Category Archives: Bamidbar

Parshas Bamidbar 5775

The Medrash comments on the opening possuk in our parsha, “And Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Desert of Sinai….”, “This possuk is understood according to the possuk in Tehillim, ‘Your (Hashem’s) judgement is (severe) like the deep waters’.
Zera Shimshon asks the obvious question, “What is the connection between our possuk and the fact that Hashem’s judgement is (severe) like the deep waters”?
He explains this in light of a machlokos about what is the actual name of the mountain that the Torah was given on (Shabbos 89a-b). 
Rav Chisda and Rabba the son of  Rav Hunna maintain that the actual name of that area is Chorev. The Torah refers to it as Sinai because Hashem hated the ancient idolatrous nations of the world who refused to accept the Torah (the Hebrew word for hatred is sinna).
On the other hand, Rebbi Avuha maintains that its actual name is Sinai. The Torah refers to it as Chorev because the ancient idolatrous nations of the world that didn’t accept the Torah were punished that they will eventually be destroyed (the Hebrew word for “destroy” is chorov). 
In light of the above Zera Shimshon explains the Medrash
The Medrash understood by the fact that the Torah called this area the Desert of Sinai and not the Desert of Chorev that this is the actual name of that area (and the mountain that is there) in accordance with Rebbi Avuha’s position. In the other places that the Chumash refers to it as Sinai the Medrash cannot conclude that this is its actual name. In those places the Torah is speaking about the mitzvos we received there and so it is fully suitable and understandable why the Torah refers to it by he name that describes what happened there. The difficulty of keeping the  mitzvos is the reason that the idolatrous nations didn’t accept the Torah!   
Only here, when the area is mentioned in connection with the census, totally independent of any mitzvos, did the Medrash conclude that this is its actual name.
If Sinai is the actual name then not only did Hashem hate the ancient idolatrous nations but H. also decreed on them eventual total destruction. How can we understand such a harsh punishment?
This is the meaning, concludes Zera Shimshon, of the Medrash that brings the possuk ‘Your (Hashem’s) judgement is (severe) like the deep waters’. It is to bring a source  that Hashem’s punishment can be extremely harsh! 
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Parshas Bamidbar

(Based on Zera Shimshon Parshas Bamidbar pg. 85-86)

Hashem spoke to Moses in the Sinai Desert, in the Tent of Meeting on the first day of the second month, in the second year after the exodus from the land of Egypt, saying. (Bamidbar 1/1)

On this possuk the Medrash comments:

When Clal Yisroel received the Torah the nations of the world were full of envy and protested to Hashem,  “What right does Clal Yisroel have to receive the Torah more than the other nations?”

ax Hashem silenced them and told them, “Bring Me your Book of Ancestry… just as My children brought their Book of Ancestry and were counted accordingly.”

It is for this reason (concludes the Medrash) that Bnei Yisroel were counted in the beginning of the Sefer Bamidbar immediately after the possuk “these are the mitzvos that Hashem commanded” (the last ax possuk in ax Vayikra) because it is only through their pure ansectry that  they received the Torah.  (Yalkut Shimoni remez 684)

Zera Shimshon asks, what difficulty in the parsha is the Medrash coming to resolve?

Secondly, the fact that “Hashem silenced them” and didn’t just ignore their claim implies that there is some validity to their argument and that they weren’t just ranting nonsense out of envy. How can we understand their reasoning?

He explains that the Medrash comes to explain why does the Torah mention that the counting took place in the “Sinai Desert”. Since it writes the date, we can easily understand ourselves that at that time they were in the Sinai Desert.

The Medrash answers that the Torah mentions Sinai Desert to allude to the fact that there is strong connection between Moshe’s counting Bnei Yisroel and the Giving of the Torah (at Sinai). The ax Medrash comes to explain the connection?

Zera Shimshon explains  that the Nations of the World came before Hashem and argued that there are two reasons that Bnei Yisroel don’t deserve to receive the Torah.

Firstly, they argued that Bnei Yisroel didn’t declare “we will do and we will listen” for pure and virtuous reasons but rather because of haughtiness.  Yaakov was Eisav’s younger brother and felt alone and despised between the other nations. They accepted the Torah to show the world that they are also significant.

Secondly, they claimed that the fact that Bnei Yisroel acted differently than the other nations and accepted the Torahs shows that they are bold and arrogant. A nation with such a despicable trait like boldness doesn’t deserve the Torah.

Hashem immediatly silenced them because even though on the surface they seem to be valid arguments, on a deeper level they are wrong.

Hashem refuted their argument and told them to bring their Book of Ancestry. Firstly, it says that Eisav sold the birthright to Yaakov and therefore HE become the older brother so there is no reason for him to prove himself.

Secondly, in the Book of Ancestry we find why Bnei Yisroel are perfectly fit to receive the Torah. In that Book it is written that their ancestry is pure and pure ancestry produces strong people. Strength is essential to learn and to keep the Torah.

The purity of  Bnei Yisroel’s lineage is  also the  counter argument to the claim that Bnei Yisroel’s boldness doesn’t go “hand in hand” with the Torah.

Rebuking people who do things wrong is a vital part of keeping Clal Yisroel on track. However it isn’t so easy because the wrong doer will try to deflect the criticism by claiming that the one criticizing has tainted lineage (like we find concerning Pinchus and Zimri).

Therefore, Bnei Yisroel who have the boldness  to rebuke plus they have pure lineage so the one doing wrong will more easily accept the rebuke are the perfect nation to receive the Torah!

This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of  the  learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun

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