(35:35) “Milei Osom Chochmas Lev-He filled them with a wise heart.” What does the term "wise heart " mean? Wisdom is not usually found in the heart. But here it was their will to be part of this undertaking that resulted in Hashem giving them the Ruach Hakodesh needed for this undertaking.
(36:7) “V’hamilacha Hayisa Dayom- V’hoser-And the work for the Mishkon was enough and there was extra.” In this weeks Parsha we have the culmination of all the donations for the Mishkon. The Posuk says that there was enough of all of the materials needed to make the Mishkon and there was extra. Many commentators ask on this Posuk. If there was enough what does it mean there was extra? The Or Hachaim says that there was a miracle done here. If a person gave for the Mishkon he didn't want to hear that his donation wasn't accepted because they had too much. So all that was donated became just enough. Another answer is that more silver was given than gold. So they used the extra silver to buy the needed gold that was missing. That is the meaning of “there was extra (silver)” which became enough (gold).
(37:1) “Vayaas Betzalel es H'aron- Betzalel made the Ark.”Why is the Ark singled out as being made by Betazlel? He was involved in making most of the Mishkon? The answer is that in the future no other Ark would ever be made. Even the third and final Beis Hamikdosh will contain the original Ark made by Betzalel.
The Kol Torah writes that Betzalel was uniquely connected to the Aron because he was Moser Nefesh for the honor of the Aron. Where do we find this? When Moshe instructed him about the order of construction, Betzalel corrected him (35:31) to which Moshe announced “He is correct Betzalel is truly in the shadow of Hashem.” Speaking before his Rebbe could have cost him his life.