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PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.

AND

MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL


Menachim Z. Shimanowitz

You too can dedicate a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory of someone close to you.
For further info, click here.

PARSHA
FACTS

NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 18
7 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
11 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 176

NUMBER OF WORDS: 2264

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 8632

HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Shoftim / Judges 13:2 - 25

This week we study Chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"


פרשת נשא
THE
PARSHA

In our last episode the Bnei Yisroel was split into a 3 camp formation - flags and all!

Then it was time to talk about packing out. The Leviyim took charge of breaking down the Mishkan. So far we know the details of the Kehat clan and how they packed up the Aron and other major utensils of the Mishkan.


GERSHON'S
COUNT

As the Parsha opens, Hashem tells Moshe to count the Gershon clan. Moshe gets Aharon to help him and they count all men ages 30 to 50, the strongest of the clan.

The Gershon clan is in charge of transporting all the woven materials of the Mishkan. This includes the entrance curtains, the net curtains that make up the walls, the wall and roof curtains and the ropes used to tie the Mishkan tent. Only men 30 to 50 are physically and spiritually fit to transport these holy items.

Aharon's son, Itamar, is put in charge of this transport team. It's his job to make sure these Leviyim get to work on time, handle their assignments (no switching!), and get these items to the next site in good condition. He also supervises hanging the curtains when the Mishkan is reassembled.


AND
FINALLY
MERARI'S
COUNT

Last but not least the Merari clan is counted - all men between 30 and 50.

Merari's WorkThe Merari clan is split into three groups: the first group carries the boards, a second group carries sockets, and a third group carries bases, stakes and ropes, tools and maintenance equipment. Aharon's son, Itamar, is in charge of handing out these assignments.


LIFE
OF A
LEVI

Don't think that all Leviyim do in the Mishkan is build it up and tear it down.

There is lots of work to do when it comes to Avoda: slaughtering, cleaning and cutting up the korbanot. There are gates to guard and songs to sing and instruments to play. All these jobs go to Leviyim.


100%
PURE

Impure? Here's what's in store:

From the day the Mishkan was first opened to the public, the rule has been, "A Jewish man, woman or child who is impure may not stay in the camp because the camp is holy." That means that if a person is tamay (impure) or has tzara'at, he's got to leave all three camps. A person who touches a dead body is tamay but can stay in either Machaneh Leviyah or Machaneh Yisroel. He is banned, though, from Machaneh Shechina until he is pure again.

When the Bnei Yisroel hear this command from Hashem, whoever is tamay leaves of his own free will. Now all the camps are pure.


REPEAT,
REPEAT

The Parsha now repeats a mitzvah.

This mitzvah is about stolen objects:
If someone steals a salami, for example, he isn't allowed to eat it and pay the owner back with money. It is a mitzvah to return the original salami. If he already ate it, he has to pay the value plus an additional fifth (20%).

The Parsha adds that if this victim was a Ger, a convert, who has no relatives, the money must be given to the Kohain.


SETTING
A SOTA
STRAIGHT

Let's say a man tells his wife, "Don't hang around with Raffie the home wrecker. If she doesn't listen to him, and there are witnesses that she did hang around with Raffie, the husband may take her to the Sanhedrin to clear up what was really going on behind his back.

The Sanhedrin is the Jewish Supreme Court. Seventy judges make up this court. Up until the destruction of the second Bait Hamikdash the Sanhedrin was set up in Yerushalayim.

The first question the judges ask is, "Did you sin with this man?" If the woman answers "no," the judge lets her know that she's going to be tested to see if she's telling the truth.

They bring the woman to a Kohain. The Kohain brings a special Korban Mincha, which is paid for by the husband. This Mincha is made from barley, which is not the usual wheat used for such an offering. The oil and levona, a sweet smelling spice, are not included in the ingredients of this Mincha. This korban is meant to be a reminder of the woman's sin. It has no sweet smell and contains a grain usually fed to animals.

The Kohain places the Mincha in the woman's hands. Then he makes a water potion that will test if she's pure or not. He takes water from the Mishkan's washbin and mixes it with earth from the floor of the Mishkan or Beit Hamikdash.

The Kohain announces that he will write the psukim (verses) from the Torah that describes the punishment for a woman who is unfaithful on a parchment scroll. These psukim mention Hashem's name. He will then erase the psukim into the water. The woman will then drink the potion.

"If you sinned, your body will swell up and you'll suffer a terrible death," says the Kohain, "so admit your sin now and I won't be forced to wipe out Hashem's name into this water!"

If the woman insists she is innocent and she accepts the consequences, she replies, "Amen, amen!"

The Kohain, together with the woman, waves the Mincha in four directions, east, west, north and south, then up and down. He then takes a fistful of flour and burns it on the Mizbayach (Altar).

Then the woman is given the potion to drink. If she's lying, she'll swell up. The man she sinned with also experiences the same supernatural death wherever he is. She is then taken out of the camps (or Beit Hamikdash) to die.

If the woman is innocent no harm comes to her and she is blessed with a child.


STOP
YOUR
"WINING"

Then there's the man or woman who takes an oath to be a Nazir. Here are the conditions for this mitzvah.

NazirA Nazir has to stay away from all wine, vinegar, grape juice and grape products. He should stay away from parties and even from vineyards so he won't accidentally consume grape products.

How can you recognize a Nazir? Look for the local long haired person who's keeping away from wine. A Nazir is not allowed to cut his hair.

Why the prohibition of grapes and cutting hair?
The idea is that a Nazir is supposed to look past his physical appearance and physical desires (like getting drunk) and thus keep away from sin. He's not even allowed to comb his hair to look nice. Instead he concentrates on teshuvah and Torah thoughts.

A person who takes the oath of a Nazir is as holy as a Kohain Gadol. He has to stay away from dead bodies and may not even bury a parent or else he will become tamay.

How long does someone stay a Nazir? Well, if someone declares "I'm becoming a Nazir" and doesn't say for how long, it's automatically set at thirty days. If a Nazir accidentally becomes tamay during that time, the Nazir waits seven days, offers korbanot on the eighth day, and then starts the count all over again.

When the time period is over, the Nazir must cut off all his hair and offer a series of korbanot to Hashem. The hair is burned under one of the korbanot.

In the time of the Bait Hamikdash there was a room called "Lishkat Hanezirim," - the room of the Nazirs. Once a Nazir finished his time, he went to this room where his head was shaven completely. In those days, shaving was a painful experience; he remembered his Nazir experience for quite a while!


KOHAIN
INCANTATION

If you live in Eretz Yisroel, during prayers, towards the end of Shmoneh Esrei (Amidah) you'll hear Kohanim blessing the Bnei Yisroel. Anyplace else, you experience this only on Yom Tov. Well, this is the place in the Torah where it all begins.

Hashem reveals the words that Aharon and his sons should use to bless Bnei Yisroel:

Yivorech'cha Hashem V'Yishm'recha
"May Hashem Bless and Guard You!"

Ya'er Hashem Panav Elecha V'yechunecha
"May Hashem shine His face on you and may He let you find favor!"

Yisa Hashem Panav Elecha V'Yasem L'cha Shalom
"May Hashem lift up His face to you and give you peace!"

Vulcan Salute The Kohanim lift their hands so that the two middle fingers are separated and the thumbs are spread, touching each other.

As the Brachot are being recited, we lower our eyes. In the time of the Bait Hamikdash the Shechina was openly revealed. Today we no longer see the Shechina but we continue not to look.


PRINCELY
WAGONS

The Torah takes a turn to the past as we warp back to the eighth day of the Mishkan's dedication.

Moshe made an announcement that every Jew could donate materials for the Mishkan. The Nesi'yim, the princes of each tribe, announced that once everyone is finished with their donations, they will donate whatever else is needed. But that was a blunder, because the Bnei Yisroel gave so many gifts that there was nothing left to donate! Now the Nesi'yim looked like a bunch of 'el-cheepos!'

Luckily there was one thing left to donate:
The twelve stones of the Choshen, the breastplate worn by the Kohain Gadol and the two stones that go on the Kohain Gadol's shoulder straps.

Why the flashback?
Because while the Nesi'yim are on a roll with gifts, they figure out something else to give... six wagons for the Leviyim to transport the woven and wooden parts of the Mishkan!

Moshe accepts the gift on Hashem's behalf. He gives the four wagons to the Merari clan to carry wood and two wagons to the Gershon clan for woven items (since most of the curtains are pretty light). The wagons come with two oxen each.


MORE
PRINCELY
PRESENTS

Back at the dedication of the Mishkan, the Nesi'yim also decided to donate animals to inaugurate the Mizbayach Hanechoshet, the copper altar. Each Nassi donated the same number of animals. Then they decided to donate incense and flour for a mincha offering. They also contributed silver and gold containers to hold the Ketoret (spices) and flour.

Hashem accepts these gifts and tells Moshe to offer them - one day, one Nassi at a time. The offerings of the Nassi of Shevet Yehuda would go first.


MAY
THE
"VOICE"
BE WITH
YOU

On the last day of dedication Moshe enters the Mishkan and hears the voice of Hashem. A fiery pillar has descended, and rests between the two keruvim of the Aron. Hashem's voice is coming from the pillar. Only Moshe can hear the voice. This shows that even though Moshe has not contributed gifts to building the Mishkan, he is still the favorite of Hashem.
Tune in next week when the laws of the Menorah light up the pages in the next exciting episode of:
Parsha on Parade

Midrash Maven


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