Points to Ponder

Matos-Maasei 5776

This is the thing (30:2) – Rashi notes that Moshe is unique in that he introduced Nevuah not only with the phrase of Koh Amar Hashem as the other Neviim did, he also said Zeh HaDavar. How do you know the difference? Rav Schachter Shlita quoted the Kedushas Levi who notes that all other Neviim saw a Chazon and needed to interpret the Chazon in his own words as opposed to Moshe for whom the language was given to him specifically. This, says Rav Schachter is that which is said that Moshe is the Adon HaNeviim, he alone has the ability to apply Mitzvos immediately and in future generations.  So other Neviim were able to speak only with Koh Amar Hashem. Moshe does the same when he also speaks only to his generation. But when he spoke to future generations he said Zeh HaDavar.

When a man takes a Neder (30:3) – Rav Amital ztl. noted the Gemara’s comparison of one who makes Nedarim to one who makes a Bama and the one who keeps his Nedarim to one who brings a Korban on that Bama. According to Rav Amital, a bama represents a person's desire to depart from the standard route of worship in the Temple in order to establish his personal, alternate route. Likewise, self-imposed prohibitions taken on through vows also represent a retreat from the normal world of mitzvot; the person adopts an additional track through which to worship God. Rather than remaining content with the mitzvot that God gave, the person chooses the Torah-sanctioned track of vows, thereby isolating himself from the standard world of avodat Hashem (divine service). One needs to be exceptionally careful when taking this approach for one’s Chumra is another’s undoing.

He shall not delay his words whatever comes out of his mouth he should do (30:3) – Rav Zaidel Epstein ztl. quoted Rav Yerucham Levovitz ztl. who noted that the power of speech is a strong one and that the Parsha of Nedarim is a reminder not to shirk it. Rav Yerucham explains that the power extended to man over animals is the power of being a Midaber and using the power properly makes man worth it.

This is the Chok of the Torah (31:21) – The introduction of the concept of Hagaalas Keilim with the words, Zos Chukas HaTorah is strange. Why not Zos Chukas Hahagaala? Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl. explained that just like when a Kli becomes so  Tamai that it is absorbed in the walls, so too, the Tumah in a person who wants to become Tahor can become Tahor as well.  K’Bolo Kach Polto. Rav Zilberstein Shlita adds that the Teshuva for sinners needs to be like the sin – if the Taava for Avaira was a strong as fire so too, must be the fervor of change.

Bnei Reuven and Gad had a lot of cattle (32:1) – Ramban notes that everywhere else Gad precedes Reuven in the discussion of Eiver HaYarden except for this one. Why? Rav Chaim Kanievski Shlita suggested that while both wanted to settle in Eiver HaYaden, Reuven’s primary reason was the fact that he had a lot of cattle. Gad knew that Moshe was destined to pass in Eiver HaYarden and wanted his burial place to be in their midst. Since their reasoning was more L’Shem Shomayim, then they get listed first – except for here when their reasoning was not primarily for cattle as was Reuven’s. Here they get listed second.

Eretz Canaan to its borders(34:2)  - The borders of Israel are not only geographic ally significant for these borders can expand. Rather, Rav Elyashiv ztl. notes that these borders highlight the land promised to Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. The closer one gets to these areas, the more they teach us about its holiness and this is clearly the case in regard to proximity to Yirushalayim.

To the best in their eyes they shall marry (36:6) – Why is the word L’Eineihem written in masculine? Rav Sorotzkin ztl. suggests that when it comes to a good shidduch goodness of fit is important too. It is not only ok for people to marry based on their own emotions, knowing what the family would say helps guarantee long term marital bliss.

HAFTORAH: The bearers of the Law have not known Me (Yirmiyahu 2:8) – The Targum Yonasan explains that this means that the teachers of Torah never bothered to teach Yiras Shomayim. The Alter of Kelm used this to explain the idea that Torah without Musar and Yirat Shomayim instruction is a disaster. It is the undoing of the teachers of the time. Dry Torah knowledge without the opportunity to know Hashem does not bring about Torah commitment. The requirement is to get the proper mix of Torah and Yiras Shomayim.