The Chafetz Project -
Melekhet Machashevet Citations

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

    Not all links are still active, but relevant text is excerpted here in full.

    Parshat Naso
    (From Numbers)

    Weekly Bulletin, Adath Yeshurun, May 2010

    "Chazal ask a very interesting question: "When does this type of situation arise, when would there be this problem with infidelity?" This section of the Torah begins with the words 'ish, ish', or literally translated "a man, a man", which translates as "any man". The M'leches Machsheves writes: "When does a marriage break apart? When the husband is 'ish, ish', living only for himself and concerned only for his well-being. That is the moment of the beginning of the process of the degeneration of the relationship and the possibility this concept of Sotah could arise.""

    Weekly Gilayon, Parshat Naso (5761)

    Excerpt: "Rabbi Moshe Chafetz, Melakhet Mahashevet: The text opens with "and on the day that Moshe completed:.....I must say that the princes of Israel who we mentioned above (Numbers 1:4) (were) modest, humble and did not seek greatness and awe, nor did it occur to them to be called anything other than the heads of their fathers house. For this reason they were privileged to be the heads of the thousands of Israelites, "For, though G-d is exalted, He notes the lowly" (Psalms 138:6) and G-d will extol a person who humbles himself. Even during the time they ensued* their way and did not contribute to the preparation of the Sanctuary but rather at the end, the text mocks them "the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, offered" (7:2). It is his intention that they offered themselves saying that they have no merit only to be the heads of their fathers' house and not princes. This was the reason for extracting them and extolling them all the days of old (according to Isaiah 63:9)."

    From the Answers:

    2. In verse 2 it is stated: "and the priests of Israel offered" and the object is missing. What did they offer? Rabbi Moshe Hefetz explained the lack of the object saying that they (the princes) are the object, that they offered themselves, they relinquished their respect and allowed the Israelites to be the first to contribute to the Sanctuary. Therefore, what is the meaning of "the heads of their father's houses - the princes of the tribes", after all it states that they were the princes of Israel? But the Israelites pointed to them (accepted them) as the princes of Israel but they, themselves, considered themselves as heads of heir fathers' house and what is written testifies to their being princes of the tribes.

    6. According to the Midrash, the story here praises them; they learned a lesson from the matter of the Sanctuary and this time they were the first to offer their offering.

    Rabbi Moshe Hefetz: Although in the beginning they acted with humility and modesty, "and they offered", "and they brought" by themselves. However, in the end, they became proud and were pushed ahead to be the first = on the day it (the Sanctuary) was anointed in order to earn respect.

    Weekly Gilayon, Parshat Naso (5760)

    G.Rashi Num.4:49: Thus were they numbered as the Lord commanded Moses: Those counted who served from thirty to fifty years of age.

    R.Moshe Hefetz - Melekhet Mahshevet (first printed in Venice In 1710) "According to the Commandment of the Lord were they numbered": ... hence I would interpret (tifkod and the other derivatives of p k d here) as office and authority... for we find the expresion mishmeret (charge) with the service of all the Levites, i.e., they guarded and ruled over it. Thus "their charge shall be under the hand of Itamar the son of Aharon the priest" - he was their commander and assigned to every one his service and his burden. It was necessary to write the authority and appointment were determined by G-d, lest it be said that it was Moses's plan in favor of his brother and sons.

    Now the count taken upon G-d's command had already been mentioned, "These were those who were numbered of the families of the Kehati... whom Moses and Aharon numbered according to the Commandment of the Lord". This is repeated in the case of the sons of Gershon and again with the sons of Merari. However, the Torah had to inform concerning the authority and state who would organize the service and the loading, and Moses did this too upon G-d's command and not on his own initiative as it is stated (v.49) "According to the Commandment of the Lord were they put in charge (pakad) by the hand of Moses", adding "everyone according to his service and according to his burden", i.e., he assigned to each man his service and burden as he was commanded. The appointment of officers - which is the meaning of pekudav - was also done according to G-d's instructions and not on Moses's initiative.

    3. What is the difference between Rashi and Melekhet Mahshevet in the interpretation of the possesssive pronoun of pekudav?

    4. To whom does R.Moshe Hefetz refer when he says: "who would organize the service and the loading"?

    5. Whence does he derive the great necessity of emphasizing that (Moses) did not make the appointments on his own initiative but that he acted in all cases upon G-d's Command?

    From the Answers:

    3. According to Rashi the Levites were counted by Moses, according to R.Moshe Hefetz, by the officers in charge. ( *)At the end of the answers you will find the initial part of R.Moshe Hefetz comment on this verse.)

    *) For VI/3 answer we present the first part of R.Moshe Hefetz's comment: R.Moshe Hefetz: Melekhet Mahshevet (first printed in Venice In 1710): V.49: And their numbers as the Lord commanded Moses: Since it is stated he counted them why repeat and their numbers etc. Why - as Mizrahi writes - did Rashi have to say that their number refers to the census taken of the thirty-to-fifty-year old? Furthermore it has already been said in each case "from thirty years and upward etc.". Moreover why "his" and not their "number"? And if, as Mizrahi says, that it refers to the counter, it should also be in the plural since Aharon also counted? Also why is the number stated after stating their burden and service? Hence I would interpret ...

    Rabbi Frand on Parshas Naso

    Excerpt: "I saw an interesting comment from Rav Moshe Chafetz. Rav Chafetz explains that the Torah is using the extra "ish" to tell us that sometimes the situation of the suspected wife results from the husband being too much of an "ish". The husband asserts himself too much -- the "ish" is too demanding. The man is too interested in the "ish" part of the marriage and not enough in the "isha" [woman, wife] part of the marriage."

    Without sounding TOO sacrilegious: Throwing out there the notion that the Torah would say something as humorous as a man being "too much of a man" for his wife... yeah, we MUST be related.

    St. Louis Kollel -- Parshat Naso

    Excerpt: "It is peculiar that the Torah employs this style of "Ish Ish" to connote the idea of "any man." The normal way to convey that message is by using the term "ish" (man) only one time. HaRav Moshe Chafetz explains that the Torah is using the extra "ish" to tell us that sometimes the situation of the suspected wife results from the husband being too much of an "ish." The husband asserts himself too much - the "ish" is too demanding. The man is too interested in the "ish" part of the marriage and not enough in the "isha" (woman, wife) part of the marriage. If one had to pick one word to describe the quality or fault upon which most marital problems begin one would have to pick the word "selfishness." And the word that would be picked to describe the key to a successful marriage is "selflessness." Sometimes the problem is the husband asserting too much of the "ish" part of the marriage, and sometimes the problem is the wife asserting too much of the "isha" part of the marriage. Marriages have problems when one of the partners places too much emphasis on him or herself. When marriages have such problems, Sotah situations can develop. (Adapted from Rav Frand)"

    Sources in Judaism -- Parshat Naso

    Hamaayan/The Torah Spring -- Parshat Naso

    Excerpt: "Rav Moshe Chafetz z"l (1664-1712) explains: The Torah is teaching leaders to be humble. Thus, to "compensate" for Nachshon's being listed first, he is not described as a nasi, i.e., he is given no honorific. Netanel, who is listed second, is not called "the leader of the sons of Yissachar," but just "leader of Yissachar," a modest title. Only from the third nasi on is the full title given.

    (Melechet Machshevet)


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