by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS PINCHOS 5766 BS"DCh. 25, v. 11: "Pinchos" - Why does the previous parsha of Bolok stop in the middle of this painful story, and only complete it in the next parsha? The Sar of Coucy, Sma"g, says that we need a week to think over that which took place. Zealousness is a very tough act. It is not always called for, and even when called for, it must be executed with only pure intentions. A week must be given to digest it. Only then does the Torah tell us that in this case it was totally positive.
Ch. 25, v. 11: "Pinchos ben Elozor ben Aharon haKohein" - Rashi (gemara Sanhedrin 82b) says that people derided Pinchos, stating that he killed a tribal prince, and that this was an outgrowth of the terrible trait of murder genealogically flowing through his veins from his grandfather Yisro. Hashem said that it was otherwise, that he acted with the trait of Aharon, the peace-maker, and in spite/because of this trait it was in place to kill Zimri. How does giving him and all his descendants the status of Kohein fortify this counter-claim? Why is this reward in kind?
The Ibn Ezra states that although Moshe lost the opportunity to be a Kohein, nevertheless his children would have been Kohanim except for the fact that their lineage was tainted. Their mother was originally a Midianite. The masses claimed that Pinchos acted as he did by virtue of the negative traits of his Midianite ancestors. His mother was the daughter of Yisro, the Midianite. The Torah testifies otherwise. Not only was he not spurred on by this, but to the contrary, by killing the Midianite princess Kozbi along with Zimri, he totally cleansed himself of any possible vestiges of Midian. Hashem testifies to this by giving him and all his future descendants the status of Kohein, an impossibility if there remained even the slightest Midianite impurity within him. Thus elevating him to this position served both as a rebuttal to the incorrect claims against him, and also as a befitting reward for his totally purifying himself.
We may be so daring as to suggest that if Moshe would have acted as did Pinchos, his descendants may have become Kohanim. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 25, v. 11: "Es kinosi b'sochom" - My zealousness within them -Pinchos carried out his act of zealousness in such a manner that he embedded total intolerance within the heart of each of the bnei Yisroel for such a despicable act. (Holy Admor of Kotzk)
Alternatively, although everyone else stood complacently by and only Pinchos sprung into action, nevertheless, afterwards he was still "b'sochom," he related to the common man.
Ch. 25, v. 14: "V'shem ish Yisroel hamu'keh" - And the name of the Israelite man who was struck - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma 2) says that just as the righteous Pinchos had his ancestry mentioned as a praise, so too, the ancestry of the wicked Zimri was mentioned in derision. We understand Pinchos's ancestry being a praise, but how is Zimri's a derision? It is only his behaviour that is despicable, and not his ancestry?
The Holy Shalo"h in his commentary on parshas B'chukosai asks why the remembrance of the covenant with Yaakov, Yitzchok, and Avrohom is mentioned in the middle of a powerful and lengthy admonishment. It seems to be a non sequitur. He answers that mentioning that we come from such good stock and still behaved improperly exacerbates our guilt. This is the intention here as well. Zimri was of the tribe of Shimon. By the incident of Dinoh's being violated by Sh'chem, Shimon took his life into his hands by wiping out the whole adult male population of the city (together with Levi). This act by Zimri's ancestor should have embedded in all Shimon's descendants total intolerance for such an act. In spite of this Zimri did what he did, and thus his glorious ancestry only serves to increase his shame. (Beis Aharon)
Ch. 26, v. 8: "Uvnei Falu Eliov" - And the sons of Palu were Eliov - This verse expresses itself in the plural, "uvnei," even though Palu had but one son, Eliov. The gemara B.B. 143b takes note of this and derives that in the common parlance a person would say that his "children" are .., citing his only child. The gemara cites a second proof for this in the name of Rabbi Yoseif from Divrei Ha'yomim. The Minchas Shai in his commentary on parshas Va'yigash is puzzled why the gemara brings a second proof from Divrei Ha'yomim when we have a quite satisfactory proof from the Torah itself.
The Haa'meik Shaaloh in his commentary on Shiltos d'Rebbi Hai Gaon parshas Lech L'cho Shilto 8:10 answers this question in a marvelous manner. The gemara N'dorim 49a when dealing with the subject of the common parlance of people when making a vow raises a question from a verse in Divrei Ha'yomim. Tosfos explains that the gemara specifically draws on Divrei Ha'yomim rather than the Torah itself because while the terminology of the Torah is not in the common tongue, the words of Divrei Ha'yomim are. Thus, since the gemara B.B. wanted to bring a proof for the common parlance, Rabbi Yoseif was not satisfied with a proof from the Torah, and specifically brought a proof from Divrei Ha'yomim. Taamo Dikro has a different approach to "uvnei." He says that the Torah is alluding to the fact that Palu also had another son, On ben Pelles. Palu and Pelles are one and the same, as is mentioned in the Chizkuni in parshas Korach. The Torah did not want to overtly state this because On repented and Eliov's sons Doson and Avirom did not, so the verse avoided mentioning them together. He explains the proof of the gemara B.B. as well.
Ch. 26, v. 58: "Lorav tarbeh nachaloso v'lamat tamit nachaloso" - To the tribe of many you shall increase his land inheritance and to the tribe of few you shall decrease his land inheritance - The Sha"ch interprets these words homiletically. "To the one who has amassed many mitzvos you shall increase his inheritance (reward) in the world-to-come, and to the one who has only a limited amount of mitzvos you shall limit his reward in the world-to-come."
Ch. 27, v. 17: "Katzone asher ein lohem ro'eh" - As sheep who do not have for themselves a shepherd - "Asher ein lohem" connotes that the norm is that they have no shepherd, and this is surely not the case. If the intention of the verse were to say that the bnei Yisroel should not be left like sheep who "Happen" to not have a shepherd, the verse should have said "katzone bli ro'eh" or the like.
The truth is that sheep have a shepherd, but he is not out to serve them. He is not "lohem." He takes care of his own sheep to bring them to market and make a profit, and if he is shepherding someone else's sheep, he is doing it for the wages. Moshe prayed that the bnei Yisroel not be left in such a position, but rather, they should have a leader who has only their well-being in mind. (Yeitev Leiv of Sighet)
Ch. 28, v. 6: "Olas tomid ho'asuyoh b'har Sinai" - A daily offering that is done at Har Sinai - How do we offer a daily "tomid" offering ALWAYS when the Temple is destroyed? It can be done if we take a lesson from Har Sinai, the humble mountain. If we behave with humility then it is as if we offered the "tomid" sacrifice, as related in the gemara Sotoh 5b. (Kedushas Tzion of Bobov) Alternatively, since this is a daily offering it is easy to become complacent and process it by rote ch"v. The remedy is to have in mind the excitement of the first "tomid," offered at Har Sinai. (Ro'isi)
Ch. 29, v. 24: "Minchosom" - Their meal offering - This is the only place in the seven days of Sukos where the meal offering is expressed as "minchosom" without the connecting Vov that we find on the other six days. As well, we have "minchosom" without the Vov on Shmini Atzerres. The Meshech Chochmoh explains this based on the gemara M'nochos 73b, which states that a non-Jew can bring a meal offering only when it accompanies an animal sacrifice. A ben Yisroel can bring a meal offering on its own. Since the gemara Sukos 55b says that the 70 oxen offered during Sukos are for the benefit of the non-Jews the Torah likewise alludes to this by placing the Vov of joining with the word "minchosom," turning it into "uminchosom," to stress that it only comes WITH the animal sacrifice.
However, on the fourth day of Sukos, when ten oxen are brought it is in essence for the benefit of the bnei Yisroel as well. The well-being of 10 countries are the 10 that the bnei Yisroel own, 7 already, those that comprised Eretz Yisroel, and the lands of Keini, Knizi, and Kadmoni, a.k.a. Amon, Moav, and Edom, when Moshiach will come.
This likewise explains why "minchosom" appears without a Vov on Shmini Atzerres (verse 37), as the offerings of that day are uniquely for the relationship between Hashem and the bnei Yisroel, as per the gemara Sukoh 55b.
The Gan Ro'veh offers that every day the number of oxen is reduced, starting with 13 the first day. The amount of meal offering is directly in proportion with the number of animals. Thus every day the amount of "m'nochos" is dependent upon the reduction of oxen, thus the connecting Vov to the oxen previously mentioned. However, specifically on day four, where even if we would have the oxen increase from the first day, starting with 7 (which is in fact not the case, as we begin with 13 and always decrease by one), we would still have 10 oxen on the fourth day. Thus the number of oxen, and in turn, the amount of meal offering is independent of decreasing, since if the number were to daily increase we would have the same amount, so there is no need for a connecting Vov. Rabbi Shmuel haLevi Wosner shlit"a offers that since the 70 oxen represent the 70 nations, who stem from Eisov and Yishmo'eil, 35 each, the first 3 days have 13, 12, and 11 oxen, and 35 of these 36 are for Yishmo'eil, and are therefore connected. On the fourth day we begin offering for the benefit of Eisov so there is no connecting Vov. On further days there is a continuum for Eisov so we have the Vov again.
There seem to be two minor problems with this. First, we do have one ox for Eisov on the third day, and second, why is this point connected to the "minchoh" accompanying the oxen rather than somehow being pointed out by the oxen themselves.
Ch. 29, v. 39: "Par echod a'yil echod" - One ox one ram - Rashi quotes the gemara Sukoh 55b, which says that although in the days just preceding Shmini Atzerres many offering were brought, on this final day there are just one ox and one ram brought in honour of the Yom Tov. This represents a private meal with Hashem's beloved, Yisroel. The gemara says that it is as if Hashem is saying "koshoh olai pridas'chem," separating from you is difficult for Me.
We find the term "koshoh," difficult for Hashem in two other places, in the gemara Sotoh 2b, that arranging marriage partners is difficult, and also in the gemara P'sochim 118a, regarding a livelihood.
If we were to interpret "koshoh olai pridas'chem" to mean "It is difficult for Me to bear your arguments," these two other statements are understood in a new light. It is unfortunately all too common for disagreements to abound in a couple's relationship and in pursuit of a livelihood. (Rabbi Yitzchok of Boyan)
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