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Friday, May 23

The Weekly Shtikle - Bemidbar

Today is the yahrtzeit of my great aunt, Lady Amélie Jakobovits, a"h. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Mayla bas Eliyahu.
This coming Sunday is the yahrtzeit of my mother, a"h. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Tzirel Nechamah bas Tovia Yehudah
    A number of years ago, I was approached on parshas Vayigash and asked the following question: Why, when the Torah is enumerating the 70 travelers who came down to Mitzrayim, are Eir and Onan mentioned (Bereishis 46:12.) If the point of this section is to count the seventy family members, why mention those who were not there? A similar question may be asked in this week's parsha. After B'nei Yisrael are counted and arranged in their camps, the families of Moshe and Aharon are briefly discussed. We find the Torah going into specific detail regarding Nadav and Avihu (3:2,4) even though they were no longer alive. Again in parshas Pinechas (26:61) when the descendants of Levi are enumerated, Nadav and Avihu and their unfortunate fate are mentioned.
    The answer I gave him is surely homiletic, but I think there is a valuable and appropriate lesson to be learned. The Torah is teaching us that when a member of the family passes on, although they are physically removed from the family, they are still an integral part of the family. Through times of joy and accomplishment and through times of sorrow, they are still there in some way, sharing those experiences. It is common to say of a family member whose presence is missed that they are with us in spirit. The Torah impresses this point upon us by not counting Yehudah's family without mentioning Eir and Onan, and never failing to invoke Nadav and Avihu when enumerating the sons of Aharon.
    This shabbos is sandwiched between the yahrtzeits of two very special ladies on the Jakobovits side of the family, for whom we have two daughters named. Although they were different in many ways, one of the similarities they shared was the joy and eagerness they would have to share in family semachos, no matter how close or distant the relative - in relation or distance. Their presence would always add a special touch to every simchah. And even with their absence, their presence is still felt.
Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: No Population Increase
Al Pi Cheshbon: Tens and Ones by Ari Brodsky
Al Pi Cheshbon: Rounded Numbers
Al Pi Cheshbon: Pidyon HaBen Probability
AstroTorah: Navigating 40 Years in the Wilderness by the Northern Stars by R' Ari Storch
Dikdukian: Be or Ba?
Dikdukian: Discussions on Bemidbar by Eliyahu Levin

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