ויהי בנסע הארן ויאמר משה קומה ה' ויפצו איביך וינסו ממשנאיך מפניך: ובנחה יאמר שובה ה' רבבות אלפי ישראל (י:לב-לו)
“And when the Ark would journey, Moshe said, ‘Arise Hashem, and let your enemies be scattered, let those who hate You flee from before You.’ And when it rested, he (Moshe) would say, ‘Reside tranquilly, Hashem, among the thousands of Israel.’”
Perek 10 Pesukim 35-36 in this week’s Parsha describe Moshe’s comments as the Aron would either travel or rest. This section seems out of place because the stories both before and after it have nothing to do with the Aron. What is even stranger is that surrounding the two Pesukim are upside-down Nun’s, which seem to separate the Pesukim from the rest of the book. The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat speaks of these Pesukim as a separate “book.” Rashi comments that this section is put here to separate three sins that Bnai Yisrael committed consecutively, so that the three sins would not have to be listed all together. The sins that Bnai Yisrael committed after this section, was their complaining for meat and their rejection of the Man. The sin that they committed beforehand is based on the words דרך שלשת ימים, a three day journey. Rashi explains that it was a three-day journey that only took them one day, thanks to Hashem, who was ready to take Bnai Yisrael into the Land of Israel immediately. However, as we will read next week, Bnai Yisrael lost that chance through the sin of the מרגלים (the spies), and could not enter for another forty years.
But why is the significance of the section that it is put here, amongst these sins? Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch points out that the Pesukim in the secluded section are quotes of Moshe. Although the mood of the people was distraught, as shown in their sins, Moshe was always cheerful when it came to serving Hashem. He did not speak of the people’s wrongdoings, rather of Torah and the Aron HaKodesh. But why these exact words? Rav Hirsch answers that Moshe is outlining the future of Bnai Yisrael. When Bnai Yisrael will be exiled, and the Aron will be forced to move from place to place, Moshe is asking that Hashem scatter and destroy the enemies of Bnai Yisrael. However, when Bnai Yisrael will rest peacefully, with the Aron, Moshe is praying that Hashem will bestow His שכינה (his presence) on all the thousands of Bnai Yisrael.
With the difficult situation in Israel, we can only pray that Bnai Yisrael soon will rest peacefully, and that Hashem will make sure that His presence is felt throughout the world.