Vertluch: Parshas Matos/Maasei


After the incident of the chet of baal peor, Hashem commanded bnei Yisroel to go to war against Midyan to take revenge. After the battle, the leader of the ’soldiers’ came to tell Moshe of the miraculous outcome of this battle: there were no casualties on the side of bnei Yisroel. Given the logical odds, this was an obvious nes from Hashem.

Right after this battle, the pasuk tells us, ונקרב את קרבן ה’……..לכפר על נפשותיכם; that they were makriv a korban to be mechaper on their souls. In truth, they should have been bringing a todah to thank Hashem for the nes in battle. Why were they bringing a korban for a kaparah? Rashi explains that bnei Yisroel were bringing a kaparah for having הרהורים הלב on the bnos midyan.

This pshat seems puzzling; there seems to be no relation here. What is the connection between the fact that ‘no man went missing from war’ and that ‘bnei Yisroel brought a korban,’ if the korban is for a kaparah, and not a todah?

The Rosh Hayeshiva, Reb Shmuel Berenbaum zt“l, explains this inyan, bringing out a very important yesod.

The Ribono Shel Olam was with bnei Yisroel while they were at war. From the fact that ‘no man went missing’, we see that Hashem was alongside them at every point of their battle. He was part of the army, taking personal care of each soldier. From this parsha we see that when Hashem is right there with us and is taking care of us there is no such thing as ‘I can’t’, in matters of ruchnius as well as gashmius. A person can’t ever declare themselves an אונס. Knowing Hashem is right there and taking care of them gives them the ability to fight off any of their earthly desires. That’s the connection here: after we see the incredible miracle of ‘no man went missing’ and we realize Hashem was with us in battle, guiding us, even a הרהור is unacceptable. If we realize how closely Hashem is guiding us then we would realize we are powerful enough to control even our thoughts. That’s why bnei Yisroel had to bring a korban for kaparah.

If we would just think in our own lives how Hashem takes care of us and gives us our needs such as health, parnassah, children, and all the everyday miracles that we take for granted, this would give us the ability to fight off all earthly desires and taayvos. And if one isn’t motivated by the good in their life to refrain from sin, he is held even more responsible for not seeing Hashem in his life.

The Rosh Hayeshiva zt”l used to always say: what’s the first thing a person should do when something good happens? He should sit by a gemara and learn! Show Hashem a proper thank you by sitting and learning for a few short minutes.

May we all see only the good of Hashem and his hashgacha over us and that will give us the ability and the energy to go further in our avodas Hashem.