The Section Dealing with the Daily and Additional Offerings (28-29) as Part of the Parashot Dealing with the Mishkan in the Book of Bemidbar

  • Rav Elchanan Samet
 
 
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In memory of Rabbi Moshe ben Avraham Shraga Furst z”l
Niftar 17 Tammuz,  5771
Dedicated by his family.
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Dedicated in memory of my grandmother, Yitele Bat Nathan Hacohen z”l
whose yahrzeit is 11 Tammuz
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Sponsored by Adam and Nurit Lerer 
in loving memory of Adam’s grandfather, 
Murray Lerer / Moshe Yitzchak Ben Avraham Aryeh Z”L
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I. Why is the section dealing with the korbanot musaf in Parashat Pinchas?
 
The section dealing with the daily and additional offerings (korbanot musaf), which spreads out over chapters 28-29 at the end of our parasha,[1] gives rise to a question: Why was this section set in the book of Bemidbar, and why specifically in this place? This section constitutes an important part of the laws governing the offerings that were to be brought in the Mishkan, and these laws are concentrated in the book of Vayikra, which is called "the law of the priests." Thus, the natural place for the section dealing with the additional offerings is the first part of the book of Vayikra (chapters 1-7), in which the various types of offerings and the reasons for bringing them are spelled out in detail.[2]
 
However, the section dealing with the korbanot musaf has another dimension as well. It is also the section that spells out all of the special days of the year, and even briefly mentions some of the mitzvot that apply on each of those days, in addition to the korbanot musaf.[3]
 
From this perspective, this section completes the section dealing with the festivals in Vayikra 23 and is similar to it. These two sections are the only ones among all the sections dealing with the festivals that include all of those days in their proper order,[4] and both mention Shabbat before the festivals.[5] The section of the festivals in Vayikra 23 even alludes to its “partner” – the section of the korbanot musaf – in connection with each of the festivals, by way of the expression, "And you shall bring an offering made by fire to the Lord," or something similar, which refers to the korban musaf of that day.[6]
 
Thus, even this aspect of the section of the korbanot musaf associates it with the laws of the festivals in the book of Vayikra. Hence, we would not at all have been surprised had the section of the korban musaf been inserted before or after Vayikra 23.
 
The appearance of the section of the korbanot musaf in the latter part of the book of Bemidbar is puzzling, as this part of the book deals with what happened to the generation that would enter the land in the fortieth year of their wanderings in the wilderness, after the census that was meant to prepare for the division of the land to those who would take possession of it[7] and before other sections that were also a preparation for entering and taking possession of the land.[8]
 
Let us examine the words of the commentators and see whether they relate to our question, explicitly or by way of allusion.
 
II. Rashi based on the Sifrei: Exposition of the juxtaposition of the two sections
 
The Sifrei on our parasha (Pinchas 142) expounds the juxtaposition of the last event described before the section of the korbanot musaf to the beginning of the section itself. Based on the Sifrei, Rashi writes (28:2):
 
"Command the children of Israel" – What is said above? [Moshe said:] "Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation" (27:16). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: Instead of giving Me a command about My children, command My children regarding Me. This may be likened to a princess who was departing this world and gave her husband charge concerning her children, etc., as it is related in the Sifrei.
 
Here is what is stated in the Sifrei itself: 
 
"And the Lord spoke to Moshe, saying: Command the children of Israel, and say to them: My food which is presented to Me for offerings made by fire, of a sweet savor to Me, shall you observe to offer to Me in its due season." Why was this stated? Because it was stated: "Who may go out before them and who may come in before them" (27:17).
To what may this be likened? To a king whose wife was departing this world and was giving [her husband] charge concerning her children. She said to him: Please, take care for me of my children. He said to her: Instead of giving me a command about my children, command my children regarding me, that they not rebel against me and that they not conduct themselves toward me in a disgraceful manner. So the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moshe: Instead of giving Me a command about My children, command My children regarding Me, that they not rebel against Me and that they not replace My glory with alien gods. What is stated? "For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten their fill and waxed fat; and turned to other gods, and served them…" (Devarim 31:20). Therefore, it is stated: "Command the children of Israel."
 
On what is this exposition of the juxtaposition of these two sections based? At first glance, it seems to be based on the connection between the root peh-kof-dalet that appears in the words of Moshe to God: "Let the Lord… set [yifkod] a man over the congregation," and the root tzadi-vav-heh that appears in the words of God to Moshe: "Command [tzav] the children of Israel." These two roots are synonymous, and the midrash draws a connection between them: "Instead of giving me a command [mefakdeni] about My children, command [pekod] My children regarding Me." This is the reason that Rashi cites verse 16: "Let the Lord set," instead of verse 17, "who may go out before them," which was brought in the midrash itself.
 
While "there is no arguing with a derasha,"[9] it should be noted that Moshe does not "command" God to appoint a man over the congregation, but rather requests that God set an appropriate leader over the congregation. It should further be noted that the Sifrei itself did not cite the verse, "Let the Lord set," as we noted above.
 
This exposition of the juxtaposition of the two sections seems to be based on something else. Moshe's request of God, "Let the Lord set… a man over the congregation," is prefaced by an amazing verse:
 
27:15: And Moshe spoke to the Lord, saying:
 
This verse is the opposite of the verse that appears many times in the Torah, "And the Lord spoke to Moshe, saying," before each command given by God. Setting the verse, "And Moshe spoke to the Lord, saying," before the verse, "Let the Lord set," is what turns Moshe's words into a command directed to God that He take care of his children after Moshe's death.[10] For this reason, the Sifrei expounds that God's words to Moshe, "Command the children of Israel," constitute a counter-demand posed by God to Moshe.
 
In any event, we learn from these words of the Sifrei that by way of the offering of the daily and additional offerings, the children of Israel honor God in the manner that children honor their father the king.
 
Do the words of the Sifrei and Rashi contain an answer in accordance with the plain meaning of the text to the question that we asked at the beginning of this shiur? It would appear that this midrash establishes the time of the command regarding the korbanot musaf in accordance with its location in our book – in the fortieth year, following the census taken in Arvot Moav and after Yehoshua was appointed as Moshe's heir.
 
The midrashic nature of the connection between the adjoining sections should seemingly not influence the conclusion that seems to follow from the determination of the time of command from its location in Scripture. During all the years of Israel's wanderings in the wilderness, they never offered a korban musaf,[11] and this command therefore does not appear in the book of Vayikra, but rather here, when they were about to enter the land, where and only where they will begin to bring the korbanot musaf.
 
It is doubtful, however, that one can draw this far-reaching conclusion from the words of the Sifrei and of Rashi. The midrash relates only to the connection between Moshe's command to God and God's command to Moshe. That connection will not be affected in any way if we argue that the section of the korbanot musaf was told to Moshe before this and that is was recorded here in accordance with the phenomenon of something that happened earlier but is recorded only later. In fact, setting the section of the korbanot musaf in our parasha even though its contents were conveyed earlier only strengthens the need for the exposition of the juxtaposition of the two sections appearing in the Sifrei.
 
If our argument is correct, Rashi's words do not answer our question in accordance with the plain meaning of Scripture.
 
III. Ibn Ezra: “They should do this when they come to the Land of Canaan”
 
The Ibn Ezra (in his commentary to v. 1) accepts the possibility of establishing the time when the section dealing with the additional offerings was given based on its place in the book of Bemidbar:
 
The reason that the section dealing with the offerings follows [the previous one] is that it was then that God commanded Moshe to command the children of Israel about the offerings that they must bring, because he would not be entering the land with them.
 
It is clear from the Ibn Ezra's remarks that only upon entering the land would the people of Israel be obligated to bring the korbanot musaf.[12] Therefore, God commands Moshe in the fortieth year to instruct Israel about bringing these offerings after they have entered the land. The command is presented in this place because the previous parasha discussed Moshe's imminent death before Israel enters the land.
 
The Ibn Ezra’s words are an application based on the plain meaning of the text of the words of the Sifrei and Rashi derived in midrashic manner. The midrash, however, did not intend to fix the time of the command regarding the korbanot musaf, whereas the Ibn Ezra does.
 
From where does the Ibn Ezra derive that the offerings in our parasha were to be brought only after Israel enters the land? After all, the Torah does not say that the mitzva depends upon entering the land, and the halakhic definition of the commandments concerning the offerings is that they are an "obligation falling upon a person," and not a "mitzva that depends on the land," and it is clear that sacrifices were brought in the Mishkan during the period of the wilderness!
 
In two places in his commentary to the Torah, the Ibn Ezra expresses his opinion that communal sacrifices, including the daily offering, were not offered during the time of Israel's stay in the wilderness. The first place is in his long commentary to Shemot 29:42, regarding the daily offering:
 
"It shall be a continual burnt-offering throughout your generations" (Shemot 29:42) – They shall do this when they come to the land of Canaan [= and therefore it is "throughout your generations," but this does not mean that it should be brought in the wilderness]. For they only offered [daily] burnt-offerings for fifty days in the wilderness of Sinai [= beginning on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the day of the erection of the Mishkan, until the twentieth of Iyar, the day they set off into the wilderness]. This is: "It is a continual burnt-offering, which was offered on Mount Sinai" (Bemidbar 8:6). For the Mishkan was placed at the foot of the mountain… According to reason, the children of Israel offered burnt-offerings and sacrifices only at Sinai… And so it is written: "Did you bring to Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel" (Amos 5:22). For Israel stayed in the wilderness in the desert, in the waste, in the howling wilderness about thirty-eight years. From where did they have every day a half-hin of olive oil, and also wine?[13] And how could they have taken with them about fourteen thousand hin?[14] And from where did they have two one-year old lambs every day, and additional ones on Shabbat and the festivals?
 
The Ibn Ezra repeats these ideas in his commentary to the verse that he cites here from the book of Amos. There he expands on certain points and narrows the discussion about others. The Ibn Ezra's position stems primarily from logical arguments that follow from his realistic understanding of the period of the wilderness.
 
Already in his remarks in these two places, the Ibn Ezra is compelled to reconcile verses that appear to contradict his perception regarding the availability of animals that were fit for the altar in the camp of Israel. The people of Israel complain in our book (20:4): "And why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, to die there, we and our cattle?" And in 32:1, it is stated: "Now the children of Reuven and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle." According to the Ibn Ezra, it was only in the fortieth year that the people of Israel acquired livestock, as a result of their drawing closer to settled areas and as a result of the wars that they waged that year and the spoils that were collected from them.
 
There seems to be nothing forcing us to accept the position of the Ibn Ezra. It is reasonable to assume that Israel engaged in sheep and cattle raising in all the years of their wanderings in the wilderness. When they left Egypt, it is stated: "And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds and very much cattle" (Shemot 12:38), and they undoubtedly took those animals in order to graze them and allow them to multiply as they wandered in the wilderness. There were times, however, when these herds did not suffice to satisfy the meat needs of such a large camp, and a miracle was required (the first and the second) to add to the supply.
 
Furthermore, the area where Israel wandered in the wilderness between Egypt and the land of Canaan allows for sheep grazing; this is what the Bedouins do until this very day.
 
There is thus no argument from the reality of the period that negates the possibility that Israel offered daily and additional offerings during the entire period of their sojourning in the wilderness. (This matter does not depend on the issue concerning the libation offerings.)
 
IV. The Ramban: “In the wilderness they did not bring the korbanot musaf
 
            At the beginning of his commentary to the section dealing with the korbanot musaf brought on the festivals (28:2), the Ramban writes:
 
The reason for "Command the children of Israel, and say to them: My food which is presented to Me for offerings" – because after He said: "To these the land shall be divided" (26:53). He commanded to complete the laws of the sacrifices, that they should do that in the land [of Israel], for in the wilderness they did not offer the korbanot musaf, as I mentioned in Parashat Emor [Vayikra 23:2; his remarks are cited below]. Similarly, they were not obligated to bring the libations in the wilderness, as I explained in Parashat Shelach (15:2). And now those who would enter the land would be obligated there in all things – the daily and additional offerings, their meal-offerings and their libations.
Even though it is not stated here explicitly, "When you come to the land," this was already mentioned in the section dealing with the libations (15:2),[15] and it was alluded to in the first section dealing with the festivals (Vayikra 23).[16]
 
The Ramban refers to his remarks in his commentary to the book of Vayikra, and so we will direct our attention there. At the beginning of his commentary to the section dealing with the festivals (Vayikra 23:2), the Ramban writes:
 
"Speak to the children of Israel" – The priests do not occupy themselves with the festivals more so than do ordinary Israelites. Therefore, there is no admonition in this section to Aharon and his sons, but to the children of Israel, because there is no explanation of the korbanot musaf in this section [for were the korbanot musaf mentioned here, it would have been necessary to mention Aharon and his sons].[17] But the festivals are mentioned here in the law of the priests because they are days of [special] offerings, and an allusion is made to them, when it says: "And you shall bring an offering made by fire to the Lord," and it is stated at the end of the section: "These are the appointed seasons of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to bring an offering made by fire to the Lord, a burnt-offering, and a meal-offering, a sacrifice, and drink-offerings, each on its own day." But He did not explain at length the korbanot musaf because He did not want them to practice them in the wilderness. But after He counted those who would come into the land in the book of Bemidbar and commanded: "To these shall the land be divided," He explained all of the additional offerings in Parashat Pinchas, that they should do them in the land immediately and for all generations.
 
Later, the Ramban resolves two difficulties that are likely to be raised against what he said.
 
First, the High Priest's service on Yom Kippur (Vayikra 16) is similar to the korbanot musaf brought on the festivals, and it is explicitly stated at the end of the command in its regard: "And he [Aharon][18] did as the Lord commanded Moshe" (Vayikra 16:34). Thus, the offerings connected to the festivals were indeed brought in the wilderness! The Ramban concedes this and explains that it is for this reason that this verse regarding Yom Kippur states: “And he did as the Lord commanded Moshe” – indicating that he did this even in the wilderness.[19]
 
The second difficulty is that the section dealing with the festivals in Vayikra mentions the lamb-offering brought on the day of the waving of the omer and the offerings that are brought with the two-loaves offering, which are brought only in the land of Israel. The Ramban answers as follows:
 
Mention is made in this section of the lamb of the omer and the lambs of Shavuot because it is known that they are brought only in the land [of Israel], for they are brought because of the loaves, regarding which it is stated: "When you come into the land… and shall reap the harvest thereof, etc.," but the days themselves apply immediately.[20]
 
The Ramban seems to be saying that the korbanot musaf are not commandments that depend on the land of Israel; but they were nevertheless not brought in the wilderness. The Torah does not want to state explicitly that they are not to be brought in the wilderness, but only to alludes to this by way of its silence about them in the section dealing with the festivals. But the offerings that are brought with the omer meal-offering and with the two-loaves meal-offering do not fall into this gray area, and therefore the Torah spells out the obligation in their regard and explicitly makes them dependent on entry into the land of Israel.[21]
 
The Ramban's position is similar to that of the Ibn Ezra, but not as extreme. The Ramban conditions the bringing of the sacrifices on entry into the land only in the case of the korbanot musaf, but in his opinion the daily offering was brought already in the period of the wilderness, together with its meal-offering and libations, as was commanded in Shemot 29.[22]
 
What led the Ramban to this position? Unlike the Ibn Ezra, the Ramban does not present any arguments against the possibility that Israel brought the daily and additional offerings during the period of the wilderness.[23] Nor does he cite the verse in Amos 5:25 in support for his view.[24] What, then, brought the Ramban to claim that the korbanot musaf were not brought in the wilderness? The question that we posed at the beginning of our study is what brought the Ramban to this conclusion.
 
The Ramban notes in many places in his commentary that in his opinion, "the entire Torah was written in [chronological] order, except for where the text explicitly states that something was moved up or pushed off, and there too for some need and for good reason."[25] The Ramban applies this principle even to the question of the time when halakhic passages were stated. If the section of the korbanot musaf appears at the end of Parashat Pinchas, after the census was taken of the people of Israel in the fortieth year, the Ramban assumes that this is also when the section was told to Moshe. What this means is that prior to this command, Israel did not bring the additional offerings, simply because they had not been commanded to do so. Now the Ramban asks himself: Why was the command given to Moshe precisely at this time? His answer is: "After He said: 'To these the land shall be divided,' He commanded to complete the laws of the sacrifices, that they should do that in the land [of Israel]."
 
The korbanot musaf are not included among the commandments that depend on the land, and the Torah did not want to explicitly condition them on Israel's entry into the land. But according to the Ramban, the Torah "did not want them to practice them in the wilderness," and therefore the command that spells out these offerings was given to Moshe only in the fortieth year, in a context that alludes to the fact that they will be brought in practice only in the land of Israel.
 
For what reason did the Torah push off the observance of the commandment relating to the korbanot musaf? The Ramban does not explain this, and we are left perplexed by this question.
 
V. “Whatever is stated in the book of Bemidbar – was offered in the wilderness”
 
The Ramban was one of the greatest halakhists of all time. When he wrote his commentary on the Written Law, all of the Oral Law in its entirety was spread out before him, and he tried to reconcile the words of Chazal with the biblical text, even when he offered an explanation of his own. For this reason, some of the Acharonim were puzzled by the words of the Ramban cited in the previous section. Here is what R. Pinchas Halevi (author of the works Hafla'ah and Ha-Makneh on the Talmud[26]) had to say in his commentary to the Torah, Panim Yafot, to Vayikra 23:8, after citing the words of the Ramban:
 
I have not merited understanding his words, for they explicitly said in Menachot 45b: "R. Akiva said: …That which is stated in the book of Bemidbar [= the korbanot musaf in the book of Bemidbar] was offered in the wilderness, and that which is stated in the book of Vayikra [the offerings that accompanied the two-loaves offering in Vayikra 23] was not offered in the wilderness… Moreover, it is explicitly stated in Zevachim 101b: "It was taught: 'And Moshe diligently inquired for the goat of the sin-offering' (Vayikra 10:16) – he inquired about the goat offered on Rosh Chodesh" – and the goat offered on Rosh Chodesh is one of the korbanot musaf of Parashat Pinchas. There is also no reason for them to apply only in the land [of Israel], as they are an obligation of the body, and they are not like the omer and the two-loaves offerings, which are brought from the produce of the land…
 
R. Pinchas Halevi could have raised the first question from an explicit mishna in Menachot: “R. Shimon said: All that is stated in the book of Bemidbar was offered in the wilderness, and all that was stated in the book of Vayikra was not offered in the wilderness. However, when they came into the land [of Israel], they offered both."[27] The second question is based on the words of the gemara in tractate Zevachim that Moshe inquired (among the other goat sin-offerings that were offered on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mishkan) also about the goat sin-offering of Rosh Chodesh, for according to the prevailing view in the words of Chazal, the eighth day was Rosh Chodesh. It seems then that according to Chazal, the section dealing with the korbanot musaf, the only place to mention the korban musaf brought on Rosh Chodesh that includes a goat, was told to Moshe at the time that the Mishkan was erected, just like the sections dealing with the other offerings were told to him at that time.
 
Finally, R. Pinchas raises a logical difficulty against the Ramban: The additional offerings are an obligation falling on the body, and there is no reason that they should not have been offered prior to Israel's entry into the land.
 
Several Acharonim tried to explain the Ramban's words in such a way that they don't contradict an explicit mishna.[28] Of particular importance are the words of R. Aryeh Leib Steinhardt in his Kur Ha-Zahav commentary on the Ramban's commentary on the Torah:[29] "One should not be astonished if [the Ramban] explains an Aggada or something that happened in the past contrary to the words of Chazal." He brings examples from the Ramban's commentary where after bringing the interpretation of Chazal, he explains the matter in accordance with the plain meaning of the text, against Chazal. Therefore, "the clear truth is that [the Ramban] wrote this in accordance with the plain meaning" – that since the section dealing with the korbanot musaf was "said in Parashat Pinchas in the fortieth year, He did not want them to practice them in the wilderness."
 
We might have accepted the Kur Ha-Zahav's argument, had the Ramban mentioned in his remarks the mishna in Menachot and then explained the matter differently (as we find in the example that he brings of the Ramban's explaining the text in accordance with its plain meaning against the words of Chazal). To our great surprise, however, the Ramban completely disregards the explicit words of Chazal and explains the Biblical text as if it had never been discussed in the Mishna or Talmud!
 
VI. When was the section of the korbanot musaf stated?
 
Contrary to the words of the Kur Ha-Zahav cited at the end of the previous section, we are in doubt as to whether the Ramban is correct on the level of the plain meaning of the text. In section IV, we explained that the Ramban's main argument in support of his position that "in the wilderness they did not bring the additional offerings" is the location of the section dealing with the additional offerings in Parashat Pinchas in the fortieth year (and so writes also the Kur Ha-Zahav). The Ramban assumed, as stated, that the entire Torah was written in chronological order and that even the halakhic sections were given in the place where they are located, as long as there is no proof from the text that this is not the case.
 
Although it is true that with regard to the narrative portions of the Torah, the Ramban's position that in the absence of some compelling reason we must not veer from the order in which the Torah was written is more persuasive than the position of those who disagree with him (Rashi, Ibn Ezra), this is not the case with respect to the halakhic sections. The difference between these two literary genres is clear: The narrative section of the Torah is built on a chronological axis, and the various events described in the Torah usually advance along that axis. The halakhic sections of the Torah, on the other hand, do not depend on that chronological axis, and sometimes they are set into the Torah based on the context, rather than the time that they were told to Moshe. In our studies this year and in previous years, we brought several examples of this phenomenon.[30]
 
There are no clear-cut proofs to support the claim that the section dealing with the korbanot musaf, though recorded in the late place in which it is found, was told to Moshe on a much earlier date, at the time of the erection of the Mishkan, roughly at the same time that Moshe was given the sections dealing with the other offerings. We will, however, note the following points:
 
• In the body of the section, there is no expression that links it to its literary environment, the events described before it that took place in the fortieth year.
 
• There is also no indication in that section that what is stated therein is supposed to be implemented only in the future, after entering the land.[31]
 
• No distinction is made in the section between the daily offering and the korbanot musaf. The distinction that we make between the names of the offerings is not found in Scripture. In the Torah itself, the daily offering is a basic part of a system called: "My food which is presented to Me for offerings made by fire" (28:2). The commandment regarding the daily offering repeats a commandment that preceded it in Shemot 29 almost word for word,[32] just as other "perpetual" services in the Mishkan that are brought in the parashot dealing with the Mishkan in Shemot are repeated in the book of Vayikra.[33] It may be argued, based on what is stated in our parasha, that the additional offerings are simply an expansion of the daily offering (as their name implies).
 
It is not reasonable, then, to distinguish, as does the Ramban, between the daily offering, which had to be brought all forty years in the wilderness, and the offerings added to it, the obligation regarding which began only with Israel's entry into the land.[34]
 
• Finally, as the author of the Panim Yafot has shown, the words of Chazal in Zevachim and in Menachot indicate that they too understood that the command in our parasha was given much earlier and that it was recorded here in accordance with the phenomenon of something that happened earlier but is recorded only later.
 
But if we are correct and the commandment in our parasha was told to Moshe at an early stage with the rest of the laws of the sacrifices, and the people of Israel brought the additional offerings all forty years that they wandered in the wilderness, we come back to the question that was raised at the end of section I: Why is the section dealing with the additional offerings recorded in the book of Bemidbar, among the events that took place in the fortieth year?
 
VII. The sections dealing with the Mishkan in the book of Bemidbar
 
            The section dealing with the daily and additional offerings is not the only section relating to the Mishkan found in the book of Bemidbar. Many parts of our book deal with the Mishkan – its arrangement and the various services performed therein. The entire first part of the book of Bemidbar, chapters 1-10, deals with different aspects of the Mishkan, and even the second part of the book, which deals with Israel's wanderings in the wilderness, includes mitzvot connected to the Mishkan, in chapters 15 and 19; Parashat Korach is connected to the Mishkan and its service both in its narrative part and in the halakhic part that is appended to it.
 
The Ramban points to the centrality of the Mishkan in the book of Bemidbar in his introduction to the book:
 
After having explained the laws of the sacrifices in the third book [of the Torah], He begins now to arrange in this book the mitzvot that they were commanded with respect to the Tent of Meeting. He already warned about the impurity of the Sanctuary and of the sanctified objects for all generations [in several places in the book of Vayikra]. Now He will set boundaries for the Mishkan while it is in the wilderness, just as He set boundaries for Mount Sinai when the Glory was there. And He commanded [in several places in the book of Bemidbar]: "And the stranger who draws close shall be put to death," just as He stated there: "He will be surely stoned" (Shemot 19:13).
 
Here the Ramban points to a series of parallels between the limits that God set up around Mount Sinai when He revealed himself there to the people of Israel and the similar limits that He placed around the Mishkan that stood in the camp of Israel, "all a virtue of the Sanctuary and glory to it."[35]
 
At the end of his remarks, he writes:
 
And this book in its entirety deals with commandments for the time, about which they were commanded while they stayed in the wilderness and with the miracles that were performed for them… In this book there are no commandments for all generations, except for a few commandments relating to the sacrifices, which He began in the book of the priests but did not finish to explain them there, and He completed them in this book.
 
The Ramban points out two issues related to the Mishkan that are discussed in our book: limiting the people of Israel's access to the Mishkan and commandments connected to the sacrifices that complete the laws governing the sacrifices. The first issue seems to be a continuation of the book of Shemot (for the limits set on the Mishkan are similar to those set on Mount Sinai at the time of the revelation described in the book of Shemot), whereas the second issue continues the laws of the sacrifices in the book of Vayikra.
 
It turns out, then, that the matters pertaining to the Mishkan are divided between three books – Shemot, Vayikra, and Bemidbar – and the question arises whether this division between the three books is essential or accidental. In other words, are the matters pertaining to the Mishkan discussed in one continuum beginning in the middle of the book of Shemot and continuing to the book of Bemidbar, and the division into the five books of the Torah does not effect this continuity (even though it is certainly of importance regarding other matters)? Alternatively, perhaps each of these three books of the Torah deal with matters pertaining to the Mishkan from its own unique perspective, and thus we must consider the question of why certain issues relating to the Mishkan were discussed specifically in one book, while other matters were discussed in a different book.
 
This question was discussed extensively in our study of Parashat Teruma and Parashat Tetzaveh, as far as the division of the matters pertaining to the Mishkan between the books of Shemot and Vayikra. There it was argued that this division is very fundamental. The Mishkan discussed in the book of Shemot is the "Mishkan of meeting" between God and Moshe. Its purpose is to serve as a framework for God's continued revelation to Moshe (and through him to all of Israel) to complete the giving of the Torah to Israel. Its center is the ark and the kaporet of the keruvim on top of it, from where God speaks to Moshe and commands him regarding Israel; the role of the priests is to maintain the "four perpetuals" that accompany God's revelation and enable it.
 
The Mishkan discussed in the book of Vayikra is the "Mishkan of service." Its purpose is to serve the people of Israel as "the house of God where all of the sacrifices are offered to Him" (Rambam, beginning of Hilkhot Beit Ha-Bechira). Its center is the bronze altar that stands in the courtyard, where the sacrifices are offered. The role of the priests is to serve as Israel's agents in the offering of sacrifices.
 
These two activities are performed in the Mishkan in opposite directions, and thus they complement each other. In the Mishkan of meeting, the main activity is the appearance of the glory of God in the Mishkan "from top down"; in the Mishkan of service, the main activity lies in the actions of Israel (by way of the priests), who offer their sacrifices on the outer altar – "from bottom up."
 
Now the question arises as to whether the matters pertaining to the Mishkan that are discussed in our book express its own unique dimension, perhaps a third role of the Mishkan.
 
Indeed, there seems to be a common denominator to most of the matters pertaining to the Mishkan that are discussed in our book, and this common denominator teaches about a dimension different from that in the book of Shemot and in the book of Vayikra: The Mishkan is discussed in our book with respect to its place in the public life of Israel.
 
It is not a vertical line that stands at the center of the discussion, "top down" or "bottom up," but rather a horizontal line that connects the Mishkan to the camp of Israel in a bilateral relationship.
 
In the first chapters of our book, there is a discussion of the role of the Mishkan as the center of the camp of Israel. All of the counts, the arrangements of camping and setting forth, the roles of the Levites – all of these discuss the very organization of the people of Israel around the Mishkan and their constant relationship with it.[36] The Mishkan leads Israel in all its journeys; at the time of camping, it serves as the heart of the camp, and everyone camps around it and in relationship to it. From it comes the news of embarking on a journey when the cloud goes up from it. The order of the departure is connected to the Mishkan's disassembly and the way it is carried in the camp; the ark of God goes out before the camp to seek out a resting place for them.
 
In the books of Shemot and Vayikra, there is a discussion of the consecration of the priests to their service in the Mishkan and their dual role therein as ministers of God who tend to the four "perpetuals" (in the book of Shemot) and as the agents of Israel to offer their sacrifices (in the book of Vayikra. In the book of Bemidbar, there is a discussion of the consecration of the Levites to their various roles in the Mishkan. The Levites are clearly the representatives of Israel, who come on their behalf to represent all of the people of Israel in their responsibility for the Mishkan – its disassembly, its reassembly, and its transport while wandering in the wilderness. Therefore, the Levites come in place of all the firstborns of Israel, and therefore everything connected to them is discussed in our book and not in the previous books. Through the Levites, the people of Israel fulfill their obligation toward the Mishkan, and through them the Mishkan is guarded against a breach of the holy on the part of strangers.
 
At the beginning of the command to build the Mishkan, there is an allusion to this aspect of the Mishkan as the source of holiness in the entire camp of Israel:
 
Shemot 25:8: And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
 
It does not say "in it" (which would have been appropriate for the Mishkan's role as the place where God reveals Himself to Moshe), but rather "among them" – that is to say, God's dwelling in the Mishkan has a communal dimension that relates to the entire camp of Israel.[37]
 
The consecration of the Mishkan in the first days of the month of Nisan is described in all three books and beautifully illustrates the difference between them with respect to the Mishkan. The book of Shemot describes the erection of the Mishkan on the first of Nisan and the cloud's covering of the Tent of Meeting: "And the glory of the Lord filled the Mishkan." In this way, the Mishkan became the "Mishkan of meeting" between God and Moshe, and the continuation of this event is indeed the first meeting between them in the Mishkan (at the beginning of the book of Vayikra). The book of Vayikra describes the consecration of the "Mishkan of service" on the eighth of Nisan,[38] by way of Aharon's offering of sacrifices on the altar and a fire issuing forth from before God and devouring the burnt-offering and the fats as an expression of their favorable reception (Vayikra 9:24). The book of Bemidbar describes the consecration of the Mishkan over the course of the first days of the month of Nisan, during which time the twelve tribal princes brought their offerings for the consecration of the Mishkan. This expresses the connection of the entire people of Israel to the Mishkan, not just as those who offer sacrifices there, but as those who are responsible for its order, for the princes also brought wagons and oxen for the Levites to use to transport the Mishkan. On those twelve days, each tribe celebrated the dedication of the Mishkan and its affiliation with it on its own day.
 
As we have already said, the relationship of the Mishkan to the camp is a bilateral relationship. On the one hand, the sanctity of the camp stems from the sanctity of the Mishkan within it, and this is reflected both in the arrangement of the camp around the camp and in various mitzvot.[39] On the other hand, the proper existence of the Mishkan is made possible thanks to the activity of the people of Israel relating to the Mishkan. The offerings of the tribal princes are an example of this relationship that flows from the people of Israel and finds its way to the Mishkan, but this is not the only example.
 
VIII. The daily offerings and the korbanot musaf: An expression of Israel’s relationship to the Mishkan
 
We can now go back to the section of the korbanot musaf and clarify its place in the book of Bemidbar. The daily offerings and the additional offerings are clear communal offerings that are not connected to a particular goal: They do not come to atone for sin,[40] like the special offerings brought by the High Priest on Yom Kippur; they are not meant to thank God for His kindnesses that reveal themselves in the produce of the land, like the omer offering and the two-loaves offering (with the animal offerings that are brought with them). The purpose of the daily offerings and the korbanot musaf is to serve as "My food which is presented to Me for offerings made by fire," which is offered to God in his Temple on specified days. These offerings constitute the ongoing service of the Mishkan, which manifests, more so than any other activity, the relationship between the people of Israel and the glory of God that dwells in His Temple.
 
This mutual relationship between the Mishkan and the people of Israel is one of the central themes of the book of Bemidbar, and therefore it is the book in which the section dealing with the daily offerings and the korbanot musaf must be found! This section is not a late completion of the laws of the sacrifices, as the Ramban defined it in the introduction to his commentary to Bemidbar. Rather, it is a unique section, which defines the role of Israel in the preservation of the orderly activity of the Temple.
 
The offerings that are discussed in the book of Vayikra are, for the most part, the offerings of individuals, and even the few communal offerings that are discussed there are those that express a specific "religious" connection between Israel and God (atonement of sin, thanksgiving). But the daily offerings and the korbanot musaf are an expression of the day-to-day connection between God and His people, which is reflected in the existence of the Mishkan and later in the existence of the Temple. This connection, as stated, is one of the themes of the book of Bemidbar.
 
A clear expression of our position that the section dealing with the daily and the additional offerings does not belong to the "law of the priests," but rather to our book, which deals with the relationship of between all of Israel and the Mishkan, lies in the fact that the priests are not mentioned at all in this relatively large section (even though it is clear that they are the ones who offer these sacrifices). The only addressees of this section are the people of Israel.
 
28:2: Command the children of Israel and say to them: My food which is presented to Me for offerings made by fire…
30:1: And Moshe told the children of Israel according to all that the Lord commanded Moshe. 
 
What remains to be clarified is why the section dealing with the daily offerings and the korbanot musaf appears in the latter part of the book of Bemidbar. Would it not have been more appropriate for it to come in the first chapters of our book, which all deal with the relationship between the Mishkan and the camp of Israel? After all, those chapters describe the dedication of the princes – the offerings brought by the tribal princes, as representatives of the people to the Mishkan at the time of its consecration. Would it not have been appropriate to juxtapose the offerings of the princes to the daily and additional offerings, which express the people's connection to the Mishkan?
 
The separation between these two sections dealing with offerings is deliberate. It is true that the first chapters of our book (1-10) deal with the Mishkan's place in the camp of Israel and the mutual relationship between the two, but the nature of this relationship is appropriate only for the time when they traveled through the wilderness. The offerings of the tribal princes was a one-time event, which expressed the people's relationship to the Mishkan at the time of its consecration. Similarly, the rest of the signs of this relationship that are discussed in these chapters, even if they are not one-time events, are unique to the period of the wilderness.
 
The section dealing with the daily offerings and the korbanot musaf, however, was told not only to the generation of the wilderness, but also to the coming generations, and therefore its place is not at the beginning of our book. It comes after the census taken in the fortieth year, a census that was meant to prepare the way for entering the land and taking possession of it, and in this way it alludes to the fact that the relationship between the people and the Mishkan, reflected in the daily offerings and the korbanot musaf, will continue for all generations, even after Israel enters the land of Israel.[41]
 
(Translated by David Strauss)
 

[1] The section dealing with the korbanot musaf concludes with Bemidbar 30:1: "And Moshe told the children of Israel according to all that the Lord commanded Moshe." It is clear that the intention of this verse is "to say that Moshe repeated and said this section to Israel" (Rashi). This verse is similar to the verse that concludes the section dealing with the festivals in Vayikra 23:44: "And Moshe declared to the children of Israel the appointed seasons of the Lord." The fact that the verse belongs to the section that precedes it also follows from the Masoretic division of the parashot: A new Masoretic parasha begins in verse 2, which is also the beginning of a new weekly parasha and of a new seder according to the rite of Eretz Yisrael. It seems that whoever divided the book into chapters mistakenly understood verse 1 as the opening verse of the following section, which deals with oaths.
[2] Vayikra chapters 8 and 10 continue to deal with sacrifices – not commandments for future generations, but the sacrifices that were offered during the seven days of milu'im and on the eighth day.
[3] For example, 28:16-17: "And in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, is the Lord's Passover… seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten"; 29:1: "It is a day of blowing the horn to you"; 29:7: "And you shall afflict your souls"; and others. Regarding all the festivals, the verses mention that they are days of holy convocation on which servile work is prohibited (and on Yom Kippur, "You shall do no manner of work"). It should be noted that only the festival of Sukkot is not mentioned by name, nor is there any mention of any mitzva unique to it, besides its korbanot musaf.
[4] Both start from the first month, the month of Nisan, and specify the festivals in accordance with their calendrical order, with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur between Shavuot and Sukkot. No other section dealing with the festivals includes both the pilgrimage festivals and Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
[5] However, the reason for including Shabbat at the beginning of the section is different in the two places. In our parasha, the reason is that Shabbat has a korban musaf, which must be specified, and it is clear that this specification must precede the korbanot musaf of the festivals. (For this same reason, the daily offering is mentioned before the korban musaf of Shabbat, and the korban musaf brought on Rosh Chodesh follows it). In the section dealing with the festivals in Vayikra 23, Shabbat is mentioned before the festivals for the reason discussed in our study of Parashat Emor, second series, section IV.
[6] The exception there is Shavuot, regarding which there is no mention of an obligation to bring an offering made by fire to the Lord, even though its korban musaf appears in the section dealing with the korbanot musaf (Bemidbar 28:26-31). We discussed the reason for this in the end of the study mentioned in the previous note, in the paragraph in which appears note 28.
[7] See 26:52-56.
[8] Chapter 32, as well as the end of chapter 33 (vv. 50-56) and chapters 34-36.
[9] The earliest source of this saying – ein meshivin al ha-derash – is in the Torah commentary Pa'ane'ach Raza of R. Yitzchak Halevi, Bereishit 3:7, s.v. va-yede'u ki arumim hem.
[10] We discussed the uniqueness of verse 15 at the end of our study of Parashat Pinchas, second series, section VII, in the wake of the remarks of R. Yitzchak Shilat. There we cited the words of Bemidbar Rabba on vv. 15-16, that with these words Moshe "came with force."
[11] Similarly, the command regarding the daily offering is included in our parasha, but Israel was commanded about the daily offering already in the framework of the building of the Mishkan in Shemot 29:38-42, and it is one of the four "perpetuals" that accompany God's meeting with Moshe in the Mishkan. It stands to reason, then, that this offering was brought during the entire period of Israel's wandering in the wilderness.
Moreover, in the section dealing with the libations in our book (15:1-16), it is stated: "When you are come into the land of your habitations, which I give to you," but the libations that accompanied the daily offering are mentioned already in Shemot 29:40; see the Ramban's view about this, cited below, note 22.
[12] Of course, this cannot be said about the daily offering, which Israel was obligated to bring from the time of the erection of the Mishkan. The Ibn Ezra, in the continuation of his words here, therefore explains its inclusion in the section of the korbanot musaf in two ways:
He began by mentioning the daily burnt-offering, even though it was mentioned at first, [because] (1) it is possible that what is mentioned is on Mount Sinai, (2) or so that there should be an orderly system of offerings.
According to the first explanation, the daily offering was brought only as long as Israel camped at Mount Sinai, but when they wandered in the wilderness, the daily offering was not brought. Therefore, the command about the renewal of its offering in the land of Israel appears in our parasha. See also Ibn Ezra’s remarks in his commentary to Shemot 29:42, cited below.
According to the second explanation, even if Israel brought the daily offering during the entire period of the wilderness, the command about its offering is included in our parasha so that the entire system of offerings – for the entire year – should be laid out there.
[13] A lamb's meal-offering requires a quarter hin of oil, and a quarter hin of wine is required for the libation (Bemidbar 15:4-5). Thus, the two lambs brought as the daily offering require a half hin of oil and a half hin of wine.
[14] This is the amount of oil and wine required for the daily offerings for thirty-eight years.
[15] In the section dealing with the libations, it is explicitly stated (15:2): "When you are come into the land of your habitations." But this does not necessarily mean that the korbanot musaf also depend upon entering the land. Even with respect to the libations themselves, there is a view in the Sifrei (Shelach 107) that it is only an individual whose obligation to bring a libation begins with Israel's entry into the land, but this does not apply to communal offerings.
[16] Where is it alluded in the section dealing with the festivals in Vayikra 23 that the korbanot musaf should be brought only in the land of Israel? The Ramban seems to be referring to what he writes there (cited below): "But He did not explain at length [in the section dealing with the festivals in Vayikra] the korbanot musaf, because He did not want them to practice them in the wilderness." If this is what he means, we must say that this is a weak allusion, because the fact that the korbanot musaf are not spelled out there can be explained in simple fashion: The text there relies on our parasha, and there is no need to specify the offerings twice.
[17] These remarks of the Ramban are puzzling: In the section dealing with the korbanot musaf in the book of Bemidbar, which the Ramban sees as completing the laws of the sacrifices in the book of Vayikra (see above), it is stated: "And the Lord spoke to Moshe, saying: Command the children of Israel…" At the end of that section, it is stated: "And Moshe told the children of Israel according to all that the Lord commanded Moshe." But Elazar the priest and his priestly brothers are not mentioned at all in that section! See our remarks regarding this matter in the last section of this study.
[18] So explains Rashi there: "When Yom Kippur arrived, he did as is here set forth in order." So too explains the Rashbam. It is, however, possible to understand that the subject of the sentence is Moshe, and that he did as God had commanded him to do at the beginning of the section: "Speak to Aharon your brother."
[19] The Ramban does not explain why in his opinion the Yom Kippur service differs from the service of the korbanot musaf, but this is easy to understand: It is intended to atone for the Mishkan and for the people of Israel of all their sins once a year.
[20] It is not clear to me whether he means that the day of the waving of the omer offering and the day of the bringing of the two-loaves offering were to be observed immediately, in which case there is room to discuss his position; see our study of Parashat Emor, second series, note 27. Alternatively, he may be referring that the days in the section of the festivals in general were to be observed immediately.
[21] It should be noted that in the mishna (Menachot 4:3), Shimon ben Nanas maintains that "when Israel was in the wilderness for forty years, they offered the lambs [= the two lambs brought as peace-offerings that accompany the two-loaves offering] without the bread." However, this entire mishna cannot be reconciled with the words of the Ramban; we will discuss this later in the study.
[22] The Ramban says this in his commentary to Bemidbar 15:2: "Because in the wilderness they were not obligated to bring the libations, except for with the daily offering, about which it is stated: 'and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink-offering' (Shemot 29:40), for there it is stated: 'at the door of the Tent of Meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak there to you' (Shemot 29:42)."
[23] He also could not have adopted claims similar to those of the Ibn Ezra, for the primary burden in the sacrificial service is the daily offering (and it is about that the Ibn Ezra speaks), but the Ramban maintains that the daily offering was in fact  brought in the wilderness.
[24] As we said in the previous note, this verse could not serve the Ramban, for, in his opinion, the daily offering was brought throughout the forty years of Israel's wandering in the wilderness.
[25] The quote is taken from his commentary to the beginning of Parashat Korach, in one of his many arguments with the Ibn Ezra, "who says in many places that there is no chronological order in the Torah."
[26] Ashkenaz, second half of the eighteenth century (died 1805).
[27] Indeed, R. Zvi Hirsch of Berlin, in his glosses and novellae to Menachot (published in the Vilna Shas at the back of the volume of Menachot) asks from our mishna (45b): "From here I have a difficulty with the words of the Ramban in Parashat Emor, at the beginning of the section dealing with the festivals, on the verse: 'Speak to the children of Israel,' where he wrote the opposite; see there."
[28] See Keli Chemda on the Torah of R. Meir Dan Plotzky, Vayikra 23:1; Meir Einei Chakhamim of R. Meir Yechiel Halevi of Ostrovtza, sec. 82. Both of them discuss the words of the Ramban, but stray from what he had in mind.
[29] Published in Jerusalem in 1936.
[30] Here are some examples: The section dealing with the red heifer belongs to the parashot dealing with purity and impurity in Vayikra 11-15, even though it was recorded in Parashat Chukat, before the beginning of the account of the events befalling the generation that would enter the land in the fortieth year (see our study of Parashat Tazria-Metzora this year). The section dealing with the trumpets belongs to the parashot dealing with the Mishkan in Shemot, but it was recorded in Parashat Beha'alotekah before the account of Israel's setting forth from Mount Chorev (see our study of Parashat Beha'alotekha this year). The section dealing with the daily offering in Shemot 29 belongs to the section containing the command to fashion the burnt-offering altar in Parashat Teruma, but was fixed at the end of the great command regarding the building of the Mishkan (see our study of Parashat Tetzaveh, second series).
[31] The Ramban was sensitive to this difficulty and wrote in his commentary to the beginning of our parasha: "Even though it is not stated here explicitly, 'When you come to the land,' this was already mentioned in the section dealing with the libations, and it was alluded to in the first section dealing with the festivals." See our critique of these words in notes 15-16 above.
[32] See our study of Parashat Tetzaveh, second series, sections II and III.
[33] The command regarding the lighting of the perpetual lamp in Shemot 27:20-21 is repeated in Vayikra 24:1-4; the command regarding the shew bread in Shemot 25:30 is repeated in greater detail in Vayikra 24:5-9. See also what we wrote about these repetitions in our study of Parashat Tzav, section III.
[34] The Ibn Ezra, cited above in section III, does not distinguish between the daily offering and the korbanot musaf. According to him, even the daily offering was not brought in the wilderness, except for on the fifty days between the consecration of the Mishkan and Israel's setting forth on their journey from Mount Chorev. The commandment in our parasha refers, in his opinion, to the renewal of the obligation to bring the daily offering, beginning upon Israel's entry into the land.
[35] With these remarks, the Ramban continues the broad comparison that he draws in several places in his commentary between the revelation at Mount Sinai and the Mishkan. See, for example, his remarks at the beginning of Parashat Teruma.
[36] See our study of Parashat Bemidbar, section VI.
[37] See the study referenced in the previous note, note 26.
[38] See our remarks regarding this date in our study of Parashat Shemini.
[39] The sanctity of the Mishkan dictates special caution that it not be breached by strangers, but it also requires that the unclean be sent out of the camp (5:1-4). Of course, this sanctity expresses itself also in positive categories, i.e., the mitzva of the priestly blessing, the source of which is the Mishkan, and from there: "And they shall put My name on the people of Israel, and I will bless them" (see our study of Parashat Naso), and the mitzva of the trumpets, which creates a relationship between the Mishkan and the camp of Israel in different ways and in different situations (see our study of Parashat Beha'alotekha).
[40] Apart from the goat that is added to the korbanot musaf of Rosh Chodesh and the festivals and serves as a sin-offering.
[41] a. The Ramban is correct that the juxtaposition of the section of the korbanot musaf to the census at Arvot Moav was meant to allude to the bringing of these offerings in the land of Israel, but according to what we have said, this does not negate their being offered already in the period of the wilderness.
b. The section of the korbanot musaf follows the census taken in Arvot Moav, just as the section dealing with the offerings brought by the tribal princes follows the census taken during the second year at Mount Sinai. Just as the census at the beginning of the book was meant for the needs of traveling through the wilderness, so too the offerings of the tribal princes were meant for the people of that historical period. And just as the census in Parashat Pinchas was meant for the need of taking possession of the land of Israel for future generations, so too the section dealing with the korbanot musaf is for future generations.