June 2, 2018
Summer is finally setting in. The weather is always great. This Parsha has special significance to me. Seven years ago I was by Anshe Sholom sitting at the tables at the corner of Broadway and Melrose; the weather was perfect; it was about 1.5 hours before Shabbos; , I was learning the Parsha, and received a call which made me question a decision I made one year earlier. It was devastating . It took over a year to overcome that phone call. Additionally, on this Sedra I drove to Omaha to visit Rabbi Jonathan Gross.
On Shabbos after morning Minyan I went to visit Rabbi Hillel Mandel. I enjoy speaking Torah with him. I came after his meal, made Kiddush, and had some cake. I stayed for over an hour, maybe too long.
I learned the Sedra and have many questions, but only one answer:
1) Every year I learn about Ahron’s chagrin that he and his tribe were not part of the dedication. Ahron and his family ran the Mishkan. It was theirs so why was he upset. Why was he not gracious? Was it that he felt he left out because he was not part of the dedication? Seems that this is not consistent with his nature. I have heard answers, but nothing sticks and every year I ask the same question.
2) Chapter 9; Verse 10: If any man will become contaminated through a human corpse or “on a distant road”. . . . Rashi says ”a distant road” means you were outside the Sanctuary during the time of slaughtering the Korban Pesach on the 14th of Nissan, in the afternoon. It seems that almost everyone who did not offer a Pesach offering could do Pesach Shenei, even if he was negligent and could have slaughtered the Pesach offering on the 14th of Nissan. Seems odd. There is the serious punishment of Koras for not bringing the Pesach offering.
3) Chapter 8, Verses 15-23 talk about the Clouds covering the Mishkan, rising upwards, and traveling. It says Clouds 11 times in these verses, seems like overkill.
4) The sequence of events in the travels of the Jews in the desert is:
Chapter 10 Verse 29 says the Moshe asks Yisro, his father-in-law to stay with the Jews. This conversation took place right before they left, on the 19th of Iyar or the 20th in the morning.
Chapter 10, Verse 11 says that on the 20th of the Iyar the Clouds traveled and rested in the desert of Paran
Chapter 10, Verse 33 – they traveled three-day distance, meaning the 20th, 21st, and 22nd, so the Clouds rested on the 22nd at night. However, Rashi says they only traveled one day so it would seem that according to Rashi they rested on the 20th at night. However, further Rashis say that they did travel for three days.
Chapter 11, Verse 1 Rashi says they traveled for three straight days and complained. Not sure how to answer the previous Rashi which says they only traveled 1 day.
Chapter 11, Verse 1 The Misonenim – Complainers. Had to happen on the night of the 22nd.
Chapter 11, Verse 4: Kivros HaTavah. Israel wanted meat. This took place on the 23rd and 24th. At the same time the 70 other prophets were elevated, and Eldad and Modad prophesized.
Chapter 12, Verses 1 through 16 – Miriam’s episode lasted for 7 days.- from 24 -30th of Iyar. On the 30th of Iyar they traveled from Chazeros (Verse 16) to Paran. Ranban, – they traveled from one place in the Paran desert to another place.
Chapter 13 Verse 1 – The spies which were sent out of the 1st of Sivan.
5) Chapter 31- verse 35 and 46 has the two verses we say whenever the Torah is taken form the ark.
These two Verses are bracketed by the letter NUN, however, backwards.
|לה. וַיְהִ֛י בִּנְסֹ֥עַ הָֽאָרֹ֖ן וַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֑ה קוּמָ֣ה | יְהֹוָ֗ה וְיָפֻ֨צוּ֙ אֹֽיְבֶ֔יךָ וְיָנֻ֥סוּ מְשַׂנְאֶ֖יךָ מִפָּנֶֽיךָ:|
לו. וּבְנֻחֹ֖ה יֹאמַ֑ר שׁוּבָ֣ה יְהֹוָ֔ה רִבֲב֖וֹת אַלְפֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל :
Rashi says He (God) made marks for this passage before and after it, to indicate that this is not its proper place. Where is the proper place? The Gur Aryeh said at Chapter 2, Verse 17.
However, the very next Rashi says on the words | יְהֹוָ֗ה ‘ קוּמָ֣ה – “because He had preceded them by a distance of three days travel, Moses says, Stop and wait for us do not move on any further. The next two Rashis are also in the moment and Moshe is saying to God that He should fight against the enemies right now who are assembled to fight the Jews going into Eretz Yisroel. Just like forty years later the Jews fought Sichon and Oag who were assembled to battle the Jews going into Israel.
The question is obvious. How could the first Rashi say that the backwards Nuns signal that this is not its proper space when the very next Rashi seems to say that this is its proper place and that Moshe said theses two Verses at this time. This was the first time the clouds traveled and the first time Moshe used this prayer. How is Rashi to be understood?
On Sunday I was telling Karen my question and the answer came to me. Moshe created these two Verses as a new prayer to be used when Israel traveled; whether in the desert or if I may speculate whenever they went to war, forced out of Spain, the Holocaust, or when the IDF goes out to battle. Moshe created this prayer back in Chapter 2 Verse 17 and that is the proper place. Each leader saying this prayer must customize it for the needs of the time. It is not just words. Moshe individualized the prayer for the needs of this specific time. Every time a Jewish leader travels he customizes the prayer for that time and Rashi is explaining Moshe’s customization for the first time Moshe used the prayer when Israel traveled in the desert.