Parshat Yitr

(Numbers 18:1-20:23)

(Haftara: Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5,6)

  1. [18:1] According to Rashi, the Torah is not written in chronological order. According to the Ramban (R. Moshe ben Nachman 1194-1270, Spain), the Torah is written in the order in which it happened. So Rashi thinks that Yitro and the total reorganization of the Israelites occurred after the revelation at Mount Sinai, and according to the Ramban it happened before. How is the story of the revelation at Sinai different according to each of these opinions?
  2. [19:21] “…so they shouldn’t break through to God to see, and many of them will fall”. The Sforno (Ovadiah Sforno, 14751550—Italy) says that the Israelites will rise to Moshe’s level during the revelation–meeting God face to face—and they should not think that they can also go up onto Mount Sinai. If they are at Moshe’s spiritual level, why can’t they go up onto the mountain?
  3. [20:2] “…who brought you out of the land of Egypt”. Why doesn’t God present himself as He “who created the world”?
  4. [Midrash Rabba, Bamidbar 1:7] The midrash says that “anyone who does not make himself ownerless (hefker) like the wilderness cannot acquire wisdom and Torah”. What does that mean?
  5. [Haftara, Isaiah 6:11] “…until cities be waste without inhabitant…” According to our tradition and our sources, there will be a difficult time before the final redemption. Why must there be this difficult time?

Commentary

[19:2] “And Israel camped before the mountain”. [Rashi] “Like one man with one heart…”

Unity among people is possible only when there is humility. If some of the people consider themselves superior to others, then there cannot be real unity.  When the Israelites looked at Mount Sinai and saw that it was lower than the other mountains, they acquired humility.

 –R.  Chaim Yosef David Azulai (Chida), (1724-1806), Jerusalem .

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—

Eli Zucker

And  to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

 

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