Points to Ponder

Behaalosecha 5775

When you light the candles (8:2) – Rashi cites the famous Midrash that identifies the connection between Behaalosecha and Naso as being based in Aharon’s distress over not being able to bring a korban. Hashem consoled him by noting that his opportunity was greater than that of the Nesiim because he would be able to light – and be Meitiv – the candles. Rav Aharon  Lichtenstein ztl. explains thatthe symbolism ofhatava is dual: a readiness to roll up one's sleeves and apply oneself to a goal, and the emotional ability to invest today to harvest the fruits only tomorrow and sometimes tomorrow occurs much later than the following day. Thehatava aspect need not diminish the daily enjoyment that must accompany every benTorah as he deciphers a particular point over the course of study. Enjoyment that begins with hatava will reach the stage of hadlaka (lighting). The combination of effort that bears long-term fruit, with the experiential learning that provides short-term enjoyment, is particularly meaningful.


Aharon did so (8:3)Rashi cites the Sifrei who notes the praise of Aharon that he never changed the effort he put into lighting the menorah. Rav Elazar Kahanow Ztl. points out the uniqueness that Aharon had in embodying this ideal. Often we think that those who are known as the great compromisers need to compromise on their ideals in order to achieve compromise. Aharon, who was a master at achieving peace did not need to compromise on his ideals in order to get there.


Pesach Sheni (9:7) – The section of Pesach Sheni is a strange one. It is odd to understand why the claim of “Lama Nigara” is a fair one. You were Tamai is the answer! How is it that they thought that such a question would be acceptable to Moshe? Rav Chaim Sabato Shlita answers based on Rav Tzaddok that it was the question “Why should we lose out” that led to Pesach Sheni. Pesach Sheni is a second chance at joining in the mitzvah that made Am Yisrael a nation. One who recognizes the Mesiras Nefesh of the original declaration does not want to lose the chance to reclaim it. Recognizing that they are no less a part brings the person the chance to realize not his “Right” as much as his “Responsibility” to rendezvous with Hashem and stand up and be counted via a korban Pesach.


And when the Aron moved Moshe said Kumah Hashem. When it rested he said Shuvah Hashem (10:35) – Why the different terminology? Rav Mordechai Yehuda Zaks ztl. explains that when Bnei Yisrael rested in the Midbar one might look at them and think that they were a bunch of disparate groups. After all, each Shevet had its own leader and its own flag. Achdus was not apparent. However, when the Aron moved, Everyone moved behind the Aron in a single direction – with a common Oiev – hence the single word Oiveicha.


Who will feed us meat? (11:4) – Rashi comments that although the people HAD meat, they worried, because when you want to complain about something, there is always something to say. However, the truth is, that Sheker has no basis. Why then would this complaint have any traction? Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlop ztl. explained that when people are drunk on desire, logic is thrown out the window. When people desire something, the lack of quenching of that desire means that there is not enough or even – not present at all. Even the craziest thoughts reign, when what drives them is more emotional desire than logical explanation.


Moshe heard the nation crying to its families and Hashem was very angry and it was bad in the eyes of Moshe (11:10) – What was gained from knowing about Moshe’s anger? Moreover, would one think that Moshe’s anger carried more weight than that of Hashem himself? The Beis Yisrael of Ger ztl. explained that after the Cheit HaEigel, Moshe moved out of the camp and Rashi noted that Hashem told him that if I am angry and you are angry who will bring them back? The Beis Yisrael explains that Moshe’s anger reminds Hashem that someone needs to be the Mikareiv – and if it wasn’t going to be Moshe, it would have to be Hashem himself.

Miriam’s Tzaraas (12:10) – The Rambam (Tumas Tzaraas 16:10) offers an extremely strong, long explanation as to how Miriam was able to engage in Lashon Hara and why she was punished. Rav Mayer Twersky Shlita noted that the Rambam’s progression – from frivolous idle chatter to heresy – is sobering. He explains that constant idle chatter is not simply a self-contained waste of time. Such mindless prattle lowers a person, making him petty and hungry for gossip. When he habitually indulges these inclinations, he becomes cynical. This is the inevitable result of engaging inlashon harawhereby one focuses on the faults and negatives within a fellow Jew. Speakinglashon harabespeaks a cynical decision to focus on another Jew's faults, and ignore his virtues. The insidious process continues to inexorably unfold. Initially, one's cynicism may manifest itself only vis-à-vis one's neighbors or acquaintances. Inevitably, however, the cynical attitude engulfs one's attitude towardstzadikimand prophets, and ultimately even Hashem. Cynicism is the antithesis of faith. Our actions and speech reverberate. Whatever we do or say must be calibrated accordingly.


Haftorah: “On one stone there will be seven eyes - Is it permissible to use a Possuk in context that was not the way it was intended? Rav Schachter Shlita told the story of the  MaHarival who was blind in one eye and was resting on a stone with 3 of his students. One turned and quoted the fact to the Rebbe that this is a kiyum of Al Even Achas Shiva Einayim. When things are a melitza – there is room to offer a novel example without concern for kefirah.