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PARASHAT MASEI

Yehoshua Lhungdim




These are the journeys of the Children of Israel who left the land of Egypt in their legions under the charge of Moshe and Aharon. Moshe recorded their starting points for their journeys according to the word of the Lord, And these were their journeys with their starting points. [Bemidbar 33:1-2]

Why were these journeys recorded? To inform us of the kind deeds of Hakadosh Barukh Hu ,for although He issued a decree to move them around from place to place and make them wander in the Desert, you should not say that they were moving about and wandering from station to station for forty years without rest. Because there are only forty two journeys. In which 14 of the journeys should be deducted because they all took place in the first year before the decree i.e. from Ramsees until they arrived at Rithmah where the spies were sent. And in Addition to that we should substract 8 more journeys which took place after the death of Aharon haKohen from Mount Hor to the plains of Moav during the fortieth year.We see that There are 20 journeys during the 38 years.

Ramban in his commentary to this verse citing the book More Nevuchim says that In order for Us to see the great miracles that God in His love for us did to our forefathers in all their journeys, There is a need for the Torah to lists all their journeys. It will be hard for the coming generations who only hear but does not see, to believe that Our forefathers were provided everything by God and lived miraculously and basically lived in the desert where Water, meat and trees are not found for forty years so God specifically ordained that It be written.

The Parasha starts with These are the journeys which in Hebrew is Eleh Masei and not Ve'Eleh Masei which is 'And These are the Journeys. Rabbi Abahu says that Wherever it says 'These' in the  Torah 'It means to separate or invalidate from what has been stated previously and Wherever it says 'And these' in the Torah It means to add from what has been stated previously. According to Ohr HaKhayim Hakadosh The word 'These are' comes to invalidate the journeys from after Ritmah which Rashi comments that Rithmah is the place in which the Nation sent Spies in Eretz Israel. As we look into Rashi we will see that There were 20 jouneys after the sin of the Spies until the death of Aharon Hakohen. And these 20 journeys until the death of Aharon Hakohen are journeys that are invalidated because These journeys were decreed because of the Sin of the Spies and not for their benefits.

Ohr Hakhayim stating the Zohar continues to explain that Wherever Israel went they released all isolated sparks that were captivated in that specific Place. The Baal Shem Tov once says that All place that needed a repair, Hakadosh Barukh Hu sends in that Specific place A Yehudi to Repair either by force or willingly. The Midrash states that when Adam HaRishon sinned Many sparks were captivated by the Evil forces and were exiled in many places. And Egypt was the Place where Most of the Sparks were Exiled. So Hakadosh Barukh Hu sent down Our father Yaakov and his families.

In his Book Maor Vashemesh Rabbi Kalonymus Epstein also ask the Question Why The Torah writes These are the journeys of the Children of Israel Who left the land of Egypt in their legions? We all know that Am Yisrael went out from Egypt and there is no need for the Torah to tell us this! And More so we also know that When they left Egypt they went out without any order arranged! Then why does our Parasha wrote it like this? When Hakadosh Barukh Hu wanted to create the world It was revealed before Him that He will received great Pleasure from Peoples who do His will And There is no one other than Israel who do the Will of God in this Lowly and material world even when it is so hard for Israel as they are subjugated in exile and constantly in war with the Yetzer Hara.So God receive much pleasure when Israel do His Will more than the Angels who constantly do His will as they are without the evil inclination because Constant pleasure is not so much pleasure. When One gets up and does not give up to do the Will of God even after one has accidentaly or sometimes succumbed to the Evil inclination God gets much pleasure in this. Even when One does the Will of God without True fear God gets much pleasure in it. One can also reach the levels of Angels or be above the level of Angels. There are one or two tzaddikim who seeks the level of fear of the Angels or even above them. Every measure in which Man serves God, God receive much pleasure. But It is very hard to reach that level. One can reach those levels by clinging to the Angels Above. When God brings Am Israel out of Egypt He did for them many miracles. And When Am Israel sees all that God did for them, they wanted to cling to God and do His will so much. And their Love and Fear of God is awakened so much that they want to reach the levels of The Angels or Above them. But As long as Man is in this world It is very hard for him to attain it. And the more one strive to attain more and more, God is very happy and gets much pleasure in it as we mentioned above. So sometimes it is written in their legions and Sometimes above their legions.

These are the journeys of the children of Israel who left the land of Egypt in their legions: To attain the levels of the Angels or above them one must first free himself or goes out from his materialistic as is hinted by leaving the land of Egypt which means leaving the impure and unclean. How can one leave it? By seeing and striving to cling to God like the Angels Above. Or By clinging or nearing the Tzaddikim and learning from them how to serve God as is hinted by the continuation of the verse Under the charge or By the hands of Moshe and Aharon.

Malbim also ask the question why it is stated The journey of the children of Israel who went out from the land of Egypt? And not The journey of the Children of Israel who journeys to Eretz Israel? It goes to teach us that The purpose of the journey is not only for us to reach Eretz Israel but also for us to move and keep farther and farther away from Tumah i.e impurity which is the symbol for Egypt, A land full of impurities.

And Imrei Yosef and Likkutey Eliyahu writes that Eleh which in Hebrew is אלה is the abbreviation of 'A'vak 'L'ashon 'H'ara.[א'בק 'ל'שון 'ה'רע'] which is the cause of Many Of our Exiles from generations to generations. The Imrei Yosef continues by saying that the starting letters in 'E'leh 'M'asei 'B'nei 'Y'israel is also the acronym for the four exiles.i.e.1.'E'dom(Rome) 2.'M'adai(Media/Persia) 'B'avel(Babylon) and 'Y'avan(Greece).

Let us merit to see the greatness of God and attain the level far above the Angels and May we, with the help of God succeed in protecting ourselves from Lashon Hara and from removing ourselves and from Impurity. Shabbath Shalom.

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