" Now the man Moses was most humble, more than any man on the face of the earth." (12:3)
A question can be asked on this verse. Why does it say the extra words, "on the face of the earth"? It should have just said , "more than any man". The meaning would have been readily discernable with fewer words. What is the Torah teaching us ? There seems to be a connection between humility and the earth. I would like to propose the following original answer, Bezrat Hashem, as follows: When G-d created the universe, it was created "Yeysh Miayin" (something from nothing, or ex nilo).However, Adam (Man) was formed from the dust of the earth that already existed. (Genesis2:7---"Then G-d formed the man of the dust of the ground.......")Rashi quotes Sanhedrin38a, as follows:" G-d gathered the dust from the entire earth, so that in whatever place man may die, the earth should receive him for burial." (End of quote)
This is a most fascinating statement from CHAZAL (Sages). It means that at the very moment G-d was creating Adam (Man), G-d was intimately concerned that Man should have a proper burial so that the earth should not reject man's remains. The love for man by G-d is unfathomable
The gemarra (Shabbos 116a) cites an opinion that the 2-pasuk portion in our sedra (10:35-36) of vayehi binso’a ha’aron… is considered as a Chumash in its own right. According to this view, we have not five, but seven Chumashim (Bamidbar has three; one before 10:35, one after 10:36, and 10:35-36 itself). The Kli Yakar (10:35) asks the vital question here; why should this portion be a Chumash in its own right? After all, it has no mitzvos in it - it just tells of the journeying of Bnei Yisrael? The Kli Yakar answers that since pasuk 36 hints to us that the Shechinah will only reside amongst Klal Yisrael if we have 22,000 members, there is a reference to the first mitzvah in the Torah here; pru u’revu (having kids). This is one of the most important mitzvos, which is why these two psukim are dubbed a Chumash in their own right. The Nesivas Shalom offers a different approach. These two psukim tell of the closeness between us and HaShem; that He makes our enemies scatter and constantly protects us. Thus, since the end goal of the mitzvos is ‘to rejoice in HaShem and to enjoy His Shechinah’ (first line of Mesillas Yesharim), these two psukim remind us of the goal of the mitzvos - building a relationship with HaShem. This is why they are considered their own Chumash.
Being out of order has never been so peaceful...
The gemarra (Pesachim 6b) learns an important principle from the first pasuk of perek 9 of our sedra. Noting that this perek occurred in Nissan - a month before the opening of parshas Bamidbar - the gemarra essentially comments ‘this shows us that there is no chronological order in the Torah.’ In other words, the Torah does not always follow chronological order - sometimes events in later sedra actually occurred before events in earlier sedras. [Incidentally, there is an important machlokes between the Ramban (Vayikra 16:1, Bamidbar 16:1) and Rashi as to how freely we are allowed to use this rule to dub events ‘out of place;’ the Ramban is much more reluctant to use this dictum than Rashi seems to be.] Anyway, why is it like this; why did the Torah not present its events in chronological order? For the answer to this question, here’s an absolute peach of a Midrash, cited by the Rav Yosef Engel’s Gilyonei HaShas on Pesachim 6b. The Midrash writes that the Torah mixed up the order in order to prevent destructive arguments. How? For if one person gets called up to the Torah for shlishi, the next guy who gets called up might be annoyed that he was lower down the order than Mr shlishi. Thus, the Torah wrote its events out of order, so that Mr revii would have no claim on Mr shlishi - for perhaps the events which occurred in the revii guy’s aliyah was chronologically first. So the Torah presented events out of chronological order to preserve peace. Beautiful.
Parashas Behaaloscha – Liar Liar
This week's sedra is another busy one with no lack of activity to discuss... so lets get started. Parashas Behaaloscha (try pronouncing that after a few drinks) begins with Moshe being told to command Aaron to light the Menorah, a seemingly irrelevant piece of information which our mefarshim discuss as to why it is placed here... We left off in Parashas Nasso, last week, with the dedication offerings from the twelve tribal leaders which were brought from every tribe at the exclusion of Aaron's tribe, the Levim. In the first Rashi to this weeks sedra, he comments that Aaron was perturbed by this and craved to be involved in the dedication of the new Tabernacle. Citing the Midrash Tanchuma, Rashi goes on to explain that Hashem comforted Aaron from his qualms by reassuring him that his role in the preparation and kindling of the Menorah would be greater than that of the bringing of the dedication offerings. In fact the Or HaChaim holds that
After the Torah lists the tribal leaders and their roles in the dedication of the Mishkan, Aron is awarded the responsibility of lighting the menorah at the outset of this week's Parsha. The Midrash asks why does the section regarding the menorah immediately follow the dedication of the Mishkan? The same Midrash offers an answer that shows a remarkable sensitivity to Aron's feelings. At a momentous event in the history of the Jewish people as the dedication of our first organized site of public worship, Aron was distraught when he realized that neither he nor anyone in his tribe was selected to play a role in the inauguration. Therefore, Hashem consoled Aron, reaffirming that he and his tribe will always serve a significant function with importance beyond the initial dedication of the Mishkan. Aaron and his family will serve in the Mishkan, always being responsible to light the menorah.
While the Midrash's comments are interesting, we are left with an important question. Why does Hashem give Aron the duty to light the menorah specifically; in what way is the menorah so important that it should offer a consolation for his not being involved with the original dedication of the Mishkan? In short, what is so special about the menorah?
"On the day that the Mishkan was erected, the cloud covered the Mishkan, and then in the evening, there appeared something like a fire on the Mishkan and remained there until morning. This is the way it remained. . ."(Numbers 9:15-16).
The possuk evokes images of a pyrotechnic's delight, but what does it really mean? Taken literally, the Torah is informing us that during the day a cloud rested on top of the Mishkan. The possuk continues to describe a blaze, a fiery inferno, which settled upon the Mishkan at night. What is going on here? What do a cloud and a fire really represent?