This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon
"The children of Reuven and the children of
Gad had abundant livestock..."
The tribes of Gad and Reuven requested to be permitted
to settle on the east bank of the Jordan, in the lands of Sichon
and Og, instead of crossing over the Jordan with the rest of the
Bnei Yisroel, and take a share in Eretz Yisroel proper. At the
end, Moshe told them that they were permitted, and half of the
tribe of Menashe was added to them.
Reuven, Gad, 1/2 Menashe:
There are various opinions of why Moshe included
half/part of the tribe of Menashe to join the tribes of Reuven
and Gad. One explanation, given by the "Emek Davar",
is that Moshe insisted that they join, for no Jewish community
can maintain its spirituality and existence as Jews, unless they
have within them great Torah leaders. Since the tribe of Menashe
had within them such great Torah leaders, Moshe did not consent
to the request, unless part of the tribe of Menashe would volunteer
to live on the east bank of the Jordan River. By doing this Moshe
set a precedence for future generations, and the rest of Jewish
history. The only way a Jew can remain as a Jew, is if he has
Torah leaders to look up to, and the right surroundings to be
able to live like a Jew. The tribe of Menashe was also chosen,
for we saw their great love for the Land, when the daughters of
Tzelafchad requested a share in the land. This passionate love
of Eretz Yisroel helped serve as a forerunner for the broadening
of the borders of Eretz Yisroel in the future.
Troubles of the rich:
Their request came because of the abundance of flock
which they had, and these lands were suitable for grazing their
flock. There are commentaries which put them to fault, for putting
such a heavy emphasis on their material possessions.
Rav Peretz of Pshischa states that we know from a
Mishna, that "The more one has possessions, the more he worries."
He brings a homiletic explanation to this Pasuk, and shows the
positive aspect of their claims. It wasn't that they had "An
abundance of livestock..." which brought them to make such
a request, rather there was a positive aspect to their request.
Moshe Rabbeinu was about to die, and he will buried
on the other side of the Jordan River, not in Eretz Yisroel proper.
The word "Miknei" (livestock) can also mean "Kinyan" (an acquisition).
And the word "Rav"(many) can also mean
"Rav" (a master).
Thus the Bnei Reuven and Gad had an acquisition with
their beloved master, Moshe Rabbeinu. They were in essence saying
that if Moshe would lead them over to the other side of the Jordan,
they would follow. Yet since they had a great master who was
going to be buried on the other side of the Jordan, they wanted
to live in that land, and not be separated from their great leader.
We can see from here their great love for their leader. (Rabbi
David Goldwasser and Sefer Meshech Chachma)
Impulsive as water...:
Rav Pliskin writes in the name of the Sifsei Cohen,
that if we take a close look at the Pasuk, we would see "And
the members of the tribe of Gad and the tribe of Reuven came...",
the tribe of Gad, who was the younger of the tribes, approached
Moshe before Reuven, who was the eldest of the 12 tribes. The
tribe of Reuven was embarrassed to approach Moshe first, for Reuven
was rebuked by his father Yakov Avinu, that he was "impulsive
like water". By his refraining to approach Moshe first,
they in essence rectified their previous fault.
When one has the trait of acting out of impulse,
without taking much thought before he acts, this can cause great
harm to many people, including himself. A person with such a
trait can take a lesson from this case, that to help cure a bad
trait, one is to try and do the opposite, to be more patient and
think things over.
Still...Chazal censured their request:
However, Chazal did censure them since they first
requested to build a place for their sheep, and only then for
the children. It seemed that their money was more important than
their children. We also see from Moshe's answer to them, "Build
for yourselves cities for your small children, and only then build
pens for your flock...". Moshe corrected them for their
Rav Gifter writes that this generation was a very righteous generation, why then did they value their livestock more then their own children?
Chazal explain (Gemara Chulin 91a) that to a Tzaddik,
his money is worth more to him, than his own body. For a Tzaddik's
main goal is to serve Hashem. Because a Tzaddik sees his money,
his wealth, as another limb from his body, which he can use towards
serving Hashem. The Tzaddik puts more significance to his "monetary
limb", than to his bodily limbs. Because unlike his bodily
limbs, his monetary limbs had to be earned through toil and hard
work. His bodily limbs were given to him from Hashem without
any of his own effort.
Thus we can see yet another side to their claim,
they first mentioned their flock, for this was the outcome of
their hard work, thus they put a great value to it. However,
Moshe was on such a great level, that he saw from their words,
that there was more behind the mentioning of their flocks first.
As we said last week, a person can't know if his personal feelings
are affecting his choice. Moshe saw that there was a minute amount
of appreciation for monetary items, and thus felt that there request
needed to be corrected.
We are on a much lower level than the generation which entered Eretz Yisroel, yet if we feel that we have a great love for our money, lets at least love it for the right reason, and thus use it for doing Mitzvos.
We can give charity to the poor, help build Shuls,
Yeshivos, and many more things... Let us love our money for the
positive things we can do with it.
Conduct during the 3 weeks (According to Minhag Ashkenaz - Sefardim may hold differently:
The Minhag is to observe some aspects of mourning during the period of three weeks (from the 17th of Tamuz till after the 9th of Av). I will try to discuss some of these aspects, for a more complete explanation, please read "Halachos of the Three Weeks" (Rav Shimon D. Eider)
Also there are various Minhagim(customs) and there are different parts of the three week period (3 weeks, week of 9th of Av, 9th of Av, 1 of Av till 9th of Av...) I can't discuss all the aspects, so this is just here to increase your knowledge, and let you know on what things you should ask your LROR.
1) Haircuts, shaving, trimming a beard/moustache...:
One is to refrain from cutting ones hair during this period.
Trimming ones moustache is permitted, only if it
interferes when one is trying to eat. However, there is an opinion
which holds that one should not trim his moustache, for any reason,
during the week which the 9th of Av falls out on. One is allowed
to comb his hair, without worrying that during the combing of
his hair, a piece of hair may be pulled out without intention.
A person who usually shaves daily, and is also required
to shave during the three weeks, should consult with a LROR (Local
Reliable Orthodox Rabbi).
There are also different circumstances where a person
may be allowed to shave/haircut, for each specific case please
ask your LROR.
2) Cutting ones nails:
One is permitted to cut his nails up until the week
which the 9th of Av falls on. In certain cases, there are those
who are permitted to cut their nails even during the week which
the 9th of Av falls on.
3) Listening to music:
Dancing and playing musical instruments is forbidden during the 3 weeks.
For a person who earns a living by playing musical
instruments, or for someone who is practicing....please consult
Engagements are permitted during the three weeks,
however during the 9 days a Seudah (meal) should not be served.
Rather, one should serve lite refreshments. (Of course one is
forbidden to serve refreshments on the 9th of Av).
Weddings on the other hand, should not be performed
during the three week period.
5) Making a Shechiyanu on a new fruit/clothing:
The accepted Minhag is not to make a Shechiyanu (blessing
when eating a new fruit / wearing a new garment). There are many
Poskim who hold that one is permitted to say Shechiyanu on Shabbos.
Again, there are different possible circumstances,
where at times one may be permitted to say this Beracha.