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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 12: "Lochein emore" - Therefore say - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that Hashem wanted to convey to Pinchos that the "bris sholom" would be irrevocable so Hashem said "lochein," a term connoting a vow. Once Hashem has vowed that this covenant would be fulfilled there would be no room for rescinding it, even in the face of future sins, etc., which are ample reason to suspend the covenant. The Meshech Chochmoh asks why Hashem did not convey this message directly to Pinchos, as he too was a prophet. He answers that had Hashem told Pinchos directly, even though the message would have been prophetic, it would have been a message that Pinchos was not told to pass on to the bnei Yisroel. A prophecy of this sort is open to being rescinded if the recipient later becomes undeserving, as we find that Yaakov feared that through his sinning he might not merit the blessings Hashem promised him (gemara Brochos 4a). However, a positive prophecy given to a prophet to tell another person, once it is verbalized to the other person cannot be retracted, as per the Rambam in his preface to his commentary on the mishnoh and hilchos Y'sodei haTorah 10:4. This is why Hashem said to Moshe "lochein EMOR."

The Tzla"ch asks on the above-mentioned Rambam from the gemara Brochos 4a. The gemara derives from the words "Ad yaavore amcho Hashem ad yaavor am zu koniso" in Shiras Ha'yom that the bnei Yisroel should have had open miracles take place upon their return to Eretz Yisroel in the days of Ezra as they had when they first entered Eretz Yisroel, but sins kept this from happening. Since this was a prophecy that Moshe said to the bnei Yisroel how could sins negate this positive prophecy?

In his preface to responsa Ein Yitzchok volume #2 section 7 Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon Spector, the Kovner Rov, answers that when the prophecy is through Moshe it is not as if a prophet told it over because it is as if it emanated from Hashem Himself, "Sh'chinoh m'da'be'res mitoch grono shel Moshe." Such a prophecy is open to change.

The Rashbam on the words "lo ish Keil vichazeiv u'ven odom V'YISNECHOM" (Bmidbar 23:19) writes that Bilom stated that Hashem is not like a person who might rescind his promise after a short period of time. Since Hashem said that they are blessed (22:12) and they have not sinned in the short time since He told me this, He will not change His mind. We see from the Rashbam that if they were to sin Hashem might rescind and allow them to be cursed. This seems to be in conflict with the Rambam.

Perhaps we can say that the Rashbam agrees with the Rambam, and just as Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon said that positive prophecy through Moshe is not considered as if a prophet told it over, as Hashem's voice emanates through Moshe's throat, so too, Bilom was given a level of prophecy equal to that of Moshe, and the blessings are considered coming directly from Hashem, and in turn, if the bnei Yisroel would ch"v become undeserving of the blessings they may be rescinded.

In any case it seems that Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon's answer to the Tzla"ch is contrary to the Meshech Chochmoh, as the Meshech Chochmoh says that Moshe's telling Pinchos becomes a prophecy that cannot be rescinded.

Perhaps we can have the positions of Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon and the Meshech Chochmoh coexist and explain all the above material in a manner not contrary to the Rambam.

It is the opinion of the Mizrochi, Gur Aryeh, and Sifsei Chachomim at the beginning of parshas Matos (30:2), where Rashi differentiates between KOH and ZEH, and says "moseif a'leihem Moshe," that Moshe received prophecies on different levels, and that he earlier had a lower level of prophecy and graduated to receive a higher level later in his career. The Sifsei Chachomim says that this took place at Matan Torah. If so the prophecy of Shiras Ha'yom was a lower level prophecy. (This would stand in opposition to the answer of Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon.) The Ramban posits that Moshe transmitted prophecies at a higher level towards the end of his life, when he transmitted the book of Dvorim. Some say that the prophecies simply graduated in intensity as time went on with no special increase at any specific time. At the other end of the spectrum is the opinion of the N'tzi"v that Moshe from the beginning until the end of his career was always on the highest level of prophecy.

According to the opinion of the many that Moshe had higher and lower levels of prophecy it seems logical to say that when he received a message from Hashem that carried with it a reprimand or news of his being punished, that this prophecy was not one on the highest level. This seems to be verified in parshas Shmos, where an angel, an intermediary, spoke to him. The prophecy he was to relate was worded as "KO somar" (3:15), and "KO omar" (4:22). This was because at the end of the week long give and take Hashem told Moshe that because he refused to carry out Hashem's wishes to be the agent to effect the exodus he would lose the opportunity to be a Kohein (Rashi on 4:14), a prophecy of reprimand. With this insight we might say that even according to the opinion of Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonon that Moshe's prophecy is not considered a prophecy related to others, the prophecy to Pinchos is different as it is a lower level prophecy. This is because Moshe likewise received a reprimand here, as follows. We asked earlier, "Why did Hashem ask Moshe to convey to Pinchos that he and his children would enter into the covenant of priesthood for all future generations, and not tell this to Pinchos directly?"

The N'tzi"v answers in the name of his father-in-law Rabbi Yitzchok of Volozhin with a parable. A king sent a very highly placed war officer with many men to combat. In the heat of the combat the enemy started overpowering the king's men. Things looked bleak and to turn the situation around required some very immediate and novel strategy. However, the commanding officer was at a loss to come up with any tactic. An officer of the lowest rank ran to the commanding officer and suggested a most brilliant maneuver. The commanding officer immediately put this plan into action and the situation took a sudden turn for the better, with the king's men overpowering their adversaries.

Upon returning victorious from the battlefield, the king was faced with a dilemma. Should he openly disgrace the commanding officer who would have lost the battle if he had been left to his own strategy, or should he not do so since in fact the battle ended successfully? Should he only reward the underling who so brilliantly saved the day? If so, this would leave the commanding officer unreprimanded. He decided on a plan that would accomplish both ends. He awarded the underling with a citation, but had it presented by the commanding officer. Thus recognition was given to the person who deserved it and the commanding officer was indirectly reprimanded, as he should have normally received the accolade, and instead he personally presented the citation to another. So too, Moshe, the leader of the bnei Yisroel, had the opportunity to be the one to act zealously to protect Hashem's honour. However, he did not act and Pinchos did. Hashem therefore told Moshe to verbally present the reward to Pinchos. Here too, Moshe received a reprimand, albeit indirectly. Therefore his prophecy was of a lower level and when conveyed to Pinchos, it could not be rescinded.

Ch. 25, v. 12: "Es brisi sholom" - My covenant of peace - What exactly was this "covenant of peace"?

1) To become a Kohein (Rashi)

2) Against a revenge attack by Zimri's relatives (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

3) To live a long life, called "sholom," as peace of the components of body allow for long life, and normally the components compete and deteriorate, causing death (Sforno)

4) That he would have a continuum of generations to the end of days (Ralba"g)

5) That he would become the Kohein Godol and that many more Kohanim G'dolim would be his offspring.

6) That he would not become cruel by virtue of his having killed Zimri and Kozbi (N'tzi"v)

7) That he would live forever, just as he stood in for Hashem to take revenge "b'kano es kinoSI," so too he is rewarded with permanence, as the name "Sholo'm" is one of the names of Hashem (Dorash Moshe)

Ch. 28, v. 3: "Oloh somid" - An elevated offering daily - Isn't all this information redundant, as we find it in Shmos 29:38-42?

1) Rashi says that although this information was conveyed in parshas T'tzaveh, from there we would only know that the tomid offering was brought twice daily during the eight days of the dedication of the Mishkon, but not for all generations.

2) The Ramban says that this is incorrect because in parshas T'zaveh the verse clearly states "l'doroseichem" (Shmos 29:42).

He posits that it is indeed repetitive, but many new details are taught, and we find this numerous times in the Torah, that a parsha is given two or even three times, but there are more details in each repetition.

3) Moshav Z'keinim answers Rashi by saying that although the earlier parsha tells us the mitzvoh of tomid, its actual bringing was suspended when the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf. As a sign of Hashem's discontent with the bnei Yisroel He commanded that it not be brought. Upon the completion of the death of the generation of "yotzei Mitzrayim" the Torah tells us here that the tomid should be brought from this point on. I have a bit of difficulty with this, since it would have sufficed to say in a few words that the tomid sacrifice is to be reinstated.

4) Chizkuni answers that from earlier we only know to do this for 2 generations, "l'doroseichem." Here, with the preface TZAV, we know that it is immediate and for ALL generations (as per the gemara Kidushin 29a).

5) Divrei Dovid answers that from earlier we might be mistaken and believe that only the afternoon tomid is for all generations, since the verse says "olAs tomid, and not "olOSE tomid."



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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