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The Somewhat Litvshe Yid

Friday, June 17, 2005

Parshas Behalos'cha

The Gemara in Shabbos (115b-116a) brings down a machlokes about the p'sukim of ויהי בנוסוע הארון and their strange placement, with the backwards nuns and all. According to Rebbe the structure shows that there are actual seven books in the Torah and that these two p'sukim are a book in and of themselves, seperating between two other books. That is to say, Sefer Bamidbar is actually 3 s'forim. This all being based on a pasuk in Mishlei(9:1). R' Shimon Ben Gamilel says that in the future this portion will be removed and returned to its rightful place. Then why is it here? To seperate between the first and second punishments(פורענות).
The Gemara then asks what these punishments are. In our version of the Gemara it starts with the second Puranus and then the first. Which struck me as somewhat strange, but Rabbeinu Chananel has it the other way around, first first, second second. This way also appears in the Munich manuscript of the talmud. So I'm going to stick with that version and not ask on the switch up in order.
In any event, the Gemara explains what the first and second punishments were. The first: And they traveled from Har HaShem a distance of three days (ויסעו מהר ד' דרך שלושת ימים). R' Chama b' R' Chanina explains that they ran from before HaShem ('שסרו מפני ד) The second: The people began to complain (ויהי העם כמתאוננים).
In any event, a couple questions jumped out at me from the text. The most obvious being the use of the word punishments(פורענות). What are the punishments here? These are aveiros, not punishiments. The second, granted, in the case of the complaining, there is a punishment -- the fire that consumed the edge of the camp. But in the first case, there doesn't seem to be an actual punishment. I saw both these questions asked in Chasam Sofer on the Gemara and he adds another one. Why use these specific p'sukim to seperate? In any event, Baruch Sh'kevanti l'da'as g'dolim.
He answers based on how Tosefos explains R' Chama b' R' Chanina. The fact that they ran from Har Sinai was a form of throwing of the Yoke of Torah. (Tosefos brings the Midrash that B'nei Yisrael were like children running from the schoolhouse to escape learning). He goes on to explain two types of punishment. There are sins that engender a specific punishment in the future and there are sins which the sin itself is the punishment. This is the case here. The removal of the Yoke of Torah is itself true Bitul Torah, that in and of itself is a punishment. As the mishneh in Avos says one who removes the Yoke of Torah is burdened with other yokes. This answer then paves the way to answer the other questions.
The first being that the two punishments are clear. The first is the Bitul Torah itself. The second, with the removal of the Yoke of Torah, the Yoke of Desire (תאוה) takes its place and because of that desire the people complained.
When Moshe saw that the people had shed the Yoke of Torah he saw that the Yoke of Nations (מלכויות) would fall upon them and that they would be come servents to another ruler. He then inserted the p'sukim of Arise HaShem and disperse your enemies(קומה ד' ויפוצו אויבר) which averted this.

I will add in another thought that came to mind when I looked at the Gemara. The Maharsha mentions that the nation began complaining when they were three days from Har Sinai. He says that three days without Torah is what caused them to stumble. This, in my view, is a second reason for Moshe insituting the reading of the Torah on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbos. Since then there never comes to pass three days without Torah.

Gut Sabbos!


  • Top Ten Signs Your Lutvak Teen Is In Trouble.
    10. Sometimes gets out of bed. 9.In his sock drawer, you find the making of a godol.
    8. Shows up to sidorim on time.
    7. When you criticize him, he says "i'm sorry"
    6. His name is shlomie,and insists on being called shlomo
    5. Defiantly says, "i will not marry rich."
    4. You come upon his secret stash of midos.
    3. Uses slang expression,like "thank you,please,exuse me ."
    2. Was recently driving with a license .
    1. He's wearing clean clothing,that is not starched

    By Blogger AMSHINOVER, at Tuesday, June 21, 2005 8:03:00 PM  

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