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Friday, June 9

The Weekly Shtikle - Beha'alosecha

Tomorrow, 16 Sivan, is the Yahrtzeit of R' Ephraim Eisenberg, zt"l of Ner Yisroel. The shtikle is dedicated l'iluy nishmaso, Ephraim Zalman ben Chayim HaLevi.

In this week's parsha, B'nei Yisrael are instructed to bring what would be their only korban Pesach in the desert. Ohr HaChayim points out a number of intriguing anomalies in the introduction to this event. First, the conventional way for dates to be presented in the Torah is the month followed by the year. For example, the very beginning of sefer Bemidbar: "On the first day of the second month, in the second year." In our case, however, the order is reversed.

Second, this command is different than others in that it is not introduced with Moshe being charged to speak to B'nei Yisrael. Rather, it is simply stated that B'nei Yisrael shall do the Pesach in its time. In that instruction, the vuv appears to be an additive vuv, as if it is connected to something previous. Lastly, what the necessity for this commandment in the first place? The korban Pesach offering was an existing mitzvah. Why did B'nei Yisrael need to be told to do what they were already commanded to do?

Ohr HaChayim offers a fascinating approach. It is stated (Shemos 12:43) regarding the korban Pesach that a ben neichar, a foreigner, may not partake of the Pesach. Following the transgression of the golden calf, B'nei Yisrael were not clear as to whether they had a status of ben neichar. It was therefore unclear if they were even permitted to bring the korban Pesach. Therefore, the year is written first because it is most significant. Despite the fact that this was the second year, and thus after the sin of the golden calf, B'nei Yisrael were nevertheless commanded to bring the Pesach. This charge is not meant to be understood as a commandment, rather, it is a granting of permission to bring the korban and that is why it does not follow the same form as other charges given to Moshe to relay to the nation.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com


Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Al Pi Cheshbon: Piles of Quail 
Dikdukian: The Impure

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