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Friday, February 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Ki Sisa

    In pasuk 32:26, following the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe calls out "Mi laShem elai!" Who is for HaShem, come to me! And all of Shevet Levi joined him. They then proceeded to wipe out all those who participated in the worshiping of the Golden Calf. It is known that the sinners in the episode of the Golden Calf represented a small minority of Bnei Yisrael (3000 men were killed). How is it then, that only the tribe of Levi joined Moshe in carrying out the punishment? B'chor Shor suggests that there were really many others from other tribes who did not worship the calf and also answered Moshe's call. The reason that Levi was singled out by the pasuk is, as the pasuk says "kol b'nei Levi", all of the sons of Levi. It was only Levi whose tribe completely separated itself from this great sin and joined Moshe in meting out justice. Each of the other tribes had at least part of the tribe worshiping the calf.
    Netziv in Hemek Davar suggests a very novel interpretation. Moshe and his followers were about to carry out a great mitzvah. We know that a sheliach mitzvah is protected from any damage. This, however, does not apply in a case where there is evident danger (see Kiddushin 39b). How then could Moshe bring people together to carry out this task which surely included the danger of being killed by a Golden Calf worshipper defending himself? Netziv suggests that this applies only to those who do a mitzvah in the regular, natural manner that humans perform mitzvos, with at least some sort of a personal interest, be it a reward in this world, or be it a reward in the next world. However, someone who has dedicated himself solely to the service of HaShem with the lack of any personal desires, even in the case of evident danger, need not fear to perform any mitzvah. Therefore, Moshe exclaimed "Mi l'haShem, elai!", Who is for HaShem and HaShem only. Who has dedicated himself completely to the service of HaShem. Only Shevet Levi, who were not subjected to servitude by the Egyptians but rather left alone to serve as spiritual leaders (Ramban), only they were able to reach this level of service of HaShem. Therefore it was only they who were on the spiritual level to join Moshe in carrying out justice in such a dangerous manner.
    R' Yosef Miller, of Yeshivas Merkaz HaTorah in Yerushalayim, in his sefer Hadras Kodesh, suggests that this idea may be used to answer a famous question in parshas V'zos haBerachah. In Levi's blessing it says uvris'cha yintzoru. Rashi comments that this refers to the fact that while Bnei Yisroel did not perform the mitzvah of bris milah in the desert, Shevet Levi did. The obvious question is that the reason why B"Y did not do milah in the desert is because there was a specific Northern wind that was not present in the desert which made a bris a very dangerous operation. How then could Levi go ahead and give their kids a bris? With this idea of the Netziv, however, we can understand that Shevet Levi were on a level higher than the rest of the nation. They were able to perform the mitzvah of bris milah without any fear of the inherent dangers.

Have a good Shabbos.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah (applicability to Adar I a matter of dispute.)

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Kol Annnos
Dikdukian: Yeiaseh vs.Taaseh by Ephraim Stulberg
Dikdukian: Velo Shasu
Dikdukian: Minimizing Sin

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