We say in the ברכות מעין שלש the words ונאכל מפריה ונשבע מטובה ונברך עליה בקדשה ובטהרה. The Poskim (See טור סימן רח) want to remove the words ונאכל מפריה ונשבע מטובה because of the Gemara in Sotah 14a. The Gemara there says as follows:
דרש רבי שמלאי מפני מה נתאוה משה רבינו ליכנס לא"י וכי לאכול מפריה הוא צריך או לשבוע מטובה הוא צריך אלא כך אמר משה הרבה מצות נצטוו ישראל ואין מתקיימין אלא בא"י אכנס אני לארץ כדי שיתקיימו כולן על ידי
The Gemara seems to indicate that it would be wrong if Moshe’s desire to enter EY was in order to eat the fruits and therefore gives another suggestion as to why Moshe desired to enter the land. On the basis of this, the Poskim want to omit the above words which seem to be a בקשה for the fruits of EY.
The ב"ח שם disagrees and defends the way we have it and explains that we want to use the fruits of EY to reach a level of בקדשה וטהרה. The fruits of EY have a spiritual value and through eating them, a person can ascend to higher spiritual levels and bring about השראת השכינה within himself. The אליהו רבה asks on that, if so what’s the explanation for the Gemara in Sotah that it wasn’t good enough if Moshe’s interest was just to eat the fruits of EY? He explains that Moshe was on a high enough level that he didn’t need to connect to Hashem through eating the fruits of EY. But for us, we can have such a desire to connect and reach lofty levels through eating the fruits of EY.
The Rav suggested an explanation for what we say in the ברכות מעין שלש based on the הפטרה. ירמיה is describing how the Jews strayed away from Hashem and the Pasuk says ואביא אתכם אל ארץ הכרמל לאכל פריה וטובה ותבאו ותטמאו וכו'. When we are davening and asking Hashem to bring us back, we are making a promise and saying that we are not going to mess up like our forefathers did, who were אכל פריה וטובה ותבאו ותטמאו את ארצי. Rather we are going to be ונאכל מפריה ונשבע מטובה ונברך עליה בקדשה ובטהרה that we are going correct the sins of our forefathers by eating the fruits in the right way which is בקדשה ובטהרה. It’s not a request that we just want to eat the fruits of EY but that we are committing to correct the sin of our forefathers. Therefore, we promise that when once again you will give us a chance לאכול מפריה וכו' it will be בקדשה ובטהרה.s Another explanation for the version as we have it was said in the name of the Brisker Rav. The words ונאכל מפריה ונשבע מטובה are following the words ובנה ירושלים עיר הקדש במהרה בימינו והעלינו לתוכה ושמחינו בבנינה. At this point, the Brachah is clearly discussing Jerusalem. What fruits can we be talking about in regards to Jerusalem if it’s prohibited for someone to plant fruit trees in Jerusalem (בב"ק דף פב ע"א)? He answers that in the Brachah, we are referring to fruits of מעשר שני that needs to be eaten in Jerusalem בקדשה ובטהרה. This can also be used to explain that which we are praying to eat מפריה ומטובה, because it’s not just about fulfilling our physical pleasure, rather about being מקיים מצות התלויות בארץ. That is what the Gemara in Sotah says as an answer to the question on Moshe, that he was yearning to enter EY in order to fulfill the מצות התלויות בארץ. Therefore, in the Brachah, we are referring to being מקיים the מצות התלויות בארץ.
The Pasuk in the beginning of the Parshah says ויכתב משה את מוצאיהם למסעיהם על פי יקוק ואלה מסעיהם למוצאיהם . If the מוצאיהם are the departure points, then what is the meaning of the end of the Pasuk that writes מסעיהם למוצאיהם, it’s seemingly in the wrong order?
The Kli Yakar explains that most of the מסעות were forward, however some were backwards. The ones that were forward are מוצאיהם למסעיהם describing traveling from the departure to a new destination. Those were commanded by Hashem and therefore specifically by those מסעות, the Pasuk says על פי ה'. But the few travels that were backwards are described as מסעיהם למוצאיהם because they were going back to their previous departure point. Those travels were caused by the Jews’ sins and therefore doesn’t say על פי ה'.
The Baal Haturim says a different explanation that the purpose for repetition in the reverse order was to show that it was all על פי ה' בין מסע ובין מוצא.
The Rav explained this Baal Haturim with a Gemara in Shabbos 31b. The Gemara there says that a person is חייב for the מלאכה of סותר only when its סותר ע"מ לבנות במקומו. But if its סותר ע"מ לבנות שלא במקומו, then your פטור. The Gemara asks that if the source for this Melacha is from the Mishkan, the Mishkan itself wasn’t rebuilt in its same location so how could the Halacha be that one is only obligated when the structure is rebuilt in the same place? The Gemara answers כיון דכתיב על פי ה' יחנו כסותר על מנת לבנות במקומו דמי. What is the explanation for this answer, because at the end of the day, it wasn’t rebuilt in the same location?
The ר"ח suggests because since at the time that they disassembled the Mishkan they didn’t know if Hashem was going to rebuild it in a different location or the same location, therefore it was considered כסותר על מנת לבנות במקומו. But it’s a novel explanation being that there are many that find it to be a novel idea.
The Rav suggested another explanation. The reason why one is exempt for סותר ע"מ לבנות שלא במקומו is because of מקלקל. The idea is that there are two aspects to every structure. There is the structure itself and its location. Some people say that it’s all about location. But for sure every building could be looked at as the building itself in its location. When a person destroys a building to rebuild it in its original location, so both aspects of the building remain. However, when a building is destroyed and rebuilt in another location, it’s true that the building is the exact same but it lacks the location. It has a new location but it lacks the old location.
But what would be if there was such a house that needs to be in several different places? It would mean that when it moves around from place to place, it’s not undoing the past and creating a new present, but it’s fulfilling the necessity of this house being in all these different locations. In such a case, it doesn’t matter that the old place and the new place are not the same because the old place and the new place are both dimensions in the wholeness of this effort. You can’t say when you bring down the house here and put it up over there that the present erases the past, rather the present adds to the past to create a wholeness of this effort. The מוצאיהם למסעיהם says that were are departing and continuing with our journey. But at the same time it’s also מסעיהם למוצאיהם because the journey completes the departure points. It doesn’t get rid of the departure point rather it brings שלימות and complements the departure point.
The מסעות על פי ה' were not just stops along the way as a means to reach a destination, rather each stop was necessary in its own right and needed to be in all these places in order to make up this שלימות. Therefore, when they left one location and settled in another, they didn’t lose the previous location, rather they took it with them. That’s why the building of the Mishkan in multiple places was considered כסותר על מנת לבנות במקומו because we didn’t destroy the past with each departure and new location, rather each new location was adding a block and therefore we have where we got to and we have where we left from. This is why its מוצאיהם למסעיהם but also מסעיהם למוצאיהם. The מגן אברהם says in the name of the צרור המור that the מ"ב מסעות are כנגד the שם מ"ב and therefore says there shouldn’t be a break for שני until after the מסעות. This reinforces the idea, that if they are כנגד the שם מ"ב, then each stop is obviously part of one שלימות just like the שם wouldn’t be complete if there would only be part of the name.
We read the מסעות in a sing song tune because we realize that each stop on the journey was necessary and had importance in its own right. Whether it’s up or down, backwards and forwards, every step of the way was crucial and necessary to make up a שלימות. Even after all the מסעות, the Jews only end up על ירדן ירחו not even the final destination and that’s how the Torah really ends off because דברים being משנה תורה is only a repeat. The idea is that it’s not about the destination, rather it’s about the journey and the various stops along the way which are integral to create the שלימות.
The Degel Machaneh Efraim says in the name of his Rebbe the Baal Shem that each individual has his own מ"ב מסעות throughout his life and people have to remember that wherever they are at any point in life, that is where they are supposed to be and it’s necessary, crucial, and integral for them to be there to make up the completeness of their life. It’s not limited to a person’s physical location but even when a person is at different mental or spiritual location, it should be recognized that each stop is intended and necessary to make up the שלימות of the person.
In Parshas Pinchas, the בנות צלפחד asked for a נחלה and they were answered. This aspect of the episode represents the personal rights of these five women. Even though they were not initially presented with a ירושה, they pleaded with Moshe that they should not be neglected and they were answered. But in this Parshah, Shevet Yosef objects that it’s very nice to be taking care of the individual’s rights, but it’s infringing on the rights of the Shevet because they will marry out of the Shevet and the Shevet will lose. This back and forth displays the balance between the personal rights and the tribal rights.
It’s interesting that the Torah is using the same wording in both these places to show that it’s really two sides of the same coin. The Pasuk in this Parsha says והיו לאחד מבני שבטי בני ישראל לנשים ונגרעה נחלתן מנחלת אבתינו and in Parshas Pinchas they say למה נגרע. Then the Pasuk says in our Parshah כן מטה בני יוסף דברים and in Parshas Pinchas it says כן בנות צלפחד דוברות. With such identical Pesukim, the Torah is clearly expressing the idea that these are two parts of the same issue. The issue being respecting the individual rights and on the other hand not coming at the expense of the rights of tribe. Therefore, the solution is that they should get, but they have to marry within the Shevet.
At this point, the Jews are about to enter EY. One would think that now is an opportune time to get rid of the tribal identity and affiliation and just see ourselves as one unified nation. Yet at the end of this Parshah, which is really the end of the Torah and is a preparation for going into EY, the Torah emphasizes the importance of a tribal identity and affiliation. The reason is because it’s imaginary to think and believe that a person could be a Universalist and just have a universal identity without any affiliation to family, friends, and their ethnic group. Rather the only way a person can build a real connection, is to begin with family, friends, tribes, and his ethnic group. Then on top that, a person can build a broader identity. Therefore, the way to build a nation, which happened at יציאת מצרים where it says ולקחו איש שה לבית אבות שה לית is to starts with your family, then your neighbors, and then to extend broader. A nation can only be built one family at a time and not with an outlook of “I love and can get along with everyone”. This is why the Torah emphasizes the tribal affiliation to show that it’s an important building block when it comes to building a nation and creating a national identity because that is the human nature.
על דרך צחות- The Pesukim here list the Bnos Tzlafchad according to their age but elsewhere it lists them according to their wisdom. They say when a girl is single, we don’t talk about her age as that’s a sensitive topic so we talk about her wisdom. But once married, we can talk about her age. An even more cynical explanation is that once a girl is married, her wisdom is irrelevant.