Vol 33.19 - Chukat 2 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Chumash|
The reason that Rashi differs from the wording of the Midrash that: "the 'head' of the generation is equal to the entire generation".
1. On the verse (Num. 21:21):
“Yisroel sent messengers to Sichon the king of the Amorites”
Rashi cites the in the heading, the words, “Yisroel sent messengers”
“But in another place, the communication (regarding the sending of messengers) is attributed to Moshe, as it is said, "I sent emissaries from the desert of Kedemoth (Deut. 2:26)."Similarly, "Moshe sent emissaries from Kadesh to the king of Edom…” (above. 20: 14), but concerning Yiftach it says, “Yisroel sent messengers to the king of Edom…” (Jud. 11:17).
These verses are necessary for each other, one closes, while the other opens. Moshe is Yisroel, Yisroel are Moshe, to teach you that the leader of the generation is like the entire generation. The leader is everything”.
הכתובים הללו צריכים זה לזה. זה נועל וזה פותח. שמשה הוא ישראל וישראל הם משה. לומר לך שנשיא הדור הוא ככל הדור - כי הנשיא הוא הכל
Even though, according to the broader context, Rashi’s intent is to correlate the contradiction between the verses,
(Whether the mission to Sichon or to king of Edom was attributed to Moshe or to Yisroel)
Nevertheless, it has already been explained many times, at length, that it is not Rashi’s style to resolve and to correlate contradictions and misunderstandings of the verses, until the later point, where the contradiction arises, and so forth.
According to this, one must say that Rashi's intention here is to explain the difficulty that arises in our verse. However, for this purpose he must explain all the verses that he cites and resolves, in passing.
One could say, that the difficulty in the verse here is the difference between this verse regarding the mission to Sichon (in which it says, "And Yisroel sent messengers") to what is written before this (which is cited here in Rashi) regarding the mission to the king of king of Edom, as it states, “Moshe sent messengers”.
In order to explain this difference, Rashi explains, "but in another place". For through this (even) this difference is resolved.
2. However, one must seemingly understand the details of Rashi’s wording,
“These verses are necessary for each other, one closes, while the other opens. Moshe is Yisroel, Yisroel are Moshe, to teach you that the leader of the generation is like the entire generation. The leader is everything”:
(Even though the source for Rashi’s wording is from the Midrash, nevertheless:
1) It has already been explained, many times, that Rashi’s aspect is to explain the simple meaning of the verse, and not to cite and to interpret the wording of the Midrash. Moreover, in a place where he indeed cites the words of the Sages in the Midrash etc., he does so because this wording relates to the understanding of the simple meaning of the verses. This also applies to when he writes explicitly, "our rabbis expounded" and so forth. Thus, it is simple that this also applies when he explains the verse without writing that the source of the explanation is from the words of the Sages.
2) Primarily: the Midrash begins the homily with,
"All the words of Torah are necessary for each other, for what (verse) one holds back, the other reveals"
In other words, the point of the Midrash is a general explanation in the manner of, "all the words of the Torah".
However in Rashi, whose intent is just to explain the details of these verses – what difference does the preface make that the verses are, "necessary for each other"?)
"Moshe is Yisroel and Yisroel are Moshe”
So too he should have seemingly specified so, in the conclusion of his comment, and not just write that,
“The leader of the generation is like the entire generation”
but also add that,
“The entire generation is like the leader”, and so forth?
"The leader is everything"?
And what is being added with this to what he previously said, that
“The leader of the generation is like the entire generation”?
Moreover, this is seemingly a complete contradiction:
3. To understand this, one must first clarify Rashi’s precise wording:
"In another place, the sending (of messengers) is ascribed to Moshe, as it says, ‘So I sent etc.’”.
Seemingly, Rashi should have concisely stated,
"In another place, it says, ‘So I sent etc.’” and so forth?
One could say, that this wording emphasizes the difficulty in this verse, according to the simple meaning of the verse, which Rashi comes to resolve in his commentary.
The explanation of this is:
The reason that our verse states, (in the mission to Sichon),
"And Yisroel sent messengers."
Whereas In the previous verse (in a mission to the king of Edom) it states:
"And Moshe sent messengers."
is not to be interpreted that the intent of this is that Moshe was the sender in the mission to the king to Edom, whereas in the mission to Sichon, the sender was Yisroel.
For it is simple that the sending of the messengers to the king of Edom was at the direction of the Jewish people, as the entire passages follows:
"So says your brother, Yisroel. . Our fathers went down to Egypt . .We cried out to the L-rd and He heard our voice”.
The entire context of these verses relates to the Jewish people. And although it states,
“And Moshe sent"
it is plainly understood that all the actions of the Jewish people were done and facilitated through Moshe, and he is the one who sent the actual messengers.
On the other hand - even when it says, “And Yisroel sent " is simple that the actual sending was though Moshe. The reason that it states, “Yisroel sent” is because the mission was on behalf of the entire Jewish people. Yet it was carried out, in actuality, through Moshe - like all things relating to Klal Yisroel that were facilitated through Moshe.
According to this, the mission to Sichon and the mission to the king of Edom have no difference. It is only a change in the wording of the verses.
This is why Rashi precisely says –
"And in another place the mission is attributed etc."
Rashi’s intent with this, is that the question of the change of the wording of the verses here, is not about what actually happened (whether Moshe sent the messengers or Yisroel). Rather whom Scripture ascribes the mission to.
In other words, what is the reason for the change of the wording of the verse- that regarding king of Edom, the mission is ascribes to Moshe, whereas here the mission is ascribed to Yisroel.
And especially since seemingly it should logically be the opposite.
If regarding the mission to the king of king of Edom, which is emphasized in the verses that the sender is Yisroel, (as it states, "So says your brother Yisroel"), it states, "and Moshe sent", how much more so should it have stated so regarding the mission to Sichon (which does not have this emphasis).
4. There is seemingly a place to say that the attributes of the mission to Moshe or to Yisroel is not just a side issue (ענין צדדי) (in the wording of the verse), but rather it explains who is the initiator of the mission.
(since the mission comes at his initiative, the mission is ascribed to him).
This is the reason for the difference.
For the mission to the King of Edom is different from the mission to King Sichon:
Regarding Edom the mission was according to G-d‘s command. Therefore, Scripture attributes the mission to Moshe, who is the servant and the messenger of G-d, who hears G-d’s directives of and fulfills them in actuality
(so much so that Scripture does not need to write that G-d commanded him to do so, for it is self-understood that this is so. This is as we find in many places that it does not state in the Torah, the actual command from G-d to Moshe).
Whereas regarding Sichon, Rashi explicitly states that G-d did not command him to open peace to him. Therefore, there is a place to say that for this reason it states, "Yisroel sent" to teach us that it was Yisroel who demanded this mission, and Moshe consented to them. Therefore, it states, "Yisroel sent".
In order to negate this interpretation, Rashi begins his comment:
"In another place, the mission is attributed to Moshe, as it says, ‘So I sent messengers from the desert of Kedemoth’”.
In other words, that it expressly states that (even) this mission – is Moshe‘s, and one should not ascribe and attribute it (solely) to Yisroel.
Afterward Rashi continues:
“Similarly, ‘Moshe sent messengers to the king of Edom etc.’, but concerning Yiftach it says, ‘Yisroel sent messengers to the king of Edom etc.’”
In other words, even in the mission to the king of Edom, the intent of the verse is not to attribute this mission just to Moshe (and not to Bnei Yisroel).
For it expressly states, "Yisroel sent".
This is why Rashi continues:
“These verses are necessary for each other, one closes, while the other opens. Moshe is Yisroel, Yisroel are Moshe”.
If regarding the mission to king of Edom, it would have just written, “Moshe sent”, this would have been “closed”.
In other words this would have “closed” (cancelled the interpretation) and negated that the mission to king of Edom was (also) at the direction of Bnei Yisroel, and that is was just that Moshe facilitated this, in the role of a messenger of G-d. Moreover, that the mission should not be attributed to Yisroel (even though the essence of the mission is for them);
The same is on the other hand: if in the mission to Sichon, it would have just written, "Yisroel sent", this would have “locked" and cancelled the explanation of Moshe’s mission in this. For the mission to Sichon would have only been attributed to Yisroel and not to Moshe.
Therefore, the second verse comes and “opens” and reveals that, "Moshe is Yisroel and Yisroel are Moshe". Namely, that,
5. However, this requires explanation:
How is it possible to say that, “Moshe is Yisroel, and Yisroel are Moshe “
Therefore, Rashi explains,
“To teach you that the leader of the generation is like the entire generation, because the leader is everything”.
For one could say that the two aspects in Rashi,
correspond to the two previous aspects,
“Moshe is Yisroel, and Yisroel are Moshe“:
The reason that “Moshe is Yisroel” is because “the leader of the generation is like the entire generation”.
In other words – the explanation of the matter is not, that when it is speaking of Moshe’s involvement in an aspect that relates to the needs of Klal Yisroel, that he is not an individual (איש פרטי) in this (note: his person is not considered). He does this on behalf of the whole of Yisroel and therefore it is possible to write “Moshe” (who actually does it) or “Yisroel” (on whose behalf it is done).
This is not so. Rather the essence of Moshe’s being, as being the “leader of the generation/Nasi HaDor” is “like the entire generation”. In other words, the essence of the being leader of the generation is that of a communal (person) (איש) צבורי בעצם מהותו)). Therefore, what he does is the doing of Yisroel.
This also applies to the other side:
The reason that “Yisroel are Moshe” is because “the leader is everything”:
Here Rashi does not write “the entire generation” (כל הדור). For his intent here is not that the essence of the generation is – all the people of the generation. Rather that “all” – all the needs of the whole nation – are (the Nasi’s needs and come through) the leader. For everything that pertains to Bnei Yisroel comes from (the power of) the Nasi.
(Like we find regarding Bnei Yisroel in the desert, that all their physical needs
(eating (the manna and the meat), drinking)
were received through Moshe. Also the entire Torah was transmitted to them (and many commands, and so forth) through Moshe).
Therefore, since all the aspects and needs of Bnei Yisroel come from Moshe (the Nasi). Therefore, we find that “Yisroel are Moshe”.
This is why, “These verses” attribute the mission once to Moshe and once to Yisroel, “to say to you” that the mission, that seemingly should be ascribed and attributed solely to Moshe (since he is G-d’s messenger), relates to all Yisroel.
So too on the other side, that the mission that is seemingly at the initiation of Yisroel, it attributed by Scripture to Moshe – since “the leader of the generation is like the entire generation . . the leader is everything”.
6. Among the "wondrous things" in Rashi's commentary:
In the Midrash (Rashi's source) the wording is,
"The head of the generation is the entire generation". (שראש הדור הוא כל הדור)
Yet Rashi changes and writes,
“The leader of the generation is like the entire generation". (נשיא הדור הוא ככל הדור)
One could say that this fits with Rashi’s aforementioned innovation:
The wording of the Midrash, "the head of the generation is the entire generation" can be interpreted to mean that since he is the head who conducts the entire generation, and through the one and unified conducting of the head – all the people of the generation become one entity, the entity of the head. Therefore, "the head of the generation is the entire generation”.
(To note: From the Responsa of the Rashba regarding a king, that "the king is like the community (המלך כצבור) and all Yisroel are dependent upon him”)
According to this, we find that the statement, “the head of the generation is the entire generation“, applies (solely) to his affairs involving the public. In other words, in the matters that he does on behalf of all Yisroel and so forth. For through this all Yisroel are united as one entity.
Whereas regarding Rashi's words,
"The Nasi of the generation is like the entire generation because the Nasi is everything"
one could say that with this, it emphasizes that the "Nasi" of the generation, even as he is exalted and elevated (within himself), is like the entire generation.
The innovation of the matter is in two extremes:
7. Parshat Chukat occurs in many years between Gimmel Tammuz
(the day that “freedom was given to him”, the beginning of the Geulah)
and Yud-Beis, Yud-Gimmel Tammuz - the day of the redemption of the Rebbe Rayatz, the Nasi of the generation, from his imprisonment, where he was incarcerated for spreading Torah and strengthening Judaism.
One can find an allusion to his Avodah and the manner of his leadership in the aforementioned Rashi, for it was visibly seen in the Rebbe, and especially in his aforementioned Avodah, that "the Nasi of the generation is like the entire . . The Nasi is everything":
"The great Avodah"(העבודה הגדולה) that the Rebbe Rayatz toiled at in “spreading Torah and strengthening Judaism”, in that country (which naturally - led to his imprisonment) - and in every place that he resided after leaving that country - was not confined to a certain area of Judaism.
Rather he endeavored in all areas:
Whether it was in everything that was related to the strengthening of Judaism:
Sending rabbis and ritual slaughterers to places where they were needed, the construction of Mikvahs, the founding of yeshivas and classes (Chadorim) for educating school children,
Until the spreading Torah for all Yisroel. And even spreading the most sublime secrets of the Torah (רזי דרזין דאורייתא).
Also literally saving souls (הצלת נפשות), by redeeming prisoners, and providing help and material assistance to the poor and all those who required it.
(As is known regarding the events of those days. Moreover, what is publicized – is only a tiny bit, for obvious reasons).
In all these works, which varied from one extreme to the other, his involvement was with total devotion, until actual Mesirat Nefesh.
One visibly saw in him the aspect that "the Nasi of the generation is like the entire generation" - and therefore - "the Nasi is everything", that all the physical and spiritual needs of Bnei Yisroel come and are drawn down from him.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Chukat 5741
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