Mishpatim 5782


Eye trouble[1]

שלש פעמים בשנה יראה כל זכורך אל פני האדון יקוק
All of your males shall appear, three times a year, before The Lord, Hashem[2]

In conjunction with the three major Festivals, Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos, there is a mitzvah to “appear” in the Temple, before G-d. That is, all males should make the effort to personally bring a special offering in the Temple, in honor of the Festival. The gemarra makes an in interesting derivation[3]. The Torah uses the word יראה, which could be read “shall be seen”, and also read “shall see”. As such, we derive that just like we “shall be seen” so-to-speak by Hashem with “two eyes”, so too we “shall see” with two eyes. Namely, someone who is blind in one eye is exempt from this mitzvah, for whatever reason[4].

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Korach 5781


Eyes to see[1]

ויקח קרח וגו’ ודתן ואבירם וגו’ ואון וגו’ ויקמו לפני משה ואנשים מבני-ישראל חמשים ומאתים וגו’‏
Korach took [his tallis][2] …and Dasan and Aviram…and Ohn…they and two-hundred and fifty men from the Jewish people confronted Moshe…[3]

This week’s parsha details the rebellion of Korach. He challenged the leadership of Moshe and Aharon, convincing a group of the greatest sages of Israel to join his cause. Rashi asks[4], how could Korach ever conceive that his rebellion would be successful? Moshe clearly was a miracle performer. He produced the Ten Plagues, and split the sea. He obviously had a relationship with Hashem. Rashi says[5] that Korach’s eye misled him. He saw a prophecy that his future descendant would be the prophet Shmuel, who Chazal say was of equal prominence to Moshe and Aharon[6]. Korach figured there is no way he would merit this great descendant unless he took action[7]. He would have to usurp Moshe and Aharon and become the leader. In the end his rebellion proved unsuccessful, removing all doubt to Moshe’s authority. The commentaries[8] are bothered with Rashi’s[9] phraseology. Why did Rashi say that Korach’s eye misled him, instead of a more normal expression Korach’s eyes misled him?

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Ki Sisa 5780


Invader assurances[1]

שלש פעמים בשנה יראה כל-זכורך את-פני האדן יקוק וגו’ ולא-יחמד איש את-ארצך בעלתך לראות וגו’‏
Three times a year, all of your men shall be seen by the countenance of the L-rd, Hashem…no man will covet your land when you go up to be seen[2]

One of the mitzvos of the Torah is known as aliya leregel[3]. Three times a year, there’s a mitzvah for all men to make a pilgrimage to the Temple. These three times occur on Passover, Shavuos, and Sukkos. By appearing in the Temple, the Jewish men are so-to-speak being “seen” by G-d. One could be nervous keeping such a mitzvah. If all the men converge towards Jerusalem, who will guard the borders? Who will protect their homes from invasion? To curb these concerns, the Torah promises us that at the times of the pilgrimage, no one will covet our land. There will be no need to fear foreign invasions.

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