6/18/2006

More on Beha'alotecha

[UPDATE: I just saw this, thanks to a tip from Steg, and I honestly had not seen it before posting this. That's 2 weeks in a row that I'm thinking along the same lines as R' Samet. I'll have to go meet the guy when I make aliyah. Funny, I never bothered to go hear him during my years at Gush.]

Just a few additional points about what I posted on Beha'alotecha:

On the post 'Milk and Manna':

  • When Moshe complains to God about his inability to carry on as leader, he asks rhetorically (Bamidbar 11:12-13), "Did I conceive this whole nation? Did I give birth to it,
    that You have said to me, 'Carry them in your bosom' like a nursemaid carries a suckling, to the land that You promised to their forefathers? From where do I have meat to give this whole nation that is crying to me, saying, 'Give us meat that we may eat'? Moshe's complaint - really a dual complaint - is that the burden of leadership is no longer akin to that of a nursemaid. The infant has outgrown the milk and wants to address its appetite for meat.
  • This fits really nicely into the framework of the entire chapter. I had occasion over Shabbat to read R' Elchanan Samet's essay on the parsha in his book (the essay is available here in English, and is brilliant; he is one of the best answers to Bible critics). In a comment, Hayim points us to an essay by R' Matis Weinberg which makes a similar connection, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. It seems that Josh, after his initial critique, finally came around. I'm glad, too. I don't enjoy being labelled a mere homilaticist :-)

Regarding Odot Ha-Isha Ha-Kushit:

  • I should mention that in the anecdote that I wrote, the three women were explained the meaning of the term 'below the salt' as the salt was placed between the children and themselves. It was not mere coincidence.
  • The same insight that I saw on Steg's blog I saw again in an essay by R' Elchanan Samet. I never really got a chance to read his stuff before this weekend. Man, is he good.
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