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Parashat Beha’aloteha

Dedicated Leilui Nishmat Eliyahu Ben Juna, Elliot Brown A’h

Parashat Beha’aloteha

This week’s parasha 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.”

Lighting the Menorah

Rashi explains that the three wicks on the menorah’s 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 inward, thereby giving off less light. Rashi, following Midrash Tanchuma (Beha’aloteha 5), explains that this was so the people would not say that Hashem, Who is the source of all light, needed the menorah’s 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 who engage in more worldly pursuits. 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. For example, we can work on our businesses to support our families and give tzedaka as commanded by Hashem or we can eat healthy and work out in the gym so that we can keep our bodies strong to serve Hashem properly. Either way we must direct all our efforts towards Hashem.

Aharon’s Consolation

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 greater than the role given to any of the other tribes.

Rambam explains that the lighting of the menorah was a consolation because the menorah in this parasha alludes to the later Menorah of the miracle of Hanukah. At that later time, when the Greeks threatened the Torah’s existence, only the Hasmonean family, who were kohanim and descendants of Aharon, succeeded in driving out the enemy. They purified the Bet Hamikdash by lighting the menorah, ultimately saving the Jewish nation.

Miriam’s Lashon Harah

Later in the parasha, Miriam was punished with tzara’at for speaking lashon harah about Moshe to her brother Aharon. Before we discuss this incident, we must understand that Miriam was very devoted to her brother Moshe. First, according to the midrash Miriam was responsible for Moshe being born. When their father Amram decided to separate from their mother because of Pharaoh’s decree to drown all the baby boys, Miriam told her father that he was worse than Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s decree was only against the boys, while Amram, by separating from his wife, was preventing 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.

In this parasha, Moshe appointed seventy elders according to Hashem’s instructions. This way the elders would be able to alleviate Moshe’s burden of leading the people and dealing with their many concerns and 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 (prophecy)!”

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. So we see that Miriam didn’t has ve’shalom just gossip about Moshe for no reason — she suspected that he might have an issue in his personal life, so she wanted to discuss it with Aharon. Not only was Aharon their brother, he was also the kohen gadol and a very affective marriage counselor!

Miriam said to Aharon: “Has Hashem spoken only to Moshe? Hasn’t He spoken to us too?” In other words, Miriam said, “Why is Moshe separating from his wife? We are also prophets, and we haven’t separated from our spouses. We know that just because you’re a prophet, you don’t have to separate from your spouse! So why is he doing this?”

The answer is that Moshe was different than any other prophets. He was the only one who spoke to Hashem “panim el panim(face to face).” It’s true that all the other prophets did not need to separate from their spouses but Moshe was a special prophet!

The Power of Shemirat Halashon

Several weeks ago a couple in Bnei Brak was blessed with a new baby born girl. After the baby was delivered, she would not stop crying and also would not nurse from her mother or take any bottles. The nonstop crying and not eating would not stop and it reached the attention of the head nurse, who looked into the babies mouth and discovered that the babies lip and tongue were attached together. This was a very severe case which was considered a level 3, being the worst that it could be. Having no choice the hospital setup an intravenous to it can give the baby life needed nutrients.

Right away, the parents said between themselves, that no difficult or tragic occurrence happens from Hashem unless there were sins that were transgressed. They said that since this defect happened in the mouth, it must be that they needed strengthening in the area of Shemirat Halashon and needed to be more careful and refrain from speaking Lashon Hara. They took upon themselves to learn two Halachot a day of Shemirat Halashon and to make sure not to speak or hear Lashon Hara and this should be a Zechut for the Refuah Shelamah of their newborn baby daughter.

The parents then researched who was the best surgeon to perform this complicated procedure for their daughter. They found the top surgeon in this field and had an appointment set to see the doctor. The parents brought their daughter to the surgeon for the appointment, which was a week after they took upon themselves to refrain from speaking Lashon Hara. Immediately the surgeon looked into the babies’ mouth. The surgeon kept looking and looking without saying a word, which got the parents very worried and nervous. Finally the surgeon began to speak and said, “I really don’t know why you are here, there is absolutely nothing wrong in your daughters mouth. Her tongue and lips are perfect, exactly the normal way they should be.”

Moshe’s Humility

The text continues: “And Hashem heard [Miriam’s words]. Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any other person on the face of the earth.” The question is asked: Why is 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.

The Torah’s characterization of Moshe as being humble sheds light on the nature of true humility. It is commonly assumed that humble people are afraid to speak up or to assert their authority. This surely does not apply to the humblest man on the face of the earth: Moshe did not hesitate to confront Pharaoh or to rebuke the entire nation of Israel. His humility did not deter him from doing what was proper, even if it was unpopular or dangerous. Rather, humility refers to someone’s personal assessment of himself. He may feel humble that he has not achieved his potential, or if he has, his greater innate ability puts greater responsibility on him, and no one has a right to feel haughty merely for doing what one is obligated to do.

We learned from Moshe how humility is a most outstanding trait that we should all aspire to attain.

An Amazing Story of Hesed

We keep seeing how much beautiful hessed and tzedaka is being done during this difficult time of Covid. There was a woman in Lakewood who unfortunately lost her husband back in September. Pesach was approaching, and she was looking forward to hosting her children and grandchildren for the Sedarim and meals. When Coronavirus struck, she was devastated. This almanah would be alone for the entire holiday.

The woman has a next door neighbor whose window is directly across from hers. The neighbor called her up and said, “I don’t want you to be alone during the holiday. I’m going to push my dining room table up against the window, and you will also sit by yours, and we’ll do the Seders together.” She gladly accepted.

After Pesach ended, the woman’s son called her and asked how her holiday was. She said, “It was really great actually!” The son was surprised and asked why. She answered, “My neighbors sat by their window so I could participate in their Seder. You wouldn’t believe it. They read all the parts of the Haggadah and all of the songs in your father’s tunes. The same way Dad always used to conduct our Seder was the way the neighbors also did! It made me feel so good and not like a lonely widow. It was the best possible Seder under the circumstances!”

Little did she know, before Pesach, the neighbor had called the son. He said, “I want to make your mother feel special. I want to have her do the Seders with us by the window and for her to be as comfortable as possible. Can you please teach me the exact tunes for how your father used to read the Haggadah?” After he learned, he sat down with his wife and children, and they practiced over and over. They wanted to sing exactly how this almanah was accustomed in order to make her feel comfortable and less alone!

Something so simple yet so thoughtful could go a really long way. These ordinary people did an extraordinary thing to make an almanah feel so special. Hessed like this is what will bring Mashiah swiftly in our days!! Amen!

May we all appreciate the blessings we get from the kohanim. May we also learn the importance of not speaking lashon harah even when it’s seemingly innocent. May we all learn from the amazing story that family did for the Almamah for her Pesach Sedar that she was forced to spend without her family. Lastly, may we remember to use the tools gifted to us as a means to always serve Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Amram Sananes as written by Jack Rahmey

Discussion Points:

· How good are we with keeping our speech in check and not talking negatively about other people?

· What ideas of hesed can we come up with to help another Jew in need?

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