Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

Category

Back to Home -> 5780 ->


אלה מסעי בני ישראל ... ויכתב משה את מוצאיהם למסעיהם על פי ד'

These are the journeys of Bnei Yisrael… Moshe wrote their goings forth according to their journeys at the bidding of Hashem. (33:1,2)

The journeys of Klal Yisrael from the time they left Egypt until their arrival in the Holy Land are significant, since the Torah underscores them. The Torah only contains events that have importance for posterity. Moshe recorded these journeys by the word of Hashem, because (according to Rambam), in this way, the nation would remember the miraculous events which occurred in the wilderness for all time. Veritably, some of these miracles were clearly evident, such as the Clouds of Glory and the manna. As we all know only too well, however, memory fades, and doubters and skeptics are likely to…

Continue Reading

ויאמר בני גד ובני ראובן אל משה... עבדיך יעשו כאשר אדני מצוה ... עבדיך יעברו כל חלוץ צבא לפני ד' למלחמה כאשר אדני דבר

Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven said to Moshe… Your servants shall do as my lord commands… And your servants shall cross over, every armed person of the legion, before Hashem, to do battle, as my lord speaks. (32:25,27)

Moshe Rabbeinu exhorted Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven to assume their share of the battle of conquering Eretz Yisrael, concluding, “V’nichb’shah ha’aretz lifnei Hashem, v’achar tashuvu, “And the Land; shall be conquered before Hashem, and then you shall return” (ibid 32:22).  Chazal (Midrash) comment that Moshe’s statement, V’achar tashuvu, “And then you shall return,” was fulfilled b’m’lo muvan ha’milah, to the word. Every member of Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven returned home from the war and apportioning of the Land, a total of fourteen years.  Not a single one died, not even of natural causes! Tzaddik gozeir v’Hakadosh Boruch Hu…

Continue Reading

נקום נקמת בני ישראל מאת המדינים אחר תאסף אל עמיך

Take vengeance for Bnei Yisrael against the Midyanim; afterward you will be gathered unto your people. (31: 2)

Hashem informed Moshe Rabbeinu that he would leave this world once Klal Yisrael destroyed Midyan. Then Klal Yisrael would be avenged. Once Klal Yisrael exacted vengeance, Moshe’s “work” (so to speak) would be complete. Although Moshe was acutely aware that once he completed this mitzvah he would die, he executed the vengeance with amazing alacrity. A mitzvah is a mitzvah, even if it meant that it would hasten his own demise. The Torah writes that the Jewish People waged war with Midyan, and they succeeded in killing all males. Among them was Bilaam ben Be’or, the pagan prophet who was…

Continue Reading

זאת הארץ אשר תפל לכם בנחלה ארץ כנען לגבלתיה

This is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, the land of Canaan according to its borders. (34:2)

Rashi explains the term, tipol lachem, “shall fall to you.” Since the land had been apportioned by lottery, its division was expressed in terms of “falling.” Alternatively, he quotes the Midrash that explains “falling” as a reference to Hashem causing the ministering angels of the seven nations, who at that time inhabited the land of Canaan, to “fall” from the Heavens. They were bound up before Moshe Rabbeinu. Hashem said to Moshe, “Look, they no longer have koach, strength.” Hashem expects us to be mishtadel, endeavor, regardless of the fact that it is Hashem Who prepares the path of success….

Continue Reading

ונס שמה רצח מכה נפש בשגגה

And a murderer shall flee there – one who takes a life unintentionally. (35:11)

Rabbeinu Bachya asks a question that only a Rishon could ask. He wonders about the disparity in punishment between the rotzeiach b’shogeg, inadvertent murderer, and the rotzeiach b’meizid,  premeditated murderer. After all is said and done, they are both murderers. If the premeditated murderer would escape to the ir miklat, city of refuge, he would be immediately yanked out. Why is he different than his inadvertent counterpart? At the end of the day, two victims lay in the morgue. They are both deceased. Disparate dinim, laws, apply to each of the murderers. Why is this? Obviously, this question is rhetorical….

Continue Reading

ואת הערים אשר תתנו ללוים את שש ערי המקלט אשר תתנו לנס שמה הרצח

The cities that you shall give to the Leviim: the six cities that you shall provide for a murderer to flee there. (35:6)

Forty-eight cities were set aside for the Leviim. Of these, six cities were specifically for the rotzeach b’shogeg, unintentional murderer. One wonders why men of such spiritual distinction were relegated to live with individuals who had blood on their hands. True, the murders that they committed were unintentional, but there are various levels of lack of intent, some of which border on carelessness. Only Hashem knows the truth. The Leviim led very spiritual lives. Obviously, their families had a different moral and spiritual compass than that which guided the rest of the nation. Is it fair that these fine, upstanding…

Continue Reading

ונכבשה הארץ לפני ד' ואחר תשבו והייתם נקים מד' ומישראל

And the Land shall be conquered before Hashem, and then you shall return – then you shall be vindicated before Hashem and from Yisrael. (32:22)

“So what if people do not understand my lofty goals?”  “Since when must I explain myself to people?” “As long as I satisfy Hashem, is that not what is important?” It is statements such as these, with the attitude of arrogance that accompanies them, that get people into trouble. The end does not justify the means. One must act in a manner that does not incur public suspicion of impropriety. Everything we do must be above board, maintaining sufficient transparency to withstand the greatest scrutiny. There is a well-known Teshuvos Chasam Sofer (6: Likutim 59) in which the revered Rav…

Continue Reading

אלה מסעי בני ישראל

These are the journeys of Bnei Yisrael. (33:1)

On a recent trip to Eretz Yisrael, I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler. He told me that, since it was his first overseas trip, he was planning to savor every moment. He looked forward to the eleven-hour flight as another leg on what was supposed to be a momentous trip. He was so excited that he was keeping track of every moment – from the taxi that picked him up at home until his eventual return in ten days. I felt this was an interesting perspective on travel, which, for most people, is something they must endure…

Continue Reading

אלה מסעי בני ישראל

These are the journeys of Bnei Yisrael. (33:1)

The adage, “Life is a trip,” has greater meaning than one might think. Each of us travels on the journey called life, and, as occurs in many instances, not all travelers have the same experience. One can travel to a wonderful, beautiful vacation spot and still have a miserable experience. The other can go to a stark, cold, uninviting place and still have a great time. Different people have varied experiences as they go through life. For some, the trip is long and quite enjoyable; for others, it might be too short, and not much to write home about. Once,…

Continue Reading

ויכתב משה את מוציאהם למסעיהם על פי ד' ואלה מסעיהם למוצאיהם

Moshe wrote their goings forth according to their journeys at the bidding of Hashem, and these were their journeys according to their goings forth. (33:2)

The pasuk relates that Moshe Rabbeinu wrote motza’eihem l’maseihem, “their goings forth according to their journeys.” This idea is repeated at the end of the pasuk – only this time the order is reversed, with their journeys preceding their goings forth. Horav S. R. Hirsch, zl, explains that the change in the wording is significant and purposeful. The beginning of the pasuk presents Hashem’s view of their travels. The pasuk closes with the nation’s view of their forty-year sojourn. When Hashem had them break camp, it was always for the purpose of reaching a new goal, a fresh plateau, for…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!