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  • Sefer Bamidbar

snake

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Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Tammuz 1, 5779
Question
In the weekly Parsha, we read instructions to make a snake and put it on a stick? what does it mean?
Answer
ב"ה Shalom, Rashi explains the symbolism of the snake as the symbol of slander. This motif of the snake is found in many places in the Rabbinic literature. They slandered the manna which came from heaven, therefore to terminate the plague which befell them they had to look at the snake to be reminded of the slander. The purpose of putting it on a banner was to hold it high so that it be seen by all. To which our Rabbis in the Mishnah Rosh Hashana (3:8) question: "Is it the snake which causes death? Is it the snake which causes life? Rather, as long as Yisrael looked upward and subjugated their heart to their Father in heaven, they were healed and if not they perished. " All the Best
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