Volume 24, No. 37
21 Tammuz 5770
July 3, 2010
Patrick and Sally Carreia
in honor of
the birthdays of mother Anna,
son Joel, and daughter Ann Elisha
Nach: Tehilim 147-148
Complete the Six Orders of Mishnah today;
Begin Masechet Berachot on Sunday
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Shevuot 6
Daf Yomi (Yerushalmi): Kilayim 33
The Midrash Rabbah on our parashah comments on the verse (28:2), "My
offering, My food for My fires"--Rabbi Yitzchak asked: Does G-d eat or
drink? Learn from the angels, about whom it says (Tehilim 104:4), "His
attendants [are] flaming fires." From where are they (the angels)
sustained? Rabbi Yudan said in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak: From the glow of
the Shechinah, as it is written (Mishlei 16:15), "In the light of the king's
countenance is life." Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: It is written [in our
parashah--28:6], "It is the continual elevation-offering that was done at
Har Sinai." If you think that I [G-d] eat and drink, learn from Moshe,
about whom it says (Shmot 34:28), "He remained there with Hashem for forty
days and forty nights -- he did not eat bread and he did not drink water."
If I [G-d] ate and drank, Moshe, too, would have eaten and drank. [Until
here from the midrash]
R' Yitzchak Ze'ev Yadler z"l (1843-1917; Yerushalayim) writes: The
midrash is teaching us that the essence of a sacrificial offering is the
feeling that one is nullifying his material being and burning it on the
altar. [The animal is merely a proxy for that which the person bringing the
offering should imagine is happening to himself.] After all, G-d certainly
does not need our "food."
R' Yadler continues: The midrash recognizes that we cannot comprehend
G-d. Therefore, how do we know that He does not eat? The answer is that
mankind can comprehend angels; indeed, some of the prophets--for example,
Daniel--describe seeing angels. From our own observation that angels have
no physical needs, we can deduce that their Master, Hashem, certainly has no
physical needs. (Tiferet Zion)
"Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon Hakohen, turned back My
wrath from upon Bnei Yisrael, when he zealously avenged Me among
them, so I did not consume Bnei Yisrael in My vengeance."
R' Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg z"l (rosh yeshiva in Berlin and Switzerland;
died 1966) observes that a kana'i / one who acts zealously to defend G-d's
honor must have pure motivations. That is why Moshe did not kill Zimri
himself. Chazal say that when Moshe rebuked Zimri for consorting with a
Midianite, Zimri retorted, "And who gave you permission to marry a Midianite
woman?" Of course, Moshe's case was different, for Moshe married Tzipporah
before the Torah was given. Nevertheless, in his humility, Moshe feared
that if he killed Zimri, he might derive even a tiny bit of satisfaction
from taking revenge on the person who insulted him.
Moreover, if Moshe had killed Zimri, cynics might have perceived it as
an attempt to erase his own shame at having married a Midianite. Or,
perhaps such a motivation might even sneak into Moshe's heart, however
subtly. Moshe was afraid of this, so he did not act. That is why Bnei
Yisrael rebuked Pinchas by mentioning that he too had Midianite blood. They
said, "Are you holier than Moshe? He did not trust his own motivations, but
To this the Torah answers, "Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon
Hakohen" -- Man does not always know what motivates him, but Hashem does.
Pinchas did not do this as the grandson of Yitro, but rather as the grandson
of Aharon. (Lefrakim p. 608)
"Moshe spoke to Hashem, laimor." (27:15)
We are used to verses that say that Hashem spoke to Moshe "laimor,"
meaning that Hashem instructed Moshe to repeat Hashem's words to Bnei
Yisrael. But what does it mean that Moshe spoke to Hashem "laimor"? Our
Sages explain that this is one of the three occasions on which Moshe
demanded an answer from G-d.
Why was Moshe so forceful regarding the matter of appointing a
successor? [Surely Moshe knew that Hashem would not abandon Bnei Yisrael
when Moshe died.] Nevertheless, explains R' Elya Meir Bloch z"l (co-
founder and co-rosh yeshiva of the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland) due to
Moshe's great concern for Bnei Yisrael, he wanted to have the opportunity to
pass on to his successor whatever information it was necessary for him to
know. (Peninei Da'at)
"May Hashem, Elokim of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man
over the assembly; who shall go out before them and come in
before them, who will lead them out and who will bring them in;
and let the assembly of Hashem not be like sheep that have no
Rashi z"l comments: "Who will lead them out"--safely, through his
merits. "And who will bring them in"--safely, through his merits.
R' Yerucham Levovitz z"l (mashgiach ruchani of the Mir Yeshiva; died
1936) observes: We learn from Rashi's comment that the Jewish idea of
leadership is very different from the world's idea of leadership. A Jewish
leader is not someone who uses his power to command others to do his will.
A Jewish leader is one who carries the entire congregation on his shoulders,
who is ready to give up his own merits [i.e., the reward for his own good
deeds] for the well-being of his charges. (Da'at Torah)
"Hashem said to Moshe, `Take to yourself Yehoshua son of Nun, a
man in whom there is spirit, and lean your hand upon him'."
"He leaned his hands upon him and commanded him . . ." (27:23)
Why did Moshe place *two* hands on Yehoshua's head when Hashem only
commanded him to use one hand? R' Chaim Yosef David Azulai z"l (Chida;
Rashi explains that the story of the appointment of Yehoshua follows the
story of the daughters of Tzelofchad because once Moshe was discussing laws
of inheritance with Hashem, Moshe thought it would be an appropriate time to
ask that the mantle of leadership be passed to his own sons. Hashem
responded, however, that He had a different plan: Yehoshua would succeed Moshe.
When Moshe blessed Yehoshua, he wanted to demonstrate that he had no
hard feelings because of Hashem's decision, Chida writes. Therefore he
blessed Yehoshua more than Hashem had commanded.
To what is this analogous? The Gemara (Bava Metzia 22a) states that if
a farmer appoints an agent to separate terumah from the farmer's produce,
the agent should designate terumah from the medium-quality produce. If,
however, the agent designated high-quality produce as terumah, and the
farmer saw him and said, "Why don't you take the best stuff as terumah?" the
law is as follows: If there is in fact no better produce than what the agent
took, then we treat the farmer's question as being sarcastic, and the
agent's action is deemed to be unauthorized. Therefore, the "terumah" that
the agent separated is in fact not sanctified. But, if there actually is
better produce, then the farmer is understood to be approving the choice of
high-quality produce as terumah, and the terumah is sanctified. Like Moshe
Rabbeinu in our verse, by giving more than necessary, the farmer
demonstrates that he is pleased with the outcome. (Quoted in Torat Ha'Chida)
Shabbat: Seeing Good in Everything
"A psalm, a song for the Sabbath day. It is good to thank Hashem
and to sing praise to Your Name, Exalted One; to relate Your
kindness in the dawn and faith in You in the nights." (Tehilim
R' Mattisyahu Solomon shlita (mashgiach ruchani of Beth Medrash Govoha
in Lakewood, N.J.) writes: Shabbat is set aside as a time when one can
readily reflect on Hashem's goodness. Indeed, the foundation of the mitzvah
of oneg Shabbat is that through eating delicacies and enjoying other
physical pleasures one will recognize Hashem's desire to do good for His
creations -- to cause them to feel fortunate and happy and to provide them
with all types of good things. This, in turn, will lead a person to
acknowledge and thank Hashem, and to recognize that One who is so good must
be all good. Although we often fail to understand how His actions are good
-- indeed, some of His actions appear to us to be bad -- we are capable of
recognizing that He is inherently good. It is only due to our
short-sightedness that we do not see that all He does is a result of His
goodness. This is the song of Shabbat.
R' Solomon continues: Yet, how can we ignore what is "obviously" bad and
tell ourselves it is good? He explains, quoting his teacher R' Elya Lopian
z"l (1872-1970): Imagine that a person is walking along the road and sees
will-manicured gardens befitting a king or wealthy noble. This person would
likely assume that the palace behind these gardens is similarly ornate.
Much to his surprise, however, once he passes through the gardens he finds
that the palace is a gutted, half-wrecked shell. How can this be? A
thinking person would conclude that the palace is merely being renovated.
Similarly, when Hashem appears to do bad, it is because He is "renovating"
and improving His world. If one would focus on the overall goodness of
Hashem's deeds, he would not question those of His deeds that appear to
mankind to be destructive or cruel; he would understand that they are part
of a carefully formulated, mathematically precise plan.
In the Aleinu prayer, we begin by praising Hashem and acknowledging that
"He is our Elokim; there is none other." We then pray, "Therefore, we put
our hope in You, Hashem, our Elokim, that we may soon see Your mighty
splendor." What does the second part have to do with the first part? R'
Lopian explains that after we have recognized in the first part of Aleinu
that Hashem is Master of everything, we pray in the second part that we
should merit to see the results of His plan, when the "renovation" of the
world will have been completed. (Matnat Chaim: Shabbat p.103)
The editors hope these brief 'snippets' will engender further study
and discussion of Torah topics ('lehagdil Torah u'leha'adirah'), and
your letters are appreciated. Web archives at Torah.org start with 5758 (1997) and
may be retrieved from the Hamaayan page.
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