Tuesday, August 02, 2011

two nice meshech chochma's on parshas masei

Two nice Meshech Chochma's on last week's parsha:

1. Why is it that the arei miklat were not koleit until after kibush v'chiluk, until after the conquest and apportionment of Eretz Yisrael? The only way a murderer was allowed out of an ir miklat was if the kohen gadol died. A person who killed b'shogeg lived every day with the hope that today might be the day of the K"G's passing. The Mishna tells us that the mother's of the kohanim used to bring treats to distribute in the cities so that those in galus would not daven for their son's demise. Since Hashem had said that the division of Eretz Yisrael would be done by Yehoshua and Elazar, it meant that Elazar would live at least another fourteen years -- anyone sent to an ir miklat before that had no chance of getting out. A person can't live without hope! It's not enough to know that a few years or months down the road things may be better -- a person needs to feel there is some chance of things getting better today.

2. The pasuk refers to the shogeg not leaving ir miklat until the passing of the kohen gadol "asher mashach oso," who was annointed by the murderer. It sounds like the murderer b'shogeg was the one who annointed the Kohen, which makes no sense. The gemara therefore interprets the pasuk to mean, "asher nimshach," the kohen who was annointed (passive voice instead of active). So why, asks the Meshech Chochma, does the Torah phrase things in such a misleading way? He explains that Hashem dictates b'hashgacha pratis precisely how long each shogeg must stay in the ir miklat. One person may deserve to stay there 10 years; another person might only deserve to be there 10 days. Who would be appointed kohen gadol and how long that kohen gadol would live was directly dependent (hence the active voice) on the sentence deserved by the murderer. This is a powerful lesson in hashgacha pratis is. We are talking about the kohen gadol who served all of Klal Yisrael in an enormously important capacity, yet who gets that job might depend on the needs of a single person in ir miklat.


  1. great unknown7:56 PM

    re 1:
    Which is better: being confined, in safety, to an ir miklat for at least 14 years, or having to live as a fugitive, always terrified that an enraged go'el hadam was about to strike?
    This question deals with the reality of a go'el hadam, and not with the halacha if there was a mitzva/permission for the go'el hadam to kill the rotzeach b'shogeg before the orei miklat were active.

  2. Anonymous4:25 PM

    what had adam/chava inadvertently
    eaten forbidden fruit, inadvertently "killed" themselves
    (would he pursue her, for having
    killed his intimate {herself}, &
    she pursue him, for the same??)?!
    such a scenario, where the yetzer
    for intentional eating cannot be
    blamed, can alter one's very tentative understanding of gan eiden, enough to ask: was Hashem Himself the least
    "guilty" of "lifnei iver", having planted the deadly tree (& installed a nachash besides)? was Hashem too hiding from adam in the garden after the "cheit"? could this be a reason Hashem has been nistar (for the most part) ever since, as He awaits mankind's

    **why, in this view, did Hashem
    first appear to Avra(ha)m?
    because he was an especially kind & wise & honorable man, willing on his own to forgive Him for the
    "set-up" , for the quasi-entrapment of man with the aitz ha'daas/nachash duo; & why appear to the Hebrews? because they're a people who forgive...

  3. chaim b.7:02 PM

    >>>Which is better: being confined, in safety, to an ir miklat for at least 14 years, or having to live as a fugitive

    Why do criminals prefer freedom when they must live in constant fear of being discovered by the police instead of just surrendering and enjoying a nice comfortable cell, three meals a day, an exercise program, etc. (OK, some of them have the added incentive of enjoying the fruits of their crimes, so my example is pretty bad.)

  4. Anonymous6:15 AM

    what did mothers of kohanim bring
    for the very victims themselves ("remember us"), whose bloods did abely cry from faithful earth?
    'treats' for the killers b'shogeg would only aggravate those cries ("remember us!"), would expose high priests the more to what Watchful Justice else... ("remember us...")