Torah Tidbits

25 April 2014 / 25 Nisan 5774

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Issue 1003
Parshat B’haalot’cha
June 09, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya by Aliya Sedra Summary

Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
[P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate start of a parsha p’tucha or s’tuma. X:Y is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the parsha; (Z) is the number of p’sukim in the parsha.
Numbers in [square brackets] are the Mitzva- count of Sefer HaChinuch AND Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI (positive mitzva); L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek and pasuk from which the mitzva comes.

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Sedra Stats

B'haalotcha Stats

36th of the 54 sedras;
3rd of 10 in B’midbar
Written on 240 lines in a Torah, ranks 10
16 Parshiyot; 11 open, 5 closed
One of the parshiyot (a S’TUMA) is separated from the parshiyot before and after it by more than blank space (as is usual) - namely, backwards NUNs. Consequently, this parsha is the “loneliest” of all parshiyot in the Torah.
136 p’sukim, ranks 11th, 4th in B’midbar
1840 words, ranks 12th, 3rd in B’midbar
7055 letters, ranks 12th, 4th in B’midbar
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VA’Y’DABER HASHEM EL MOSHE LEIMOR:
This is the most common pasuk in the Torah, occurring 69 times in Sh’mot (10), Vayikra (27), and Bamidbar (32) - and nowhere else. This week’s sedra starts with this pasuk, as do nine other sedras. (Variations on this pasuk are not counted.) NASO, B’HAALOT’CHA, and SH’LACH all start with this pasuk - that’s three sedras in a row. And now you know!

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Lead Tidbit

Multi-faceted Mitzva

G-d commands Moshe Rabeinu to make two silver trumpets - each to be hammered out of a single piece of silver.

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Other Tidbits
Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

In parshat B’ha’alotcha Moshe was confronted with concerned individuals, contaminated through contact with a corpse, who questioned why they were unable to participate in the eating of the Korban Pesach at the appointed time, the first night of Pesach. 
Rashi asks why the defiled men raised the question at all since they clearly already knew that spiritually unclean persons “may not offer an offering to the Eternal in its appointed season” (cf. Bamidbar 9:6-7).
Of course, Korban Pesach was to be eaten by everyone together in communal groups. So, to be left out was embarrassing, if not shameful. The Midrash, however, clarifies further: These particular individuals were in the last stage of seven days of “cleansing”. Now if someone would perform the sacrifice for them, by evening they would be clean and now able to eat the Paschal lamb…
Moshe turned to Hashem for the answer, namely, that their offering was to be deferred for a month (to Pesach Sheni). Incisively, Rashi adds that rather than Moshe communicating to the people yet another law he had learned, it was specifically in the merit of these particular worthy individuals that this law was taught. For according to the Talmud, they had just been involved in burying the dead. And if that is the reward for dealing with the dead, what might be the reward for acting correctly with the living?

Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff

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Portion of the Portion

Poor in one place and rich in another place

Poor in one place and rich in another place

The mitzva of lighting the candles in the Mishkan is mentioned in a number of places in the Torah. In three of those places the word TZAV - command - is even used. V’ATA T’TZAVEH (Sh’mot 27:20), TZAV ET B’NEI YISRA’EL (Vayikra 24:2), and in our verses, KAASHER TZIVA HASHEM ET MOSHE (Bamidbar 8:3).  Lighting the Menorah is also mentioned in the book of Sh’mot (25:37). Why does the Torah have to talk about the same mitzva in so many different places in the Torah? Isn’t one time enough?
Our Rabbis teach that KACH DAR- KA SHEL TORAH SHED’VAREHA ANIYIM BIMKOMAN V’ASHIRIM B’MAKOM ACHER - “The words of the Torah are poor in one location and rich in another” (Jerusalem Talmud 3:5). This means that in each location in the Torah that it is written about lighting the menora there is some detail that is missing and that detail can be found in one of the other locations. 
For example; in the first location in Sh’mot 25:37, lighting the Menorah is mentioned in passing. There is no exact command to do so. In the second mention of lighting the Menora we are actually informed that it is a command (Sh’mot 27:20-21). We also learn that this is a mitzva that is to be done on a regular basis - every day but we are not told to use the Menora. In the third location (Vayikra 24:1-4) we are told that the candles should be lit in the holy Menora, but we are not told how many of the candles must be lit. In our verses we are told EL MUL P’NEI HAM’NORA YA’IRU SHIV’AT HANEIROT, that all seven candles must be lit each time.
The commentators ask why is this mitzva written here? Can we learn anything from its juxtaposition to the previous portion about the princes?  Rashi and Ramban see it as a consolation to Aharon the Kohen Gadol who was disappointed because he was not involved in the dedication of the Altar. He is told that his service of lighting the candles is more important because it will last forever - even after the Altar will no longer be in use after the destruction of the Temple. The Ramban feels this midrash brought by Rashi refers to the lights of Chanuka that are with us even today.
But there is a simple reason for the mention of the mitzva of lighting the Menora just at this time in the Torah. Right after the Mishkan is built and the dedication offerings for the Altar are brought, the Menora can be lit in the Mishkan. Here is the logical place to talk about lighting the Menora - may we be able to light it soon in the Temple.
SINCE THE WORDS of the Torah are poor in one place and rich in another - here is a recipe for a rich tomato soup - red tomatoes, red like the lights of the Menora flickering in the Beit HaMikdash.

RICH TOMATO SOUP
4 peeled tomatoes (seeded and diced)
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter or oil
salt
pepper

Place tomatoes and juice in a pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves. Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter or oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.

May the Torah learned from this column be for a refu’ah sh’leimah for Yaakov ben Esther

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Parsha Points to Ponder

Parsha Points to Ponder

1) Why does Moshe use the word TRAVEL (NOS’IM) when describing the Jewish people going to Israel while using the word GO (LECHA) with regard to Yitro traveling with the Jews (10:29)?
2) Why does the Torah use the obscure language of THE FIRE SUNK (VATISHKA) to describe the fire which was consuming the camp becoming extinguished (11:2)?
3) Why does the Torah interrupt the story about the Jew complaining, with the seemingly unrelated command for Moshe to gather seventy elders to the Mishkan for prophecy (11:16)?

Parsha Points to Ponder by Rabbi Dov Lipman
Rabbi Lipman is an educator, author, and community activist in Bet Shemesh and also serves as Director of Anglos for Am Shalem. [FACEBOOK: “Anglos for Am Shalem”] http://www.rabbilipman.com

Ponder the questions first, then see below

Suggested answers

1) The Ohr HaChayim teaches that TRAVEL refers to a complete break from where a person is leaving. The Jews were going to Israel and would have zero emotional con- nection to the desert of Egypt. Yitro, however, would still be connected to his family in Midyan and, therefore, his traveling is referred to as GOING. Yitro, actually responds by using the same terminology - I WILL NOT GO (10:30)  - capturing his feeling that if he were to go with the Jews it would have to be as a traveler, with his family along and no remaining connection to Midyan.
2) S’forno answers that G-D made the fire specifically sink into the ground in a supernatural manner which made it clear that the fire was not a natural disaster but a punishment from G-D.
3) Rav Hirsch explains that G-D understood that the people were complaining about a lack of physical things because they were not spiritually strong. The command to gather righteous people for prophecy would strengthen the spiritual level in the camp and reduce their desires for the physical.

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Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

When Eldad and Meidad started prophesying in the camp, Yehoshua called for their imprisonment while Moshe let them continue prophesying. Yehoshua’s zeal could be understood as a declaration of loyalty to his teacher. His message to Moshe is clear: only you should be able to receive prophecy. In contrast to this idea, Moshe believes in a more democratic system:  Whoever is worthy of seeing Hashem in this world should be encouraged to do so. Moshe ends off his remarks with a blessing that one day the entire people should be at such a level to see Hashem’s visions.
Moshe received his wish in the time of the prophet Yoel. Yoel speaks of a great disaster approaching Israel but he tells the people not to worry because “Hashem will be zealous for his land and have pity on his nation” (Yoel 2:18). Hashem then says “I will pour out my spirit upon every person. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your elderly will see dreams, while the young shall see visions. I will even pour out my spirit upon to the slaves and maidservants in those days” (3:1-2).
Yoel then explains this imagery. Just as a prophet sees visions of Hashem and tell this message to the people, so too all the people of this time will be able to see the signs of redemption unfold before them (3:3-4) and will announce them to the world (4:9).
We live in times when Moshe’s wish has come true again. Hashem has blessed his nation and the Land of Israel in front of our eyes. We who were born in the Diaspora have the opportunity to recognize this blessing and announce it to the world by making Aliya to the land that Hashem has blessed.

Avraham Norin, Maleh Chever

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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Wisdom & Wit

Wisdom and Wit

R’ Chizkiyahu Medini left his position in Karasubazar on the Black Sea, and moved to Yerushalayim. He refused to take any public position, so that he would be free to complete his work, which would become the monumental S’dei Chemed. He fully realized that this would entail much financial hardship, but was ready for it.
When the position of Rav of Yerushalayim became vacant, tremendous pressure was put on R’ Chizkiyahu to accept the position, but he adamantly refused. Eventually, to end the pressure on him, he moved to Chevron. There, however, the position of Rav became vacant, as well, and again he was asked and begged to become rav. He eventually relented and became the rav, a position that he held until his death.
Indeed, we see how this epitomizes what Chazal tell us, that one who runs away from honor has honor pursue him.
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Our Sages tell us (Megila 18a) that if a spoken word is worth a sela, silence is worth two. Based on this, R’ Yisrael of Ruzhin declared: “The only time a person’s word is worth a sela, is when he refrains from adding two others that he might otherwise have uttered.”

Shmuel Himelstein’s Words of Wisdom, Words of Wit; A Touch of Wisdom, A Touch of Wit; and “Wisdom and Wit” - available at your local Jewish bookstore - Reprinted with permission of the copyright holder

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Jewish Law

THE CHALLENGE OF MONEY by Dr. Meir Tamari - "The Trade and Commerce of a Talmid Chacham" (Hilkhot Deot 5) [1]

In all religions, faiths and spiritual philosophies, the founding fathers, saviors or prophets because of all the evil, corruption and enmity in the real world, seek for themselves or are granted lives divorced from the material and mundane affairs of people, embrace poverty and elevate pursuit of ecstasy and revelation. Not so in Judaism which has other role models of religious leadership, kedusha and saintliness, the reason being an ideology that lies at the very root of our religion (Rambam, Hilkhot Deot). “In the Haggada the ben harasha asks, ‘what is this avoda to you? The ancient tzadikim, Adam, Seth, Chanoch, No’ach, Shem and Ever all rightly sought salvation in withdrawal from things material and from concerns of this world. Now the Avot came to teach a new way of avoda, worshiping Hashem by sanctifying the mundane and the material, by their way of living amongst people, even in the midst of their evil ways’” (Shem MiShmuel, Haggada Shel Pesach).
Undoubtedly, all our Avot were great spiritual and religious men in the accepted sense of the words: Avraham merits divine revelations, he is recognized as the beloved of G-d and a prince of the Lord, he destroys the idols of Terach, considers himself merely dust and ashes and he and Sarah bring people back to a recognition of monotheism. The Akeida of Yitschak has served generations as the very symbol of religious martyrdom and self effacement before G-d. Yaakov is ish tam, ish emet, spiritually complete and father of the 12 Tribes of the Holy Nation and Kingdom of Priests. Our sages tell how the Avot observed all the mitzvot out of their own intelligence and wisdom, even though clearly the Torah was not revealed to them, only to Am Yisrael at Sinai.
Yet alongside their great spirituality and religiosity, the Avot were all rich men, owners of flocks, herds and of possessions and thereby teach us how to handle the challenge of money, wealth and power that is greater than the challenge of poverty and humility. The Torah tells us of Avraham’s wanderings with his flocks and herds throughout the Land promised to him and his descendants; even going down to the tum’a of Mitzrayim when drought denied them pasture and fodder. The same Torah relates Avraham’s military genius in his war with the four kings, then the world’s greatest political powers. We also read there, at great length, details of his real estate transaction regarding Ma’arat HaMachpela, its price in legal tender and care to have all the details of what was sold and bought duly recorded for posterity. See how Yitschak, the one offered to G-d who conceived of the mincha prayer, preserved in digging wells for that scarce Middle Eastern commodity water, just as his father had done, for their large flocks and herds. The marriage negotiations of Eliezer regarding Rivka’s shidduch receive the same number of p’sukim as the stories of Creation, Adam v’Chava, their sin and expulsion from Gan Eiden; in view of the religious issues they raise, this is surely unique to Judaism.
Yaakov, at the divine revelation of the ladder [sulam, in gematriya, mamon = money], asked for bread to eat and clothes to wear; we re-echo his words in Birkat Kohanim on chagim, “our food and sustenance, generously and not sparsely, honestly and not in a forbidden way, pleasurably and not in pain, from Your generous Hand”. Arriving in Padan Aram, Yaakov’s first message is a rebuke to its shepherds, either as hired help for cheating their employers by lounging around the well in midday, or for their laziness as self- employed. Chazal tell of the years Ya’akov spent in yeshivat Shem v’Ever, while the Torah in Vayeitzei graph- ically and painstakingly describes the 20 years of his hard labor as well as the difficulties regarding his wages. G-d’s angel reveals to Yaakov nothing more than a strategy for obtaining his rightful wages from an unscrupulous employer (B’reishit 31:9-13).
Yaakov’s first act on returning to Eretz Yisrael was purchasing the eternal ownership of land for Am Yisrael in Shechem. The Chumash (33:18) writes, vayichan, Ya’akov found favor in their eyes, to which in the Oral Law, “Rav taught that in order to express his gratitude to the people of that city ‘he established a sound currency for them’; Shmuel taught, ‘he organized orderly markets for them’; and Reb Yochanan taught, ‘he built bathhouses” (Megila 17a). The teaching that it is possible and necessary to elevate and sanctify even the material drives and monetary desires, is thus expressed by the most perfect of the Jewish Avot, when that spiritual giant also left a legacy of sound money, efficient marketing and public health facilities.

Dr Tamari’s new book - “Truths Desired by God: An Excursion Into the Weekly Haftarah” is published by Gefen Publishers

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Jewish Law

Lesson # 587 Types of Gifts

Continuing with the topic of gifts in halacha, we find that forgiveness of a debt can constitute a gift.

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Word of the Month

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of haChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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Sedra Stats

36th of the 54 sedras;
3rd of 10 in B’midbar
Written on 240 lines in a Torah, ranks 10
16 Parshiyot; 11 open, 5 closed
One of the parshiyot (a S’TUMA) is separated from the parshiyot before and after it by more than blank space (as is usual) - namely, backwards NUNs. Consequently, this parsha is the “loneliest” of all parshiyot in the Torah.
136 p’sukim, ranks 11th, 4th in B’midbar
1840 words, ranks 12th, 3rd in B’midbar
7055 letters, ranks 12th, 4th in B’midbar
###
VA’Y’DABER HASHEM EL MOSHE LEIMOR:
This is the most common pasuk in the Torah, occurring 69 times in Sh’mot (10), Vayikra (27), and Bamidbar (32) - and nowhere else. This week’s sedra starts with this pasuk, as do nine other sedras. (Variations on this pasuk are not counted.) NASO, B’HAALOT’CHA, and SH’LACH all start with this pasuk - that’s three sedras in a row. And now you know!

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Word of the Month

On the 20th of Sivan, over 50 Jewish men and women were burned at the stake in Blois France, 1171, as a result of the first ritual-murder trial in Europe. Rabbeinu Tam declared a fast day to mark the event. The day was confirmed as a fast day centuries later, in Poland, following the murder of thousands of Jews during the Chmielnicki massacres, 1648 (TACH V’TAT).
On 20 Sivan 5742, the costliest battle of the Lebanon War, the battle of Sultan Yakub, with 30 IDF dead and 3 longterm MIA.

Did you know… Although Yom Yerushalayim is 28 Iyar, the 20th of Sivan marks the day that Israel annexed the Old City and officially untied all of Jerusalem - in 1967.