Posted on June 12, 2020 (5780) By Rabbi Yissocher Frand | Series: | Level:

These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: CD #1122 – Meat and Fish – Must You Have A Separate Fish Pot? Good Shabbos.

“Your Portion Is Greater Than Their Portion” – A New Interpretation

There are certain of Rashi’s Chumash comments that have generated an inordinate amount of “Torah elaboration.” One such Rashi is found at the beginning of this week’s parsha. Over the years, I have mentioned countless interpretations of this Rashi. Tonight, we are going to offer a new insight on the first Rashi in Parshas Be’Ha’Aloscha.

Parshas Be’Ha’Aloscha follows on the heels of Parshas Nasso. Nasso, as we all know, ends with the sacrificial offerings of the Princes (Nesiim) that were brought in connection with the Mishkan Dedication. Rashi asks: Why was the section of the Menorah (at the beginning of Be’Ha’Aloscha) juxtaposed with the section of the Nesiim (at the end of Nasso)? The mitzvah of lighting the candles in the Menorah in the Mishkan has already been mentioned a couple of times in the Torah – in Sefer Shemos. Why then is it repeated here and what is the significance of its proximity to the sacrifice offerings brought by the Princes?

Rashi answers: When Aharon saw the offerings brought by the Princes during the Mishkan dedication, he became depressed (chalsha da’ato). Somehow, the fact that neither he nor any member of his tribe (Levi) had any role in the ceremony of Chanukas HaMishkan, in which leaders of all the other tribes participated, made him feel that he was missing out on a great spiritual opportunity. Rashi said that Hashem told him, “By your life – your role is greater than their role. For you (and your descendants after you) will have the daily mitzvah to prepare and light the candles of the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash. This, according to Rashi, is why the section of the Menorah follows the section of the offerings of the Princes.

This was the “consolation prize” for Aharon haKohen. In fact, it was more than just a consolation prize because “your portion is greater than theirs.” As I mentioned, everybody is bothered by this Rashi. Why, in fact, is “your portion greater than their portion” in this case? There were many things that the Kohanim did. Why is this particular mitzvah singled out as being more prestigious than the role of the Princes in the Mishkan Dedication?

The Ramban in his Chumash commentary already asks on this Rashi: If the idea is to give Aharon a consolation prize, let Hashem tell him that he would have the privilege of bringing the Ketores (Incense). The Ketores had the special property that it made people wealthy. The Ramban gives his approach: This alludes not only to the kindling of the Menorah in the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash, but to the special role of the Kohanim in the lighting of the Menorah that Jews would do for all generations (following the miraculous events of the Chanukah story in which the Kohanim played such a critical role). As I said, many commentaries offer different interpretations as to the meaning of “your portion is greater than their portion.”

I saw a sefer called Milchamos Yehuda from Rav Yehuda Lubart, who suggests the following insight, based on a Meshech Chochma. The opinion of Rambam [Hilchos Temidin u’Mussafim] is that the Kohen had to light the Menorah not only at night, but he had to relight it during the day as well. His opinion is based on the pasuk “… Every morning when he cleans the lamps (Ba’boker ba’boker b’heiteevo es haNeiros)” [Shemos 30:7]. The Meshech Chochma analyzes the rationale of the Rambam. The Rambam says in Parshas Terumah that by lighting the Menorah in the morning, the Kohen was making a statement: Why did the Ribono shel Olam need a Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash? Does He need the light? He is the Light of the world! He provided Klal Yisrael with Light in the Wilderness during their 40 years of wandering. Why does He need a Menorah? It is only to serve as Testimony for all who come into the world that the Divine Presence resides within Israel. He does not need the Menorah, but this is a gift to Klal Yisrael. This gift says that the Divine Presence resides in the midst of Israel.

Lighting in the morning emphasizes the point that the purpose of the lighting is not for illumination. There were windows in the Beis HaMikdash through which light entered during the day time. Clearly the Menorah‘s daytime kindling was not to supplement the light of the sun. The lighting of the morning reveals the true nature of the lighting of the evening, which also was not because He needs the light. The Ribono shel Olam does not need our lighting. The Light of the World does not need our Menorah. The Menorah is not for His sake. It is for our sake.

The Meshech Chochma mentions the same concept regarding the poles inserted into the Aron Hakodesh. There is a biblical prohibition [Shemos 25:15] against removing the poles from the rings on the side of the Aron. Poles were attached to the sides of the Aron to transport it whenever it needed to be moved from place to place. Simple functionality would dictate that these poles should be inserted when needed and removed when the Aron was in its place in the Kodesh Kadashim. We would think that when the Aron was stationary, it did not need poles. It was not going anywhere. What would be the point of keeping the transport poles in place? But, No! We may not remove the poles from the Aron. Why was this so? It was to make the same point: We do not need the poles to carry the Aron. We do not need anybody to carry the Aron. As Chazal say, “The Aron carried the people who carried it.” Therefore, to emphasize that point – even while the Aron is at rest, the poles remain attached.

The Ribono shel Olam does not need our work. He does not need the light of our Menorah and He does not need us to transport His Aron. Do you know what else He does not need? He does not need our mitzvos. He does not need for us to put on Tefillin. He does not need for us to eat matzah on Pesach or to shake a lulav on Succos. The purpose of all the mitzvos is “l’tzaref es Yisrael” – to improve us, to make us better people. That is the purpose of all mitzvos.

Putting on Tefillin does something to our heads; it does something to our hearts. By giving Tzedaka, we become compassionate people. By sending away the mother bird, we become compassionate people. All the positive commandments and all the negative commandments are not for His purpose. It is to benefit us, not Him.

If there is one mitzvah that is emblematic of this, that demonstrates this, it is the mitzvah of the Menorah. “For You are the Light of the world.” He does not need the Menorah. So why is there a mitzvah? The mitzvah is for our sake. In this case, to show that the Divine Presence resides in Israel. By enabling Aharon to demonstrate to Klal Yisrael the purpose of all mitzvos via the lighting of the Menorah, it could truly be said “Your portion is greater than that of the Princes.”

Humility and Great Stature: Two Sides of the Same Coin

I would like to deal with a question posed by the Masores HaShas. The Gemara says [Nedarim 38a] “The Holy One Blessed Be He does not rest His Divine Presence on a person (i.e. – give them the gift of prophecy) unless he is a Gibor (strong), Ashir (wealthy), Chochom (wise), and Anav (humble).” On this occasion, we are not going to explain why a person would need to be strong, wealthy, and wise. We will focus on one particular essential quality that the Gemara mentions – that a Navi must be humble (Anav).

The Gemara marshals pesukim for each of these qualities. Regarding the quality of humility, the pasuk cited is “And the man Moshe was exceedingly humble.” [Bamdibar 12:3]. Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest of prophets and the Torah testifies that he was the humblest person in the world. So says the Gemara in Nedarim.

The Masores HaShas asks a question on this Gemara. His comment is “See Shabbos 92a and it is a mitzvah to resolve this contradiction.” What does it say in Shabbos 92a? There the Gemara has a different statement: “The Holy One Blessed Be He does not rest His Divine Presence on a person unless he is a Gibor (strong), Chochom (wise), Ashir (wealthy), and Baal Komah (a person of imposing stature).”

So, we have a contradiction between Gemaras. The Gemara in Nedarim said the fourth quality required for prophecy is humility but the Gemara in Shabbos says that the fourth quality is imposing stature. Usually people of imposing stature are not the epitome of modesty. What is the meaning of the Gemara? “It is a mitzvah to resolve this contradiction!”

I saw a sefer called Bei Chiya from Rav Elisha Horowitz, in which the author cites an idea from Rav Pinchas of Koritz, one of the great Chassidishe Rebbeim. We say in Nishmas: And all who are high will bow down before You (v’chol komah lefanecha sishtachaveh). Rav Pinchas of Koretz says that this statement has nothing to do with height. We are saying that in the future, everyone will bow down to Him. However, it is not such a significant statement when a person who is a nebech, a shlepper, or someone who is down on his luck – bows down and accepts the dominion of the Master of the Universe. He is a broken person anyway.

The Gemara [Pesachim 113b] comments that one of the people that “the Ribono shel Olam does not like” is a “Dal Gay-eh” (a poor person who is haughty). It is one thing for a person who is worth 100 million dollars to be a Baal Gayvah. It is not right, but we can understand where he is coming from. But a pauper who is down on his luck, who acts like he owns the world – that is really a despicable character trait!

V’chol komah lefanech sishtachaveh means that even the greatest of people, the men of stature (ba’alei komah) – they too shall bow down before You. Even though they have everything going for themselves and have a good rationale to be Baalei Gayvah (haughty) – they too will bow down before the Almighty. This is the praise we say in Nishmas. No matter how great someone is, before You he will bow down. That is the meaning of Baal Koma.

Thus, the Gemara in Tractate Shabbos, which states that the Divine Presence will rest on someone who is Strong, Wealthy, Wise and a Baal Koma means a person who is a man of stature (a Baal Koma) and nevertheless he is humble. This is the type of person who receives prophecy.

These two character traits – Anivus (modesty) and Baal Koma (person of stature) are two sides of the same coin. In order to truly be modest, a person must be a man of stature. The reason Moshe Rabbeinu was the humblest of people who ever walked the face of the earth is because he spoke to the Ribono shel Olam like nobody else. He was the Rabban of all Israel. He gave us the Torah! He was the greatest of the prophets. He was everything! The Master of the Universe writes an epitaph about Moshe Rabbeinu that He writes about nobody else – “In all My House he is the most faithful” [Bamidbar 12:7]. That was his greatness – to be all of the above and yet to remain humble, that indeed made him the greatest Anav.

This is true Anivus. When you see people, who are Gedolei Yisrael – they have Shas on their fingertips – they know the entire Torah, and yet, they are so humble – this is greatness. A fellow who knows a few tractates and thinks he is the greatest sage in Israel – that is unseemly. But to master everything that true Gedolei Yisrael know and to recognize that everyone is dependent on their expertise – everyone comes to them with all their questions – and to remain so humble, that is truly admirable and praiseworthy.

Rav Moshe Feinstein knew the entire Torah. He reviewed Yoreh Deah 150 times. He knew every Pri Megadim in Yoreh Deah. When he was walking down the street on the Lower East Side, somebody yelled out to someone else whose name happened to be Moshe. Rav Moshe Feinstein turned around and said “What can I do for you?” Who called Rav Moshe “Moshe”, other than maybe his wife? His attitude when he heard someone call “Moshe” was not “They wouldn’t be calling me ‘Moshe’ – I am the great Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, great Sage of Israel.” He turned around and assumed the fellow was addressing him. This is an example of “every great man of stature will bow before you.” Such a big person and yet so humble!

The Baal Koma and the Anav are just two sides of the very same coin.

Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]

Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]

This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Beha’aloscha is provided below:

  • 015 Reinstituting the S’micha
  • 060 Waiting Between Meat and Milk: Adults and Children
  • 104 The Seven-Branched Menorah
  • 149 Bringing the Sefer Torah to a Temporary Minyan
  • 196 Vegetarianism
  • 242 Military Service and Potential Halachic Problems
  • 286 When Do We Stand in Honor Of a Sefer Torah?
  • 332 Tefilas Tashlumin: Making Up a Missed Davening
  • 376 Davening For A Choleh
  • 420 Fish and Meat
  • 464 Honoring Levi’im
  • 508 The City of Yericho
  • 552 Kavod Sefer Torah Vs Kavod Talmid Chochom
  • 596 Sitting on Top of Seforim
  • 640 Lox and Cream Cheese
  • 684 Kissing A Sister
  • 728 Lechem Mishna Revisited
  • 772 Simchas Shabbos – Is There Such a Thing?
  • 816 Niduy – Excommunication
  • 860 Standing For A Sefer Torah On Simchas Torah
  • 904 Women and Birchas HaGomel
  • 948 The Ba’al Shacharis Who Forgot Maariv
  • 991 The Shabbos Bar Mitzva in the Good ‘Ole Summertime
  • 1035 Davening that the Suffering Patient Should Die – Permitted or Not?
  • 1079 Does A Grandfather Have To Pay For His Grandson’s Tuition?
  • 1122 Meat and Fish – Must You Have A Separate Fish Pot?
  • 1164 Davening For A Choleh: Must You Mention Father’s or Mother’s Name?
  • 1252 The Dilemma of the Baalas T’shuva at her Non-Frum Brother’s Wedding
  • 1296 Should You Daven for the Same Choleh Over and Over Again?
  • 1340 Bringing a Sefer Torah to the House of an Avail or Temporary Minyan
  • 1384 Can You Be Mechallel Shabbos To Send A Kevital To A Rebbe?

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