Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Behalosecha

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

At the end of this week's parsha we read about Miriam being afflicted with tzaraas as a punishment for speaking lashon hara about her brother Moshe. The Torah writes that Miriam was required to stay outside the camp of the Jewish people for seven days until her tzaraas cleared. During this entire time, the camp of more than two million people did not travel and the Jews waited for Miriam before the camp moved on.

Rashi explains that the reason that the camp did not move was to repay Miriam for the chessed she did for Moshe. When Moshe was placed in the basket, Miriam waited at the shore to see what would happen to Moshe. To repay this kindness, the Jews waited for Miriam before moving on.

R' Frand asked two questions on this Rashi. The first question was -- this event took place eighty three years after Miriam waited for Moshe. Why couldn't her kindness have been repaid earlier?

Rabbi Frand's second question is how can this be a chessed for Miriam? She is branded as one who speaks lashon hara and is excluded from the camp of the Jews. How is this a reward? Would we take someone who is incarcerated and make him "man of the year?"

Rabbi Frand answered his questions by quoting his son (he did not identify his son's name). He stated that this Rashi is a lesson in hakaras hatov. R' Frand mentioned an old GM advertising slogan "It is uniquely American to ask, what have you done for me lately?" R' Frand commented that this is an anti-Jewish theme. Why do we only care about what was done for us lately if the person has a history of doing right by us.

R' Frand then quoted Pete Rose, who once said "You are only as good as your last at bat. If you strike out and then are men on base and the game is lost, you are a goat."

This is another example of a negative train of thought. People may ride the bandwagon with you when times are good, but will jump off the bandwagon when things go badly. You are a loser, they say.

This Rashi is a proof that Hashem never forgets. It may have been 83 years prior, but now Miriam will get her reward. It does not matter that she is being punished at the time, since by giving Miriam her reward when she was "in the doghouse" Hashem is saying - its not what have you done for me lately, its what have you ever done? Miriam had done the right thing years earlier and was now going to receive her reward.

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