Matot Mas’ei – August 5, 2016
S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
- Friday Candle Lighting: 7:31 pm
- Shabbat Ends: 8:18 pm
Vengeance is Whose?
“And Moshe spoke to the nation saying…” (13:17)
G-d told Moshe (in 13:2), “Take vengeance for the Jewish People against the Midianites”, whereas when Moshe spoke to the people he said, “Take vengeance forG-d against the Midianites.”
Rashi comments: “Even though he (Moshe) heard that his death was dependent on this (the war with Midian), he did it happily and did not delay.”
How did Rashi see that implication in the words of the Torah?
In essence, the sin of the Midianites was both against G-d — for they ensnared the Jewish People in immorality — and also against the Jewish People — for they caused the death of 24,000 people.
Thus G-d said to Moshe, “I can forgo My honor, but I cannot forgive what they did to the Jewish People.” So when G-d spoke to Moshe, He told him to “avenge the vengeance of the Children of Israel.” However, once Moshe heard that after the battle against Moav he would “be gathered to his people”, that his death was contingent on this battle, he was concerned that the Jewish People would say that they also would forgo their honor in order to lengthen Moshe’s life.
Thus Moshe said to them, “Avenge the vengeance of Gd…”, implying that the issue was purely a matter of Gd’s honor, and about which they had no right or ability to “look the other way.”
Therefore it says, “So they were delivered from the Children of Israel, a thousand from each tribe.” Rashi comments on the words “they were delivered” that it was against their will to go, and they went only once Moshe had told them that it was to avenge ‘the vengeance of Gd.”
Thus Rashi understood that Moshe commanded the war happily, for he could have easily delayed the battle by repeating G-d’s words verbatim to the Jewish People: that G-d had commanded them to avenge their own honor, in which case they would have demurred, preferring by far to spare Moshe.
- Source: Kli Yakar