Points to Ponder

Behaalosecha 5777

Speak to Aharon and tell him that when he lights the candles (8:2) – Rashi famously cites the Midrash that Aharon was disappointed in that he did not get a chance to participate in the Chanukas HaNesiim. Hashem promised him that his opportunity would be bigger than theirs in that he was to be able to light and maintain the Neiros. Rashi does not explain how the lighting of the candles is a bigger reward than the Korbanos. The Midrash, as brought by the Ramban, adds that while Korbanos only exist during the Zman HaBayis, the Neiros last forever through the Chashmonaim. The Toras Yitzchak learns that even though an event (candle lighting in the Beis HaMikdash) may be time specific – its influence remains strong long after the Churban.

Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Midbar Sinai in the second year post departure from Egypt (9:1) – Why doesn’t the book of Bamidbar begin with this section? Rashi explains that this is a negative episode concerning the Jewish people – this was the only time in 40 years of desert living that they offered the Korban Pesach. Now Tosafos (Kiddushin 37b) notes that they were not obligated to bring the Korban until they entered the land. Why then is it so bad that they did not do something they were not obligated to do? Rav Dovid Soloveitchik Shlita explains that the denigration is in the fact that their lack of obligation in the Mitzva came about as a result of their own doing – through the sin of the Miraglim. This also shows us that the main point of entering the land was the opportunity it would provide us for Mitzva performance. Any delay in the expanded opportunity is a denigration of the Jewish people.

On the day of the establishment of the Mishkan an Anan covered the Mishkan (9:15) – This section opens a complete analysis of the Masaos. Both Ramban and Sforno explain that the Masaos teaches us that the movement and camping of Bnei Yisrael in the desert was only Al Pi Hashem, irrespective of personal desire. Rav Simcha Zissel Broide ztl. added that there is an additional lesson  -- that Torah and Mitzvos are Keva in our lives and everything else is but fleeting.

Make 2 Chatzozros for yourself (10:2) – All Keilim that Moshe made are acceptable for future generation except the Chatzozros which were only ok for him (Menachos 28). Why were the Chatzozros any different? Rav Betzalel Rudinski Shlita offered an insight garnered from Rav Yaakov Kamenetzsky ztl. who suggests that Noach was not successful because he spoke harshly to the people. In contrast, Yaakov was successful because he called the people “Achai – my brothers.”  Rav Yechezkel Abramsky ztl. added that in regard to the other Keilim, they are the same in each generation. However, in each generation it makes a difference as to how to call the people together. For that calling, each generation needs its own Chatzozros.

The manna was like the seed of Gad and its luster was like crystal (11:7)- Rashi says that whomever said the former did not state the latter – either one complains about the Mnna or appreciates it. The Mechilta (Beshalach 14) details the means that the Manna would fall for the Jewish people. Rav Zaidel Epstein ztl. notes that those who worried about tomorrow could not appreciate nor even experience the miracles in the Manna of today. This was the test of the Midbar – going B’Eretz Lo Zerua.


Miriam and Aharon spoke about Moshe… They said, ‘Has the Lord spoken only with Moshe?  Did He not speak with us, as well?’  And the Lord heard” (12:2) - Why does the Torah emphasize that “the Lord heard” what was said about Moshe? Ibn Ezra and Chizkuni explain that Aharon and Miriam’s conversation took place in private, and not in Moshe’s – or anyone else’s – presence.  Ramban and Shadal, claim that Moshe was indeed present and heard what was said. According to Shadal and Ramban,  the Torah emphasizes that “the Lord heard” to indicate that God reacted angrily even though Moshe did not.  Rabbi David Silverberg Shlita points out that according to both interpretations, this phrase stresses the accountability we bear even for actions that appear to yield no impact upon others.  We are responsible for what we say and do regardless of whether those actions or words affect anybody else.  Even if nobody hears, we must remember that “va-yishma Hashem” – the Almighty assuredly hears and takes note. God’s constant presence suffices to demand proper speech and conduct under all circumstances and in every situation, even where it seems that our actions have no effect whatsoever on any other person.


Haftorah: On one stone there will be seven pairs of eyes () – The Maharival quotes the Mahari Bei Rav who was walking with his students and the Rebbe and his three students sat down on a particular stone to rest.  One student asked to lighten the mood and received permission from the Mahari Bei Rav. He noted that the experience was reminiscent of Nevuas Zechariah because here too they were on one stone with 7 eyes (Mahari Bei Rav was blinded in one eye). The Mahari Bei Rav apparently found the comment humorous. Rav Schachter Shlita would remind us that this is a proof that occasionally a possuk can be utilized in a humorous manner as a Melitzah.