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Parshas Bahalosecha

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Short Vorts on Parshas Bahalosecha
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Menora - Why Was It So Difficult For Moshe?

The pasuk says that Moshe made the Menora like Hashem showed him. Rashi points out that the menorah was one of the 3 things that Moshe could not understand. Why was this particular Keili so difficult for Moshe.

There are 50 levels of understanding (Chamishim Shaarei Bina), of which Moshe only reached the 49th level. The menora is the keili that represents wisdom. The Vilna Gaon says this is hinted the makeup of the menora. It was decorated with 7 lamps, 11 buttons, 9 flowers, and 22 goblets for a grand total of 49. The number 50 represents the actual menorah itself. Since Moshe did not reach the 50th gate of understanding he could not understand the Menora and Hashem needed to show it to him.

PS: The passuk says in Tehilim "Pesach Devarecha Yair"; the beginning of your words light up. This is a remez to the menora which lights up, from the first pasuk in each Chumash (Pesach Devarecha). The first pasuk in Bereishis has 7 words like the lamps; Shmos 11, buttons; Vayikra 9, flowers; Bamidbar 18, the height of the menorah in Tefachim; Devarim 22, goblets.


Step Up to The Menorah

Behaaloscha Es HaNeiros" - "When you kindle the lamps". Rashi explains that the word "Behaaloscha" (literally "when you shall bring up") is used because there was a Ma'aleh - a step - in front of the Menorah on which the Kohen stood as he prepared the wicks and oil of the Menorah. The height of the Menorah was 18 Tefochim , which is approximately 5 - 6 feet; why did Aaron need to stand on a step in order to reach the top of the Menorah?

The Panim Yafos (Haflaah) answers, that Aaron, as Kohen Godol, wore the Tzitz, and according to Halachah it is forbidden for the Kohen Gadol to raise his hand above it. It was therefore necessary to have steps in front of the Menorah so that when the Kohen Gadol would kindle the lights, he would be able to do so without lifting his hands above the permitted height.

The Taz answers, that only the short Kohanim who needed the steps to reach the Menorah used them.

Maharal, answers that Rashi writes that the Kohen stood on the step "Umaitiv" - and cleaned out the ashes from the previous day's lighting. Rashi was careful to write "Umaitiv", because to light the Menorah a step was not necessary, but to clean it out, it was. Since when one cleans the lamps, he must reach higher to get to the inside of the lamp in order to clean it well. Only when being Mativ was it necessary to have a step.


Do Mitzvos With a Zest

"Vayas Kain Aaron" - "And Aaron did so; toward the face of the Menorah he kindled its lamps, as Hashem commanded Moshe". Rashi explains that the Torah emphasizes that "Aaron did so" to declare Aaron's praise - "Shelo Shinah" - that he did not act differently. Would anyone suspect that Aaron would deviate from Hashem's command?

The Meforshim answer that Aron as Kohen Gadol lit the Menorah the entire 40 years that the Mishkan was in the wilderness. A person naturally does something the first time with more dedication and excitement than after he has done it for several years. In his praise, the Torah says that Aaron did not change: Even after lighting the Menorah for so many years, he continued to do so with the same dedication, fervor, and excitement as the first time.


Did Moshe Have Any Other Brothers?

"Vayisharu Shnay Anashim BaMachaneh Shem HaEchod Eldod ViShaim HaShayni Meidad" - "Two men remained behind in the camp; the name of one was Eldod and the name of the second was Meidad". Who were Eldod and Meidad?

Targum Yonason Ben Uziel says that they were maternal brothers of Moshe and Aaron. When Pharaoh decreed that the Jewish children be drowned, Amram saw no purpose in remaining married and divorced Yocheved. She then married Elitzafon, son of Parnoch, and gave birth to Eldod and Meidad. Encouraged by Miriam, Amram afterwards remarried Yocheved, and she bore Moshe.

Daas Zekainim Mibaalai Hatosfos says that they were paternal brothers of Moshe. Included in the relationships the Torah forbids is a nephew marrying an aunt. When the Torah was given, Amram divorced Yocheved, since she was his father's sister. Afterwards he married another woman, who gave birth to 2 sons, Eldod and Meidad. Daas Zekainim Mibaalai Hatosfos ends off with a quote from a person named Hillel stating... "I Hillel saw the tombstone of Eldad and Meidad, and it said on it Eldad and Meidad brothers of Aaron from 1 father!

A difficulty some raise with this opinion is that the Torah was given in the 3rd month after Yetzias Mitzrayim, and the episode of Eldod and Meidad took place in the 2nd year after Yetzias Mitzrayim; consequently they were less than 1 year old?!!

Some therefore learn, that although Amram's separation from Yocheved was indeed due to the prohibition of marrying an aunt, however; it took place long before the actual giving of the Torah. He did it upon learning through Nivuah (prophetically) that the Torah would eventually forbid marriage to an aunt.


The Daas Zekeinim and the Ramban - Two Explanations For Moshe's Shocking Question

After Bnei Yiroel complain about the Man, Hashem tells Moshe that he will send them meat. Moshe Rabbeinu asks Hashem from where can he find enough meat for 600,000 men? Moshe Rabbeinu out of all people doubting that Hashem can bring enough meat????

The Daas Zekeinin answers that we see in the gemara that it was forbidden to eat meat in the Midbar. If someone wanted to eat meat he needed to bring a Koraban Shlamim and eat the meat that is apportioned to the owner. Moshe's question was how can only three Kohanim (Aharon and his sons) manage to be makriv shelamim for so many people. As an answer to this Hashem sent the quail which was permitted to be eaten since it cannot anyway be brought for a Korban.

The Ramban takes a different approach. He explains that Hashem only performs a Nes if it is pure Chesed or pure Din. He brought Man from the sky and water from a rock out of Chesed. He wiped out Mizrayim with Krias Yam Suf out of Din. Here Hashem on one hand will bring meat but on the other hand it will kill those who complained. This Moshe Rabbeinu knew cannot come through a miracle only through natural means. His question was how can Hashem bring meat for so many people in the desert without a miracle. This is why Hashem answers "you will see if my words will "happen" (Hayikricha from the lashom of "Keri"; happenstance). Indeed Hashem brought birds that tasted like meat that flew in without any obvious intervention.

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