The Chafetz Project -
Melekhet Machashevet Citations
Ki Tissa

    The following are online citations from Moshe Chafetz's 1710 work Melekhet Machashevet, found via an unfiltered Google search and other occasional searches.

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    Parshat Ki Tissa
    (From Exodus)

    "A Census That Makes Sense" -- Rabbi Norman Lamm, The Jewish Center, Shabbat Shekalim 1966

    p. 3: "As G-d told us through Moses, kl atem ha-me'at mi-kol ha-amim -- you are the smallest amongst the people. Our berakhah, our blessing, will come when we concern ourselves with the substance of our Jewishness, and give up mere fascination with numbers.

    A slight modification makes of this an even more beautiful interpretation. Rabbi Mosheh Hefetz adds that the word negef is related to, and in this case means, the Hebrew word negifah -- collision, conflict, controversy. Thus, each Jew, whether rich or poor, was told to give the same aount, for if this were not set by the Torah as a standard amount, people would involve themselves in all kinds of conflict, would display arrogance and enmity, and there would result a social breakdown, a negef or negifah! The principle that emerges from this, is that when we shirk our duty and shift our responsibility to others, when we fail in our own individual obligations and therefore cause burdens to be placed upon others unfairly, then there will result negef; emnity, hatred, and controversy."

    p.4: "To summarize, therefore, we found three interpretations of the plague that follows upon counting. The Zohar interprets it as meaning the assertion of quality over quantity. Ibn Ezra and Rabbi Mosheh Hefetz tell us that it refers to the social disruption attendent upon the shirking of responsibility."


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