The Living Torah is a weekly publication distributed in and around North West London. Written by members of Hasmonean High School's Sixth Form programme - we aim to bring you divrei torah for your Shabbat table each and everyweek.

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Friday, 26 February 2010

Where is Moshe?

One of the most famous pieces of the Baal HaTurim appears in this Parashah. He points out that Moshe's name is not mentioned in this Parsha. However, once Moshe is introduced in Shemot, every Parsha has Moshe's name in it. (The Ittur Bikkurim points out that while some other Parshiot omit Moshe's name, they are all monologues by Moshe. Tetzaveh, therefore, is the only Parsha said by Hashem to Moshe without Moshe's name being mentioned.) 

The Baal HaTurim explains that when Moshe is arguing with Hashem to save and forgive Bnei Yisroel, he says that if Hashem wipes out Bnei Yisrael, his own name should be wiped out as well. As we know, Hashem does forgive Bnei Yisrael but the curse of a tzaddik is fulfilled even if the condition is not fulfilled. Therefore, to carry out the curse, Moshe's name is "wiped out"from this Parsha. 

There are many questions on this, the most obvious being, why this Parsha? The episode of the threat to wipe out Bnei Yisrael only takes place in Ki Tisah, next week? The Peirush HaRosh (quoting R' Dan Ashkenazi) answers that in the conversation, Moshe says, wipe me out from Your book that You have written. Therefore, it implies a book that You have just written i.e. the previous Parsha: Tetzaveh. 

The Vilna Gaon points out two things. First, he says that the date of Moshe's death - 7 Adar - normally falls in the week of Tetzaveh. Secondly, he says that whilst Moshe's open name is omitted, by writing out the letters of Moshe's name, mem, shin, heh, we can see that removing the first letter of each (i.e. the open name) the gematria of the hidden part is 101, the same as the number of pesukim in this week's Parsha. 

Both of the points of the Vilna Gaon seem hard to understand. Why should Moshe's name be hinted at in this fashion? 

This Parsha deals with the laws of the Kohanim. The power of Aharon came to him through the Torah. (R' Yosef Ya'avetz says that the crown of kingship and priesthood depend on that of Torah.) The Torah was received and transmitted by Moshe. 

R' Zadok HaCohen says that the Torah mentions names to describe people's core nature. Moshe Rabeinu was not involved much in the jobs of theKohanim. Therefore, his name is not mentioned in this Parsha. However, via the hidden force of Torah, Kohanim received power, so too, when describing Aharon's jobs, Moshe's hidden involvement is hinted at.

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