Parshas BeHsloscha – The Upside Down Nunim

Download as Word

This week’s Parsha is divided by the small section of V’Yehi Binsoa[1]. These two Pesukim bracketed two letters backward upside down Nunim, constitute their own small section. The first Pasuk is how we begin to travel. “As the Aron begins to travel, Arise HaShem, scatter Your enemies, and let those who hate You run away from before You.” The second is the encampment. “As the nation encamps, return HaShem to the multitude and thousands of Israel.

These two Pesukim open and close with two unique letters in the Torah. There is a backward Nun before and after this section.

There is a Gemarra[2] that there are not five books of Chumash as we always say, and as the word Chumash itself seems to come from; but there are seven. The seven are the first three books and the last one, and then three in BaMidbar. The first book in Bamidbar is from the beginning of Bamidbar till this small Parsha, the second is this small Parsha, and the third is from after the small Parsha until the end of the Sefer.

The meaning is that Sefer BaMidbar had two possible endings. One potential ending is as Rashi says[3]. We would leave Har Sinai and travel directly to Eretz Yisroel in three days under the leadership of Moshe. That journey would not have had the entire forty-year sojourn in the desert. There would have been no Meraglim, no Korach, and none of the other delays and pitfalls of the journey. It would have been a journey with the Aron straight to Eretz Yisroel. It would have culminated with the construction of the Bais HaMikdosh. But that did not happen.

Therefore, we have the perilous road of the third part of Bamidbar. That is a different plan B of Bamidbar. It includes all of the sins, and the detours of the years in the desert. Those are two separate sefarim. They are divided by the backward Nun’s.

One reason for the downfall of the travels was a lack of Bitachon. This is most obvious by the Meraglim. We did not trust HaShem, but needed to see it on our own. This lack of trust lead to that sin. After that we just went down,

Usually we look at the travels through the desert as a stroll in a beautiful park. Everything was directed by HaShem, the Annanei HaKavod, Manna, the Be’er: everything was perfect. But Rav Hirsch points out a different side. There was a need to be completely dependent on HaShem. One never knew how long you were going to be in any place. There was complete uncertainty. Was it a day? A week? A month?[4] There was need to have complete Bitachon in HaShem, and be ready to follow HaShem’s directions with no hesitation.

This is what the Pasuk means when it says when we camped we did not know if it was for a day, a week, or a year. Those Pesukim are written in the first section in Bamidbar. Even there we needed to show Bitachon. Only through that would we merit to go to Eretz Yisroel without any sins. Even though it would have been a three-day journey, but we needed to be ready for whatever HaShem would desire.

This is connected to something the RaMaD Valli writes. He says that the two Nun’s here represent Na’aseh V’Nishma. He alludes to this idea, but based on Rav Hirsch it is very clear. The ultimate journey is to follow the will of HaShem in every part of our lives. That was the basis of Na’aseh V’Nishma. Whatever HaShem says we will follow. This is true not just about the laws of the Torah. But in every part of our journey with HaShem, it is a constant state of Na’aseh V’Nishma. We are expected to always have the clear realization of the beauty to follow the will of HaShem. Therefore, the Pesukim of the journey are surrounded by those Nun’s.

The GRA connects this to a Gemarra in Berachos[5]. There it says that whoever says Ashrei three times a day is guaranteed that they are a citizen of Olam HaBa. Why? Ashrei has two features. One is the Pasuk of Poseach- the realization that all sustenance comes from HaShem. Second, the Pesukim follow the order of the letters of the Aleph Bais. That is why someone who says Ashrei merits such a great reward.

But there is no Nun in the Alpeh Bais of Ashrei? The Gemarra answers that it is found in Amos. There it says, “You have fallen and will not arise the maiden of Israel.” It is not in Ashrei because it is a Pasuk of punishment. But even so, the Pasuk of Samach of Ashrei, which follows Nun, is an allusion to its supports. It says, “HaShem supports those who are fallen.” The fallen is the maiden of Israel.

Nun represents falling down. But says the GRA that if Nun represents falling, then this upside down Nun in our Parsha is actually the correct way. That is what the Gemarra says, that Dovid supported the Nun with Ruach HaKodesh. In this context, it is traveling with the Aron. If one is with the Aron, then that is the Ruach HaKodesh that supports it.

The Maharal brings this point also. He writes that Klal Yisroel really does fall. We have no existence in this world. Even though he does not bring this here, but he says in a different place the following idea. The Moshiach is called Bar Nafli- one who falls. Klal Yisroel really does not exist in this world. As a spiritual entity in a physical world, we cannot exist. We only exist because of the assistance and support of the Ruach HaKodesh. As we begin to travel through the desert, we understand that the enemies and haters can overcome us. We can only survive if we travel with the Aron.

The Maharshal, brought by the Pischei Teshuva in the Halachos of writing a Sefer Torah, brings twelve ways that the upside Nun can be written. In Machshava what that means is that there are many ways that HaShem appears. In the Galus the Nun is backward, and upside down. But is always the Shechina traveling with us.

Therefore, our travels require Bitachon. We never know what HaShem will want from us. But we travel based on our original commitment of Na’aseh V’Nishma to HaShem. On the one hand that is a recipe for Nun-falling. But if we travel with the Aron, then that itself is the Shechina which supports us.

One last point. The Gemarra has another opinion about this Parsha. It says that the Parsha of the Nuns is in the wrong place, and will be moved to its correct place. This is that there is a correct place for when the victory over the enemies will take place. Now, we do not see it. But with Bitachen we will.

[1] במדבר פרק י (לה) וַיְהִי בִּנְסֹעַ הָאָרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה קוּמָה יְדֹוָד וְיָפֻצוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ וְיָנֻסוּ מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ מִפָּנֶיךָ: (לו) וּבְנֻחֹה יֹאמַר ׁוּבָה יְדֹוָד רִבֲבוֹת אַלְפֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:-

[2] שבת דף קטו/ב – תנו רבנן ויהי בנסוע הארון ויאמר משה פרשה זו עשה לה הקדוש ברוך הוא סימניות מלמעלה אין זה מקומה רבי אומר לא מן השם הוא זה אלא מפני שספר חשוב הוא בפני עצמו כמאן אזלא הא דאמר רבי – שמואל בר נחמן אמר רבי יונתן חצבה עמודיה שבעה אלו שבעה ספרי תורה כמאן כרבי מאן תנא דפליג עליה דרבי רבן שמעון בן גמליאל הוא דתניא רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר עתידה פרשה זו שתיעקר מכאן ותכתב במקומה ולמה כתבה כאן כדי להפסיק בין פורענות ראשונה לפורענות שנייה

[3] רש”י על במדבר פרק י פסוק כט –  נסעים אנחנו אל המקום – (ספרי) מיד עד ג’ ימים אנו נכנסין לארץ שבמסע זה הראשון נסעו ע”מ להכנס לארץ ישראל אלא שחטאו במתאוננים ומפני מה שתף משה עצמו עמהם שעדיין לא נגזרה גזרה עליו וכסבור שהוא נכנס:

[4] ספר במדבר פרק ט – (יח) עַל פִּי יְדֹוָד יִסְעוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל פִּי יְדֹוָד יַחֲנוּ כָּל יְמֵי אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכֹּן הֶעָנָן עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן יַחֲנוּ: (יט) וּבְהַאֲרִיךְ הֶעָנָן עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן יָמִים רַבִּים וְשָׁמְרוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת מִשְׁמֶרֶת יְדֹוָד וְלֹא יִסָּעוּ: (כ) וְיֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה הֶעָנָן יָמִים מִסְפָּר עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן עַל פִּי יְדֹוָד יַחֲנוּ וְעַל פִּי יְדֹוָד יִסָּעוּ:(כא) וְיֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה הֶעָנָן מֵעֶרֶב עַד – בֹּקֶר וְנַעֲלָה הֶעָנָן בַּבֹּקֶר וְנָסָעוּ אוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה וְנַעֲלָה הֶעָנָן וְנָסָעוּ:

(כב) אוֹ יֹמַיִם אוֹ חֹדֶשׁ אוֹ יָמִים בְּהַאֲרִיךְ הֶעָנָן עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן לִשְׁכֹּן עָלָיו יַחֲנוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא יִסָּעוּ וּבְהֵעָלֹתוֹ יִסָּעוּ:

[5] ברכות דף ד/ב –  אמר רבי אבינא כל האומר תהלה לדוד בכל יום שלש פעמים מובטח לו שהוא – בן העולם הבא מאי טעמא אילימא משום דאתיא באל”ף בי”ת נימא אשרי תמימי דרך דאתיא בתמניא אפין אלא משום דאית ביה פותח את ידך נימא הלל הגדול דכתיב ביה נותן לחם לכל בשר אלא משום דאית ביה תרתי אמר רבי יוחנן מפני מה לא נאמר נו”ן באשרי מפני שיש בה מפלתן של שונאי ישראל דכתיב נפלה לא תוסיף קום בתולת ישראל במערבא מתרצי לה הכי נפלה ולא תוסיף לנפול עוד קום בתולת ישראל אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק אפילו הכי חזר דוד וסמכן ברוח הקדש שנאמר סומך ה’ לכל הנופלים:

One thought on “Parshas BeHsloscha – The Upside Down Nunim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s