Being out of order has never been so peaceful... The gemarra (Pesachim 6b) learns an important principle from the first pasuk of perek 9 of our sedra. Noting that this perek occurred in Nissan - a month before the opening of parshas Bamidbar - the gemarra essentially comments ‘this shows us that there is no chronological order in the Torah.’ In other words, the Torah does not always follow chronological order - sometimes events in later sedra actually occurred before events in earlier sedras. [Incidentally, there is an important machlokes between the Ramban (Vayikra 16:1, Bamidbar 16:1) and Rashi as to how freely we are allowed to use this rule to dub events ‘out of place;’ the Ramban is much more reluctant to use this dictum than Rashi seems to be.] Anyway, why is it like this; why did the Torah not present its events in chronological order? For the answer to this question, here’s an absolute peach of a Midrash, cited by the Rav Yosef Engel’s Gilyonei HaShas on Pesachim 6b. The Midrash writes that the Torah mixed up the order in order to prevent destructive arguments. How? For if one person gets called up to the Torah for shlishi, the next guy who gets called up might be annoyed that he was lower down the order than Mr shlishi. Thus, the Torah wrote its events out of order, so that Mr revii would have no claim on Mr shlishi - for perhaps the events which occurred in the revii guy’s aliyah was chronologically first. So the Torah presented events out of chronological order to preserve peace. Beautiful.

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