Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chukas

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.

In this week's parsha, the Torah discusses the death of Aharon. In Bamidbar 20:29, the Torah writes that after the Jews saw that Aharon died, "Kol Beis Yisrael" - the entire house of Israel wept for him.

Rashi notes that this stands in contrast to the death of Moshe where the term :Kol" - all - is not used. Rashi explains that the women cried when Aharon died, because he was a Rodef Shalom - he would chase after peace. In so doing, he certainly saved countless marriages.

The Avos D'Rabbi Nassan explains Aharon's qualities by quoting a pasuk in Malachi 2:6, which writes of Aharon that he had "Toras Emes" - the Torah of truth in his mouth, before the pasuk then states that he was a pursuer of peace. The pasuk then writes that he gave rebuke to turn people away from sinning. The Avis D'Rabbi Nassan explains that when Aharon was walking on the road and he encountered a Rasha, he would greet him warmly. The next time that the Rasha thought about sinning he would be reminded of how warmly Aharon greeted him and he would have second thoughts about sinning, so as to not to let Aharon down.

R' Frand next quoted R' Bloch (sp?) from Telshe who observed about people that there are times that you meet someone who warmly inquires about your well being, but you can also tell that he does not really care. However the pasuk in Malachi demonstrates that what set Aharon apart is that he began with truth in his mouth - he was not going to lie when addressing someone. And the end of the pasuk demonstrates that he gave tochacha, but even when he did - it was not sharp, Indeed, his entire essence was about bettering the other person.

R' Frand said a second vort in connection with the poisonous snakes which attacked the Jews. After the Jews repented, Hashem tells Moshe in Bamidbar 21:8 to make a Saraf - a serpent, and put it on a staff. However, the next pasuk states that Moshe made a Nachash - a snake, not a serpent. Why did Moshe do something different that the actual language of the command?

R' Frand quoted the Rabbeinu Ephraim who explains that Moshe believed in his heart that Hashem is telling me this in the language of serpent, because He does not want me to feel bad. Each time that I did wrong in the past, Hashem rebuked me by showing me the sign of a snake, in Shemos 4:3 when I was not quick to accept my mission, so Hashem turned my stick to a snake. Similarly, when I did not give my son a bris - I was swallowed by a snake in Shemos 4:24.

Moshe then concludes - Hashem wants me to make a snake, but he does not want to use that word so that I will not feel bad and think that I am the cause of the Jews' trouble. On that basis, Moshe changes the directive and make a snake instead of a serpent.

R' Frand closed the vort by stating that there is a mitzva to be like Hashem. If Hashem shows such sensitivity in dealing with Moshe, how much more so should we be sensitive to the feelings of others.

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