Shabbat Parashat Bamidbar| 5766
Bamidbar | | 1/1/2005
In describing the future of his offspring, Hashem told Avraham to look at the sky and try to count the stars. Just as one cannot count the stars, so too Bnei Yisrael would not be able to be counted (Bereishit 15:5). Can Bnei Yisrael and the stars really not be counted? In our parasha, Hashem told Moshe to count Bnei Yisrael, at one of the heights of Jewish history. Regarding stars, Yeshaya describes Hashem as the One who created the stars and “brings forth their legions by number, He calls to all by a name” (Yeshaya 40:26). In Tehillim (147:4) it similarly says: “He counts a number for the stars, to all He gives names.” Let us learn about the special type of counting that applies to Bnei Yisrael and the stars.
The Rules and Procedures of our beit din have the following provision: “The sides obligate themselves to pay for the expenses of adjudication and the lawyer’s fee, as beit din will decide, at its discretion.” On the matter of payment for the costs of adjudication there are ostensibly contradictory gemarot. Sanhedrin 31b brings a machloket whom we listen to when litigants cannot agree whether to adjudicate locally or at a regional court.
The question now is whether adjusting a valve so that milk will end up in a container where it can be used is a melacha. Such a consequence of the action of adjusting a valve seems equivalent to the case of one who directs the flow of water so that it drowns someone. The gemara (Sanhedrin 77b) says that if the water flowed directly to the victim (koach rishon), the culprit is liable. So too, in our case, the flow into the clean container is direct, and the one who adjusted the valve is considered to have done the melacha. The Biur Halacha (on 252:5) learns from that gemara to the laws of Shabbat that one who makes water flow into a watermill violates the melacha of grinding if the grinding begins right away.
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).