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והעם לא נסע עד האסף מרים

And the people did not journey until Miriam was brought in. (12:15)

Rashi teaches that Hashem instructed the entire Jewish nation to wait for Miriam Ha’Neviah to be healed before He allowed them to move on to their next encampment. This was her reward for the extra moments she spent at the river to keep an eye on her baby brother, Moshe. What did she really do that was worthy of such extraordinary reward, that an entire nation waited for her? She did very little, and, after all, it was for her brother. Such devotion is to be expected. Yet, Hashem recorded those moments, because “little” things, simple actions, are what define…

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והאיש משה ענו מאד מכל האדם אשר על פני האדמה

Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any other person on the face of the earth. (12:3)

How should we understand the concept of anivus, humility? Should a person ignore his positive attributes? Should he hide his successes? The Baalei Mussar, Ethicists, explain that one who ignores the reality of his wisdom, scholarship, positive character traits, is sorely lacking in the commodity of seichel, common sense. It is similar to a body builder, strong man, ignoring the fact that he can bench press four-hundred pounds. Reality is reality. Horav Shimshon Pincus, zl, offers a powerful insight into how one should relate to his strengths, while concomitantly not having a deleterious effect on his humility. He should view…

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ותדבר מרים ואהרן במשה על אודות האשה הכושית אשר לקח

Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe regarding the Cushite woman which he took. (12:1)

Rashi quotes Midrash Tanchuma (Parashas Tzav 13) which asks, “From where did Miriam know that Moshe Rabbeinu had separated from Tzipporah?” (Miriam complained about Moshe moving out of his family tent. The reason given was that he never knew when Hashem would speak with him. Thus, he had to maintain his purity at all times. Miriam rendered, “Was Moshe the only one who spoke with Hashem? They, too, received His word – yet, they did not separate from their spouses.”) The Midrash says that Miriam heard Tzipporah say, “Woe is to those who are called to prophecy, just like my…

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איש איש כי יהיה טמא לנפש או בדרך רחוקה

If any man will become contaminated through a human corpse or on a distant road. (9:10)

The Pesach Sheini dispensation has two aspects: tamei, ritual contamination; derech rechokah, distance from the Sanctuary. One who, for one of these reasons, missed out on celebrating Pesach Rishon appropriately, is granted a second chance in accordance with halachah. Horav Lazar Brody, Shlita, posits that the laws of Pesach Sheini are an allusion to the baal teshuvah, penitent, who returns to Jewish observance. One who was born to a family that was distant from observance can return, can have another start at being an observant Jew. Chazal (Pesachim 95a) ask what the difference is between Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheini….

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תסגר שבעת ימים מחוץ למחנה ואחר תאסף

Let her be quarantined outside the camp for seven days, and then she may be brought in. (12:14)

Miriam HaNeviyah partnered with her two illustrious brothers in leading Klal Yisrael out of Egypt and through their forty-year journey through the wilderness. The Torah relates that Miriam misspoke concerning Moshe Rabbeinu, making a comment that was considered lashon hora, slanderous speech. As a result, she was struck with tzaraas, spiritual leprosy. The metzora must be quarantined for seven days. During Miriam’s seven-day isolation, the entire Klal Yisrael waited and did not journey to their next encampment. While this was considered a punishment to her, Klal Yisrael’s remaining in place for the duration of her quarantine is a tribute to…

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לא כן עבדי משה בכל ביתי נאמן הוא

Not so is my servant Moshe, in My entire household he is the trusted one. (12:7)

Moshe Rabbeinu is like a trusted member of Hashem’s Heavenly kingdom. The Torah alludes to Moshe’s unique qualities, especially in the area of nevuah, prophecy, in which he stood out above all prophets. He is referred to as avdi Moshe, My servant Moshe, who is trusted. The question that presents itself is obvious. Is it an accolade to state that Moshe was honest and, thus, to be trusted? To possess moral and ethical integrity is a basic quality which Hashem demands and expects of every person. What is novel about Moshe’s integrity and being trusted in Heaven? When one hires…

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ונסעו הקהתים נשאי המקדש

Then journeyed the Kehasim, bearers of the Sanctuary. (10:21)

Interestingly, the Torah refers to the Leviim who descended from Kehas as Kehasim, and those who descended from Gershon and Merari as Bnei Gershon and Bnei Merari. Why? Korban Ani explains that the sons of Kehas were zoche, merited, to carry the Aron and the other holy vessels. This was because they were a very close-knit, unified family. In Bereishis 49:10, Yaakov Avinu blesses Yehudah with the words, V’lo yikhas amim, “And his will be an assemblage of nations. Yikhas/kehas refers to an assemblage/congregation/aggregate, a gathering of people working together with a common goal. As a result of their achdus,…

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על פי ד' יסעו בני ישראל ועל פי ד' יחנו

According to the word of Hashem would Bnei Yisrael journey, and, according to the word of Hashem, they would encamp. (9:18)

Hashem orchestrated and guided Klal Yisrael’s journey through the wilderness. He employed the medium of the cloud that rested above the Mishkan as a signal. When the cloud began to move, it was a Heavenly signal to pull out. It was time to fold the tents and pack their belongings for the next trip. They traveled until the cloud stopped, which was their signal to pitch tents and unpack. No set time was established for how long they remained in each camp. At times, it could be months and even years – or it could be mere days. Regardless of…

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שטו העם ולקטו וטחנו בריחים או דכו במדוכה ובשלו בפרור ועשו אותו עוגות

The people would stroll and gather it, and grind it in a mill or pound it in a mortar and cook it in a pot or make it into cakes. (11:8)

Three expressions in the text address the “delivery” of the manna. In Sefer Bamidbar (11:9), “When the dew descended upon the lamp at night, the manna would descend upon it.” In Sefer Shemos (16:4), “The people went out to collect it.” Last (Bamidbar 11:8), “The people would stroll and gather it.” We derive from here that, for some, it descended at their front door. Others were compelled to leave the camp and gather it. Last, were those who had to stroll far out of the environs of the camp in  order to gather their daily portions. Likewise, we find three…

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ומבן חמשים שנה ישוב מצבא העבודה... ושרת את אחיו... לשמור משמרת.

From fifty years of age, he shall withdraw from the legion of work… He shall minister with his brethren… to safeguard the charge. (8:25,26).

The Levi “retires” at age fifty from bearing the holy vessels on his shoulders. He continues to function in all their Levite services, such as singing, closing the Temple gates and loading the wagons. The Torah writes: V’sheireis es echav, “He shall minister with his brethren”. This refers to giving them wise counsel. The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:24) teaches Ben chamishim l’eitzah, “The man of fifty is capable for counsel.” Rav Ovadiah Bartenura explains that this (fifty-year function) is derived from the Leviim who no longer did any “heavy” labor once they reached fifty years of age. They ministered…

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