Divrei HaRav

Bamidbar - Shavuos / שבועות - במדבר

Bamidbar - Shavuos / שבועות - במדבר

The parsha revolves around the counting of the Bnei Yisroel. In the days of Dovid HaMelech there was a mistake in the census taking. Rashi implies that he did not count them by shekel but by head. The Ramban refuses to accept this obvious mistake but rather claims the mistake was that he counted them with no real purpose. Many died in the plague that ensued. The question is raised why did the people suffer from the mistakes of one person? The answer is, that our chances are better, when we are judged together with the group, rather than being singled out for our own merits. The result was many fell in the plague. This is why, when we pray for a sick person, we emphasize “besoch shaar cholei Yisroel” among all the other sick ones of Israel. The hope is the combined merits will bring the proper results. ( משלחן גבוה )

Tosfos in Megila explains the order of the parshios. Bamidbar always is read before Shavuos so that the “curses” of Bechukosai should not come next to Shavuos which is a type of judgement day (for the fruits). How beautiful are the ways of Torah! The Torah was specifically given in a wilderness. - Midbar Sinai. The medrash says “that a person who is not open and humble as a wilderness is not really able to acquire the wisdom and sublimity of Torah. How fitting then, that we introduce Kabolos HaTorah with parshas Bamidbar.

The Gemora in Pesachim relates the joy of Rav Yosef on the day of Shavuos. He said “if not for this day, how many Yosefs are in the market”. Why only Rav Yosef said such a statement. Also Rav Yosef was a very humble person as documented in ms’ Soteh. The answer could be as follows. The tablets that were given on Shavuos were broken by Moshe Rabeinu. The new ones were given and brought down on Yom Kippur? Why do we celebrate Shavuos instead of Yom Kippur. From this it is quite evident that even the broken pieces have significance and, as the Gemora relates them, this gives respect and honor even to the Torah scholar who has forgotten his learning. Now it comes clear. Rav Yosef became sick and forgot his learning. He was comforted and then happy by the fact that Shavuos was chosen for this day and thereby giving honor even to “the broken pieces”. ( קהלת יצחק )

And Naami saw that Rus was struggling to go with her. This could be interpreted with a Gemora in Bava Metzia that relates the story of Reish Lakish. Before he accepted to learn Torah he had abundant strength to swim far distances. After he accepted the Torah, immediately his strength waned. This then could be what Naami noticed. Rus was “struggling”, her strength was not equal to the older woman, so Naami realized that she fully accepted the Torah and its mitzvos. ( קהלת יצחק )

The possuk points out that the formation of the camp was adhered to also when they traveled. The possuk states that the Mishkon traveled in the midst of the other tribes. The Meshech Chochma quotes the Gemora that true honor is only in a place of honor. An example is the obligation to show respect to another individual allowing him tp go first is reserved for the door, which has a mezuzah, but not when one is traveling. However, the Gemora tells us that the Mishkon continued to “operate” even when they traveled, i.e. the Lechem HaPanim did not lose its kedusha. This means the shechina was still very much with them. Therefore, they kept their camp in a position commensurate to importance for it still was a place of honor, a position of importance.

Boaz blessed Rus that Hashem should “rightfully pay your wages and your reward should be complete from Hashem”. The Vilna Gaon traces the etymology of the words. “Poalech” is the wages paid for the exact service rendered. On the other hand “sichorech” could mean a bonus paid for a complete job. Now although Rus did not devote a full lifetime to being a religious Jewess, Boaz wished upon her a complete reward in the world to come for her life in this world.

“And it was on the third day and there was thunder and lightning and the people trembled”. The people had expressed a desire to be actual witnesses to the shechina and hear the Torah directly from Him. Hashem wanted to demonstrate to the people their level of belief. The Chovos Halivovos relates the story of a tzaddik who was found sleeping in a wilderness. When asked was he not afraid of the lions and wild animals he responded “it would be an affront to the honor of Hashem to be afraid of another being.” Likewise, the fact that in the presence of Hashem they could tremble at the sight and sound of the lightning and thunder was a test of their true faith. (Mahril Diskin)

“Where you will go I will go.” The Chazal interpret the posukim to refer to the many mitzvos that Rus was to accept as a convert. Upon scrutiny we see that the less severe mitzvos were told to her first and kept building up to the more severe. At matan Torah, the opposite was in effect. First they were informed of the severe punishments of idol worship and afterward gradually were informed of all the lesser punishments. Why the difference? R’ Chaim, shlita, explains. Hashem wanted the Bnei Yisroel to accept the Torah so he did not overwhelm them with hidden facts. Up front he told them the major punishments, they accepted – the rest was easy. The conversion of a ger, on the other hand was to verify, for sure, the conviction and persistence of the individual. Therefore we first tell the easier mitzvos and gradually increase the severity, which, by nature, strikes an element of fear into the person. Rus, however, accepted everything with a full heart.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis