Parashas Behaaloscha 5780 Giver vs. Taker

In this week’s Parasha Hashem orders Moshe: “Gather for Me seventy of Israel’s elders of whom you know as elders and officers of the people, and bring them to the Tent of Meeting and let them take their place there with you.” (Bamidbar 11:16) This verse is quite mystical; Behold Hashem knows the heart and soul of every individual as well as his thoughts and motivations. Would it not be preferable for Moshe to be instructed who to appoint? Moshe, at that time, was subjected to riots from people requesting meat. Was is it then the appropriate time to request from him such a critical task which required total clarity of mind to appoint the correct people to the Sanhedrin? There is an additional difficulty, as Moshe is Shemos (3:16) was already ordered to form a Sanhedrin, how is then Moshe here ordered to select 70 new members? What happened to the previous ones? Rashi reveals: All the members of the original Sanhedrin had perished since they comported themselves irreverently towards Hashem — like a person who nibbles his bread while addressing the king. This occurred at the giving of the Torah as stated: “And they saw God while eating and drinking” (Exodus 24:11). Rashi adds that when Hashem asked Moshe to look for “the Elders and Officers”, this was referring to the officers who were appointed by the Egyptian to assure the Jews were completing their daily task. These officers were expected to inform the Egyptians which person had not completed his task so he would be lashed. Instead, they all chose to remain quiet and in return be lashed themselves. Their love and sympathy for the poor Jews were so great that they all preferred to be smitten rather than snitch, as stated: “The guards of the Children of Israel were beaten” (Exodus 5:14). Rashi concludes; Hashem’s order to Moshe was clear: The very people that chose to dirty themselves to help the Jews build bricks rather than snitch on them while being assured of the wrath and the humiliation of the Egyptian, are the one to be appointed officers over the Children of Hashem! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L, [He was a talmid of the Brisker Rav and the Rav of our family], explains beautifully in his sefer Zahav MiShvah, that since the Divine Spirit rested on the Sanhedrin, similarly anyone that “sacrifices himself” for the welfare of Bnei Yisrael will deserve the same reward. Particularly when a Jew is in distress and helping him will cause a loss or pain. The common translation for loss is having less money, and pain means suffering. In Jewish language loss means investing for assured large profits. Pains means absolving decrees of serious illness and duress. Hashem chose us to perform this “sacrifice” [korban], for our own impending gain, exclusively! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L asks that this lesson is of great value and is surely the foundation to the Nation of Israel. It characterizes the true identity of a real Jew. However, assigning those guards as Sanhedrin is questionable. This role requires extensive knowledge and practice in Jewish law, empathy does not compensate for the intellectual requirements? Furthermore, the Talmud [Sanhedrin 17 a] states: “Rabbi Yohanan says: They placed on the Sanhedrin only men of high stature, and of wisdom, and of pleasant appearance, and of suitable age so that they will be respected. They must also be masters of sorcery, so that they can judge sorcerers, and they must know all seventy languages in order to prevent the need to hear testimonies from the mouth of a translator in a case the witnesses speak a different language.” Additionally, the Yalkut lists other requirements such as “they must have never spoken in their lives idle speech, their must have only spoken of Torah matters.” So, despite that the guards’ righteousness is obvious, thus, how did they suddenly become Torah eminences and savants in order to fulfil the requirements to join the Sanhedrin? The answer is mentioned Mishna [Avos 6:6] that lists the 48 qualities required to acquire the Torah. One of them is to “carry one’s burden” [nosei beiol im chaveiro]. This attribute is a path through which a person acquires Torah knowledge. The Talmud says [Menachos 53b], “Rabbi Ezra stated: Let the good one come to receive the good from the Good for the good ones. He explained: “Let the good one come” refers to Moshe, as it is said: “And when she saw that he was good.” (Exodus 2:2). Rashi concludes; Hashem’s order to Moshe was clear: The very people that chose to dirty themselves to help the Jews build bricks rather than snitch on them while being assured of the wrath and the humiliation of the Egyptian, are the one to be appointed officers over the Children of Hashem! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L, [He was a talmid of the Brisker Rav and the Rav of our family], explains beautifully in his sefer Zahav MiShvah, that since the Divine Spirit rested on the Sanhedrin, similarly anyone that “sacrifices himself” for the welfare of Bnei Yisrael will deserve the same reward. Particularly when a Jew is in distress and helping him will cause a loss or pain. The common translation for loss is having less money, and pain means suffering. In Jewish language loss means investing for assured large profits. Pains means absolving decrees of serious illness and duress. Hashem chose us to perform this “sacrifice” [korban], for our own impending gain, exclusively! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L asks that this lesson is of great value and is surely the foundation to the Nation of Israel. It characterizes the true identity of a real Jew. However, assigning those guards as Sanhedrin is questionable. This role requires extensive knowledge and practice in Jewish law, empathy does not compensate for the intellectual requirements? Furthermore, the Talmud [Sanhedrin 17 a] states: “Rabbi Yohanan says: They placed on the Sanhedrin only men of high stature, and of wisdom, and of pleasant appearance, and of suitable age so that they will be respected. They must also be masters of sorcery, so that they can judge sorcerers, and they must know all seventy languages in order to prevent the need to hear testimonies from the mouth of a translator in a case the witnesses speak a different language.” Additionally, the Yalkut lists other requirements such as “they must have never spoken in their lives idle speech, their must have only spoken of Torah matters.” So, despite that the guards’ righteousness is obvious, thus, how did they suddenly become Torah eminences and savants in order to fulfil the requirements to join the Sanhedrin? The answer is mentioned Mishna [Avos 6:6] that lists the 48 qualities required to acquire the Torah. One of them is to “carry one’s burden” [nosei beiol im chaveiro]. This attribute is a path through which a person acquires Torah knowledge. The Talmud says [Menachos 53b], “Rabbi Ezra stated: Let the good one come to receive the good from the Good for the good ones. He explained: “Let the good one come” refers to Moshe, as it is said: “And when she saw that he was good.” (Exodus 2:2). Rashi concludes; Hashem’s order to Moshe was clear: The very people that chose to dirty themselves to help the Jews build bricks rather than snitch on them while being assured of the wrath and the humiliation of the Egyptian, are the one to be appointed officers over the Children of Hashem! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L, [He was a talmid of the Brisker Rav and the Rav of our family], explains beautifully in his sefer Zahav MiShvah, that since the Divine Spirit rested on the Sanhedrin, similarly anyone that “sacrifices himself” for the welfare of Bnei Yisrael will deserve the same reward. Particularly when a Jew is in distress and helping him will cause a loss or pain. The common translation for loss is having less money, and pain means suffering. In Jewish language loss means investing for assured large profits. Pains means absolving decrees of serious illness and duress. Hashem chose us to perform this “sacrifice” [korban], for our own impending gain, exclusively! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L asks that this lesson is of great value and is surely the foundation to the Nation of Israel. It characterizes the true identity of a real Jew. However, assigning those guards as Sanhedrin is questionable. This role requires extensive knowledge and practice in Jewish law, empathy does not compensate for the intellectual requirements? Furthermore, the Talmud [Sanhedrin 17 a] states: “Rabbi Yohanan says: They placed on the Sanhedrin only men of high stature, and of wisdom, and of pleasant appearance, and of suitable age so that they will be respected. They must also be masters of sorcery, so that they can judge sorcerers, and they must know all seventy languages in order to prevent the need to hear testimonies from the mouth of a translator in a case the witnesses speak a different language.” Additionally, the Yalkut lists other requirements such as “they must have never spoken in their lives idle speech, their must have only spoken of Torah matters.” So, despite that the guards’ righteousness is obvious, thus, how did they suddenly become Torah eminences and savants in order to fulfil the requirements to join the Sanhedrin? The answer is mentioned Mishna [Avos 6:6] that lists the 48 qualities required to acquire the Torah. One of them is to “carry one’s burden” [nosei beiol im chaveiro]. This attribute is a path through which a person acquires Torah knowledge. The Talmud says [Menachos 53b], “Rabbi Ezra stated: Let the good one come to receive the good from the Good for the good ones. He explained: “Let the good one come” refers to Moshe, as it is said: “And when she saw that he was good.” (Exodus 2:2). Rashi concludes; Hashem’s order to Moshe was clear: The very people that chose to dirty themselves to help the Jews build bricks rather than snitch on them while being assured of the wrath and the humiliation of the Egyptian, are the one to be appointed officers over the Children of Hashem! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L, [He was a talmid of the Brisker Rav and the Rav of our family], explains beautifully in his sefer Zahav MiShvah, that since the Divine Spirit rested on the Sanhedrin, similarly anyone that “sacrifices himself” for the welfare of Bnei Yisrael will deserve the same reward. Particularly when a Jew is in distress and helping him will cause a loss or pain. The common translation for loss is having less money, and pain means suffering. In Jewish language loss means investing for assured large profits. Pains means absolving decrees of serious illness and duress. Hashem chose us to perform this “sacrifice” [korban], for our own impending gain, exclusively! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L asks that this lesson is of great value and is surely the foundation to the Nation of Israel. It characterizes the true identity of a real Jew. However, assigning those guards as Sanhedrin is questionable. This role requires extensive knowledge and practice in Jewish law, empathy does not compensate for the intellectual requirements? Furthermore, the Talmud [Sanhedrin 17 a] states: “Rabbi Yohanan says: They placed on the Sanhedrin only men of high stature, and of wisdom, and of pleasant appearance, and of suitable age so that they will be respected. They must also be masters of sorcery, so that they can judge sorcerers, and they must know all seventy languages in order to prevent the need to hear testimonies from the mouth of a translator in a case the witnesses speak a different language.” Additionally, the Yalkut lists other requirements such as “they must have never spoken in their lives idle speech, their must have only spoken of Torah matters.” So, despite that the guards’ righteousness is obvious, thus, how did they suddenly become Torah eminences and savants in order to fulfil the requirements to join the Sanhedrin? The answer is mentioned Mishna [Avos 6:6] that lists the 48 qualities required to acquire the Torah. One of them is to “carry one’s burden” [nosei beiol im chaveiro]. This attribute is a path through which a person acquires Torah knowledge. The Talmud says [Menachos 53b], “Rabbi Ezra stated: Let the good one come to receive the good from the Good for the good ones. He explained: “Let the good one come” refers to Moshe, as it is said: “And when she saw that he was good.” (Exodus 2:2). Rashi concludes; Hashem’s order to Moshe was clear: The very people that chose to dirty themselves to help the Jews build bricks rather than snitch on them while being assured of the wrath and the humiliation of the Egyptian, are the one to be appointed officers over the Children of Hashem! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L, [He was a talmid of the Brisker Rav and the Rav of our family], explains beautifully in his sefer Zahav MiShvah, that since the Divine Spirit rested on the Sanhedrin, similarly anyone that “sacrifices himself” for the welfare of Bnei Yisrael will deserve the same reward. Particularly when a Jew is in distress and helping him will cause a loss or pain. The common translation for loss is having less money, and pain means suffering. In Jewish language loss means investing for assured large profits. Pains means absolving decrees of serious illness and duress. Hashem chose us to perform this “sacrifice” [korban], for our own impending gain, exclusively! Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira ZT”L asks that this lesson is of great value and is surely the foundation to the Nation of Israel. It characterizes the true identity of a real Jew. However, assigning those guards as Sanhedrin is questionable. This role requires extensive knowledge and practice in Jewish law, empathy does not compensate for the intellectual requirements? Furthermore, the Talmud [Sanhedrin 17 a] states: “Rabbi Yohanan says: They placed on the Sanhedrin only men of high stature, and of wisdom, and of pleasant appearance, and of suitable age so that they will be respected. They must also be masters of sorcery, so that they can judge sorcerers, and they must know all seventy languages in order to prevent the need to hear testimonies from the mouth of a translator in a case the witnesses speak a different language.” Additionally, the Yalkut lists other requirements such as “they must have never spoken in their lives idle speech, their must have only spoken of Torah matters.” So, despite that the guards’ righteousness is obvious, thus, how did they suddenly become Torah eminences and savants in order to fulfil the requirements to join the Sanhedrin? The answer is mentioned Mishna [Avos 6:6] that lists the 48 qualities required to acquire the Torah. One of them is to “carry one’s burden” [nosei beiol im chaveiro]. This attribute is a path through which a person acquires Torah knowledge. The Talmud says [Menachos 53b], “Rabbi Ezra stated: Let the good one come to receive the good from the Good for the good ones. He explained: “Let the good one come” refers to Moshe, as it is said: “And when she saw that he was good.” (Exodus 2:2). ”To

receive the good” refers to the Torah, as it is written: “For I give you a good doctrine” (Proverbs 4:2). “From the Good” refers to Hashem, as it is written: “Hashem is good to all” (Psalms 145:9). “For the good ones” these are the Jews, as it is said: “Do good, Hashem, to the good ones” (Psalms 125:4). Torah is good and is given to good people. It is a Divine creation, that was purposely given in the desert to inform that any good person can acquire it. Torah knowledge is not only awarded by studying, but also upon one’s ethics and manners. If one sanctifies himself and shows sympathy to a fellow Jew, despite having to endure losses and physical pain, he will be awarded the Torah and the accompanying blessings. The Jewish guards had proven their devotion and full sacrifice to the Bnei Yisrael. In gratitude, Hashem awarded them Torah Knowledge, stature, appearance, wealth and above all, the Divine spirit so they could prophesize. Gaining knowledge is somehow fathomable, but a change of physical appearance is challenging. Rav Levi Yitschak of Berdichov illustrates this phenomenon beautifully, as it is a cornerstone of the Jewish being. He wondered regarding the Kohanim blessing; Since the Divine Spirit is resting upon their hands while blessing, it seems logical to have the palms upwards to receive the Shechinah rather than the back of the hands. The Kedushas Levi explains, based on the Zohar, the Upper Worlds cannot get into motion unless they were triggered by our lowly world. The connection between the lower and upper world is the tree of life that stands vertically as it is full of life, while the tree of death lies down horizontally as it is lifeless. Giving and expanding goodness triggers the Upper Worlds to shower their blessings, hence the Kohanim have their palm down to bless the Jews and trigger Hashem to bless them. When one gives at his own expense, he proves his deep understanding that everything comes from Hashem, and when tested he passes with flying colors. That person has attached himself to the tree of life and Hashem will show him gratitude and appreciation beyond any expectation. On the other hand, the egocentric one that focuses on his earnings and his career is attaching himself to the tree of death.

One has a choice to be a giver or a taker!

By Rabbi Fridmann * rabbifridmann@badatzmiami.com * 305.985.3461

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