Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beha'alosecha

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 Bamidbar 12:1-13, there is a discussion of Miriam and Aharon's conversation about Moshe, the punishment which Miriam receives and the prayer that Moshe offers for her recovery. The third pasuk of this story contains what appears to be a non sequitur as there is an interjection that Moshe was a great Anav (modest person). 

R' Frand quoted the Netziv who explains that the interjection was not said because Moshe felt dismayed about what was being said about him. In fact, Moshe was not concerned at all about what was being said, because Moshe was an Anav. The Netziv further explains that even though Moshe was an Anav, he did not feel that he was a nothing, nor did he walk around all day saying that he was nothing. Instead, Moshe knew his role, but was not haughty about it. To Moshe, these statements being said about him was "like water off a duck's back". [R' Frand's words, not mine].

The Netziv then quoted the Gemara in Sotah which states that when Rebbi died, Anava died as well. To this R' Yosef responded, no, I am an Anav. The mefarshim are perplexed by this, as how can a modest person say he is modest? But this is what Moshe was, a modest person who was aware of his role and stature, without being arrogant about it.

R' Frand told a story about R' Moshe Feinstein who was once asked a question at a wedding. R' Moshe answered the person, but he continued to argue with him vociferously  about the answer that he gave...until R' Moshe said to him "do you know who I am?" This was not arrogance, it was just an awareness of who he was.

R' Frand also quoted the Gemara in Horayos 14 in which the Gemara debates whether its better to have a leader who is Sinai or Oker Harim (someone who clearly states laws or someone who has a sharp and interesting discourse). After clarifying that Sinai is preferred, the rabbinate chose Rabbah to head the academy, even though R' Yosef was greater. Even though the collected rabbis recognized R' Yosef, he did not accept the honor of having the bloodletter visit him at home, because he was an Anav.

R' Frand then tied this to the pasuk in the beginning of the parsha involving Aharon and the Menorah (Bamidbar 8:3). Rashi states that this was written to praise Aharon that he did not change anything. The meforshim all ask on this statement - what would be the reason to think that Aharon would change something? 

R' Frand gave two answers from the Sfas Emes. The first answer was a pshat that R' Frand had said in the name of the Sfas Emes in prior years - that Aharon had the same energy and excitement about lighting the Menorah as he did the first time...every time that he lit. 

The second answer given in the name of the Sfas Emes was that Aharon himself was not changed by the lighting of the Menorah. Even though he was cognizant of the great honor that he was given, he did not change.

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