by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS PINCHOS 5775 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 12: "Lochein hin'ni nosein lo es brisi sholo-m" - Therefore I am giving him My covenant of peace - The medrash says, "B'din hu she'yitol s'choro," - It is justified that he should take his reward. In earlier editions of Sedrah Selections numerous explanations were offered. The Holy Admor of Ostrovtze offers the following: The gemara Kidushin 39b says, "S'char mitzvoh b'hai alma leika," there is no reward for doing a mitzvoh in this world. This is explained to mean only for the fulfillment of a positive precept. The logic is since there is no punishment for not doing the mitzvoh on this world there is correspondingly no reward in this world. A second explanation is that if he were rewarded in the here and now, perhaps he would later sin in a manner that extinguishes the merit of the mitzvoh he had done (see gemara Sotoh 21). Therefore Hashem waits for the world to come to reward for the positive mitzvoh. Two points of information: Firstly, Pirkei Ovos 5:18 says that whoever brings merit to the masses is guaranteed that no sin will come about through him. Secondly, the gemara M'nochos 41a says that the rule that Hashem does not punish on this world for the non-fulfillment of a positive precept only applies in normal times. If for some reason one does not fulfill a positive mitzvoh when it is a "time of wrath," then there is punishment on this world even for not doing a positive mitzvoh.
We now understand why Pinchos was deserving of a reward for what he did even in this world. Neither reason for not rewarding in the here and now fall away. As far as his possibly sinning later, he has brought merit to the masses, "Heishiv es chamois mei'al bnei Yisroel," and the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos says that he will not sin. As far as there being no reward in this world because there is likewise no punishment, this does not also does not apply, as there would have been punishment at this time, an "eis rugza," as the verse says, "B'kano es kinosi," He acted zealously in My place, and in turn there is reward in this world.
Ch. 25, v. 12: "Sholo-m" - Peace - The letter Vov in this word is interrupted towards the bottom of its down stroke. This was dealt with in Sedrah Selection parshas Pinchos 5759. There are three opinions as to how many miracles took place by Pinchos's act of zealousness, either 6 or 10 or 12. These three amounts are all alluded to in this Vov. Six is the value of this Vov. Ten is the value of the upper section of the Vov, which is shortened, and although still a Vov, nevertheless looks somewhat like a Yud. Twelve is alluded to by the two sections of the Vov, 6x2=12. (Rabbi Gershon Steinberg)
Ch. 25, v. 14: "Asher hukoh es haMidyonis" - Who was smitten with the Midyanite - The reason the verse doesn't say "IM haMidyonis" which would connote a close involvement, which was the case, is because no matter how low a ben Yisroel has sunk, as here, nevertheless he is not so low as to be on an equal footing with a goy, hence only "es." (Rabbi Gershon Steinberg)
Ch. 26, v. 46: "Serach" - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that Serach was accompanied by 600,000 angels to Gan Eden.
Ch. 27, v. 3: "V'hu lo hoyoh ……b'adas Korach" - And he wasn't …… in the congregation of Korach - Why is this germane to their claim? Had their father been one of Korach's cohorts, all his possessions would have been confiscated, as per the words of Moshe, "v'al tigu b'chol asher lo'hem" (Bmidbar 16:26). Indeed, when the earth swallowed Korach's group it took along all their possessions, "v'es kol horchush" (verse 32). Their land claim would have had no basis. (Sforno)
Ch. 27, v. 19: "V'haamadto oso lifnei Elozor haKohein" - And place him in front of Elozor the Kohein - Rashi explains that although the leadership was given to Yehoshua rather than to one of Moshe's sons, nevertheless, Moshe was somewhat comforted that Yehoshua would still need Elozor, a nephew and brother-in-law of Moshe and a Levi, for queries of the Choshen Mishpot. In fact this never took place. Yehoshua never asked of the Choshen Mishpot. This was a punishment for Elozor because he answered an halacha issue, that of cleansing and koshering the food vessels captured from the Midyanites, in front of Moshe, "Moreh halacha bifnei Rabo." (Gemara Eiruvin 63)
Ch. 28, v. 11: "Uvroshei chodsheichem" - And on the heads of your months - Rosh Chodesh has by custom been a day that is treated somewhat as a Yom Tov by the bnei Yisroel. We see this from the verse, "Asher nistarto shom b'yom hamaa'seh" (Shmuel 1:20:19). "B'yom hamaa'seh" is translated by Targum as "yoma d'chola," a weekday. Dovid was advised to hide himself on the eve of Rosh Chodesh, which is a day of work, indicating that the next day, Rosh Chodesh, is a Yom Tov of sorts.
The expression "your months" is not found by any Yom Tov. The verse does not similarly say, "B'shabbas Shabbatchem, b'yom Bikureichem, b'yom Sukoseichem." ("B'shovu'oseichem" in 28:26 is explained by the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh.) This is because the custom of somewhat restraining from regular work is based upon the similarity between the bnei Yisroel's success in physical pursuits and the illumination of the moon. The moon is not self-illuminating, but rather, receives its light from another source. By restraining from work on the day of the renewal of the moon we testify that we also receive our success not through our brains and the sweat of our brows, but from Hashem. (Sforno)
The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains the word "chodsheichem" by saying that it is decreed by the court, so it is OUR head of the month.
A bit about the identities of Pinchos and Eliyahu haNovi:
1. Pirkei d'R' Eliezer that clearly states that Pinchos is Eliyahu. This is mentioned there a second time in Ch. 47, and as well in Targum Yonoson ben Uziel in Shmos Ch. 4 v. 13, and Ch. 6 v.12 and 18, and in the holy Zohar in numerous places. The Gemara B.M. 114b relates a story with Eliyahu, stating that he is a Kohein and Rashi says that he is Pinchos.
2. The Medrash Rabboh Breishis p. 71 s. 9 asks, "What is Eliyahu's lineage?" One opinion states that he is from the tribe of Binyomin; another that he is from Gad (also mentioned in the Baal Haturim B'midbar Ch. 26 v. 15 with a source from Divrei Hayomim. Some correct the text of the Baal Haturim to read M'lochim II Ch. 17 v. 1. Eliyahu himself appeared and said, "I am a descendant of Rochel."
3.The RDB"Z responsa vol. 6 says that Eliyahu and Pinchos were two separate people who had a common source for their souls.
4. The Chid"o says in the name of Rabbi Moshe Kordoviro that Eliyahu was an angel who was forced to descend to earth and took on the form of Pinchos.
5. The Chid"o says in the name of Rabbenu Betzalel that there were two people who were called Eliyahu haNovi.
(above list from HaRav D. Mandelbaum)
To end off this topic I suggest looking up the responsa of the Chasam Sofer in Likutim res. 98. He gives Eliyahu two halachic statuses; one when he appears as a human on this earth, another when he appears as a spirit (neshomo). Indeed, look it up. It is well worth your effort.
For a bit of lomdus, see Kovetz Shiurim vol. 2 s. 28, where HaRav Elchonon Wasserman zt"l discusses the marital status of Eliyahu's wife.
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