"And the L-RD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, of the second year..." (Numbers 1:1)

Let us understand why does the scripture mention "in the wilderness of Sinai", and why does it mention "the second month".

It is taught that this month, (ed. note: which is now called the month of Iyar), is auspicious to שכל - intelligence. (ed. note: It is known from Kabbalah that every month has an arrangement of the letters of G-d's Name corresponding to it, and the first or last letters of four words in a Bible verse hint to that arrangement.) The verse for the month of Iyar is "יתהלל המתהלל השכל וידוע אותי - Yis'halel Hamis'halel, Hasechel V'yadua osi" - "Praise the praised one, intelligence, and know me" (Jeremiah 9:23). That is why the month of Iyar is before the month of Sivan, when we receive the Torah. The main point of intelligence is "the beginning of wisdom is fear of the L-RD, good intelligence is to all that do this" (Psalm 111:10). Therefore, this month is called "Iyar - אייר", which stands for "Yire Hashem - ירא ה'" - "fear the L-RD". Therefore, we see the purpose of intelligence is to come to piety.

Another important aspect of intelligence is that someone who is intelligent must be peaceful, loving, caring, and friendly to others. If this is not the case, then he has no intelligence. Because "the lips of a fool bring strife" (Proverbs 18:6).

Also, someone who is truly intelligent must be humble, and low in his own eyes. This is because "חכמה - Chakhmah" - "wisdom", comes from the words "כח מה - Koach mah", which means "the power of 'what'" - as in "what am I?" - an expression of humility and nothingness.

We see the opposite of these things in someone who has no knowledge, who is called a "pesi - פתי" - a fool. The Aramiac translation for "wide" is "pusia - פותיא", indicating that someone who is wide in his own esteem, i.e. he is haughty, is called a "pesi - פתח" - a fool.

This brings us to the meaning of "in the wilderness of Sinai". It is taught in the holy books that "Bemidbar Sinai - במדבר סיני" - "in the wilderness of Sinai" - is the gematria "B'Shalom - בשלום" - "In Peace". Also, "Sinai - סיני" is the gematria "'ani - עני" or "poor". This means that a person should be of poor esteem in his own eyes. Then he can be on the level of "the tent of meeting", for he makes his body into the level of a tent, for "the Holy One blessed be He has nothing in His world except for a treasure store of pious fear of Heaven". Through fear of Heaven, which, as we see from Psalm 111:10, is the aspect of "good intelligence", through this we are made into a vehicle for the Presence of G-d, which is the aspect of the tent of meeting, which was also such a vehicle. Through this we can unify ourselves with the month which is the aspect of intelligence. Then we are ready to accept the Torah the next month, on Shavuos, with wholeness.

(Divrei Binah: Parshas Bemidbar p. 3)

"To the tribe of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Amishaddai" (Numbers 1:12)

Concerning the tribe of Dan, scripture says "and he passed over the sea with trouble" (Zechariah 10:11). The sages teach that this "trouble" refers to the idol of Michah mentioned in the book of Judges, that was in the possession of the tribe of Dan. As the verse says "Leave Ephraim alone, for he is attatched to sorrowful idols" (Hosea 4:17). This means that even if the Jewish people are, G-d forbid, worshipping idols, as long as they are unified and peaceful, no harsh judgement can affect them. This is the meaning of "the prince of the children of Dan", that this is what lifts up (the word Prince means one who is lifted up) the tribe of Dan, "Ahi - אחי" which means "my brother", that they are united as brothers, "ezer - עזר" which means "help", this is their help, then they are worthy to be "AmiShaddai - עמישדי", meaning the tribes of G-d, may He be blessed.

(Divrei Binah: Parshas Bemidbar p. 23)

"As the L-RD commanded Moses, and he counted them in the wilderness of Sinai" (Numbers 1:19)

Why do we always read Parshas Bemidbar before the festival of Shavuos, which is the giving of the Torah?

We can understand this according to the teachings of the Holy Rebbe from Berditchev, zy"a, who said why does it say "As the L-RD commanded Moses, and he counted them in the wilderness of Sinai", it would seem that it should have said "and he counted them in the wilderness of Sinai, as the L-RD commanded Moses". The Berditchever Rebbe said "that this actually hints to the fact that the power of Torah comes from the power of the Jewish people, beacause the 600,000 letters in the Torah hint to the 600,000 Jewish souls. This is why Moses counted every Israelite, to teach one letter in the Torah" Until here are his holy words.

This is the meaning of "as the L-RD commanded Moses" to tell all generations that it is impossible to know the Torah unless he first accepts upon himself to fulfill the mitzvah of "and you shall love your fellow as yourself". Through this he attatches himself to the soul of every individual Jew. Then he is able to receive the Torah. That is why we read this Parshah before we receive the Torah.

(Divrei Binah: Parshas Bemidbar p. 23-24)


"And it shall be in place of saying 'You are not my people', it will be said 'You are the children of the Living G-d'" (Hosea 2:1)

There are two types of rebuke. One is the obvious way to rebuke someone. The second is that someone should understand that if the King does so much good for him, how could he have angered Him? Also that someone should understand how lofty his own soul is, that it is, so to speak, a portion of G-dliness from Above. When someone understands this he will be very embarassed before G-d, and regret his deeds. Like it says "and I will reap before you when you deny for yourself all that you did". This is also the meaning of this verse. Instead of rebuking someone by saying "you are not my people", G-d forbid, which is an expression of anger, instead one should say "you are the children of the Living G-d!" Meaning that G-d does so much abundant goodness for you, and He will shine upon you the Supernal Knowledge, then you will understand yourselves His Greatness and Holiness, may He be blessed, and be ashamed before Him and regret your misguided deeds because of His Greatness and Holiness, may He be blessed.

(Divrei Binah: Parshas Bemidbar p. 24)

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