PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 2
1 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
1 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 112
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1484
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 5652
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
After Parshat Masei:
Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 2:4 - 28 and 3:4 שמעו
Sepharadim: Jeremiah 2:4 - 28 and 4:1-2
The three Haftorot of the three weeks preceding the Ninth of Av, are called the — שלש דפורענותא - the "Three (Haftorot) of Punishment."
This week we study Chapter 2 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"
our last episode, Pinchas was rewarded, Yehoshua was appointed,
Jews were counted, and Korbanot Tamid and Musaf
were introduced. There was lots of action on the edge of Eretz
As our Parsha
opens, the Torah teaches us that words can be just as
powerful as actions.
It all begins with
a promise. Hashem doesn't want you to make a promise if
you can't fulfill it.
Let's say a guy promises "I
will not put bananas in my cereal and eat it with a straw anymore."
But the next morning when he pours his favorite cereal, that mouthwatering
banana is staring him right in the face and a straw drops into
his cereal from his shirt pocket.
What does he do? He knows he
promised. But it's bananas - it's a straw! That oozing fruity
taste... That cool morning sensation! He knows he promised, but
isn't there anything he can do to get around it? Yes!
Hashem knows that
a person may regret making a promise, so Hashem gave
us two ways to annul (void) a promise.
One way of undoing a promise
is to ask a Talmid Chacham - a Torah Scholar, an expert
in the laws of vows and promises, to sit in judgment. Another
way of undoing a promise is to gather three Jewish men. These
three act as a Jewish court, a "Bait Din." He explains
the problem about how he promised not to eat cereal with a banana
and slurp it with a straw. He adds that he regrets the promise
and would really like to eat cereal his favorite way once again.
The three men (or the Talmid
Chacham) ask: “if you had realized what a delicious breakfast
you would be missing, would you have ever made that promise?”
The answer is, of course, “No,” and the Beit Din (or
the Talmid Chacham) cancel the promise, freeing him to
eat cereal with a banana and a straw.
The Torah also tells
us that a Father may nullify a promise made by his daughter from
the age of 12 to the age of 12 and 1/2, and a husband may nullify
his wife's promises, but only on the day they hear about it. If
they wait till the next day, it's too late - it's a promise.
The fact that promises may
be voided does not mean that you should be going around making
promises. A boy from the age of 12, and a girl from the age of
11 should start being careful of making promises. The best thing
to do when you want to commit to something is to say "B'li
Neder" which means that the statement is not a promise.
informs Moshe that now is the time to attack the wicked nation of
Midyan. The plan to overrun the camp of Bnei Yisroel with
Midyanite daughters was the last straw! Moshe is commanded to gather
up one thousand soldiers from each Shevet - only Tzadikim
who did not take part in the sin with these Midyanite women.
The catch is, that Moshe would die right after the battle.
Well, you can imagine the crowds of soldiers that would volunteer
for duty if it gets Moshe off their hands! But the truth is that
Bnei Yisroel really loves Moshe a lot better than the
Torah lets on. If you look carefully at all the rebellions,
you'll see that the Eirev Rav have almost always been responsible
for giving Bnei Yisroel this fighting reputation. Not one
single soldier reports to Moshe for this fight... No fight, Moshe
doesn't die, is the attitude.
Well, Moshe's got a job to do and death or no death, those
soldiers are going to fight Midyan! Hashem tells Moshe
to pick soldiers out of a hat. Whatever names come up, they will
go to war.
The usual procedure is for the Nassi (prince) to
lead his Shevet (tribe) into battle. However, since Shevet
Shimon just lost their Nassi, Zimri, Moshe doesn't want
to embarrass them. He cancels the 'princes' plan.
Instead, Moshe annoints Pinchas as the Mashuach Milchama
(the war priest). Since Pinchas began the Kiddush Hashem
with killing Zimri, he can finish it by taking revenge on the
The Kohanim blow the two silver trumpets, gathering
the warriors of Bnei Yisroel for battle. Moshe commands
Pinchas to bring along the Aron (ark) and the Tzitz
(the Kohen Gadol's headplate) to war.
The results of the fight are staggering! The small Jewish
army wipes out the entire Midyanite army. They also kill the five
Kings of Midian as well as Bilam, the magician, who is in Midian
at the time to collect his reward for causing the death of 24,000
Jews. The Bnei Yisroel take the Midyanite women and children
prisoners. Not a single Jewish soldier dies in battle.
| The soldiers bring
back lots of booty, from gold and silver to clothing, dishes and
animals. But they keep nothing for themselves. But the sight of
Midyanite women and children makes Moshe mad. After all, these people
caused 24,000 people to die in the plague. The plan was to wipe
'em all out. Moshe orders all the Midyanite women and boys be put
All the soldiers coming back from the war are now impure
from touching dead bodies. They are not allowed to enter the camp
of the Shechinah. First they must be purified with the
Parah Aduma (red cow) concoction and then wait seven
is so much booty that those who stayed home might get jealous.
So Hashem commands Moshe to divide the livestock and
captives equally among Bnei Yisroel. In turn, Bnei
Yisroel gives a portion of these spoils to the Kohanim
and Leviyim. The jewelry and dishes remain with the soldiers.
However, the soldiers donate part of their dishes and jewelry
to the Mishkan.
The pots and pans of the Midyanites
have been used for non-kosher food. There's only one way to purify
that pottery, and Elazar, Aharon's son, gets the job of teaching
these laws to Bnei Yisroel. If a dish is used for cold
non-Kosher food, a Jew can kasher the dish by cleaning
it very well. If the dish was used for hot non-Kosher food, a
Jew can kasher the dish by cleaning it very well, then
dipping it completely in boiling water.
If the utensil is used to cook
in fire, like a rack or roasting spit, it must be cleaned thoroughly
and made glowing hot in fire. Dishes made of metals like tin,
gold, silver or iron... can be kashered in this way.
Earthenware (china), however, cannot ever be kashered
once hot non-Kosher food has touched it.
doesn't only apply to non-Kosher dishes. Even new dishes must be purified
before a Jew uses them. This applies to all eating utensils: cups,
plates, pots, peelers, salt shakers, silverware that are made by or
bought from a non-Jew. This also applies to glass utensils and dishes.
The process is called toveling and it's really simple:
Just dip the utensil into a Mikvah. That's all. Make
sure the utensil goes all the way under the water, though, or
else it doesn't count. There is a Bracha (blessing) that
is said when this toveling is performed:
A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu
Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Al T'vi-las Keili (for
one utensil) / Kei-lim(for several
are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified
us with His commandments, and has commanded us regarding the
immersion of vessels. (if only one utensil
is immersed, conclude - of a
A PRINT COPY CLICK
After conquering the kingdoms of Sichon and Og, the Bnei Yisroel take possession of the land. Now, this land has lots of grass and wide open fields, perfect for the Shevatim (tribes) of Reuven and Gad. They own large flocks of sheep. So they send a messenger to Moshe to make a request for this land, east of the Jordan River, even though it's not inside Eretz Yisroel itself.
Moshe has one problem with this: Reuven and Gad are powerful
Shevatim. If they stay back, the other Shevatim
might think they're chickening out of fighting the Canaanim and
no one will want to conquer Eretz Yisroel. Secondly,
the rest of Bnei Yisroel might think that Eretz Yisroel
isn't so special if two Shevatim are not willing to settle
The representatives of Reuven and Gad have an idea. They will first set up homes for their families and stables for the sheep, then the men will march into Eretz Yisroel with the rest of the Jews and help conquer the land and remain until it is divided among the Shevatim.
Moshe agrees to the deal and adds, that half of the Shevet of Menashe will also settle on the outskirts of Eretz Yisroel. That's two and a half Shevatim down and portions for nine and a half to go!
Tune in to the next Parsha as we wrap up the Book of Bamidbar. What happens to the daughters of Tzelafchad? How many cities of refuge will be built in Eretz Yisroel? Where will the Leviyim live?
The answers to these questions and more in the next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Maven on Matot
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