In the end of Sefer Vayikrah, we spoke about counting animals as the Pasuk says וכל מעשר בקר וצאן כל אשר יעבר תחת השבט העשירי יהיה קדש. And now as we begin Parshas Bamidbar, it also begins with counting but it is an entirely different type of counting as the Pasuk says במספר שמות. But the phrase במספר שמות is confusing because on the one hand were counting just numbers, but on the other hand we are counting שמות as if to say you have a name and unique qualities and a distinction?
Therefore it is obvious that the counting of Klal Yisrael is not just a counting of number but it can be explained with the Mishna in Avos (1:14) that says אם אין אני לי מי לי that everybody has something special that he brings to the table. But then it continues וכשאני לעצמי מה אני in the sense that if I keep my qualities to myself, then what am I worth? Everybody recognizes that the unique qualities that a person has are to be used to enhance the Tzibur and therefore he is part of the big picture. But not because he needs them in order to be who he is but on the contrary he contributes to the bigger picture by being who he is. This is the idea that the counting of Klal Yisrael was במספר שמות.
A similar idea is expressed in the idea that יש ששים ריבוא אותיות בתורה and each letter contributes to the kashrus of the Torah because if one letter is missing, the entire Torah is invalid. On the other hand, every letter has its own צורה and if any two letter are touching and each letter isn’t מוקף גויל, then the entire Torah is also invalid. We see that each letter needs to have its own individuality which contributes to the kedusha of the entire Sefer Torah. This is the idea of אם אין אני לי מי לי first of all, and then וכשאני לעצמי מה אני that if I keep myself for myself, then I am very far from fulfilling my mission and therefore what am I.
After the Torah counts all the tribes, it mentions the total being 603, 550. The Zohar says that there are 600,000 letters in the Torah (not clear how to count it to get to that number because as we see it, there are much less) each letter corresponding to the 600,000 Jews. However, from the total count, it would seem that there was an extra 3,550 and therefore where are they included in the Torah?
The Chasam Sofer in Parshas Pekudei explains the following with the Medrash Rabba in Pekudei (51:6) which says as follows:
משנגמרה מלאכת המשכן, אמר להם בואו ואני עושה לפניכם חשבון, אמר להם משה אלה פקודי המשכן, כך וכך יצא על המשכן עד שהוא יושב ומחשב שכח באלף ושבעה מאות וה' וע' שקל מה שעשה ווים לעמודים ,התחיל יושב ומתמיה אמר עכשיו ישראל מוצאין ידיהם לאמר משה נטלן, מה עשה האיר הקדוש ברוך הוא עיניו וראה אותם עשוים ווים לעמודים אותה שעה נתפייסו כל ישראל על מלאכת המשכן מי גרם לו ע"י שישב ופייסן, הוי אלה פקודי המשכן
While Moshe was going through what material was used for what, he forgot what he used 1,775 pieces of silver for (as indicated with the cantillation mark on the word האלף) and he was worried that Klal Yisrael is going to think that he took them for himself, until Hashem came and revealed to him that he used that silver for the ווים לעמודים.
The Chasam Sofer explains that there are 600,000 letters in the Torah corresponding to 600,000 Jews, so those נשמות who have a letter in the Torah Moshe remembered them and what he did with them. But then there are נשמות נדחות, outsiders, those that don’t have a letter in the Torah. Those נשמות, Moshe initially forgot about them but he used them as if to say, for the ווים לעמודים because they couldn’t be in the inside of the Mishkan, but they were just on the outside of the Amudim. They were on the outside to the point where Moshe forgot about them until Hashem reminded him because they weren’t really part of his thinking because they weren’t really part of the 600,000.
Those נשמות נדחות are the 3,550 that were above the counting of 600,000 which the מחצית השקל brought by those Jews ads up to 1,775 pieces of silver that Moshe forgot about until he was reminded that they were used for the ווים לעמודים.
This corresponds to what it says in the
(אות עג) מגלה עמוקות in ואתחנן that it was the Neshama of Rebbi Akiva that reminded Moshe that he made the ווים לעמודים out of those pieces of silver.
The Rav suggested that we know in Menachos 29b, Reb Akiva was the one who was expounding on the תגין and Moshe had חלישת הדעת that Reb Akiva knew things that he didn’t know. So this that Reb Akiva expounded on the תגין, maybe we could say that these נשמות נדחות who don’t have a letter serve as the תגין and that’s why it was Reb Akivas Neshama that reminded Moshe what he did, as if to say, with these Neshamos.
In general, that which Reb Akiva is considered the שורש of תורה שבעל פה which is the unwritten Torah, beyond the written letter.
So these Neshamos, even though they aren’t part of the 600,000 and therefore aren’t part of the Mishkan, but they are the ווים לעמודים which holds together the Mishkan and without them, it could be that the Mishkan would fall apart. Therefore, these outsiders who have a longing and a desire to be a part of and within, hold a certain power that they can keep it all together and there is a need for the outsiders. Even when a person feels like an outsider, he should recognize that even as an outsider, he plays a role and it’s only a role that he can do and those within can’t play that role.
The Haftorah this Shabbos was מחר חדש. In the Navi, the Psukim says as follows (שמואל א, כ:כ-כב):
ואני שלשת החצים צדה אורה לשלח לי למטרה
והנה אשלח את הנער לך מצא את החצים אם אמר אמר לנער הנה החצים ממך והנה קחנו ובאה כי שלום לך ואין דבר חי ה'
ואם כה אמר לעלם הנה החצים ממך והלאה לך כי שלחך ה'
Reb Eliyahu Meir Bloch and Reb Mottel Katz came to America escaping Europe in 1941 and they called for a meeting with Bala Batim to discuss reestablishing the Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland. At that meeting, Reb Eliyahu Meir Bloch quoted the above Pasuk לך כי שלחך ה', and said that the Pasuk should say that he escaped because he was in danger. Yet the Pasuk says כי שלחך ה because a Jew has to know that even when he is escaping danger, he is on a mission and the danger was only to put him in a place where he could fulfil his mission and therefore he felt that they were not just escapees rather they were on a mission and therefore it was there mission to reestablish the Yeshiva in America.
In the Haftorah, Shaul says to Yonason ויחר אף שאול ביהונתן ויאמר לו בן נעות המרדות הלוא ידעתי כי בחר אתה לבן ישי לבשתך ולבשת ערות אמך (שמואל א, כ:ל) Rashi explains the meaning of נעות to mean לשון נע אשה נעה ונדה יוצאני'. Rashi on the word מרדות says כשחטפו בני בנימן מבנות שילה שיצאו לחול בכרמים היה שאול ביישן ולא רצה לחטוף עד שבאתה היא עצמה והעיזה פניה ורדפ' אחריו. Shaul was shy and his wife sought him out and went out to him. So by calling Yonason בן נעות המרדות, he was saying that your mother acted improperly being that she sought him out.
The question is why is Shaul saying this to Yonason as if to say that it’s his fault? Furthermore, why does the Pasuk say ולבשת ערות אמך, meaning why is it an embarrassment to his mother because he was בוחר בן ישי? The Gemara in Yevamos 77a has a discussion regarding if Dovid Hamelech was fit to be king. The Gemara interjects and says before you can discuss being fit for king, you have to ask if he was ראוי לבא לקהל because he is a descendent of רות המואביה. To which the Gemara brings an explanation why the prohibition of marrying from Moav and Amon only applies to the men and not the woman is because על דבר אשר לא קדמו אתכם בלחם ובמים - דרכו של איש לקדם וכו. Since it’s not the way of women to go out, therefore it wasn’t a טענה on them.
So Shaul was saying to his son Yonason that if you weren’t בוחר בן ישי, then it’s as if to say that there isn’t anything wrong with women going out and it is דרכה של אישה לקדם and there was no issue with his mother seeking out Shaul and she wouldn’t be a נעות. But now that he was בוחר בן ישי saying that a descendent of a מואבית is כשר, so you (Yonason) are suggesting that it’s not the דרך for an אשה לקדם and that’s why there was no טענה on women from Moav, which was turning his mother into a נעות because now it was inappropriate that which Shauls wife went after him.