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Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Bamidbar

Making Yourself Holy

Bamidbar begins with a count of the nation, numbering each Sheivet individually, thus symbolizing their unique role in Klal Yisroel. The Leviim where counted separately, as the legion of Hashem. It is interesting to note how the pasuk tells us, And I, behold, I have taken the Leviim from among Bnei Yisrael, in exchange for all the firstborns, those who were first to leave the wombs of their mothers from Bnei Yisrael etc. The Leviim were made holy in place of the maternal firstborn (first born of the mother, even if he was not the firstborn of his father) of the nation. As we have mentioned many times before, the holiness of the maternal firstborn did not exist before Hashem killed the bechorim in Egypt. This was because the Egyptian society was steeped in immorality, and if only the true firstborn of the Egyptian fathers were to die on the night of makkas bechoros, there would be many houses without a death. This would have allowed the Egyptians to have room in their minds to doubt the sovereignty of Hashem. Therefore, Hashem killed both the firstborns of the fathers and the firstborns of the mothers; and in doing so, He made a mother’s firstborn holy to Him forever more. This kedushah is commemorated for all time with the mitzvah to redeem the firstborn of the mother — the mitzvah of pidyon haben. But this holiness was limited in that it can be removed via pidyon, redemption, and that it is certainly not hereditary. The child of such a bechor is not automatically afforded bechor status. Hashem then exchanged these bechorim and made the Leviim holy. But this was a new, stronger level of holiness. Not only is this kedushah permanent, in that a Levi cannot be redeemed from his kedushah, but it also became hereditary. All the children of the Levi are automatically given this kedushah at birth. What we see here is that the Levi was able to take a kedushah and morph it into something better and stronger. And the Leviim were initially regular members of the nation just like any of us. Another interesting thing to note is that while the rest of Klal Yisrael were counted only from the age of 20, Leviim are counted as soon as they reach a month old. This 30 day delay after birth was only to ensure that the babies were viable; a nefel cannot live past the thirty-day mark. So, essentially, Leviim are counted from birth! What is the reason for this stark distinction? The reason for this is perhaps the key to what enabled Levi to maintain this new higher and greater level of kedushah. They understood that if one wished to truly train himself as an eved Hashem, he must start immediately. His whole life should focus only on this goal, with his preparation both continuous and relentless. And as kabbalas HaTorah draws near, let us take the attitude of the Levi with us into Yom Tov. Each one of us has kedushah, and we have the ability to elevate it to a new level. If we remain cognizant and constantly focus our attention on becoming a better eved Hashem, we too can reach a new and permanent kedushah. We must look to make spiritual growth our only true focus, and make pleasing Hashem our ultimate goal. This is true kabbalas ol Malchus Shalayim, that only Hashem’s will should drive our actions and our desires. May we all be zocheh to receive the Torah’s directive, and to accept it. A gut Shabbos and a gut Yom Tov! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss



Nahar U_Pashtei Bamidbar 5781
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