Parshas Matos / Maasei
1. “Nikom Nikmas Bnei Yisrael MeiEis HaMidayanim Achar Tei’asef El Amecha,” (Matos 31:2). Hashem tells Moshe that he must take revenge against Midyan before he dies. What is this imperative before Moshe dies? Could Pinchos or Yehoshua not have led the war? Ans… The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh explains that after a person dies, if he reaches his perfection, he goes to a special place called “Amav”, his nation. Without perfection, he will not be admitted until he rectifies his wrongs. The story of Zimri was a blemish on Moshe which needed rectification. When Zimri presented Kosbi and his ultimatum before Moshe, Moshe was speechless and did not react. It was only Pinchos who saved the day. Moshe needed to rectify this by waging war on Midyan, and only then would he pass on and be admitted to the place waiting for him in Shamayim.
2. After Bnei Yisrael returned from the war with Midyan with the spoils, Moshe taught them the Halachos of Hagalas Keilim, kashering the utensils through boiling water and fire. The parsha begins with the words, “Zos Chukas HaTorah,” (Matos 31:21). What is so special about the Halachos of Hagala that the Torah uses the strong words, “Chukas HaTorah?” Ans…Rav Moshe Feinstein answers that from the ability to make treif utensils kosher by boiling them, we learn that a person who sullies his neshama with aveiros, can also kasher it and cleanse it as if he never sinned. This is a pillar of the Torah, as it teaches people never to give up, no matter how far they have gone away from the Torah. Moreover, we see that keilim used in fire need to be kashered with fire, libun. And keilim used in boiling water become kasher with boiling water. This teaches us that we must do tshuva the same way we did the aveira. If a person sinned with the burning desire of taava, so too must be the tshuva. And if the taava was less passionate, then the tshuva can be on the same scale.
3. When you have a mitzva to do you should perform it as soon as possible. By stalling for personal reasons you will ultimately lose out. Where is this in the parsha? Ans… The story is told that the Steipler Gaon told Rav Shabsi Frankel not to hurry to finish publishing the Rambam because it is a Segula for Arichas Yamim, implying he would not die before he finishes. Similarly, there is a story about a woman who lived in Chutz La’Aretz and built a shul for the Shaagas Aryeh. He gave her a bracha that she would be zocheh to build one in Eretz Yisrael. Years later, she wanted to go to Eretz Yisrael, and Rav Chaim Volozhin told her not to rush since the longer she waited the longer she would live. In her nineties, she finally went and built a shul in Eretz Yisrael and died shortly thereafter. When asked about the veracity of the story about his father and Rav Shabsi Frankel, Rav Chaim Kanievsky said, “It cannot be true. In Parshas Matos, Chazal praise Moshe Rabbeinu that although Moshe knew that his last mission before dying was to go to war with Midyan, he did not hesitate and started the war immediately. On the other hand, Chazal tell us that although Yehoshua was supposed to live 120 years, his life was shortened by ten years because he conquered the land slowly so as to live longer.”
4. In Parshas Matos, in the introduction to the parsha of Nedarim or promises, the Torah writes, “Zeh HaDavar Asher Tziva Hashem Es Moshe This is the matter that Hashem commanded Moshe (Matos 30:2).” Rashi points out that Moshe said Nevua with the word, “Zeh” meaning it was pure without his own personality involved, while the other nevi’im said nevua with the word “Koh”, indicating that it contained their interpretation. Why does the Torah teach us this by the Parshas of Nedarim and not anywhere else? Ans …Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky answers that with a neder, a person has the power to create mitzvos and issurim in the Torah. If he promises to eat a piece of food, eating that food becomes a Mitzvas Aseh. If he promises not to eat it, then it becomes assur like Chazir. This is all possible because a person is a Tzelem Elokim. Since we see a person has the power to use his own personality to create Torah, one may think that the entire Torah which was written by Moshe is a reflection of his personality and is his interpretation of Hashem’s Torah. The pasuk comes and tells us that Moshe was different from all other nevi’im. His transmission of the Torah was 100% pure and crystal clear, “Zeh”. It was the Torah that Hashem gave without the slightest trace of Moshe whatsoever.
5. The pasuk tells us that 3 Arei Miklat were set up in Eretz Canan and 3 on the other side of the Yarden in the land of Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven. There were 9 Shvatim in Eretz Canan and only 2 1/2 on the other side of the Yarden, so why should the number of Arei Miklat be the same? The Gemara answers that in Gilead (which was on the East side of the Yarden) there were many killers. They therefore needed as many cities of refuge as the 9 Shvatim. This is difficult to understand. The cities of refuge were specifically for unintentional killers, why would a city that has many intentional murders need more cities of refuge? Ans…The Maharal in Gur Aryeh answers that the fact that there were many intentional murderers in Gilead indicates that human life was not sufficiently valued there. It stands to reason, that even those who were not murderers, tended to be negligent. There were thus many unintentional killings there, as well.
6. V’Yashav Ba Ad Mos Kohen HaGadol Asher Mashach Oso” (Masei 35:25). The gemara explains that this means that the murderer remains in the Arei Miklat until the death of the Kohen Gadol who was anointed in his day. Why does the Torah use language that sounds like the Murderer anointed the Kohen Gadol? ANS…The Meshech Chochma explains that justice from Shamayim is perfect. When a Kohen Gadol dies and a new one must be chosen, Hashem takes into account the future Rotzchim who will leave the Arei Miklat upon the Kohen Gadol’s death. A Kohen Gadol will be chosen whose life will end at the exact moment each murderer’s kapara has been achieved. That being said, in effect, it is the murderers who anoint the Kohen Gadol suited to their needs.
Matos / Massei Test Me….Just Test Me…..I Dare You!
1. Who may annul a vow? – Preferably, an expert in the laws of nedarim. Otherwise, three ordinary people.
2. When may a father annul his widowed daughter’s vows? – If she is under 12 1/2 years old and widowed before she was fully married.
3. Why were the Jewish People not commanded to attack Moav, as they attacked Midian? – Because Moav only acted out of fear against the Jewish People. Also, Ruth was destined to come from Moav.
4. Those selected to fight Midian went unwillingly. Why? – They knew that Moshe’s death would follow.
5. What holy vessels accompanied the Jewish People into battle? – The aron and the tzitz.
6. Those who killed in the war against Midian were required to remain outside the”machane” (camp). Which machane? – The Machane Shechina.
7. Why does the Torah list the places where the Jewish People camped? – To show G-d’s love of the Jewish People. Although it was decreed that they wander in the desert, they did not travel continuously. During 38 years, they moved only 20 times.
8. Why did the King of Arad feel at liberty to attack the Jewish People? – When Aharon died, the clouds of glory protecting the Jewish People departed.
9. What length was the camp in the midbar? – Twelve mil (one mil is 2,000 amot).
10. Why does the Torah need to specify the boundaries that are to be inherited by the Jewish People? – Because certain mitzvot apply only in the Land.
11. What was the nesi’im’s role in dividing the Land? – Each nasi represented his tribe. He also allocated the inheritance to each family in his tribe.
12. When did the three cities east of the Jordan begin to function
Created By Rov Avrohom Sherman