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

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Vol. 18   No. 42

This issue is sponsored jointly
in honour of Bubby's and Zaidy's
Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael
by their grandchildren
in honour of

Parshas Pinchas

The Order of Inheritance
(Adapted from the Yalkut Yitzchak citing the P'sikta)

The Mishnah in Bava Basra teaches that there are some relatives who both inherit and who transfer an inheritance to others, and there are others who inherit but who cannot transfer an inheritance to others; there are some relatives who transfer an inheritance to others but who cannot themselves inherit, and there are others who can neither inherit not can they transfer an inheritance to others.


For convenience, we will refer to the deceased as 'Reuven'.

A son inherits, and all of his offspring come next. Consequently, even Reuven's son's daughter (and even her daughter and granddaughter) will take precedence over her aunt (Reuven's daughter). The Chachamim learn this from the Pasuk in Pinchas (27:8) "If a man dies leaving no sons (u'bein ein lo), then you shall pass on his inheritance to his daughter". They extrapolate from the words "u'bein ein lo" - 'Ayein alav', 'Examine him', to see whether he has no offspring, before handing the inheritance to his daughter.

This means that Reuven's son even inherits in the grave to pass on the inheritance to his son and daughter, and it is only if Reuven dies leaving no son or (son's) offspring that the daughter becomes next of kin.


Reuven's daughter and her offspring have priority over his father and certainly over his brother; but where he dies leaving no issue at all, then his brother takes precedence over his father's brother and his offspring, but not over his father. Consequently, if Reuven dies leaving no progeny, then his father has priority over his brother (but if his father is no longer alive, then his brother precedes his father's brother).

And this the Chachamim learn from the aforementioned expression " then you shall pass the inheritance on to his daughter" (whereas in the case of all the subsequent heirs, the Torah uses the term "and you shall give the inheritance to "). From which they extrapolate that the daughter passes the inheritance away from her grandfather (Reuven's father), but that all subsequent (mentioned) heirs do not (i.e. Reuven's father takes precedence over all subsequent relatives).


It transpires that a man always takes precedence over his progeny, and over his siblings (in the property of his offspring). The reason for the latter ruling is because whereas he inherits directly from his offspring, his sibling inherit in their capacity as children of the grandfather. As a matter of fact, the inheritance-tree goes back to the father of the tribe (Reuven, Shimon, Levi etc.). In other words, there is no such thing as a born Jew having no blood relatives (since none of the tribes has, or will, become extinct). Consequently, no matter what the circumstances are, unless a person is a convert, it is never a question of whether he has relatives or not, but rather, who is his closest relative and therefore, next of kin.


Assuming that Reuven dies leaving no offspring, father, siblings or father's brothers or their offspring, then one must search for the closest of kin (beginning with his grandfather and his siblings, as we just explained).

Maternal brothers neither inherit nor pass on an inheritance.

A son inherits his mother, but he does not pass on the inheritance to her (i.e. she does not inherit him). And the same applies to a daughter inheriting her mother. From the Pasuk in Mas'ei (36:8) "And every daughter who receives an inheritance from the tribes of B'nei Yisrael ", the Chachamim extrapolate that a daughter can inherit from two tribes - where her father and mother belong to two different tribes - and the same applies to a son. In fact, a son takes precedence over his sister with regard to inheriting both his father and his mother.


The daughter of Re'uven's sister inherits but does not pass on the inheritance (i.e. if Reuven was alive, he would not inherit from them).

A woman passes on her inheritance to her husband and (if she is widowed or divorced), to her son, but she does not inherit from them, whereas maternal brothers do not inherit from one another.

From where do we know that a man inherits his wife?

From the Pasuk in Mas'ei (36:8/9) "Every daughter who receives an inheritance An inheritance shall not 'go round from tribe to tribe ". How does an inheritance go from one tribe to another? This happens when a husband (who is from one tribe) inherits his daughter (who is from a different one, and who inherited land from her father).

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

A Covenant of Peace

" Behold I am giving him My covenant of peace" (25:12).

Pinchas needed a covenant of peace, says the Riva, to enable him to Duchen (Birchas Kohanim). Otherwise, the Halachah denies a Kohen who has killed someone to Duchen.

The covenant of peace enabled him to continue serving as a fully-fledged Kohen.


The Tribes of Dan & Efrayim

"These are the sons of Efrayim These are the sons of Dan" (26:35 & 432).

In the current Parshah, these are the only two tribes by whom the Torah writes "These are the sons of "?

That is because the idolatrous image of Michah was worshiped in Efrayim and Dan, and it is with regard to idolatry that the word "Eileh" is mentioned in the Torah (when, in connection with the Golden Calf, the Eirev Rav announced "Eileh elohecho (These are your gods) Yisrael, who took you out of the land of Egypt!").


Those Who Left Egypt
Those Who Entered Eretz Yisrael?

"To these (the afore-listed) shall the land be divided " (36:53).

But not to those who were under twenty when they left Egypt, Rashi remarks. Consequently, someone who left Egypt with six young children would only receive one portion of land when he (or his children) eventually arrived in Eretz Yisrael, even though, by then, the children had already turned twenty.

This, the Riva comments, follows the opinion that Eretz Yisrael was divided up according to those who left Egypt. And he points out that only two Pesukim later, on the Pasuk "according to the names of the tribes of their fathers", Rashi describes the distribution according to the opinion that it was divided according to those arrived in Eretz Yisrael. There he writes that if two brothers left Egypt, one with one son (even if he was a minor at the time), and the other with three, then their father (or even their grandfather, since their father died in the desert) who left Egypt inherited all four portions from his grandsons, who would then inherit two portions each from their grandfather. Note, had they gone after those who left Egypt, the grandsons would have received only two portions between them, each one, his father's portion (Rashi, though it is unclear why they would not have shared their grandfather's portion as well)..

See next Pearl.


Those Who Entered Eretz Yisrael

" according to the names of the tribes of their fathers" (26:55).

See previous Pearl.

The Riva explains that the reason the inheritance goes back to the grandfather, before returning to the grandsons, is because otherwise, there would be no reason for the grandsons' portions to be divided equally between their fathers (since brothers do not inherit from each other in this way). Consequently, if it did not go back to the grandfather first, even assuming that the fathers inherited the four portions before returning them to their sons, the grandsons would have inherited the portions in the same way as their fathers inherited from them, three to the one, one to the other! And it is due to the G'zeiras ha'Kasuv (a Divine Decree) that the grandfather inherited first, that the sons inherited two portions each from the grandfather, before passing them back to their sons. And this is also the opinion of the Rashbam in Bava Basra.

Tosfos there however, prefers the explanation of the Rivam, who explains that the sons receive the four portion (not from their grandfather, but) from their fathers, and the G'zeiras ha'Kasuv lies in the fact that the (deceased) fathers share the property equally before handing it back to their sons.


The Over Sixties

And among these there was not a man of those who were counted by Moshe and Aharon .. " (26:64).

The Riva, citing the Ram from Coucy, queries this from Machir and Ya'ir, from the sons of Menasheh, who were born still during the lifetime of Ya'akov, and who did not die until Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael.(bearing in mind that the decree to die in the desert did not extend to those who were over sixty at the time)?

He rejects the suggestion that the over-sixties were not counted at the Plains of Mo'av, since Yehoshua was over sixty when they arrived in Eretz Yisrael, and the Tosefta teaches us that Yehoshua and Kalev took three portions in Eretz Yisrael, since they were both among those who left Egypt and those who stood at Arvos Mo'av (implying that Yehoshua was counted at Arvos Mo'av). Otherwise, why did he receive a portion, seeing as the Torah (in Pasuk 51) specifically refers to those who were counted?

The Ramban however, commenting on this Pasuk, writes that Yehoshua and Kalev were not counted here, since they were over sixty (as the Ram from Coucy suggested, and despite his rejection), and this census, like the one at Har Sinai, was confined to those who were between the ages of twenty and sixty.


Comings and Goings

" .. who will go out before them and come back before them, who will bring them out and who will bring them in" (27:17).

Why, asks the Riva, does the Torah seemingly repeat itself?

The first set of phrases, he answers, refers to Yehoshua himself, as the Pasuk writes about him elsewhere " who goes before them in war". Whereas the second phrase (denoting bringing in through others - see I'bn Ezra) refers to the Urim ve'Tumim (which every general consulted in wartime), as the Pasuk writes (in Pasuk 21) " by its command they will go out ".

See also Rashi and the Seforno.


Not the Same Chatas

" And on the first day of the seventh month besides the Olah of Rosh Chodesh " (29:1 & 6).

Why, asks the Riva, does the Torah not also insert " besides the Chatas of Rosh Chodesh"?

Because unlike the Olos, he replies, all of which come to atone for the same thing (for Mitzvos Asei and for Mitzvos Lo Sa'aseh connected to an Asei), the Chatas of Rosh Hashanah and that of Rosh Chodesh came to atone for slightly different things - even though both atoned for Tum'ah of the Beis-ha'Mikdash, the former atones for where there is no knowledge of the sin at all, whilst the latter atones for where the sinners are finally aware that they sinned.


In fact they did bring the Chatas on Rosh Chodesh, even though the Pasuk omits mentioning it explicitly (which is why Chazal refer to it as 'the month on which it is hidden'). Consequently, says the Riva, Rabeinu Tam inserted in the text of the Musaf Amidah 'two goats to atone (before the existing words 'and two T'midin according to the Halachah').


What About Shavu'os?

"Besides the Chatas of atonement " (29:11).

See previous Pearl.

Having specifically made reference to the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh (that was brought in addition to the Musaf of Rosh Hashanah), and the special Chatas of Yom Kipur (see Rashi) that was brought in addition to the Musaf of Yom Kipur, why, on Shavu'os, does the Torah not make a similar reference to the Two Loaves and the bull and the two rams that were brought together with them, asks the Riva? They too, were brought over and above the regular Musaf offering mentioned here, and deserve mention no less than the previous two 'special' Korbanos?

The Torah does mention them, he answers, when (in the previous chapter, Pasuk 28), it begins the Korbanos of Shavu'os with the words "On the day of Bikurim, when you bring a new Minchah to G-d ". Now the "new Minchah" refers to the Two Loaves; and as for the Korbanos that accompanied them, they were secondary to the Loaves themselves, in which case they are included in the reference to them.

* * *


' on the second day of the Festival of Succos, you shall bring twelve bulls from the herd for twelve groups (of Kohanim), two rams for two groups and fourteen lambs without blemish for nine groups, five of which bring two (lambs) each, whilst the remaining four each bring one' (29:17).


' on the seventh day seven bulls for seven groups, two rams for two groups and fourteen lambs without blemish for fourteen groups, a total of ninety-eight lambs to atone for the ninety-eight curses (in Parshas Ki Savo) 29:32.


'On the eighth day you shall gather with rejoining from your Succos to your houses, a gathering of joy and Yom-Tov ' (29;35).


' You shall bring a burnt-offering, a Korban that will be accepted with goodwill before G-d ... one bull before the One G-d, one ram for the one nation and seven lambs without blemish corresponding to the seven days' (29:36).

* * *

(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 228:
Not to Withhold Somebody Else's Money (cont.)

This Isur applies everywhere at all times. Someone who contravenes it and withholds money belonging to his fellow-Jew, has transgressed it, though he is not subject to Malkos, seeing as it is a La'av ha'Nitak la'Asei (a La'av that is attached to an Asei) - to return the what he stole to its rightful owner. He also needs to appease him for having caused him anguish and for making him angry. And Chazal, in B'rachos (32a) have already taught us the greatness of Ba'alei T'shuvah. Based on Rava's statement, equating the La'av of Oshek with that of Gezel, R. Moshe from Coucy in his Seifer the S'mag does not list Oshek as an independent La'av. In its stead, he inserts the La'av of 'Not to like Korach and his congregation' (Korach 17:5) - in other words, not to involve oneself in Machloked. The author\s opinion however, is that Rava is not to preclude Oshek from the list of La'avin, but rather that someone who contravenes either of the two, is guilty of transgressing two La'avin. Nevertheless, seeing as the two are inherently different, they should be counted as two independent La'avin, just as Geneivah and Gezeilah are, because even though both entail taking money that belongs to somhen he is obligated to bring a Korban Olah ve'Yoreid, as the Mishnah states in Shavu'os (Perek 3, Mishnah 7). ebody else, there can be no doubt that, in the number of Taryag Mitzvos, they are considered two La'avin.


Mitzvah 229:
Not to Rob (Lo Sigzol)

It is forbidden to rob somebody not to take from him something to which one has no right openly, by force, as the Torah writes in Kedoshim (19:13) "and do not rob!". The traditional interpretation of this Pasuk is not to snatch an object from one's fellow-Jew or to take it from him by force and openly, as the Pasuk writes in Shmuel 2, (23:21) " and he (Shaul) snatched the spear from the hand of the Egyptian (soldier)".

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