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ויהי בנסוע הארון

When the Aron would travel. (10:35)

The well-known pesukim, which are recited when the Torah is removed from the Aron Kodesh, are placed in our parsha and are separated from the rest of the parsha by two inverted nuns. Chazal (Shabbos 115b) teach, “Hashem placed a symbol before and following these pesukim in order to underscore that this is not the rightful place for these pesukim to be recorded in the Torah.” The more appropriate place is in Parashas Bamidbar where the Torah records the nation’s masaos, journeys. Why were they placed here? Chazal explain that the Torah seeks to differentiate the first puranios, punishments, from…

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ויהי העם כמתאוננים רע באזני ד' וישמע ד'

And the nation was complaining; and it was bad to Hashem’s ears. And Hashem heard. (11:1)

Simply, the pasuk teaches that the Bnei Yisrael complained, moaning about the long journey through the wilderness which was forced upon them. They were not happy about it, and their complaints reached Hashem’s “ears.” This led to Hashem’s punitive response to their complaining. The Chasam Sofer offers an alternative approach to these pesukim. Understandably, describing Hashem in anthropocentric terms – such as eyes, ears, hands – is purely figurative, since Hashem has no physical form. The nation (at this point) believed in the figurative “eyes” of Hashem, accepting that He sees everything. They also accepted the figurative “hand” of Hashem,…

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והמן כזרע גד הוא... והיה טעמו כטעם לשד השמן

Now the Manna was like coriander seed… and its taste was like the taste of dough kneaded with oil. (11:7,8)

The manna which descended daily from Heaven had varied tastes – as described by the Torah. In Shemos 16:4, it is referred to as bread from Heaven, with a taste “like a cake fried in honey” (ibid 16:31). Here it is described as having the taste of dough kneaded in oil. The Talmud Yoma 75b explains that for the young, it tasted like bread; for the elderly, it was like oil; and for the infants, its taste was similar to honey. These three tastes seem to contradict an earlier statement made by the Talmud (75a) that a person who ate…

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ויעש כן אהרן

Aharon did so. (8:3)

L’hagid shevacho shel Aharon shelo shinah, to teach the praise of Aharon that he did not deviate (anything from that which Hashem had commanded). In his eulogy for Horav Aharon Kotler, zl, the individual responsible for the transplanting of authentic Torah study (via the Yeshivah Movement which he championed) to America, the Satmar Rav, zl, declared that Rav Aharon embodied the concept of shelo shinah, adamantly refusing to initiate any change in the spiritual structure of the yeshivah from the way it had been, dating back generations. Whatever was good for our forebears would suffice for us. Thus, the approach…

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ויהי העם כמתאוננים רע באזני ד'

The people were like those who seek pretexts of evil in the ears of Hashem. (11:1)

Our parsha begins with the Menorah, relates the laws of Pesach Sheini and then, in what appears to be a sad turn of events, records a series of puzzling complaints originally initiated by the eirev rav, mixed multitude, with an added participatory voice from the people. It is not as if the complaints had any positive substance – or any substance at all. For the most part, they complained for the purpose of complaining, something atypical of a happy people who had recently been liberated from crushing servitude. They craved meat – and cried. They claimed they missed the free…

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האנכי הריתי את כל העם הזה ...כי תאמר אלו שאהו בחילך כאשר ישא האמן את הינק

Did I conceive the entire people…that You say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom,’ as a nurse carries a suckling? (11:12)

Nowhere in the Torah do we find that Hashem instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to carry Bnei Yisrael in his bosom. Why does Moshe intimate this to be true, that Hashem did, in fact, indicate to Moshe that his responsibility as a leader of the nation went beyond the accepted understanding of walking in front of the nation? He would have to carry them as a parent carries his child. Horav Yeruchem Levovitz, zl, (cited in Im Levavi Asicha) explains that, if a person is created with such ability that he is able to care for others as a father cares for…

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והאספסוף אשר בקרבו התאוו תאוה... ואכלתם בשר... לא יום אחד תאכלון ולא יומים...עד חדש ימים עד אשר יצא מאפכם

The rabble that was among them cultivated a craving … and you shall eat meat… not for one day shall you eat, nor two days… until a month of days, until it will come out of your nose. (11:4, 18, 19,20)

An individual who lacks the basic character trait of hakoras hatov, gratitude, is a deficient person. His negativity toward those from whom he benefits engenders a negativity throughout his entire character, eventually leading to a lack of appreciation for all that Hashem does for him. Perhaps referring to an ingrate as deficient is not strong enough. An ingrate is a non-person. Part of humanness is the ability to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the benefits one receives from others. Without this vital character trait, one is not a mentch, decent human being. Having said this, we refer to the Torah’s account…

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ויהי בנסע הארון ויאמר משה קומה ד' ויפצו איביך וינסו משנאיך מפניך

When the Ark would travel, Moshe would say, “Arise Hashem, and let Your foes be scattered, let those who hate You flee from You.” (10:35)

Did you ever wonder why, once the Sefer Torah has been removed from the Aron HaKodesh and the reading of the Torah is about to commence, spiritual intensity in the shul seems to be lifted. It is almost as if Krias HaTorah, the reading of the Torah, is a break in the service. We have finished Shacharis; we are now taking a break for a conversation, for a walk outside, early Kiddush, etc. Does Krias HaTorah signal a relaxation period, a time to socialize and catch up on the past week’s events? In Chochmas Chaim, a novel idea is quoted…

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והאספסף אשר בקרבו התאוו תאוה וישבו ויבכו גם בני ישראל ויאמרו מי יאכלנו בשר

The rabble that was among them cultivated a craving, and Bnei Yisrael also wept once more and said, “Who will feed us meat?” (11:4)

The erev rav, mixed multitude, who left Egypt with the Jewish People, now showed their true level of commitment to Hashem. Nothing! Instead, they were the first to complain, the first to undermine Moshe Rabbeinu’s leadership, thereby showing that they had come along only for the ride. How careful we must be of those usurpers who claim to stand with us, but, in truth, stand only for themselves. Only someone who is truly committed to Hashem is able to withstand the various challenges our People have encountered during our long journey. Horav Avraham Schorr, Shlita, offers a novel interpretation of…

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כי תאמר אלי שאהו בחיקך כאשר ישא האמן את הינק

That you say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a suckling.” (11:12)

Moshe Rabbeinu presents his taanah, “complaint,” to Hashem. Horav Meir Shapiro, zl, explains Moshe’s rationale. The developmental stages of a child require varied levels of adult support until the child matures sufficiently to the point that he is able to fend for himself. A young child of infant status requires a meinekes, nursemaid or babysitter, who feeds the child, since his young age does not yet allow for him to serve himself. An older child who has progressed beyond the need for adult feeding intervention requires an adult omein, sort of pedagogue, to train the child concerning what he must…

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