Behaaloscha 5777

RABBI BENZION MORGENSTERN

ויהי בנסע הארן ויאמר משה קומה ה’ ויפצו איביך וינסו משנאיך מפניך (במדבר י:לה)

And when the ארון would journey, Moshe said, “Arise, Hashem, and let Your enemies
be scattered, and let those who hate You flee from before You.” (Bamidbar 10:35)
פרשה זו עשה לה הקב”ה סימניות מלמעלה ולמטה לומר שאין זה מקומה וכו’ רשב”ג אומר עתידה פרשה זו שתיעקר מכאן ותכתב במקומה ולמה כתבה כאן כדי להפסיק בין פורענות ראשונה לפורענות שנייה פורענות שנייה מאי היא ויהי העם כמתאוננים (במדבר יא:א) פורענות ראשונה ויסעו מהר ה’ (במדבר י:לג) ואמר ר’ חמא בר’ חנינא שסרו מאחרי ה’, והיכן מקומה אמר רב אשי בדגלים (שבת קטו:-קטז.)
Hashem placed symbols before and after this portion of the Torah, to demonstrate that this is not its proper place … R’ Shimon Ben Gamliel says that this section eventually will be uprooted from here and written in its proper place. And why was it written here? In order to separate between the first and the second retributions. The second is, “The nation took to complaining.” (Bamidbar 11:1) The first is, “They traveled from the mountain of Hashem” (Bamidbar 10:33), which R’ Chama the son of R’ Chanina interprets as, “They traveled from following Hashem.” Where is the proper placement of this parsha? R’ Ashi said, it is with the topic of the degalim. (Shabbos 115b-116a)
Rashi explains that “they traveled from following Hashem” refers to the incident of the אספסוף. The rabble-rousers among Bnei Yisrael evoked desires and complained about not having meat in order to rebel against Hashem (Bamidbar 11:4). This occurred during the first three days following their departure from Har Sinai; therefore, the Gemara refers to this as “the departure from Har Sinai.”
The Rishonim point out that although the Torah mentions that they traveled from the mountain of Hashem before ויהי בנסע הארן, the actual narrative of the אספסוף is only recorded in the Torah after ויהי בנסע הארן. So how, then, does ויהי בנסע הארן separate it from the other punishment, which is also recorded (Bamidbar 11:1) after ויהי בנסע הארן?
Tosafos explains that the first punishment refers to the way in which Bnei Yisrael left Har Sinai. As explained in the Midrash, they ran “like a child departing school,” i.e. eagerly. This explanation is difficult to understand. Why is fleeing from Har Sinai considered a punishment? Isn’t that the aveira itself? We don’t find that the Torah imposes any punishment for this sin, so how can it be referred to as a punishment?
In addition, what is the explanation of why the parsha of ויהי בנסע הארן is chosen to be the separation?
The Chasam Sofer (Drashos vol. 2 p. 311b) explains that Bitul Torah, neglecting the study of Torah, and separating from Torah, e.g., fleeing from Har Sinai, are different from other sins. For other sins, Hashem judges the act and metes out a punishment. The act of Bitul Torah itself, however, creates a direct consequence. The Mishnah (Avos 3:5) states that one who accepts the yoke of Torah has the burden of government and livelihood removed from him. Conversely, when one lightens his yoke of Torah, his burden of government and worldly responsibility is increased. This is comparable to a balance scale. When one side goes down, the other side perforce rises. So, too, with Torah. One who removes the yoke of Torah burdens himself with other yokes.
Therefore, the actual sin of running away from Har Sinai was the punishment in and of itself. By separating from the Torah, Bnei Yisrael were further subjugated to the worldly woes of parnassa and their enemies. And so, Moshe immediately davened, קומה ה’ ויפצו אויביך וינסו משנאיך מפניך, “Arise, Hashem, and let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee from before You,” for Bnei Yisrael needed extra protection from their enemies. This explains why specifically this parsha separates the two punishments.
The Chasam Sofer (חת”ס על התורה) writes that with this we can reconcile Rashi’s interpretation with that of Tosafos. The separation from Torah increased the yoke of worldly responsibilities, which was manifest in Bnei Yisrael’s desires and the complaining about meat, the אספסוף. Both Rashi and Tosafos are referring to the same chain of events, the separation from Torah and its consequential effect.
With this understanding, we can answer the Rishonim’s question about Rashi’s explanation. Although the actual manifestation of the אספסוף occurred later on, the root of the sin was departing from Har Sinai. It created an increase in the yoke of worldly responsibilities and occurred before ויהי בנסע הארן. Thus, ויהי בנסע הארן separates the two punishments.


RABBI REUVEN GERSON

On the day that a boy reaches the age of thirteen, he becomes responsible for fulfilling all of the 248 positive commandments. In reference to time-bound mitzvos, e.g., lulav, the extent of this chiyuv, or responsibility, needs definition.
Many poskim, including Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe O.C. 5:40), explain that the chiyuv to perform the mitzvah of taking the lulav includes the Biblical obligation to ensure that one has a lulav in advance of the time that the mitzvah is actually incumbent upon him. The Nishmas Adam (Klal 88) disagrees and opines that one is not required by Torah law to obtain a lulav, and that one who does not have one is considered an oneis, a person who is unavoidably prevented from performing a mitzvah.
After Nadav and Avihu died in the Mishkan, their family members were ordered to remove their remains from the Mishkan. This rendered the family impure and disqualified them from bringing the Korban Pesach. They approached Moshe Rabbeinu and entreated him to find them an avenue by which to participate with Klal Yisrael in this important ceremony. Moshe deferred their question to Hashem. As a reward for their pure desire to be involved in the Korban Pesach, the amendment of Pesach Sheini, a second opportunity to fulfill the Korban Pesach, was taught to Moshe. This allows one who was tamei or far away from the Beis HaMikdash on Pesach to bring his korban in Iyar.
The Tzlach (Pesachim 3b) writes that although it is clear that one should not create a situation that renders him unable to fulfill a mitzvah, such as Korban Pesach, nevertheless one is not required to move closer to Yerushalayim in order to be able perform the mitzvah.
The Minchas Chinuch (Mitzvah 5) challenges the Tzlach and writes that it is incomprehensible that a person who neglected to buy a lulav before Yom Tov should be deemed an oneis; rather, he is regarded as a poshei’a, negligent of his responsibility to fulfill the mitzvah. So, too, he says, one is required to move closer to Yerushalayim in order to bring the Korban Pesach on time.
It would seem that their disagreement revolves around the same point as the machlokes between the Igros Moshe and the Chayei Adam. By extension, perhaps they are arguing over the basic definition of the time that a Jew becomes chayav to fulfill time-bound mitzvos.
To fully understand the context of this discussion, the term “Bar Chiyuva” needs to be explained. For example, if one wants to discharge his responsibility to make kiddush on Friday night, he must either recite the kiddush or hear it recited by someone else who is equally chayav to make kiddush. Both individuals are regarded as a “Bar Chiyuva”, bearing the obligation of the mitzvah.
In reference to this discussion, once a person becomes a Bar Chiyuva, he may not shirk his responsibility to discharge his chiyuv. If he does so bemaizid, intentionally, he must bring a Korban Olah. If he did so by mistake, he is regarded as a shogeg, an unintentional sinner, and does not need more than teshuva (and perhaps not even that). The Tzlach apparently holds that the chiyuv takes effect at the time of the mitzvah, as does the Nishmas Adam, and therefore one can only be regarded as “negligent” at the actual time of the mitzvah. The Minchas Chinuch, however, holds that one is constantly a Bar Chiyuva, even before the time of the mitzvah, and therefore would be deemed a maizid and not a shogeg.
The position of the Minchas Chinuch, however, would appear to contradict the very concept of Pesach Sheini. If it is indeed true that one is required to move close to Yerushalayim before Pesach, but did not, why is he not liable to kareis, spiritual excision, for not fulfilling the mitzvah of Korban Pesach? This question is only valid if a person becomes a Bar Chiyuva in every mitzvah from the time of his becoming a Bar Mitzvah. The answer, though, is that it is possible that while becoming a Bar Mitzvah creates a general demand that all mitzvos be fulfilled, it does not carry with it the specific stringencies of each mitzvah, e.g., kareis in the case of Pesach.
It is possible that the Tzlach only maintains this position with regard to the mitzvah of Korban Pesach and not all other mitzvos. This is because the allowance of “Tamei”, being impure, and “Derech Rechoka”, being physically too far away from Yerushalayim on Pesach, is not that the person is a Bar Chiyuva with a leniency that he may bring the korban later, but that he is not even a Bar Chiyuva. If so, there is no requirement for him to discharge the chiyuv with the first Korban Pesach, and therefore he does not need to move closer to Yerushalayim; if he does not, he is not regarded as an oneis. According to this, the chesed that Hashem extended to the temei’im, those who are ritually impure, is far greater than just a “second chance”; rather, it created an entirely new mitzvah without the accompanying guilt of having missed the main opportunity.