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Parashat Beha'alothecha

Dedicated in honor my wife Rachel by Jo Jo Ashkenazi

Parashat Beha'alothecha

This week’s Perashah opens with Hashem telling Moshe to instruct Aharon: "When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light."Rashi expounds that the three wicks on the right and the three wicks on the left were all directed toward the Menorah's central stem, thereby concentrating the light toward the center. He asks why the wicks faced inwards, thereby giving off less light. Rashi, following Tanhuma Beha’alothecha (5), explains that it was so the people would not say that Hashem, who is the source of all light, needs the light to illuminate his Mishkan. S'forno comments that the "Right" side of the menorah symbolizes those who engage in spiritual pursuits, while the "Left" side symbolizes those that engage in more worldly pursuits. We can actually see this truth very clearly in the Jewish society's of today and past generations. By having both sides of the Menorah give light toward its center, the Torah is teaching us clearly that all of man’s activities should be directed only towards the service of Hashem. Examples of this are, I work on my business to support my family and give tzedaka as commanded by Hashem. Or I eat healthy and workout in the gym so that I can keep my body strong in order to serve Hashem properly. Rashi comments that Aharon was embarrassed that every other tribe represented by their leader, had a role in the dedication of the new Mishkan, while Aharon and the tribe of Levi were excluded. Hashem consoled Aharon by telling him that his service of preparing and lighting the Menorah was a greater service than any role given to the other tribes. Rambam explains that the lighting of the Menorah was a consolation because the lighting of the Menorah in this Perashah alludes to the later Menorah of the miracle of Hanukah. At that later time, when the Temple service would be disrupted by the Greeks, and the Torah would be on the verge of being forgotten, only the faith and heroism of the Hasmonean family who were Kohanim and descendants of Aharon would succeed in driving out the enemy. They purified the Bet Hamikdash by lighting the Menorah, and through this they were ultimately responsible for saving the Jewish nation. Later in the Perashah, we see that Miriam is punished with tzaraat for speaking Lashon Hara to her brother Aharon about Moshe. According to the Midrash, Miriam was responsible for Moshe being born, because when their father Amram decided to separate from their mother Yochevet because of Pharoah's decree, Miriam told her father that he was worse than Pharoah because Pharoah's decree was only against the boys while Amram, by separating from his wife, was preventing the both boys and girls from coming into the world. Then when Moshe was born and was put in a basket on the Nile river, Miriam followed the basket to make sure Moshe would be safe and end up in good hands. We learn from this that Miriam was very devoted to her brother Moshe. In this episode, seventy Elders are appointed by Moshe according to Hashem’s instructions, so that they will be able to share and thereby alleviate the burden of leading the people and dealing with their complaints. The Midrash tells us that when the Elders were appointed, it was a happy day with much rejoicing, and Miriam exclaimed, "How fortunate are the wives of these Elders who have been granted Ruah Hakodesh!" Moshe’s wife, Tziporah, replied, "On the contrary, they will be unhappy, because their husbands will now separate from them." In this way Miriam understood that Moshe had separated from his wife. Miriam then went to her brother Aharon to discuss this matter, in order to understand why Moshe would separate from Tziporah. In Perek 12, Pasuk 2, Aharon and Miriam say:“Has the Lord spoken only to Moses? Hasn't He spoken to us too?" The text then continues: “And Hashem heard. Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any other person on the face of the earth." The question is asked, Why is this mention of Moshe's humility introduced in the middle of this exchange? The Ramban and the Or HaHayyim both explain that Moshe was so humble that it was unthinkable to accuse him of considering himself superior to the other prophets. Because of his humility, Moshe would never have defended himself against Miriam's charge. Therefore, Hashem had to intervene and punish Miriam for speaking against His servant Moshe. We may not understand many things in our lives. We see things and hear things but we will never understand the whole picture, and for this very important reason we are never permitted to talk Lashon Hara about others. We all have faults and none of us are perfect, so by speaking ill of others, we are implying that we're better, when the truth is that we're not. So what we are actually doing when we speak Lashon Hara is trying to elevate ourselves at the expense of putting someone else down. Lashon Hara can destroy lives and will break up families and it causes our shortcomings to be examined in Shamayim. The situation is so much more magnified today, because of technology and the media that can spread Lashon Hara to hundreds of millions of people in a mere matter of seconds! There's a famous story about the Hafetz Hayyim , who was traveling with another man. They stopped to dine at a restaurant along the way. The owner of the restaurant asked how the meal was and the other man answered, "The soup could use a little salt". The Hafetz Hayyim said to his guest, "Why did you say that the soup needs salt, maybe the cook is an Almana, a widow, and now the owner will go back and fire her because of your comments."The man said to the Hafetz Hayyim , "Don't you think that's a little far-fetched"? The Hafetz Hayyim said to his guest, "Come with me". So they went to the kitchen and they saw the owner of the restaurant scolding the cook because of his companion’s comments. From here we can see that even the slightest reference to Lashon Hara will only lead to hurting others! May we all appreciate the blessings that we receive from the Kohanim. May we also be sensitive and stay far away from anything that even resembles Lashon Hara, because as we can see from the above story, even in its simplest forms, Lashon Hara can only hurt people in ways that we may not even be aware of. Shabbat Shalom! Jack E. Rahmey with the Guidance and Teachings of Rabbi Amram Sananes Leiluiy Nishmat.... Eliyahu Ben Rachel Avraham Ben Garaz Sarah Bat Chanah Malka Bat Garaz Shulamit Bat Helaina Yaakov Ben Rachel Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher Rav Haim Ben Rivka Meir Ben Latifa Yitzchak Ben Adele Esther Bat Sarah Chanah Bat Esther Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana Moshe Ben Garaz Rafael ben Miriam Moshe Ben Mazal