hebrew
1)

Why are there dots on "Aharon"?

1.

Rashi (based on Bechoros 4a): Because he was not counted together with the Levi'im. 1


1

See Torah Temimah. Per haps this is due to the fact that Aharon is on a par with Moshe (See Rashi, Shemos 6:26), and consequently, just as Chazal say that Moshe was equal to all of Yisrael, so too was Aharon equal to all of Levi. See also Sifsei Chachamim.

2)

Why does the Torah omit 300 Levi'im from the total (Gershom, 7,500; Kehas - 8,600; and Merari, 6,200), thereby enabling them to redeem the extra 273 Bechoros?

1.

Rashi (citing Bechoros, 5a): Because they were themselves firstborn, and it sufficed for them to exempt themselves from having to be redeemed.

2.

Rashbam (on Pasuk 49): Because one firstborn cannot redeem another firstborn. 1


1

See Bechoros, 5a where the Gemara cites both of the reasons given by Rashi (refer to 3:39:2:1) and the Rashbam.

3)

What is the significance that the number of Levi'im was 22,000?

1.

Da'as Zekenim: Hashem brought this number 1 of angels to Sinai ("Ribosayim Alfei Shin'an" -Tehilim 68:18), for he knew that Levi will not sin with the Egel.

2.

Gur Aryeh (10:36): the Shechinah does not rest on less than 22,000 Yisraelim (Yevamos 64a), and the Leviyim were the Machaneh of the Shechinah. 2


1

Really, there were 22,300 Leviyim (refer to 3:39:2)! For this, there is no reason not to count firstborns! (PF)

2

Refer to 3:39:152:1*. Also among the other Shevatim, the smallest was just over this number (Shimon in the census below (26:14) had 22,200). Perhaps this is why Bnei Yisrael said that a Shevet was lost from Yisrael when only 600 men remained from Binyamin (Shoftim 21:3). (PF)

QUESTIONS ON RASHI

4)

Rashi writes that the dots hint that Aharon was not counted together with the Levi'im. Everywhere, dots detract from the simple meaning. Here, the Pshat is that he counted the Levi'im!

1.

Riva (1:44): Perhaps Rashi means that he was not Nimneh (appointed) with Moshe to count them. However, his words imply unlike this. 1


1

It seems that Ramban (1:47) wanted to explain like this, but he brings from Bechoros 4a that Aharon was not counted at all. (PF)

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