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

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Vol. 23   No. 42

This issue is sponsored by Eliezer Chrysler
in loving memory of his daughter Chaya Bracha z"l

Parshas Pinchas

The Korban Tamid

"Command the B'nei Yisrael and say to them "My Korban, my food for my fire-offerings, my satisfying aroma, you shall take care to sacrifice to me in its time" (28:2).


The Korban Tamid comprised two lambs (in their first year), one in the morning (Tamid shel Boker), the other, in the afternoon (Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim). The Kohanim brought them each and every day - weekday and Shabbos, Yom-Tov and Yom Kipur.

The Tamid shel boker was the first Korban of the day, and the shel bein ha'Arbayim, the last. All other Korbanos - both shel Yachid and shel Tzibur, were brought in between, with the sole exception of the Tamid, which was brought after the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim.


Together with the Tamid they brought the Minchas Nesachim (which accompanied the majority of Korbanos). This comprised fine-flour (one tenth of an Eifah - 43 & 1/5 egg-volumes) mixed with oil (a quarter of a Hin - 18 egg-volumes) and wine (a quarter of a Hin).

Since the Tamid was an Olah (a burnt-offering) the entire Korban was burned on the Mizbe'ach ho'Oloh (the copper Mizbe'ach), with the exception of the wine, which was poured into one of the two silver cups that were fixed to the south western Keren (block) on top of the Mizbe'ach. Incidentally, it was the pouring of the wine (Nisuch ha'Yayin) that signaled the Levi'im to sing the Shir shel Yom that accompanied the Tamid each day.


The Korban Tamid, like all Kodshei Kodshim (the higher level of sacrifices) was Shechted beyond the Mizbe'ach, on the north side of the Azarah. However, the Tamid shel Shachar was Shechted on the north-west, the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim, on the north-east - the former, facing the rising sun, the latter the sun as it was beginning to set.

Chazal say that, when they brought the Korban Tamid, nobody ever went to bed or rose with his sin, for the Tamid shel Bein ha'Arbayim atoned for any sins that one performed in the day, and the Tamid shel Shachar, for sins that one performed in the night. Presumably, this was dependent upon Teshuvah.


"And we will pay the bulls with our lips" (Tehilim 14:3). Nowadays, when there are no Korbanos, the best we can do is to 'pay the bulls with our lips' - to learn about them, and to recite the Parshiyos whenever they are relevant. That is why, each morning, we recite Parshas Korbanos, including that of the Korban Tamid, and it is considered as if we had brought them. It is also advisable to do likewise before Minchah.

It should be noted that Korbanos is the only area of Torah that enjoys this privilege.


The Gemara in B'rachos (26b) explains that our Tefilos correspond to the Korban Tamid - Shachris to the Tamid shel Shachar, Minchah to the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim, Musaf to the Korban Musaf and Ma'ariv (which was initially voluntary), to the burning of the fat pieces, which was not obligatory.

This does not mean that Tefilah replaced the Korban - indeed, the Kohanim who brought the Korbanos, Davened - but that Tefilah was initiated to follow the pattern of the Korbanos, as we explained.


The Gemara in Bava Kama (Daf 82b) tells the story of an incident that occurred during the civil between the two brothers, Hurk'nus and Aristobulus, descendants of the family of Chashmona'im. The latter had laid siege to Yerushalayim, and each day, to avoid an interruption in the Korban Tamid, he would arrange for a basket containing two lambs to be sent up the wall for the Korban Tamid, in exchange for a pile of coins, which had previously been lowered as payment.

Until the day that a Hellenist sage suggested that this practice be stopped on the grounds that, as long as Yerushalayim enjoyed the privilege of bringing the Tamid, it would remain invincible. Sure enough, on the following day, after the box of coins was delivered, they sent up the basket, containing, not two lambs, but two pigs, which clawed at the wall as the basket was raised, at which the whole of Eretz Yisrael shook violently.

That year, the Gemara concludes, the barley for the Omer (on Pesach) and the wheat for the Sh'tei ha'Lechem (on Shevu'os) had to be brought from far away, instead of from the usual local fields, because the army of Aristobulus had destroyed the crops.


As a result of the above catastrophe, the Chachamim issued a curse on anyone who rears pigs or who studies Greek philosophy.

* * *

The Basics of Korbanos

All areas of Avodah could only be performed by Kohanim. Shechitah is not an Avodah, and can therefore be carried out by Zarim (non-Kohanim).

Only a Kohen who was completely Tahor and free of blemishes could perform the Avodah.

He had to be over thirty (though his apprenticeship began at twenty-five), sober, and have had his hair trimmed within the last thirty days.

A Kohen could perform the Avodah if he was wearing his four Bigdei Kehunah and washed his hands and feet from the Kiyor beforehand.

Nor was he allowed to serve wearing gloves or shoes, or if there was any other Chatzitzah (interruption) on his right hand or on his feet.

* * *

The Division of Eretz Yisrael
(Based on the Torah Temimah)

The division of Eretz Yisrael was performed in three parts: by lots, via the Urim ve'Tumim (the Choshen Mishpat worn by the Kohen Gadol) and with money (Yerushalmi in Yuma).


The meaning of the last of the three, which the Yerushalmi learns from the Pasuk in this Parshah, which describes the division as being "between many and few", is unclear. The Torah Temimah rejects the most likely interpretation - that someone who received a superior quality piece of land had to pay compensation to someone who received an inferior one. Who would be fool enough, he argues, to substitute good-quality land for land that is poor quality, even for compensation?

He therefore explains 'with money' to mean that the value of the land was taken into consideration when dividing it. Say for example, that Yankel received a portion of land near Yerushalayim, where land is priced at a higher rate than elsewhere, then he would have to pay for that privilege, not with money, but by receiving less land, whilst a person living further away would receive a larger portion - much in the same way as the Gemara in Bava Basra (Daf 122a) explains (regarding a different issue) 'One Sa'ah in Yehudah as equivalent to five Sa'ah in the Galil'.


It is strange that the Torah Temimah himself, citing the Bavli of the same Masechta (122a), where R. Eliezer and R. Yehoshua argue over the very point that he made - In fact, the author's explanation concurs with the explanation of R. Yehoshua, whereas the explanation that he rejected is that of R. Eliezer. And as for the problem that the Torah Temimah presented, it would depend on how the land was distributed; As far as the Tribes was concerned, it was distributed by lot and by the Urim ve'Tumim, as we explained earlier, not by choice. Concerning each individual person's territory, the Torah Temimah's objection is valid one if we assume that everybody picked the location of his inheritance; but if that too, was done by lot, then it would have decided for him, and it was in fairness to the one who received an inferior portion, that the one who received a superior compensated him financially.

* * *

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