hebrew
1)

What is the significance of this punishment?

1.

Rashi: Refer 1 to 32:20:1:1*.

2.

Ramban: Refer to 32:27:5:3, 4.

3.

Targum Yonasan: Refer to 32:20:1:3.


1

See Sifsei Chachamim here.

2)

Why did the plague occur here, after Hashem had already punished the chief sinners and instructed Moshe to lead the people to Eretz Yisrael?

1.

Ramban #1: It was an additional layer of atonement to render them worthy of achieving that end.

2.

Ramban #2: The decree had been issued already before but took effect only now.

3)

Why does the Torah not inform us how many people died in the plague (as it did by Korach [Bamidbar 17:14]) and by Ba'al Pe'or [Bamidbar, 25:9])?

1.

Ramban #1, Moshav Zekenim #1: The plague was not one that took immediate effect; It took the form of a decree that they would all die prematurely. 1

2.

Ramban #2, Moshav Zekenim #2: The Torah does not always inform us as to the number of people who died. 2


1

As we find in Shmuel 1, 26:10 (Ramban).

2

Ramban, Moshav Zekenim: See for example, Bamidbar 11:1, and Bamidbar 11:33. The Torah does however, present the number of people killed by the Bnei Levi, in praise of the Leviyim, who placed their faith in Hashem and were not afraid of the victims overpowering them.

4)

Why does it say "Al Asher Asu Es ha'Egel Asher Asah Aharon"?

1.

Ramban, Moshav Zekenim: The plague did not kill those who bowed to it and sacrificed to it, rather, to those who congregated on Aharon and brought gold to him. Aharon made it upon their instructions.

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