Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beha'alosecha

The following is a brief summary of some of the 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 Bamidbar 11:1, the Torah states that the Jews were "K'Misonninen Ra" in the ears of Hashem. R' Frand opened the parsha portion of the shiur by exploring what the word Misonninen meant. He first quoted the Ibn Ezra as cited in the Ramban which states that the Jews says words of sinning. But how do we see that from the pasuk and what was their sin? 

The Ramban rejects this interpretation and instead states translates the word as complaining. He notes that the Jews had just left Har Sinai which was close to civilization. They were now travelling in real desert and were wondering what they would eat and drink. But the language that they used was indicative that they were complaining about their own lot, akin to the pasuk in Eicha (3:39) which states "Mah Yisonnen Gever"  --of what shall a living man complain? 

The Ramban explains that Hashem's problem was that the Jews made themselves out as if they had real problems and it appeared as if they were rejecting the good that Hashem had done for them. The Jews should have been happy and joyous that Hashem had taken them out of Egypt with many great miracles and then given them the Torah. But instead they expressed a "woe is me" attitude which showed no regard for all the good they had received. R' Frand remarked that Hashem does not tolerate those who do not show thanks for what they received.

R' Frand quoted the Brisker Rav who said that a man who has a penchant for jealousy or anger is a deficient person. However, one who does not recognize the good that another person has done for him is not even a person.

R' Frand also quoted a Rashi on Devarim 32:6 wherein the Torah states "Ha L'Hashem Tigmilu Zos Am Naval V'Lo Chacham" -- Is this to Hashem that you do this, you vile and unwise people? Moshe is chiding the Jews for complaining about the good they received. Rashi compares them to a carcass of a dead animal - a neveilah.

R' Frand then connected this with Bamidbar 11:4-6 wherein the "asafsuf" complained about not having meat to eat and how they longingly remembered the gourds and watermelons they ate in Egypt. In the next pasuk the Torah describes the Manna as like coriander seed and the color like the bedloach. Rashi explains that the one who made the complaints in 11:4-6 was not the same as the One who described the Manna. The Jews complained --we only have the Manna to eat and Hashem spoke in praise of the qualities of the Manna and said look at this miracle which you are rejecting.

R' Frand also quoted a story from R' Pa'am who said that a man once came to him and said that he was having shalom bayis issues. Why? Because every day when he came home from work the house was a mess and strewn with toys and this was impacting his relationship with his wife as he constantly complained about the state of the home. R' Pa'am commented that how many families would give anything to have a home full of messy children instead of childless marriages.

R' Frand also talked about how the greater the person, the greater their sense of recognizing the good that Hashem has done for them. He quoted a Medrash on Parshas Shemos that when Hashem told Moshe to leave Yisro and go down to Egypt, Moshe said to Hashem --first I need to ask Yisro's permission because he has hosted me these years in Midyan. R' Frand commented that Moshe did more good for Yisro than Yisro did for Moshe, since Moshe saved Yisro's daughters at the well and married one of them. Yet in Moshe's eyes it was important to recognize the good that Yisro did for him.

R' Frand quoted the Baalei Mussar who say that a person has a natural inclination not to thank someone who helped him, if the doer gets paid to do that job. But we see from Moshe that there is a need to thank everyone who helps you.

R' Frand had a few more stories to illustrate this point, but I may save them for a future blog post.

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