Who is Chur?

ובצלאל בן אורי בן חור  לח:כב

The pasuk is making a point to trace Betzalel’s lineage back to his grandfather, Chur.  This is not the first time we discover Chur.  At the end of parshas Beshalach (17:12), Aharon and Chur held up Moshe Rabbeinu’s arms while Yehoshua led the battle against Amaleik.  At the end of parshas Mishpatim, Moshe Rabbeinu tells the People that, while he is gone, anyone who has a din Torah that needs to be settled should bring it to Aharon and Chur.  Also in parshas Ki Sisah, Chur comes up.  Rashi brings the Medrash that what Aharon saw (32:5) is the murder of Chur when he rebuked the People for wanting to make the eigel ha’zahav.

Who was Chur?  He was the son of Miryam and Kaleiv.  Rashi tells us so three times!  In Beshalach, in Mishpatim, and also in Vayakhel (35:30) when the pasuk mentions that Betzalel is the grandson of Chur.  Throughout Shas, Rashi repeats explanations and does not rely on your memory.  Once it’s two or three daf away from where he first explained it, Rashi does not hesitate to explain again.  Sometimes, if it is a lengthy exposition, he’ll tell you, “I already explained this in such and such place.”  That is certainly quite reasonable.  Otherwise, though, he reiterates things often and does not rely on us to remember what was said.  Rashi was Rashi.  As such, it is not really such a kashya that Rashi tells us who Chur was three times.  However, it is possible that there is a specific significance to the fact that Rashi “introduces” us to Chur three times.

The three times that Chur is mentioned being involved in something represent three different capacities that he filled.  The first one, chronologically speaking, is when Moshe Rabbeinu appointed him – together with Aharon – as the authority for dinei Torah.  True, it was before Matan Torah, but they still had what they had.  Sheva mitzvos, Shabbos, Parah, and certain dinim.  And those halachos needed arbitration.  That was Chur functioning in the capacity of koach ha’Torah.

Next, is the capacity of the power of teffilah.  The Medrash says that Moshe va’chaveirav went up to daven for Klal Yisrael when they fought against Amaleik.  That is quite a statement.  The Rambam makes clear that Moshe Rabbeinu was the adon ha’neviim – possessed of his singular manifestation of nevuah – already from the time he went to Mitzrayim to redeem the People.  It makes sense that once he was the adon ha’neviim, he didn’t have any “friends”.  Yet because they davened together with him, they are called his friends.  And who were those friends?  The mefarshim explain it is referring to Aharon and Chur.  From this we see Chur’s capacity of teffilah.

Finally, Chur embodied the power of mesiras nefesh.  When he saw that the People were going to sin with the eigel ha’zahav, he took a firm stand against it.  And by so doing, he literally gave his life for kvod Shamayim.  Chazal tell us – there is at least one opinion in Chazal that says this explicitly – that the construction of the Mishkan was an atonement for the sin of the eigel ha’zahav.  Because Chur was moser nefesh to try to stop the eigel ha’zahav from occurring, he merited that his grandson – Betzalel – was the one who led the construction of the Mishkan.

Provided courtesy of VayigdalMoshe.com