by Zvi Akiva FleisherBack to this week's parsha | Previous Issues
PARSHAS PINCHOS 5759 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 11: "Pinchos ben Elozor ben Aharon haKohein" - The Holy Zohar says that Pinchos was so frightened upon entering the room where Zimri was sinning, fearing being killed by Zimri's fellow tribesmen, that his soul left him. Hashem revived him by placing the souls of both Nodov and Avihu into him. When these souls of Kohanim entered him, he became a Kohein. This is alluded to in our verse. Pinchos the son of Elozor and also the son of Aharon, as he was now a reincarnation of Nodov and Avihu, "haKohein," is now a Kohein.
The Chidushei haRI"M says that with his courageous act he corrected the flaws of Nodov and Avihu. They brought a foreign fire which they were NOT COMMANDED to bring, while Pinchos with fiery zealousness acted properly, although he was also not commanded to do so, "boh limloch ein morin lo" (gemara Sanhedrin 82a). As well, they sinned by giving a halachic ruling in front of Moshe.
Pinchos also ruled in front of Moshe, but did so correctly, as Moshe momentarily forgot that "kanoim pogin bo." Perhaps another matter was rectified. They illegally entered the Holy of Holies with their incense.
Pinchos, at the risk of his life, entered the defiled of defiled, the room where Zimri was actively sinning with Kozbi bas Tzur.
Ch. 25, v. 15: "Bas Tzur" - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that Tzur was Bolok.
Ch. 26, v. 59: "Asher yoldoh OSOH l'Levi" - The Daas Z'keinim says Osoh was Levi's wife's name. Why should the Torah point out Levi's wife's name? No other wife of any of the bnei Yaakov is mentioned. Last year's offering plus another answer follow. Perhaps it is because the gemara Sanhedrin 58b deals with the bnei Noach regarding ara'yos and attempts to prove that their rules differ from Torah rules since Amrom (before the Torah was given) married his aunt Yocheved. The gemara says that we should assume that she was his paternal and maternal aunt. By Torah law this would be an issur ara'yos, so we see that the bnei Noach guidelines are different. The gemara rebuffs this by saying that she was only his paternal aunt.
Now we see a need for pointing out her name, to indicate that "Osoh" was Yocheved's mother but not the mother of her siblings, so Amrom married an aunt who was only a paternal aunt. On Shmos Ch. 6, v. 20 where the verse says that Amrom took his aunt Yocheved as a wife, Rashi says Yocheved was a sister of Amrom paternally, seeming to indicate that she was not a maternal sister to her brothers. However, in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer, Ch. 48 it says that Levi had one wife who gave birth to Yocheved and her three brothers. This is in disagreement with the rebuff of the above-mentioned gemara and Rashi.
(Sedrah Selections 5758)
Another answer based on the words of the Ponim Yofos: The gemara Sotoh 12a and B.B. 123a says that Yocheved, the daughter of Levi, was born upon entry into Egypt. This explains why the Torah says that 70 souls of Yaakov's family went to Egypt, while upon counted the people listed we only find 69.
According to this, she was conceived during the time of famine which had also effected the land of Canaan. The gemara Taanis 11a says that during the time of famine one should not have relations with his wife. This is derived from the verse in Breishis 41:50 which says that "to Yoseif were born two sons BEFORE the onset of the years of famine." Tosfos d.h. "Ossur" asks, "How was Levi permitted to have relations with his wife during the famine?"
Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi answers that since Levi did not have a daughter yet, he had not fulfilled the mitzvoh of "pru u'r'vu," reproducing, which is only fulfilled when one has a son and a daughter (E.H. #1:5). He was therefore permitted to reproduce even during a famine. The Beis Yoseif on the Tur O.Ch. #574 asks on R.E.M. from the above-mentioned gemara. Why did Yoseif refrain from reproducing during the famine since he also had no daughter and had not yet fulfilled the mitzvoh of "pru u'r'vu?
The Ponim Yofos answers this question by first posing another difficulty.
Even if a man were permitted to reproduce during the time of a famine in pursuit of "pru u'r'vu," but how may his wife be involved? She does not have this mitzvoh, and does have the restriction during a famine. He answers that halachic commentators on E.H. #1 say that a woman does have a mitzvoh of repopulating the world on a replacement basis, meaning that she should have one child, male or female to replace herself. This is in fulfillment of the verse, "Losheves y'tzoroh lo sohu v'ro'oh" (Yeshayohu 45:18). It was mentioned earlier from the gemara Sanhedrin 58b that Yocheved was only a paternal sister to her three brothers. We may assume that the mother of Yocheved had no previous children, thus she was permitted to reproduce during a famine to comply with "Losheves y'tzoroh," and Levi was permitted in pursuit of the mitzvoh of "p'ru u'r'vu."
This was not the case with Yoseif. He had two sons from his wife Osnas, and although he had permission to reproduce to fulfill "p'ru u'r'vu," Osnas was not allowed as she already had two sons. This would explain why in the verse from which we derive the restriction during a famine (Breishis 41:50), the Torah stresses that Yoseif's two sons were born from Osnas, "U'l'Yoseif yulad shnei vonim b'terem tovo shnas horo'ov ASHER YOLDOH LO OSNAS." Had they been born from another woman and Osnas would still be childless, Yoseif would have been permitted to pursue "p'ru u'r'vu" and Osnas would have been permitted to pursue "losheves y'tzoroh."
From these words of the Ponim Yofos we see the need for the Torah to tell us that Yocheved was born from Osoh, and not from Levi's wife who bore three sons. This answers how Levi was permitted to reproduce during the time of a famine. Even though he had not yet fulfilled "p'ru u'r'vu" as he had no daughter, his wife was not allowed. The answer is that Yocheved was the daughter of Osoh, Levi's other wife, who had no children yet. (Shaarei Aharon) This answer also does not conform with the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer which says that Levi had all his children from one wife. Rabbeinu Tam in Sefer Ha'yoshor on parshas Va'yeishev says that Levi's wife's name was Adinoh. This does not contradict the two answers, as he had a second wife named Osoh.
Ch.26, v. 62: "Shloshim v'esrim elef kol zochor miben chodesh KI lo hospokdu b'soch bnei Yisroel Ki lo nitan lohem nachaloh b'soch bnei Yisroel" - Rashi explains the first KI as because they were counted from the age of a month they were not included in the general census, and the second KI as the reason they were not counted from the age of twenty years as all others were, because they weren't given a portion of land in Eretz Yisroel.
Many explanations are given for the relatively small number of people in the tribe of Levi. The Meshech Chochmoh says that this was an act of kindness by Hashem so that there would not be a large population of people who would over-burden the rest of the bnei Yisroel for support. The bnei Levi had almost no land for agriculture and were given 42-48 cities for their homes.
They subsisted on the tithings given them by others. He says that this can be interpreted as the intention of our verse. The first KI is explained the same way as Rashi says. The second KI explains why they only had a census of 23,000 people; because they were not given an inheritance of land among the bnei Yisroel.
The Kli Yokor on Bmidbar 3:39 contemplates this explanation offered by the Meshech Chochmoh, but discards it, saying, "There is no restraint to Hashem's ability to protect and provide for his servants (the tribe of Levi) who fulfill his will." The Kli Yokor also mentions some other explanations, explains his difficulties with them, and ends with his own answer. The Shaarei Aharon on Bmidbar 3:39 has a very comprehensive list of answers.
Ch. 27, v. 3: "Ovinu meis bamidbor v'hu lo hoyoh ...... ba'adas Korach u'vonim lo hoyu lo" - The information given by the daughters of Tzelofchod seems to not be orderly. Seemingly, it should have said that their father died and had no sons, and only afterwards mention that he was not part of the Korach uprising.
The Rebbe Reb Heshel answers that their intention in mentioning that Tzelofchod had no sons was a proof that he was not part of Korach's group. The gemara Sanhedrin 110a says that the reason Moshe fell on his face (16:4) was out of embarrassment. Korach and all his followers warned their wives not to go into seclusion with Moshe. The gemara Sotoh 25b says that if a Sotoh was not guilty, not only was she unharmed, but also received a blessing. For example, if until now she only had daughters, she would be blessed with sons. The daughters of Tzelofchod said that their father was not involved in Korach's rebellion. A proof is that he had no sons. The wives of Korach's people all had sons.
A question came to mind. Technically this blessing only takes place when the woman again goes into seclusion with the same man after being warned not to do so and is brought to the Mikdosh and goes through the Sotoh procedure. This obviously did not take place.
Ch. 27, v. 7: "Noson ti'tein LO'HE*M*" - Tosfos on the gemara B.B. 115b d.h. "m'la'meid" brings the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam that Anoh who is mentioned in Breishis 36:24 was a woman. Even though the verse says "HU Anoh asher MOTZO es ha'yeimim bamidbor BIROSO es hachamorim l'Tzivon OVIV" (All the capitalized words are in the male form), Rabbeinu Tam posits that since Anoh inherited property from her father, which is very commonly only done by a son, the Torah uses male terms when discussing her. At first glance this seems to be a far-fetched interpretation. However, the Rebbe Reb Heshel brings a proof for this from our verse. When Hashem advised Moshe that the daughters of Tzelofchod rightfully should receive an inheritance of their father's parcel of land in Eretz Yisroel, the Torah uses the male form. It says "Noson ti'tein LO'HE*M*," with a Mem in the male form, rather than "LO'HE*N*" in the female form.
It is quite possible that the other Baalei Tosfos were aware of this but felt that this is not a convincing proof. Indeed, where the Torah is actually discussing a woman receiving an inheritance it may be expressed in the male form. However, just because a woman has received an inheritance is not a reason for the Torah to use the male form when discussing a totally unrelated matter, as in Breishis 36:24 where it relates who Anoh's father was and that Anoh discovered "yeimim" when grazing his (her) father's donkeys.
Ch. 27, v. 15: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe el Hashem LEIMORE" - This is one of 4 places where the Torah uses the word "leimore" when Moshe spoke to Hashem. Rashi on Bmidbar 12:13 brings in the name of Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh that in these four places Moshe asked Hashem for a response.
1) Shmos 6:12 - Moshe asked Hashem if He will personally redeem the bnei Yisroel from Egypt.
2) Bmidbar 12:13 - Moshe asked Hashem if He will cure Miriam.
3) Our verse 27:15 - Moshe asked Hashem if He would appoint a new leader after Moshe's demise.
4) Dvorim 3:23 - Moshe asked Hashem if He would permit Moshe to enter Eretz Yisroel.
Why wasn't a fifth place mentioned? Shmos 17:4 says, "Va'yitzak Moshe el Hashem LEIMORE, 'Ma e'esseh lo'om ha'zeh.'" Answer next week.
Answer to last week's question: Did the water of the wellspring of Miriam come from within the rock, or did a wellspring appear from the ground at the place where the rock was?
The Ramban on 20:8 says that the water came from the rock itself. Tosfos Yom Tov on Pirkei Ovos 5:6 says that the water came from the ground. The Ramban's position is strongly indicated from the gemara Shabbos 35a which says that it was a "mayon hamitalteil" and from Rashi on the gemara P'sochim 54a.
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