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Author: Rabbi Elazar Meisels Created: 1/17/2007 5:01 PM
A place for quick thoughts on the Parshah, Hashkafah, Holidays and more from Rabbi Meisels.

No Strength In Numbers

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/20/2007 11:54 AM

“They took in their hands some fruit of the land and brought it down to us. They brought back word to us and said, ‘Good is the land that Hashem, our G-d, is giving us.’ ” 1:25

  • Good Is The Land That Hashem…Is Giving Us – Who were the ones who said this? Yehoshua and Calev – Rashi
  • Good Is The Land – If Yehoshua and Calev alone spoke well of the land, why should the people have listened when all the others spoke negatively of the land, and they too, were reputed to by righteous and trustworthy people? The answer is that originally they all spoke well of the land. The other spies however, argued that while the land was indeed wonderful, the natives were too strong to vanquish. Yehoshua and Calev contended that this was not so, and almost succeeded in convincing the people. It was at that point that the ten spies began to sp ...
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From Rags to Riches and Back Again

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/20/2007 11:53 AM

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah…and Di Zahav. ” 1:1

  • And Di Zahav - He admonished them about the golden calf they made because of the abundance of gold they had accumulated, as it is said, "I gave them silver and gold in abundance, they made it into a Baal [Hoshea 2:10]." - Rashi

A large portion of Parshas Ki Sissah was devoted to discussing the complex attitudes and motives behind the sin of the golden calf. In this verse, Moshe Rabbeinu introduces us to yet another contributing factor for their failure. This excuse, while not as complex as the others, also played a significant role in inspiring their failure. In short, Moshe explained that they were overwhelmed by their newfound wealth. Within ...

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The Other Side of the Story

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/20/2007 11:52 AM

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah, opposite the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tofel, and Lavan, Chatzeiros, and Di Zahav. ” 1:1

  • These are the words - Because these are words of rebuke, and because Moshe intended to recount here all the places where they angered the Almighty, he therefore said these words in an obscure manner and only intimated that they sinned in these places. This was done in order to uphold the honor of the Jewish people. - Rashi

In addition to serving as a model for how to offer effective rebuke, there may be another reason behind the indirect presentation. Perhaps Moshe was pointing out that some of these sins were not nearly as deliberate and overt as one may be led to believe from th ...

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No Strength In Numbers

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/17/2007 7:42 PM

“They took in their hands some fruit of the land and brought it down to us. They brought back word to us and said, ‘Good is the land that Hashem, our G-d, is giving us.’ ” 1:25

  • Good Is The Land That Hashem…Is Giving Us – Who were the ones who said this? Yehoshua and Calev – Rashi
  • Good Is The Land – If Yehoshua and Calev alone spoke well of the land, why should the people have listened when all the others spoke negatively of the land, and they too, were reputed to by righteous and trustworthy people? The answer is that originally they all spoke well of the land. The other spies however, argued that while the land was indeed wonderful, the natives were too strong to vanquish. Yehoshua and Calev contended that this was not so, and almost succeeded in convincing the people. It was at that point that the ten spies began to sp ...
More...

From Rags to Riches and Back Again

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/17/2007 7:41 PM

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah…and Di Zahav. ” 1:1

  • And Di Zahav - He admonished them about the golden calf they made because of the abundance of gold they had accumulated, as it is said, "I gave them silver and gold in abundance, they made it into a Baal [Hoshea 2:10]." - Rashi

A large portion of Parshas Ki Sissah was devoted to discussing the complex attitudes and motives behind the sin of the golden calf. In this verse, Moshe Rabbeinu introduces us to yet another contributing factor for their failure. This excuse, while not as complex as the others, also played a significant role in inspiring their failure. In short, Moshe explained that they were overwhelmed by their newfound wealth. Within ...

More...

The Other Side of the Story

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/17/2007 7:40 PM

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah, opposite the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tofel, and Lavan, Chatzeiros, and Di Zahav. ” 1:1

These are the words - Because these are words of rebuke, and because Moshe intended to recount here all the places where they angered the Almighty, he therefore said these words in an obscure manner and only intimated that they sinned in these places. This was done in order to uphold the honor of the Jewish people. - Rashi

In addition to serving as a model for how to offer effective rebuke, there may be another reason behind the indirect presentation. Perhaps Moshe was pointing out that some of these sins were not nearly as deliberate and overt as one may be led to believe from the Torahs’ earlie ...

More...

About More Than The Individual

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 6/14/2007 11:40 AM

“You will not bear a sin because of it, when you separate its best part; and the sanctities of the Children of Israel you should not desecrate...” 18:32

  • You Shall Not Desecrate – This prohibition refers to a Kohen (priest) who offers to assist a farmer in his chores, in return for his Terumah [tithes]. (Every individual Jew could decide to which Kohen to give his Terumah.) By doing so, the Kohen disrespects the sanctity of the Terumah and deserves to be punished. – Talmud, Bechoros 26b

Although the Torah instituted priestly tithes in order to provide basic material support for the Kohanim, who devoted their lives to the service of Hashem, it wasn’t meant to be treated as a business. The tithes were sacred, and they needed to be treated with esteem. A Kohen who attempts to manipulate the system by improperly positioning himself ...

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What Was He Really Saying?

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 6/14/2007 11:39 AM

“Moshe said to Korach, "Please listen, sons of Levi. Is it not sufficient for you that the G-d of Israel has elevated you over the rest of the congregation of Israel to bring you closer to Him to perform the services of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) of Hashem, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? And He brought you near with all of your brethren the sons of Levi with you - and yet you demand to be kohanim (priests) as well? 16:8-10

It is important to recognize that Korach’s rebellion attacked more than just Moshe’s choice of Aaron, his brother, as high priest. Accusing Moshe of nepotism was an attack on Moshe’s personal integrity, and would undermine everything Moshe had done as a leader, most importantly the giving over of the Torah. The charge was totally baseless: Korach ignored the fact that for all Moshe’s sacrifices on behalf of the people, he himself would merit ne ...

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The Value of a Protest

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 6/14/2007 11:38 AM

“And Korach, the son of Yitzhar the son of Kehos the son of Levi, separated himself, and Dasan and Aviram the sons of Eliav, and On the son of Peles, the sons of Reuven.” 16:1

  • The son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehos, the son of Levi - But Scripture does not mention, "the son of Yaakov," since Yaakov implored Hashem for compassion that his name be omitted from their dispute, as it is said, ‘let my name not be identified with their assembly.’” – Rashi

It is no secret that Yaakov was the father of Levi. What then was accomplished by omitting mention of his name? Indeed, what Yaakov sought to avoid with his plea to be omitted was not posthumous shame. Rather, he hoped to impress upon Levi that his actions were inconsistent with Yaakov’s philosophy. Although his words may not have their intended effect on Levi’s desc ...

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Going Home Isn’t That Easy

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 6/10/2007 3:21 PM

“They awoke early in the morning and went up to the peak of the mountain, saying, ‘We are ready to go up to the place of which Hashem spoke, for we have sinned.’ They defiantly went up the mountain peak…The Amalekite and the Canaanite descended…and they smote and crushed them until Chormah.” 14:40-45

This tragic episode reveals how sensitive the issue of conquering Eretz Yisroel really is. Regardless of how passionate we may feel toward the land, it simply cannot be had on our terms. Our ability to acquire the land is predicated upon Hashem’s permission to do so. Regardless of our strength or dedication to this ideal, we will not be successful in capturing it until He allows us to do so. Conversely, when Hashem decides that the time is ripe for the Jewish people to control the land, our military prowess or lack thereof will not be a factor either. Under the leadership of Yehoshua, t ...

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