by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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IN HONOUR OF THE BIRTH OF A GRANDSON TO OUR CHILDREN R' YOEL YEHOSHUA FLEISHER UMISHPACHTO
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS PINCHOS 5773 BS"D Ch. 25, v. 11: "Pinchos" - As is mentioned in numerous sources, Pinchos is Eliyohu Hanovi. This is why this verse is recited at a circumcision. Eliyohu had spoken accusingly of the bnei Yisroel, saying that they abrogated a covenant with Hashem. Hashem told him that as a result of this he must attend every circumcision.
Why is this a punishment? To the contrary, attending a bris is a great mitzvoh. The Ari z"l answers that Eliyohu spends his time in the celestial spheres and is present in the heavenly Yeshiva where chidushei Torah are constantly spoken. When he has to leave and attend a bris he loses out, as he misses the chidushim.
Ch. 25, v. 11: "Pinchos" - The Ibn Ezra says that Pinchos in his place is "bein hamtzorim," a time of mourning, and when in another place, totally festivals. This simply means that when it is time to read parshas Pinchos it is usually, although not always, during the three weeks. The other times during the year when it is read is when the musof offerings are read on Yomim Tovim, a time of festivals.
There might be an allusion here to a sorrowful reality. A person in his home town is usually sized up correctly. There are many opportunities to see his behaviour and how he interacts with others. Oft times, he is correctly sized up as a mediocre person. When he leaves his hometown and goes to a place where he is not known, for that short period of time he puts his best appearance on and is a "sheina Yid." (n.l.)
Ch. 25, v. 11: "Heishiv es chamosi" - Turned away My anger - Hashem tells us in this verse that He was ready to ch"v destroy the nation. Pinchos, through his act of zealousness changed this. "CHaMoSI" has the letters Ches'Yud on the outside and Mem-Sof on the inside, life and death. Hashem was ready to apply Mem-Sof, and Pinchos turned Hashem's anger away from these letters to the other two letters, Ches-Yud, life. (Toras Haparsha)
Ch. 25, v. 11: "B'kano es kinosi" - Through his being zealous for My zealousness - Here the Torah clearly states that Pinchos's zealotry was totally "l'shem shomayim." Had there been any personal motivation then this would not have been Hashem's zealotry, which is impeachable and totally correct. (Rabbi Yisroel Yehoshua Trank of Kutna)
Ch. 25, v. 13: "Asher hukoh es haMidyonis" - Who was smitten with the Midyonite woman - On numerous occasions we have pointed out the difference between "es" and "im," explaining that "es" when it means "with," only means a loose connection, while "im" connotes a total connection. In our verse we find that Zimri was "es haMidyonis," only loosely involved. This indicates that although her intention was totally to have a member of the bnei Yisroel commit immoral behaviour, he had another intention. This is well understood in light of the insight of Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld in his interpretation of Zimri's behaviour. This was offered in a previous issue on parshas Bolok.
Ch. 26, v. 11: "Uvnei Korach lo meisu" - And the sons of Korach did not die - Why is this point of information not mentioned in parshas Korach, when it took place? The medrash says that they were indeed swallowed into the ground, but did not fall into the depths of the abyss. They landed on a ledge. It was there that they composed and sang their song of praise to Hashem, which is incorporated into T'hilim. They did not immediately emerge. That took place a while later, after the incident of Korach, the ensuing further complaints, and the blossoming of Aharon's staff took place.
Although not relevant to the answer just given, the gemara Yerushalmi B.B. 8:3 says that the sons of Korach entered Eretz Yisroel and received a land parcel among the bnei Yisroel as an inheritance from Yitzhor, (Although he was a Levi, and the bnei Levi received no tribal parcels of land, this probably refers to the cities of the Levites.) and also through their mother's father.
Ch. 26, v. 11: "Uvnei Korach lo meisu" - And the sons of Korach did not die - In Agra D'kalla the Bnei Yisoschor cites Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Riminov, who offers an unfortunate, but true insight into these words. Although Korach and his cohorts were swallowed into the ground, and seemingly this (plus the ensuing follow-up) brought an end to disagreeing with Moshe, and likewise should have served as a warning for future generations, nevertheless, the "sons of Korach," the future generations of argumentative people, did not die, and we suffer from this generation after generation.
Ch. 26, v. 16: "L'Ozni" - To Ozni - Rashi says that Ozni was called Etzbon earlier in parshas Vayigash. Why the name change? In Bmidbar 2:10 onwards the verses state that the encampment of Reuvein included Shimon and Gad. The bnei Reuvein spoke negatively of Moshe, as they complained that he improperly deprived them of K'hunoh. Similarly, at the end of parshas Bolok, Zimri a.k.a. Shlumi'el, the tribal head of Shimon told Moshe that if he was not permitted a Midyonite woman, them Moshe likewise had sinned by taking Tziporah, as explained in the gemara Sanhedrin.
The gemara Ksubos says that fingers serve the purpose of stuffing them into our ears when we hear negative talk. As long as the bnei Reuvein and the tribal head of Shimon spoke badly of Moshe, their encampment neighbour, Gad, had to keep his fingers in his ears, hence, Etzbon, sourced from "etzba," a finger. Now that the cohorts of Korach and Zimri were gone they could have their "ears back." (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 27, v. 19: "V'haamadto oso lifnei Elozor" - And set him upright in front of Elozor - Rashi comments that by appointing Yehoshua in front of Elozor there would be a public display of the leadership, albeit not passed on to Moshe's sons, being passed on somewhat to Moshe's family, since Yehoshua would petition Elozor through submitting his questions to the Urim and Tumim that Elozor wears.
In fact this never happened. This is because Elozor ruled in front of Moshe about the koshering process of vessels captured from Midyon. (gemara Eiruvin 63)
Ch. 27, v. 20: "V'nosatoh meihodcho olov" - And you shall give of your glory upon him - Chaza"l derive from "OF your glory" that the glory of Moshe was greater than that of Yehoshua. Moshe's countenance was as the shine of the sun, while Yehoshua's was as the shine of the moon. Woe to that shame, woe to that humiliation.
What is the meaning of the end of this statement? The Holy Admor of Kotzk says that it is embarrassing to measure the greatness of one tzadik against another. The Chid"o explains that when the elders of that generation saw that Yehoshua was picked as Moshe's replacement they came to realize that Yehoshua's seemingly self-demeaning behaviour of straightening the benches and seats in the study area, making them ready for the next session, was very important. Woe to our underestimating that behaviour, which we thought was demeaning and humiliating and we were not willing to do. Woe to our loss.
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