We are again confronted with the phrase “b’Yad Moshe” in this week’s Parshah (Shemini) [v’Yiqrah 10.11]: “and to instruct the children of Israel regarding all the statutes which the L-RD has spoken to them through [b’Yad] Moses.”
While I appreciate Rashi’s comment to B’midbar 17.5, I am not satisfied with his comment.
Rashi to B’midbar (Numbers) 17.5 states that “It (b’Yad Moshe) is used as an intimation to those who rebel against the institution of the priesthood: that they will become stricken with leprosy, just as Moses was stricken with it on his hand, as it is said, (Exodus 4:6) “and he took it (the hand) forth and, behold, it was leprous, white as snow”. And on account of this (that he insisted on offering incense in spite of the priests’ protest) Uzziah was stricken with leprosy (II Chronicles 26:19) (Midrash Tanchuma, Tzav 1 on צו; cf. also Sanhedrin 110a and Rashi on Isaiah 6:4).”
Moshe’s hand becoming leprous was to be for a sign to the Yisraelites that HaShem had met with Moshe, not that he rebelled against the institution of the priesthood. (Shmoth 4.8-9)
Rashi’s comment to B’midbar 12 states that Leprosy is a punishment for the sin of slander, (as in the case of Miriam criticizing Moshe to his brother Aharon for taking Tzipporah, a Chushite [Ethiopian] as a wife); and we do not find anywhere in Torah that Moshe slandered anyone! So, Rashi’s comment does not fit the circumstances of his hand becoming leprous.
It seems to me that the reference to b’Yad Moshe is related to Moshe writing the Sefer Torah and placing it before the Children of Yisrael; as in, Shmoth 34.27 and Devarim 31.22.
Every Shabbat we say, “v’Zoth haTorah asheer sam Moshe liphney Bney Yisrael al pi HaShem b’yad Moshe.” (“This is the Torah that Moses placed before the Children of Yisrael, [Devarim 4.44] upon the command of HaShem by the hand of Moses.” [B’midbar 9.23])
Devarim 31.9 “And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bore the ark of the covenant of the L-RD, and unto all the elders of Israel.”
Devarim 31:25-29 “Take this book of the Law and place it besides the Ark….”
Moshe actually did something with his hands: Besides having taken the “Staff of God” in his hand and waving it over the waters; he wrote the Sefer Shirah Torah and he placed the Torah before the entire Nation of Yisrael.