Parshas Beha'alos'cha 5757 - '97
Outline # 39
by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
In the parsha, there are two unusual letters: twice, the letter
"nun" is written in a reversed manner. (Bamidbar [Numbers] 10:35) It occurs
this way in the Torah Scroll. The Rabbis say that the two reversed letters
are placed as a sign; we must make a break between the discussions of the
Jews' errors, even where these discussions are necessary. (Shabbos 115b -
116a). See Ramban (Bamidbar [Numbers] 10:35), who holds that there are three
negative incidents here, and there is a separation before the third. Three
consecutive times becomes a pattern (Hebrew "chazakah"); we stop before the
pattern can be established. Hashem wants only good; we must be sensitive
when discussing negative aspects, even for the most valuable lessons.
Chodshei Hashanah Part Twenty Five
Tosafos Chadoshim at the beginning of Mishnayos Rosh Hashanah quotes
the Kedushas Levi: Why do we find in the Mishnah, that tractate Rosh Hashanah
follows Yoma (dealing with Yom Kippur) and Sukkah? The festival of Rosh Hashanah
comes before Yom Kippur and Sukkos!
The Ran questioned, "Why is Rosh Hashanah chosen to be the Day of
Judgment?" The Ran cites the Pesikta, which states that Adam was judged on
the first day. Hashem then said, "Just as you were judged and acquitted on
this day, so your children will be judged and acquitted on this day."
The Ran writes that the answer only helps according to one opinion. In
the Talmud, there is a debate regarding the date of Creation. Rebbe Eliezer
says the world was created at Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah time); Rebbe Yehoshua
says the world was created at Nisan (Pesach time). The Pesikta's explanation
only helps according to Rebbe Eliezer. What is the significance of Rosh Hashanah
as the Day of Judgment, if Adam was not judged at that time?
The Ran concludes: We must say that Hashem wanted to bring merit in the
judgment of Israel. He wanted to judge them at the time of forgiveness and
atonement. Because Hashem was appeased on Yom Kippur, He established it as
a time for forgiveness for all generations. He decreed that people be judged
on Rosh Hashanah; the Tzadikim would be immediately sealed for life -- the
intermediates would be in the balance until Yom Kippur, which is the time
of forgiveness. The Torah gives a period for reflection, so that people can
return to Hashem.
The Kedushas Levi then tied in the placement of tractate Rosh Hashanah
Although we celebrate the reception of the Torah at Shavuos time, the
Jews were not actually taught the complete laws of the Torah until later.
At Shavuos time, Moshe ascended the mountain, and remained there forty days
and nights. When he came down in Tammuz, he saw the Golden Calf and broke
the tablets. Then, for forty days, he prayed for the Jews to be forgiven
. Finally, he again ascended the mountain for another forty days and nights.
On the day destined to be Yom Kippur (120 days after Shavuos), Moshe joined
the camp, presented a new, complete set of tablets and began to teach the
Torah to the people. Consequently, it was only after the atonement and
reconciliation of Yom Kippur that Rosh Hashanah was taught.
We can also understand why Rosh Hashanah follows Sukkah in the Mishnah.
The Shalosh Regalim (Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos) are found in Parshas Mishpatim.
Ramban writes that the laws of Mishpatim were among the rulings given immediately
at Shavuos time (see Ramban beg. of Parshas Behar). However, Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur are only found in Parshas Emor and Pinchus; they were not
taught until after the construction of the Mishkan in the second year.
Consequently, Rosh Hashanah was taught to the people only after the teaching
Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
1 Babbin Court