Parshas Chukas: Ksav Sofer – Hashem Says Serpent And Moshe Makes A Snake?

serpent flagpoleBnei Yisroel complained about their food situation and blamed it on Hashem and Moshe Rabbeinu. Suddenly there was an attack of poisonous snakes and people were dying. Hashem tells Moshe “Aseh Licha Saraf V’Sim Oso An Nes”, make for yourself a Serpent and place it on a flagpole (Chukas 21:8). The next pasuk says “Vayas Moshe Nichash Nichoshes”, Moshe made a copper snake. Why did Moshe make a Nachash if Hashem told him to make a Saraf?

The Ksav Sofer answers that Am Yisroel did two things wrong. They spoke about Hashem and Moshe. To do tshuva for speaking about Hashem they needed to contemplate a Nachash reminiscent of the Nachas HaKadmoni in Gan Eden who spoke bad about Hashem and incited Chava. In Pirkei Avos the Mishna (2:11) says to tread carefully with Talmidei Chachomim since “Lichishasan Lichishas Saraf”, their bite is like that of a Saraf.

Hashem was concerned about the Kavod of Moshe and insisted he rectify this with a Saraf. Moshe did not care about his Kavod but rather that of Hashem so he made a Nachash.

Maybe we could add that this is seen in the words of Hashem, Aseh Licha Saraf, make for yourself a Saraf. It is for you, for your kavod. Revach

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