Torah Teaser – Parshat Matos/Masei Questions & Answers – July 13 2118-5778

The Torah Ends With A Lesson For The Ages The Torah is considered to be complete after Sefer Bamidbar. Sefer Devarim is Mishneh Torah a review of the first four Chumashim. The end of Parshas Masei talks about the ban placed on women who inherit land to marry men out of their Shevet causing the land to transfer to another shevet. This ban was later repealed. Why does the Torah choose to end with a mitzva that was only applicable for a short time rather than one of the fundamental of the torah or mitzvos? The Iturei Torah brings from The Mei HaShiloach, that there are two kinds of Mitzvos. One kind are mitzvos that are fundamental to Yiddishkeit and apply always throughout history across all societies and eras. These are the Taryag Mitzvos. However there are also mitzvos that apply for special reasons at special times. Hashem wants people to understand Him and figure what is His Ratzon at any given time and under current circumstances. These are also mitzvos albeit not counted among the 613 for obvious reasons. The Torah teaches us the taryag mitzvos but in closing it tells us that this is not all one needs to do. It specifically ends with a mitzva created for the special circumstance of Chalukas Eretz Yisroel. This mitzva did not earn an eternal place in Yihadus, and was later abolished when it was no longer relevant. However it provided a sterling example of our need to examine and fulfill Ratzon Hashem in everything we do under the circumstances at hand. Chazak Chazak ViNischazek!

The Murderer Chooses The Kohen Gadol 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? 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 murderers’ kapara has been achieved. That being said, in effect it is the murderers who anoints the Kohen Gadol suited to their needs.

Leaving Mitzrayim During The Burial In the beginning of Parshas Masei the Torah lists all the places that Bnei Yisrael traveled to without giving any details about each place. Their starting point is Ramsais where the pasuk tells us (Masei 33:3) they went out, “B’Yad Rama Leinei Kol Mitzrayim.” The next pasuk tells us that Mitzrayim was busy burying their dead. This is not mentioned anywhere else, so why does the Torah need to tell us this here, out of all places? Furthermore, the second half of the pasuk tells us that Hashem destroyed all their idols. What is the explanation for the Torah’s mention of these seemingly unrelated details? The Chasam Sofer explains that even the non-Jews have a Mitzva to bury their dead. Normally while you do a mitzva you are protected. Despite that the Mitzrim were in the middle of doing a mitzva, the pasuk tells that we went out, and they were not able to stop their work-force from brazenly leaving before their very eyes. “This explains the second half of the pasuk as well,” says the Chasam Sofer. “If you want to say that the reason they were not protected was because they did not do the mitzva of burying the dead for the sake of Hashem but only for their idols, the Torah tells us that there were no more idols left, and clearly Hashem reigned on that day, even in the eyes of the Mitzrim.

” The Finger That Pulls The Trigger After the victory in the war against Midyan, the officers came to Moshe and told him, “Avadecha Nasu Es Rosh Anshei Milchama Asher BiYadeinu, Lo Nifkad Mimenu Ish; Your servants have taken a head count of the soldiers who went out to war in our hands and not one of us is missing (Matos 31:49).” The Ben Ish Chai explains this pasuk B’Derech Drush as follows. “The Yerushalmi (Pei’a 1:1) says that in the days of Dovid they were all tzaddikim, but when they went to war people were killed because they spoke Lashon Hara. In the days of Achav they were Resha’im who worshipped avodah zara, yet they were always victorious in war because peace reigned among them. To avoid Lashon Hara, the Gemara in Kesubos (5b) says that our fingers were created in the shape of a peg in order to stick in our ears to avoid hearing improper chatter.” According to these two statements by Chazal we see that the fingers are the weapons that win wars. Stick them in your ear and victory is assured. This is what the officers told Moshe in response to how they won the war. They won it with the, “Rosh Anshei Milchama Asher BiYadeinu; The heads or fingers of their hands.” Because of this, “Lo Nifkad Mimenu Ish; We all came back without any casualties.”

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