Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 17   No. 38

This issue is sponsored jointly
By an anonymous sponsor
In honour of the Bar Mitzvah Shabbos of
Michael ben David Spielberg n"y
grandson of Sroli and Gisela Spielberg n"y
of Atlanta, Georgia

Parshas Pinchas

Pinchas - Eliyahu
(Adapted mainly from Rabeinu Bachye)

When There's Din Down Here

"Pinchas ben Elazar removed My anger from on B'nei Yisrael, and I did not annihilate B'nei Yisrael " (25:11).

This is an extreme example of Chazal's adage (which we cited briefly in the main article in Balak) 'When there is Din down here, then there is no Din up there!'.

If a sin is committed, then there will be ramifications. That is inevitable. The question is what form those ramifications will take. If we make sure that the correct action is taken and that the culprit is duly dealt with, then there will be no Divine reaction. If we do not, then G-d will.

In the current Pesukim, we have a case where, as the Torah clearly states, Yisrael were worthy of annihilation, and indeed, the plague that took twenty-four thousand lives would have killed them all, had Pinchas not promptly taken the law (and his own life, as Chazal explain) into his own hands and acted the way that he did. He killed only two people, but his act of zealousness stopped the plague, saving the whole of K'lal Yisrael from devastation.

Little wonder that his reward was so multi-faceted.


A Covenant of Peace

"Therefore, I am giving him a covenant of peace" (25:12).

R. Bachye writes that he heard how the word "Sholom" is the acronym of 'she'lo lamus' (not to die), reinforcing the tradition that Pinchas was Eliyahu ha'Navi. who never died.

As further proof, he cites Eliyahu's own words to Hashem "Please take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors (who died)", indicating that he had reached an age far exceeding his predecessors. And because he rejected this world, G-d granted him immediate access to the world to Come, and he went up in a storm-wind to Heaven.


Midah ke'Neged Midah


The covenant of peace that Pinchas earned was Midah ke'Neged Midah, says R. Bachye. Peace, he explains, is where things that belong together fuse and become one. The unnatural fusion of Zimri and Kozbi, created diversity, which in turn, disturbed the peace that existed between G-d and Yisrael. By destroying it, Pinchas reinstated it. Hence G-d blessed him with a covenant of peace.


What Happened to the Salt?

"And it shall be for him a covenant of everlasting Kehunah " (25:13).

The Torah does not mention 'a Covenant of salt' here, as it does in Parshas Korach with regard to Aharon and his sons. The Torah mentions salt there, E. Bachye explains, because Aharon and his sons were being promised the Kehunah in both worlds, incorporating the covenant at the time that it was instituted and its preservation - to be sustained in this world from G-d's Table (i.e. the Matnos Kehunah), and to be the inheritance of G-d in the World to Come. This explains the double expression used by the Torah in connection with the Kohanim "I am your portion (in this world) and your inheritance" (in the World to Come). And that is why the Torah mentions 'salt' there, because salt contains both qualities - it has the ability to make the food that we eat tasty, and it also preserves food for later consumption (incorporating the covenant and the preservation).

Pinchas on the other hand, did not need special preservation, because he drew his strength from the Midas Chesed, as is hinted in his name, which is the acronym of 'P'nei Chesed', or as others explain, 'P'nei Chas' (with the same connotations). And it is on that account that G-d specifically blessed him with eternity. Consequently, he had no need of the Covenant of Salt.


Eliyahu, Din and Rachamim

In spite of the previous explanation, see what the author wrote earlier (in Pasuk 12):

'It may well be that Pinchas became known as Eliyahu, because ultimately, he was removed from this world and became totally spiritual ('godly'); that is why his name contains the two Names of G-d "Keil" and "Havayah", the former signifying the Midas ha'Din, the latter, the Midas Rachamim. This explains the covenant of peace that he merited (because in keeping with what we just learned, when Rachamim and Din live in harmony, there is peace).

It also explains why among the many miracles that Eliyahu performed, he punished an officer of fifty together with his fifty men who were sent to capture him (through the Midas ha'Din), and he brought back to life the son of the Shunamis (though the Midas Rachamim).

Furthermore, the author writes, Eliyahu's G-dliness is reflected in the Gematriyah of his name, fifty-two, which is twice the Name (Havayah) of Hashem.


The Sevenths are Special

Pinchas, R. Bachye points out, was the seventh generation from Ya'akov (Ya'akov, Levi, K'has, Amram, Aharon, Elazar and Pinchas). Chanoch too, was the seventh generation after Adam (Adam Sheis, Enosh, Keinan, Mahalalel, Yered, Chanoch). He, like Eliyahu, was taken alive from this world.

This corresponds, says the author, to the seventh day - Shabbos, which is the day of life and rest!

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Unknown Numbers

"These are the numbers of B'nei Yisrael six hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and thirty" (26:51).

Both this number and the number in Bamidbar (six hundred and three thousands thousand, five hundred and fifty), says R. Bachye did not comprise the absolute total of K'lal Yisrael, who are numberless. This is because in both locations it was only those who were 'from twenty and upwards', those who were fit to be conscripted to the army. To be sure, among those who were older than twenty, there were many who were old, sick and weak, who were therefore not eligible to be conscripted. That being the case, it emerges that there is no mention of the exact total of K'lal Yisrael anywhere in T'nach.

Consequently, from the time that they went down to Egypt, their numbers were never recorded.

When they came down to Egypt, the sons of Ya'akov (the B'nei Yisrael) numbered seventy. In Egypt, they were subjected to a Divine blessing. As a result of that blessing, when they left Egypt two hundred and ten years later, they had grown to six hundred thousand grown-ups, not including the children, but incorporating every single man.


Three months later, those six hundred thousand men stood at Har Sinai and received the Torah. Once again, they were subjected to a Divine blessing, and when they were counted in Iyar of the second year, only eleven months later, their numbers had grown to six hundred thousand men from the age of twenty and upwards who were fit to be conscripted, as we explained, not counting those who were old, weak or sick, who were therefore not eligible to be conscripted.

And so we find that G-d said to Avraham "Look up to Heaven and count the stars So shall be your children!" And Ya'akov reminded G-d of His promise - "And I shall are today like the stars of the Heaven!". But what is perhaps the most remarkable testimony is that of our arch-enemy Bil'am, who said "Who can count the dust of Ya'akov and number a quarter of Yisrael?"


Kalev & Yehushua

"Only Kalev ben Yefuneh and Yehoshu'a bin Nun" (27:65).

The Torah always places Kalev before Yehoshua, R. Bachye explains, because he placed himself before Yehoshu'a in his zealousness, as the Torah writes "And Kalev silenced the people ". Moshe on the other hand, tends to give precedence to Yehoshua (See above 14:6), on account of his superior Torah knowledge).

Perhaps also, one might add, because he was his faithful Talmid, who 'never left the tent (of Torah)'. Maybe R. Bachye equates that with 'his superior knowledge'.


The Men Died

" and not a man among them remained except for Kalev ben Yefuneh " (26:65).

Following in the footsteps of Rashi, R. Bachye comments that it was only the men who were involved in the episode of the Spies, and not the women. The men hated Eretz Yisrael, whilst the women loved it. That explains why the women were not included in the decree 'to die in the desert'.

The men said 'Let's appoint a leader, and return to Egypt!', whilst the women said 'Give us a portion in the land!' Hence the Torah continues with the Parshah of the daughters of Tz'lofchad.

(Likewise, we find that the women were not involved in the sin of Ba'al Pe'or [just a few paragraphs earlier]. And this is a trait which they displayed already in Egypt, where, as Chazal inform us, throughout the two hundred and ten years of slavery, there was only one 'immoral woman', who immoral conduct consisted of greeting men freely. Indeed, Chazal have made clear their opinion of the women of that generation, when they declare 'On the merit of the righteous women of that time our fathers left Egypt'.


Tz'lofchod Died his Own Death

" and he was not part of Korach's congregation but he died his own death" (27:3).

Tz'lofchod's daughters specifically mentioned the congregation of Korach, explains R. Bachye. They were afraid that of all those who died in the desert, Moshe must have borne that particular group a strong resentment, since they attacked and insulted him personally, as well as publicly denying all his numerous achievements. They understandably assumed that Moshe would do whatever he could to prevent the heirs of these men from inheriting any of their possessions.

Then they added that he died for personal sin and not as a result of one of the plagues that befell the various rebels that arose during the course of their travels in the desert. He may well have sinned; but he wasn't a rebel!


From Olah to Shelamim

"These (Musafim) are what you shall bring to Hashem on your Yamim-Tovim, besides your Nedarim and Nedavos, (incorporating) your burned-offerings, your meal-offerings, your drink-offerings and your peace-offerings" (29:39).

Surely, asks R. Bachye, the Torah ought to have placed the Shelamim before the meal and the drink offerings, since it belongs to the same group of animal offerings?

From one point of view, indeed it should. But from the other, we have to bear in mind that the Olah is the Korban that the Torah always mentions first, as the Gemara in Yuma, commenting on the Pasuk in Vayikra (6:5) have said 'ho'Olah" - 'Oloh rishonah'; whereas finishing with the Shelamim is based on the principle 'Gadol ha'Sholom!', due to which the Torah always ends with Sholom (like we find by Birchas Kohanim and the Amidah), as there is no more appropriate ending than peace.

* * *


"And you shall bring an Olah before Hashem (on Succos) thirteen bulls, diminishing by one each day, a total of seventy, corresponding to the seventy nations; Thirteen Mishmoros (groups of Kohanim) shall bring them; two rams, brought by two groups, and fourteen lambs in their first year, eight groups shall bring them, six shall bring two each, and the remaining two, one each' (29:12).


'And one goat for s Chatas brought by one group (29:16).


'On the eighth day, you shall gather joyfully from your Succah to your house; a joyful gathering, a Yom-Tov and a holy calling it shall be for you. All servile work you shall not do' (29:36).



"Harass the Midyonites and smite them!" (25:16).

Commenting on the fact that "Harass (tzoror)" is written in the singular, whereas "Smite (ve'hikisem)" is written in the plural, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains that although it was through Moshe that the trouble began (when the father of Kozbi ordered his daughter to go for Yisrael's leader (Moshe), it would be the army of Yisrael, who would avenge the many death's that ensued, not Moshe, because he grew up in Midyan.


" If the father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his next of kin (nachaloso li'she'eiro ) and he shall inherit her" (27:11).

By taking the 'Vav' from the end of "nachaloso" and the 'Lamed' from the beginning of "li'she'eiro" and placing them together at the end of the phrase (a process called 'Gor'in u'mosofin ve'doechin'), we will obtain the three words "nachalas she'eiro lo". Based on the principle that She'er means 'wife', the Torah will then be informing us that a man inherits his wife.


"Let Hashem appoint a man over the congregation who will go before them " (27:16/17).

There are twenty-eight words in these two Pesukim combined, says the Ba'al ha'Turim. Bearing in mind that the 'man' referred to by Moshe turned out to be Yehoshua, it explains why he led the people for twenty-eight years. Moreover, he comments, this is hinted in the Pasuk in Eikev "And you shall remember that it is Hashem who gives you the strength (ko'ach) to do battle"; and the Gematriyah of "ko'ach" is twenty-eight, and Moshe is referring there to the conquest of Cana'an, under the leadership of Yehoshua.


"And you shall say to them 'This is the fire-offering (ha'isheh) that you shall bring (daily) to Hashem' " (28:3).

There are three crowns on the "hey" of "ha'isheh", says the Ba'al ha'Turim, a hint that G-d gave us five different kinds of Korbanos - Chatas, Olah, Asham, Shelamim & Todah, of which the Olah is His favourite.

It also suggests that if one studies the five Books of the Torah, it is as if he had brought the five Korbanos.


" lambs in their first year, without blemish two each day (temimim shenayim la'yom), an everlasting Olah" (Ibid.)

The Gematriyah of the first letters of "Temimim Shenayim La'yom" amounts to seven hundred and thirty, the equivalent of the number of lambs that they brought each year for the Korban Tamid.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 453:
To Bring Kodshim to the Beis-Hamikdash

It is a Mitzvah to bring to the Beis-Hamikdash and to sacrifice there any animal that one obligates oneself to bring as a Chatas, Asham, Olah or Sh'lamim. Despite the fact that the animal is in Chutz la'Aretz, one is obligated to bring it to the chosen place, as the Torah writes in Re'ei (12:26) "Only the Kodshim that you will have and your Nedarim, pick up and come ". And even though we have already learned (in Mitzvah 440) that it is a Mitzvah to sacrifice all Korbanos in the Beis-Hamikdash, nevertheless, the Torah adds an additional Mitzvah with regard to Kodshim in Chutz la'Aretz. The Sifri too, establishes "Rak Kodoshecho" by Kodshim in Chutz la'Aretz, and when the Pasuk continues "lift up and come", it is rendering the owner responsible to look after the animal until he has brought it to the Beis-Hamikdash; and there, it also defines the Mitzvah as pertaining to the four kinds of Kodshim that we specified above. It may well be that the Torah sees fit to add the additional Mitzvah with regard to Kodshei Chutz la'Aretz on account of the extra trouble that is required to bring them, more than Kodshei Eretz Yisrael, which are much closer to the Beis-Hamikdash. The Ramban z.l. however, maintains that both Kodshim of Eretz Yisrael and Kodshim of Chutz la'Aretz are incorporated in one and the same Mirzvah, and that it is not because the Sifri establishes the current Mitzvah by Kodshei Chutz-la'Aretz that they are two separate La'vin The Gemara in the third Perek of Temurah (17b) interprets the Pasuk differently. "Only the Kodshim", says the Gemara, refers to Temuros (animals that one attempts to switch with Kodshim animals); "that you will have", to the babies of Kodshim animals; "and your Nedarim", literally one's Nedarim; "pick up and come " - 'We might have thought that one takes the above to the Beis-Hamikdash and withholds from them food and drink until they die. Therefore the Torah continues "And you shall bring your Olos, the flesh and the blood"; as you do to your Olos, so shall you do to the Temurah, and as you do to your Shelamim, so shall you do to the babies of the Shelamim and their Temuros!' All the details concerning this Mitzvah are equivalent to those of Mitzvah 440, that we cited earlier, and the same reasons apply to both Mitzvos. Consequently, it is not necessary to elaborate any further.

* * *

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