Torah Insights for Shabbat
June 13, 1998
According to the Ramban, Parshas Behaalosecha stands as an important transition between the two major themes of Sefer Bemidbar.
The first ten chapters of the sefer deals mainly with the internal organization of Klal Yisrael--how they traveled and camped, the description of their banners, the location of the Ohel Moeid.
The second part of the Sefer chronicles the events that happened to Klal Yisrael as they traveled--the story of the spies, the rebellion of Korach, the treachery of Balak and Bilaam.
As such, this parshah clearly serves a most important function in the structure of the sefer, as a bridge between these two themes, between the life of the people as they were encamped around Har Sinai and their existence as a nation during their years of wandering in the desert.
As an aspect of this transition, we find a note as to how the people knew when to travel from one campsite to another. The parshah tells us that their signal was the anan, the cloud of glory that hovered above the Mishkan. When it rose, the people would travel; when the cloud settled, they stopped.
This cloud was not the only signal the people had. The Chumash tells us that Moshe Rabeinu was commanded to make trumpets with which to signal the people to travel. Moshe fashioned these trumpets from his own possessions. They were used only by Moshe and buried upon his death. Even his most trusted disciple, Yehoshua, could not use them, and used a shofar instead.
This information raises a series of questions: Why was a second signal needed? Why were these trumpets exclusive to Moshe? Why was Yehoshua given the Shofar in order to perform the same function?
Every generation produces its own unique set of leaders, who are charged with the responsibility of guiding that generation in the ways of Torah and mitzvos.
Each leader of Israel relates to the people of his generation in his own style. Moshe Rabbeinu did it through the trumpets. Yehoshua did it with the shofar. Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, did it through his Torah and lectures. Each one of them did it in his own way, and Klal Yisrael was the richer for having them.
It would seem that our generation is still searching, still seeking that one special leader who can unite us, who can relate to us, who can draw us nearer to Torah and mitzvos. And who can do it with the understanding that our generation needs.May we merit such a blessing from the Creator and, in the midst of this great resurgence of Torah, grow and develop in both Torah and mitzvos, as well as unite and show the proper respect, one Jew to the next.
Rabbi Harvey Well
Rabbi Well is rabbi of Or Torah Congregation - Skokie, IL
SECOND KESHER SHABBATON
June 19-20, 1998
As Never Before
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