Friday, July 06, 2007

Parshas Pinchas 5767

To read last year's Dvar Torah, CLICK HERE.

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, עֲלֵה אֶל-הַר הָעֲבָרִים הַזֶּה; וּרְאֵה, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְרָאִיתָה אֹתָהּ, וְנֶאֱסַפְתָּ אֶל-עַמֶּיךָ גַּם-אָתָּה, כַּאֲשֶׁר נֶאֱסַף, אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ.

"Ad-noy said to Moshe: "Go up this Avarim Mountain and look at the land that I have given to Bnei Yisroel. You shall see it and you shall be gathered unto your people, you, too, as Aaron your brother was gathered in.” (Sefer Bamidbar, 27: 12-13)

Rashi (s.v. Ka’asher): From here we derive that Moshe yearned for a death such as Aharon's.

It is unclear what exactly it was about Aharon’s death that Moshe Rebbeinu wanted for himself. We know that both of them died with Hashem’s “kiss”, so what else could it have been that he wanted? Further, the words “gam atah/you too” in verse 13 appear superfluous; if the beginning of the verse tell us that he would be “gathered unto [his] people, why add, “you too”, again?

The Kesav Sofer answers these questions in light of that which his father, the Chasam Sofer, says about a verse in Malachim Aleph. There (2, 2-3), King David is talking to his son, Solomon, right before his death, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth (Anochi holeich baderech); be strong and become a man. Safeguard the charge of Hashem…” The Chasam Sofer questions why David started his instructions to his son with the, seemingly unrelated, fact that he’s “going the way of all the earth.” Seemingly, he should’ve started with, “be strong…”(?)

He answers that in life, one is considered a “holeich/one that is going”, because the purpose of life is to constantly ascend from one madreiga to another. However, once a person dies, he/she can obviously no longer attain higher spiritual heights, so that person is no longer considered a “holeich”. Chazal, however, teach us that this isn’t totally true; when one has a child like him/herself, the parent is still able to be considered a “holeich”, even posthumously. Since the parent had an integral part of raising the child and molding the child into the person that they now are, they continue to get some of the credit for the positive actions of the child. This is precisely why David started out his request to Solomon by pointing out that he is a “holeich”; he was, in a way, instructing him that he should continue to act righteously after his father dies, so David could continue to be considered a “holeich” well after he dies.

With this, the Kesav Sofer says, we can understand the aforementioned questions we have in our Parsha. Aharon had merited a son that was of a similar stature to himself – Eliezer. However, Moshe did not. This is what Rashi means to tell us when he says that Moshe wanted a death similar to Aharons; just as Aharon, through his righteous son, could continue to be a “holeich”, Moshe wanted a son through which he could continue to be considered a “holeich” after his death. To this, Hashem adds in the seemingly superfluous words of “Gam atah”, to console Moshe by telling him that “also [he]” would be like his brother Aharon in this regard. How would this be so….through his star pupil Yehoshua. Moshe was to mold and raise Yehoshua into a great leader in the same way that a parent raises a child.

The responsibility of raising children and molding them into good people is of utmost importance. Not only is this the case because we want them to succeed, but it is through their merits that we will continue to attain spiritual heights even after we move on. A parent should always be questioning whether or not the things and/or behaviors that they are exposing their children to are ones that are productive or, G-d forbid, destructive.

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