Tuesday, July 17, 2012

a rising tide lifts all boats

1. Ralbag and Abarbanel offer an alternate explanation to that of Rashi (that we discussed Friday) as to why the parshiyos of korbanos musafim are juxtaposed with Moshe's impending death and his request to appoint a new leader. Moshe made nevuah look easy, so to speak. Not only was he personally always prepared to receive nevuah, but like a great sports player, he elevated the game of those around him. Once Moshe passed on, Klal Yisrael needed a replacement for his presence to aid them in attaining prophecy. Korbanos served as that aid.  

On Friday I wrote that the single word that sums up the the lesson of korbanos is sacrifice. My wife said the single word should be kurvah - closeness to Hashem. Her suggestion fits nicely with this approach of Ralbag/Abarbanel.

I would like to borrow this idea of korbanos serving as a substitute for Moshe and formulate it a little differently. Sometimes when a great leader passes on there is a transference of veneration from the leader's personality to an object associated with him or a place associated with him. For example, the followers of R' Nachman have attached themselves to a place, Uman, since their Rebbe is no more.    The Torah in Parshas Pinchas is setting up a transference of this sort. Klal Yisrael's 's attention is being shifted from Moshe. the person. to Mikdash. the place. While Moshe was alive the address to turn to for all spiritual needs was Moshe Rabeinu's door. The Torah is giving Klal Yisrael a new address to turn to -- the Mikdash.

2. On Friday I mentioned that the Shem m'Shmuel understood the parsha of korbanos as a means of fostering unity among Klal Yisrael -- before you can have one leader you first need to have one people.  Perhaps this message was especially necessary given the surrounding context.  Parshas Pinchas opens with a recounting of all the families in Klal Yisrael. We then read about the distribution of nachalah in Eretz Yisrael, also done by family and sheiveit (see Rashi, Ramban).  Given the stress on allegiance to family and sheivet, the Torah had to reiterate that there is a higher level of allegiance to the nation as a whole.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:01 PM

    >>> 1.

    -- & Yehoshua was what to the klal at the
    time, a doormat to eretz Yisrael? ('Hashem
    >ho'she'a<! ha'Melech ya'aneinu b'yom kareinu')

    -- had Moshe been an intimidating figure who'd
    come between* the people & the mishkan/korbanos
    for 39 years? did "the place" now seem less like his (exclusively), & more like their's?
    did they begin to feel more relaxedly, expansively religious, rather than cowed & put
    upon & stuck at one remove?

    *the go-between who's in between? (both for the
    better, Devarim 5:22-24, & for the worse, 'va'chai!', 5:21)