Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

Category

Back to Home -> 5782 ->


שאו את ראש כל עדת בני ישראל למשפחתם לבית אבתם

Take a census of the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael according to their families, according to their father’s household. (1:2)

The Torah relates the command that all Jews be counted in the census. It is in the following pasuk that the Torah states the criterion of twenty years and older. Is it “all” or a select group? The Ben Ish Chai explains this with an incident in which he had been personally involved. He heard someone slandering the Jewish community, claiming that in their home in Europe, they had desecrated Shabbos and flagrantly had eaten unkosher food. He asserted that this was the tip of the iceberg, as he continued his denigration of a large segment of the Jewish community….

Continue Reading

שאו את ראש כל עדת בני ישראל למשפחתם לבית אבותם

Take a census of the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael according to their families, according to their father’s household. (1:2)

The census of Klal Yisrael which was carried out individually for each shevet, tribe, in accordance to their pedigree i.e. their father’s yichus, lineage, carries a powerful connotation for the Jew. Knowing and acknowledging our past is critical. Understanding, appreciating, or, at times, coming to terms with our roots is part of our Jewish responsibility. Whether one hails from an illustrious lineage or from less-than-ordinary pedigree, he is part of Klal Yisrael. Thus, he is charged with the mission of spreading and glorifying Hashem’s Name in the world. A fascinating Chazal (Yalkut Shemoni 684) addresses Klal Yisrael’s lineage and its…

Continue Reading

וידבר ד' אל משה במדבר סיני

Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai. (1:1)

The well-known Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 1:7) states that the Torah was given to us through the vehicle of three media: fire, water and wilderness. Fire: “All of Har Sinai was smoking when Hashem descended upon it in the fire” (Shemos 19:18). Water: “The Heavens trickled; even the clouds dripped water” (Shoftim 5:4). Midbar, wilderness: “Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai” (Bamidbar 1:1). Chazal spell out the lesson derived from those three: They are all free; so, too, is the Torah available for free. The commentators, each in his own inimitable manner, offer their own explanations of these…

Continue Reading

וידבר ד' אל משה במדבר סיני

Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai. (1:1)

The Torah was given to us in the wilderness. Obviously, this was by design, because Hashem could have arranged the Revelation anywhere. Apparently, He chose the wilderness for a reason. Horav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zl, posits that Hashem was delivering a message to us concerning the nature of the Torah and the attitude which should prevail when we study it. The wilderness is not a place designated for human habitation. Deadly serpents and scorpions inhabit it. The climate is certainly not conducive to human settlement. Nonetheless, all the powers of Briah, Creation – through the media of water, fire and…

Continue Reading

ונתנו עליו כסוי עור תחש ופרשו בגד כליל תכלת מלמעלה

They shall place upon it a tachash – hide covering, and spread a cloth entirely of turquoise wool over it. (4:6)

The Ramban observes that in the case of the other klei haMishkan, vessels of the Mishkan, they were first covered with wool and then covered over with the tachash – hide. The Aron HaKodesh was singular in that it was first covered with the tachash – hide and then was covered with the techeiles, turquoise wool.  Chazal describe techeiles as having a color similar to that of the sea, similar to the sky which symbolizes the purity of Heaven. Thus, (according to Ramban) it was placed above the tachash – to call attention to the purity and sanctity of the…

Continue Reading

ואלה תולדות אהרן ומשה ואלה שמות בני אהרן

These are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe. These are the names of the sons of Aharon. (3:1,2)

Rashi observes that while the pasuk states that the following are the offspring of Aharon HaKohen and Moshe Rabbeinu, it only lists the names of Aharon’s sons. This, says Rashi, teaches that whoever teaches his friend’s son Torah, it is considered by the Torah as if he caused his birth. Thus, Aharon’s sons, who were Moshe’s students, are also considered to be Moshe’s sons. Horav Meir Chodosh, zl (Or Chadash), quotes the Sifri’s comments to the pasuk, V’shinantem l’vanecha, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons” (Devarim (6:7), eilu talmidecha; “These [sons] are your students.”). The Mashgiach quotes the…

Continue Reading

איש על דגלו באתת לבית אבתם

Every man shall encamp by his banner with the sign of his father’s house. (2:2)

Chazal teach that the arrangement of the Jews’ encampment in the Wilderness paralleled the configuration of the Heavenly entourage that accompanied the Shechinah when it descended upon Har Sinai prior to the Giving of the Torah. Myriads of Heavenly Angels descended with Hashem, all grouped in composition under Degalim, banners. When Klal Yisrael saw this pattern, they, too, sought a sequence of Degalim for their encampment. It did not stop there. Chazal (Bamidbar Rabbah 2:4) state that when umos ha’olam, the nations of the world, saw Klal Yisrael encamped under the Degalim, they approached the Jewish People and attempted to…

Continue Reading

ויתילדו על משפחתם

And they established their genealogy according to their families. (1:18)

Each tribe carried out its own census.  In this manner, one had to clearly establish from which tribe he hailed. Family purity was a strict requirement, so that the merit of their forefathers could stand in their stead during times of crisis. Chazal (Pesachim 49a) teach that one should seek the daughter of a talmid chacham, Torah scholar, as a wife. This serves to ensure the bloodlines, applying the analogy of Invei ha’gefen, b’invei ha’gefen, davar na’eh u’miskabeil; “A combination of the grapes of a vine with the grapes of another vine; which is something fine and acceptable.” [Since both…

Continue Reading

כל פקודי הלוים ... כל זכר מבן חדש ומעלה שנים ועשרים אלף

All the countings of the Leviim… every male from one month of age and up, were twenty-two thousand. (3:39)

The Ramban asks why Shevet Levi, the tribe most dedicated to serving Hashem in the Mishkan and later in the Bais HaMikdash, the tribe synonymous with Torah study and consummate devotion to the spiritual realm of Judaism, numbered far fewer in the census than any of the other tribes. Why should not Hashem’s devotees be as equally blessed as the rest of the nation? Ramban explains that Shevet Levi had not been enslaved. In Egypt, they were permitted to study Torah unabated. During this time, while Shevet Levi was sitting in the bais hamedrash, their brothers were out in the…

Continue Reading

ואלה תולדות אהרן ומשה... נדב ואביהו אלעזר ואיתמר

These are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe… Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Isamar. (3:1,2)

Rashi notes that the pasuk begins by informing us who the offspring of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen were, but, in the end, only states the names of Aharon’s sons. What happened to Moshe’s sons? Rashi quotes the Talmud Sanhedrin 19a, asserting that the Torah is teaching us that Aharon’s sons were considered Moshe’s sons, because Moshe was their Rebbe: “Whoever teaches his friend’s son Torah, it is considered as if he caused his birth.” In other words, the individual who catalyzes a person’s spiritual development is likewise a partner in his physical life. Simply, we might say that a…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!