PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
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.
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
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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"
| 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.
| 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.
| Last but not least
the Merari clan is counted - all men between 30 and 50.
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.
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.
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.
now repeats a mitzvah.
This mitzvah is about
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
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
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
Then the woman is given the potion to drink. If she's lying,
she's 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.
there's the man or woman who takes an oath to be a Nazir.
Here are the conditions for this mitzvah.
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!
| 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!"
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.
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.
| 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.
| 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:
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