Beha'alotcha, Siman 12 בהעלותך, י״ב
1 א

אֶסְפָה לִי שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמֹשֶׁה, אֶסְפָה לִי שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ, אָמַר מֹשֶׁה, הֵיאַךְ אֲנִי עוֹשֶׂה לְהָבִיא אוֹתָן מִכָּל הַשְּׁבָטִים. אִם נָבִיא חֲמִשָּׁה מִכָּל שֵׁבֶט וְשֵׁבֶט, אֵין עוֹלִין לְמִנְיַן שִׁבְעִים, נִמְצְאוּ שִׁשִּׁים. וְאִם נָבִיא שִׁשָּׁה מִכָּל שֵׁבֶט וְשֵׁבֶט, עוֹלִין לְמִנְיַן שְׁנַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים. וְאִם נָבִיא שִׁשָּׁה מִשֵּׁבֶט זֶה וַחֲמִשָּׁה מִשֵּׁבֶט אַחֵר, הֲרֵינִי מֵטִיל קִנְאָה בֵּין הַשְּׁבָטִים. מֶה עָשָׂה. נָטַל שִׁבְעִים פִּתְקִין וְכָתַב בָּהֶן זָקֵן, וְנָטַל שִׁבְעִים פִּתְקִין חֲלָקִין וּטְרָפָן וּנְתָנָן בַּקַּלְפִּי, וְאָמַר לָהֶם: בּוֹאוּ וּטְלוּ פִּתְקֵיכֶם. כָּל מִי שֶׁהָיָה עוֹלֶה בְּיָדוֹ פֶּתֶק כָּתוּב בּוֹ זָקֵן, הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁנִּתְמַנָּה זָקֵן, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה. אָמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה, עֲדַיִן הִיא מַחֲלֹקֶת בַּדָּבָר. שֶׁיָּכֹל לוֹמַר לוֹ, אֵין כָּאן פֶּתֶק אֶחָד כָּתוּב בּוֹ זָקֵן. שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, מִיָּד הָיָה עוֹלֶה בְּיָדִי. וְהֵיאַךְ עָשָׂה. אָמַר רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה, כָּךְ עָשָׂה מֹשֶׁה, נָטַל שִׁבְעִים וּשְׁנַיִם פִּתְקִין וְכָתַב עַל שִׁבְעִים מֵהֶן זָקֵן, וּשְׁנַיִם פִּתְקִין חֲלָקִים, וּטְרָפָן וּנְתָנָן בַּקַּלְפִּי, וְאָמַר לָהֶם: בּוֹאוּ וּטְלוּ פִּתְקֵיכֶם. אִם עָלָה בְּיָדוֹ פֶּתֶק כָּתוּב בּוֹ זָקֵן, הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁנִּתְמַנָּה זָקֵן. וְאִם עָלָה בְּיָדוֹ פֶּתֶק חָלָק, הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁלֹּא נִתְמַנָּה. וְהַמְּמֻנֶּה אָמַר לֵיהּ: הֲרֵי שָׁם פֶּתֶק אֶחָד כָּתוּב בּוֹ זָקֵן, אִלּוּ הָיִיתָ רָאוּי לְהִתְמַנּוֹת, הָיָה עוֹלֶה בְּיָדְךָ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁעָשָׂה לָהֶם כָּךְ, נִתְמַנּוּ הַזְּקֵנִים. אֶלְדָּד וּמֵידָד הָיוּ שָׁם וּמִעֲטוּ אֶת עַצְמָם. אָמְרוּ, אֵין אָנוּ כְּדַאי לִהְיוֹת בְּמִנּוּי הַזְּקֵנִים. וְעַל שֶׁמִּעֲטוּ אֶת עַצְמָם, נִמְצְאוּ יְתֵרִין עַל הַזְּקֵנִים בַּחֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים. הַזְּקֵנִים לֹא נִתְנַבְּאוּ אֶלָּא לְמָחָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְאֶל הָעָם תֹּאמַר הִתְקַדְּשׁוּ לְמָחָר. אֲבָל אֵלּוּ נִתְנַבְּאוּ מַה שֶּׁעָתִיד לִהְיוֹת בְּסוֹף אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְיִשָּׁאֲרוּ שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים וְגוֹ'. וּמֶה הָיוּ מִתְנַבְּאִין. יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִין, עַל מַפַּלְתּוֹ שֶׁל גוֹג הָיוּ מִתְנַבְּאִין. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִין, הָיוּ מִתְנַבְּאִין וְאוֹמְרִים: מֹשֶׁה יָמוּת בַּמִּדְבָּר, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ מַכְנִיס אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לָאָרֶץ. תֵּדַע לְךָ, שֶׁכָּךְ הָיוּ מִתְנַבְּאִין. שֶׁכָּךְ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אָמַר לְמֹשֶׁה, וַיַּעַן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן מְשָׁרֵת מֹשֶׁה. וּכְתִיב: וַיָּרָץ הַנַּעַר וַיַּגֵּד לְמֹשֶׁה. מִי הָיָה זֶה, גֵּרְשֹׁם בֶּן מֹשֶׁה. הַזְּקֵנִים לֹא נִכְנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ, אֲבָל אֶלְדָּד וּמֵידָד נִכְנְסוּ. אֶלְדָּד, הוּא אֱלִידָד בֶּן כִּסְלוֹן. וּמֵידָד, זֶה קְמוּאֵל בֶּן שִׁפְטָן. הַזְּקֵנִים לֹא נִתְפָּרְשׁוּ שְׁמוֹתָם, וְאֵלּוּ נִתְפָּרְשׁוּ שְׁמוֹתָם. וְהַזְּקֵנִים נִפְסְקָה נְבוּאָתָן, שֶׁהָיְתָה מִשֶּׁל מֹשֶׁה, שֶׁכֵּן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אָמַר לְמֹשֶׁה, וְאָצַלְתִּי מִן הָרוּחַ אֲשֶׁר עָלֶיךָ וְשַׂמְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם. אֲבָל אֵלּוּ הָיְתָה נְבוּאָתָן מִן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַתָּנַח עֲלֵיהֶם הָרוּחַ. וְאִם תֹּאמַר, הַזְּקֵנִים שֶׁהָיְתָה נְבוּאָתָם מִשֶּׁל מֹשֶׁה, שֶׁמָּא חָסֵר מִנְּבוּאָתוֹ כְּלוּם. מָשָׁל לְנֵר שֶׁהָיָה דָּלוּק וְהִדְלִיקוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כַּמָּה נֵרוֹת וְאוֹר דְּלִיקָתוֹ לֹא חָסֵר. אַף כָּאן מֹשֶׁה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיְתָה נְבוּאַת שִׁבְעִים זְקֵנִים מִשֶּׁלּוֹ, לֹא חָסַר מִנְּבוּאָתוֹ כְּלוּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְלֹא קָם נָבִיא עוֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶׁה (דברים לד, י).

(Numb. 11:16), “Gather Me seventy men [from the elders of Israel].” When the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “Gather Me seventy men,” Moses said, “How shall I manage to get [them] from all the tribes?48Numb. R. 15:19; Sifre to Numb. 11:24-26 (95). If I get five each from every tribe, they will not add up to the number seventy. There will [only] be sixty. And if we get six each from every tribe, they will add up to the number seventy-two. But if we get five from one tribe and six from another, I shall be imposing jealousy among the tribes.” What did Moses do? R. Judah says, “He took seventy pieces of paper49Petaqim; cf. Gk.: pittikia (“notes”). and wrote ‘elder’ on them. Then he took another (seventy) [two] blank pieces of paper, mixed them up, put them in an urn,50Gk.: kalpis. and said to them, ‘Come and take your pieces of paper.’ Whoever took a paper with ‘elder’ written on it knew that he had been appointed an elder. Whoever came up with a blank paper in his hand knew that he had not been appointed an elder.” R. Nehemiah said to him, “There would still have been a controversy, since [a loser] could have said to him, ‘Where is a paper with "elder" written on it? If it had been there, it would have come up in my hand.’” Therefore, how did he manage for them? R. Nehemiah said, “He took seventy-two pieces of paper and wrote ‘elder’ on them plus [seventy-]two other blank pieces of paper. Then he mixed them up and put them in the urn. He said to them, ‘Come and take your papers.’ If a paper with ‘elder’ written on it came up in [a person's] hand he knew that he had been appointed an elder, but if a blank one came up in his hand he knew that he had not been appointed. Then the officer-in-charge would say to him, ‘Look there is another paper there with “elder" written upon it. If you had been worthy of being appointed, [a paper with "elder"] would have come up in your hand.’” When [Moses had followed this procedure] the elders were appointed. Eldad and Medad were there, but they excluded themselves. They said, “We are not worthy to be in the number of the elders.” Now because they excluded themselves, they were found [to have become] superior to the elders in five respects. The elders only prophesied for the morrow as stated (in Numb. 11:18), “And you shall say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves for the morrow,’” but these men prophesied what was going to happen at the end of forty years as stated (in Numb. 11:26), “But two men had remained in the camp; [the name of the one was Eldad and the name of the other was Medad…; and they were…] prophesying in the camp.” But what were they prophesying? Some say [they were prophesying] about the downfall of Gog and Magog, while others say they were prophesying that Moses would die and Joshua would bring Israel into the Land. You yourself know that they so prophesied, since it is what Joshua told Moshe (in vs. 28), “Then Joshua ben Nun, Moses' attendant from his youth, answered.” And it is written (in vs. 27), “But a lad ran and told Moses.” And who was it? It was Moses' son, Gershom. The elders did not enter the land, but these did enter the land. Eldad is [so listed] (in Numb. 34:21) [as] Elidad ben Chislon. Medad is [so listed] (in Numb. 34:24) [as] Kemuel ben Shiphtan. The elders were not designated by their names, but these were designated by their names. The elders had their prophecy cease, but these did not have their prophecy cease. It is so stated (of the seventy in Numb. 11:25), “they prophesied but did not continue.” In the case of the elders, their prophecy was from what belonged to Moses, even as the Scripture has said (in Numb. 11:17), “and I will set aside some of the spirit which is upon you and put it on them”; but these [two] had their prophecy from that which belonged to the Holy One, blessed be He, as stated (in Numb. 11:26), “and the spirit rested upon them.”
Now if you say, “Since the elders had their prophecy from what belonged to Moses, might it not have lessened his prophecy somewhat?” [The answer is] no. To what may Moses be compared? To a lamp which was lit and51Sifre to Numb. 11:17 (93). everyone lights up from it; yet its light is in no way diminished. So also in the case of Moses. Although the prophets took of his prophecy, the prophecy of Moses was in no way diminished. [It is so stated] (in Deut. 34:10), “And never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses.”