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Parashat Bamidbar

Dedicated Leilui Nishmat Arlene Tebele Braha A'h By Harry Adjmi and Family

Parashat Bamidbar

This week’s parasha, Bamidbar, begins the fourth book of the Humash. In the second passuk, Hashem says to Moshe,“Take a census of the entire assembly of B’nei Yisrael according to their families, according to their fathers’ households, by number of the names, every male according to their head count.”

The Census

Rav Pam says that Hashem counted B’nei Yisrael due to His great love for them. He counts them frequently, just as a man counts and recounts money which is precious to him. Last week’s parasha, Behukotai, described the fearful curses and punishments which would befall B’nei Yisrael if they sinned. When they heard this, they worried that Hashem might abandon His people forever if they sinned. This census was to reassure them that Hashem has a great and everlasting love for B’nei Yisrael.

When A Rebbe Is Equal To A Father

Rabbi Frand says in the pasuk, “And these are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe on the day that G-d spoke to Moshe on Mt. Sinai” [Bamidbar 3:1]. Then the next pasuk mentions the names of the sons of Aharon, but Moshe’s sons are not included. Rashi comments that Aharon’s sons are called the descendants of Moshe as well, because he taught them Torah. For “whoever teaches the son of his friend Torah, the Torah considers it as if he fathered them” [Sanhedrin 19b].

The Maharal asks: based on this logic, the Torah should say that the entire population of Israel was like sons of Moshe. Moshe taught Torah to the entire nation. The Maharal answers that Rashi is making a specific point here. Although Moshe did, in fact, teach Torah to all of Israel, he must have taken extra time and extra care with his own nephews — Aharon’s sons. Certainly, he taught Torah to everyone, but he no doubt went the ‘extra mile’ to explain and review the Torah with his own nephews. The Maharal argues that a parent is defined by the willingness to go the extra mile. Set hours do not exist. There are no boundaries. A parent is always willing to do whatever it takes.

The principle that whoever teaches his friend’s son Torah, is considered as though he fathered him, only applies when the “Rebbe” truly acts like a father in the sense that he is willing to go beyond the call of duty and in fact becomes like a parent.

Rabbi Frand tells over a story he heard over from Rav Shiya Fishman, the Executive Vice-President of Torah U’Messorah. Rav Fishman had been a student of Rav Yitzchok Hutner (1907-1980) and related the following beautiful story involving his teacher.

When Rav Fishman was a young man in Kollel, he had a child with a serious medical situation. He went to his Rebbe, Rav Hutner, and unburdened himself with his personal problems — to the extent that he broke down in tears and covered his face with his hands. After a few minutes, when he recovered, he looked back at Rav Hutner and saw that Rav Hutner too was crying. The disciple’s pain was the teacher’s pain. The disciple’s tears were the teacher’s tears.

If one ever wonders why Rav Hutner was so successful in raising hundreds of such special students the reason is clear. Rav Hutner was not merely a teacher to his friends’ children – he was their father as well! The Torah is referring to this type of Rebbe, when it refers to Moshe as the father of Aharon’s children. This trait of Rav Hutner is what we should emulate on these days of the Omer when we learn Pirke Avot to better our character in anticipation of receiving the Torah on the upcoming holiday of Shavuot.

Rabbi Yoel Gold told another amazing story about a young man named Stuart who had his life changed for the better because of Torah. Stuart was not a religious man, but when he was about 35 years-old, he and his friends were offered a free trip to Israel, and they jumped at the opportunity to go. They arrived in Israel on a Friday, and the next morning they thought they’d start touring. However, when they left the hotel that Shabbat morning they noticed the entire city of Jerusalem was completely quiet. There were no cars out, and they couldn’t catch a taxi or a bus. It was like nothing Stuart had ever seen before.

Since the Shuls were the only occupied places in the city, the young men chose to go Shul hopping just to see what it was all about. They passed by dozens of synagogues, and they got to a big white Shul and decided to go inside. The men went upstairs to the indoor balcony so they wouldn’t look like they were touring. When they looked down, Stuart noticed elderly men wrapped in white shawls gathered around a very old Torah scroll. At that moment, he thought about Judaism and realized if he were to go back in time to a Shul 2,000 years before, he would see the exact same thing. Old men wearing talets, reading these exact words, in this exact order, at the same time of day on a Saturday morning! He thought to himself “This scroll, this Torah, is the reason Jews are still around today.” Stuart used this epiphany and became a baal teshuvah, completely turning his life around and connecting with his Jewish heritage.

10 years later, Stuart was sitting at the Shabbat table with his parents. A conversation was started about how Stuart was born with a rare blood condition, and how he was hospitalized as a baby. His father told him the story about how, at the time, his grandmother was approached by a young rabbi, Menachel Mendel Taub who survived the Holocaust and was now starting a shul in Cleveland. He needed some donations for a Sefer Torah. The Torah cost $3,500 at the time. His grandmother pledged to sponsor the entire Torah, a great feat in those days and she asked for one thing in return. She asked the rabbi to say a prayer for her ill grandson, Stuart on the first Shabbat with the Torah. Stuart eventually made a miraculous recovery after that.

Years later, the rav picked up the entire congregation of his shul, and made aliyah to Eretz Yisrael. That was the very same shul that Stuart and his friends walked into that morning and that was the very same Torah they were reading that Stuart witnessed that had saved Stuart’s life physically years before. Now that Torah had saved his life again, but this time spiritually! We must connect to the Torah, learn from it, and support it, because ultimately, Torah is what is supporting us!

In connection with the easing of restrictions of the Coronavirus these past few months a special letter was written this past Monday and published on Tuesday morning by Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky which called to Klal Yisrael to be mapkid about the use of cell phones in shuls and batei medrashot.

“To the honor of Rabbanim ha’gaonim and gabbaim of shuls in every location,” Harav Chaim wrote: “In our many sins it’s already been many weeks since we’ve been driven out of our shuls and batei medrashot…apparently this is a sign from Shamayim regarding the sin of being mezalzel the kedushat beit knesset by the fact that cell phones are on during davening and people are speaking on them. This is a great zilzul to tefilah and the kedushah of the bet knesset which our ancestors would never have imagined.”

“Therefore we must be metakein a set takana that it’s an issur chamur to enter shul to daven with a phone that’s not turned off and it must be turned off during the entire davening. The gabbaim should take responsibility to be careful about this and warn the mitpallelim as a ‘chok v’lo yaa’vor.’

“It’s also fitting that when we are zocheh b’mheira to return to our shuls that the Rabbanim should say words of chizuk and hitorrerut in the severity of the issur chamur of being mezalzel kedushat batei knessiot and batei medrashot.”

Harav Chaim ended the letter by writing: “And in the zechut of accepting these matters, Hashem should return us swiftly to His avodah in shuls and batei medrashot b’rov am and accept our tefillot b’ahavah and ratzon.”

Hagaon Rosh Yeshivah Harav Gerson Edelstein signed the letter and added: “Likewise one should be careful about speaking devarim betalim in the bet knesset as well”

United We Camp

A few words on the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, when B’nei Yisrael left Egypt and journeyed to the Sinai desert, it says: “vayahanu bamidbar, vayihan sham yisrael neged hahar — and they camped in the dessert, and he camped there opposite the mountain.” First the passuk writes that “they camped” in plural. But when it writes that B’nei Yisrael camped at Har Sinai, it switches to singular.

Rashi comments on the usage of the singular form: “k’ish ehad, b’lev ehad — Like one man, with one heart.” This is because at Har Sinai, B’nei Yisrael were like one person, with one heart. That unity gave us the merit to receive the Torah!

There is nothing greater in Hashem’s eyes than seeing B’nei Yisrael unified in harmony as one close nation, just as a father loves seeing his children close to one another, getting along and unified as one. Let’s all heed the words of Rav Chaim Kanievsky and all our Rabbi’s and act as one nation united by keeping our cell phones off in shul and not talking during tefilah and Sefer Torah so we don’t get thrown out of our shuls ever again! Amen!

May we all continue to be special in Hashem’s eyes as we celebrate the acceptance of the greatest gift any nation could ever receive, our holy Torah. May we also continue be as one nation, and always be concerned for the welfare of our fellow Jews, and make sacrifices for those close to us, as the passuk says: “ve’ahavta lere’aha kamoha — Love your friend as you love yourself!”

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Amram Sananes as written by Jack Rahmey

Discussion Points:

· What stories of hesed do you have from your own experience, or from others who you know?

· What have we learned from the last few months suffering from this plague that Hashem sent us and why do you think it was sent and how will it change us for the better moving into the future?

Le’ilui Nishmat...

Eliyahu Ben Rachel

Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher

Avraham Ben Garaz

Sarah Bat Chanah

Esther Bat Sarah

Avraham Ben Mazal

Shulamit Bat Helaina

Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana

Rahamim Ben Mazal

Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther

Rafael Ben Miriam

Ovadia Ben Esther

Rav Haim Ben Rivka

Moshe Ben Mazal

Moshe Ben Yael

Yitzchak Ben Adele

Avraham Ben Mazal

Meir Ben Latifa

Chanah Bat Esther

Yaakov Ben Rachel

Malka Bat Garaz

Moshe Ben Garaz

Avraham Ben Kami

Yaakov Ben Leah

Mordechai Ben Rachel

Chacham Shaul Rachamim Ben Mazal

Natan Ben Rachel

Saadia Ben Miriam

Eliyah Ben Latifa Simhon

Margalit Bat Mazal

Ovadia Haim Ben Malaky

Rabbi Aharon Chaim Ben Ruchama

Anyone interested in Dedicating this Divre Torah L'ilui Nishmat or Refuah Shelemah or In Honor of someone, can email me at jrahmey@rahmeyfinancial.com.

Checks can be made out to “Mikdash Melech” for $101 and mail to 1326 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11230 (please put in the memo “Divre Torah Food for Shabbat”)

Anyone interested in past parshiot please go to the website ParashaPerspective.org

Anyone interested in Dedicating this Divre Torah L'ilui Nishmat or Refuah Shelemah or

In Honor of someone, can email me at jrahmey@rahmeyfinancial.com.

Checks can be made out to “Mikdash Melech” for $101 and mail to 1326 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11230 (please put in the memo “Divre Torah Food for Shabbat”)

Anyone interested in past parshiot please go to the website ParashaPerspective.org