The greatness of the student. The greatness of the father
ואלה תולדת אהרן ומשה ביום דבר יקוק את-משה בהר סיני: ואלה שמות בני-אהרן וגו’
These are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe, on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai. These are the names of the children of Aharon…
The book of Bamidbar earns its English title of “Numbers” by beginning with several numbers. Namely, it details two different censuses that were taken before the Jews departed from Mount Sinai. The Torah introduces the census of the tribe of Levi by listing for us the offspring of Moshe and Aharon. The problem is, the Torah only lists the children of Aharon. What about the children of Moshe? This anomaly prompts our Sages to tell us that we learn from here that one who teaches his friend’s children Torah is looked at as if they had birthed them. Meaning, Moshe taught Aharon’s children Torah, and they are therefore, in a sense, considered Moshe’s children.
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ויתרצצו הבנים בקרבה ותאמר אם-כן למה זה אנכי ותלך לדרש את-יקוק
The children struggled within her, and she said: “If so, why am I thus?“ [So] she went to inquire of Hashem
Rivka, the wife of Yitzchak, became pregnant with twin boys. These twins would eventually become Yaakov and Eisav. The Torah tells us that Rivka was having a difficult pregnancy. The children were very agitated within her. The next few words are phrased very vaguely. Literally read, it says that she said: “If so, why am I thus?” Rashi explains that what she meant was if pregnancy is so difficult, why did she even pray to conceive? She had been unable to have children for ten years, and her and her husband prayed profusely for her to become pregnant. Now it seems she was having second thoughts.
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Beyond our assumptions
אלה בני בנימין למשפחותם ופקודיהם חמשה וארבעים אלף ושש מאות: אלה בני דן למשפחותם וגו’ ארבעה וששים אלף וארבע מאות
These are the children of Binyomin according to their families: their count came to 45,600. These are the children of Dan according to their families…64,400
Parshas Pinchas contains yet another census. No wonder this is called the book of Numbers. If we analyze the counts of the individual tribes, we’ll notice some interesting patterns and observations. Something noteworthy is the adjacent counts of the tribes of Binyomin and Dan. The total number for the tribe of Binyomin was forty-five thousand, whereas the total number for the tribe of Dan was sixty-four thousand. Why is this significant?
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שלש פעמים בשנה יראה כל זכורך אל פני האדון יקוק
All of your males shall appear, three times a year, before The Lord, Hashem
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. 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.
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Children of good deeds
אלה תולדות נח נח איש צדיק תמים היה בדרתיו את-האלקים התהלך-נח
These are the offspring of Noach – Noach was perfectly righteous in his generation; Noach walked with Hashem 
This week’s parsha begins by introducing Noach and his family. However, when the Torah starts to list Noach’s offspring, it immediately changes topic and sings his praises. The Torah tells us that Noach was perfectly righteous, and walked with G-d. Only afterwards are his children’s names mentioned. Why did the Torah introduce these praises by saying “These are the offspring of Noach”? Rashi explains that “the main offspring of the righteous are their good deeds”. Rashi didn’t fully explain himself. Why indeed are good deeds called “offspring”?
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הקהל את-העם ואנשים והנשים והטף וגרך אשר בשעריך למען ישמעו ולמען ילמדו ויראו את-יקוק אלקיכם ושמרו את-כל-דברי הורה הזאת: ובניהם אשר לא-ידעו ישמעו ולמדו ליראה את-יקוק אלקיכם כל-הימים אשר אתה חיים על-האדמה וגו’
Gather the nation, the men, the women, the taf, and the stranger in your gates. [This is] in order that you listen and in order that you learn and fear Hashem your G-d, and that you observe all the words of this Torah. And your children that don’t understand, they will hear and learn to fear Hashem your G-d, all the days that you are alive on the earth…
One of the last mitzvos described in the Torah is the mitzvah known as Hakhel. On the Sukkos following the Shemittah year, all Jews are commanded to come to the Temple and hear the King read from the book of Deuteronomy. The Torah says that this is so the people will learn to fear Hashem, and follow His commandments. The Torah stresses that all Jews are meant to be there, men, women, and children. The second verse clearly mentions children, and says they’re of an age where they don’t understand. The first verse, after mentioning men and women, says the “taf” are also meant to come. Who is this referring to?
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In the merit of the children
ויקרא אל-משה וידבר יקוק אליו מאהל מועד לאמר
[Hashem] called to out to Moshe; Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying
The first verse in the book of Leviticus tells us that Hashem called out to Moshe from the Tent of meeting. He was going to teach him the laws of the Temple offerings. Hashem’s voice emanated from between the Keruvim, the Angel-like statues on top of the Aron HaKodesh, the Holy Ark. Only Moshe could hear the voice of Hashem, and only until the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The verse which introduces this idea is written unusually: the א of ויקרא is written small, making it look like the word ויקר. This implies Hashem happened upon Moshe; it indicates a lack of intent. There are many suggestions given as to why the Torah wrote this word this way. The following is a unique approach.
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