פ’ פינחס – תשע”ה
Volume 9, Issue 9
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
השיב את חמתי
“Turned my anger…” (25:11)
If we take a close look at the expression מחצית השקל, half a shekel, we note that the middle letter of מחצית is the צ, symbolizing צדקה, charity. The two letters closest to the צ, are ח and י, which together spell חי, life, and the extreme letters, those furthest from the צ, are ת and מ, which together spell מת, dead. This arrangement of letters suggests that by performing the mitzvah of tzedakah, a person will be surrounded by life, and he will banish death, as it is indeed written, “But charity delivers from death.” (Mishlei 10:2)
When Pinchas avenged the honor of Hashem by killing Zimri, he risked his life, for Zimri could have lawfully killed Pinchas in self-defense. By jeopardizing his life for the sake of Hashem and the Jewish people, Pinchas performed the most sublime act of tzedakah. Thereby השיב את חמתי, “he reversed My anger”, meaning that Pinchas reversed the letters of the word חמתי. For unlike מחצית, in חמתי, the letters מ and ת are situated in the center, while ח and י are at the extremes. Were it not for Pinchas’ zealous intervention, the worst might have happened to the Jewish people. By his act of tzedakah, Pinchas turned חמתי into מחצית, transforming death into life. (Vilna Gaon)
צו את בני ישראל
“Command the Children of Israel…” (28:2)
Rashi comments: the Holy One, Blessed is He, said to him: “Before you instruct Me about My children, instruct My children about Me.” What did He instruct them? The mitzvah of the daily tamid offering. The objective of this mitzvah is to teach one to have faith and trust in Hashem at all times and in all seasons, before one goes to work each day and after one returns from work each day. Before going to work, a person’s faith can be strong. He has not yet spent his day in the workplace, which is fraught with difficulties, trials and tribulations, where an environment not conducive to Torah observance can have a deleterious effect on one’s behavior, actions and speech. When one arrives home after a day of work, after undergoing all the trials and tribulations of the day, he must still be imbued with the faith and trust in Hashem. One may not assert that it is difficult t observe the mitzvot in a given country where he resides. This is the talk of the yetzer hara.
Although this mitzvah was performed only in the Temple, its lesson is for all generations and all times. One must be tamid, constant, unchanging and unswerving in his faith and observance.
The thrice-daily prayers were instituted in order that one cleaves to Hashem and His Torah at all times of the day. This is why the sacrifice is given the name תמיד, always. All of Israel participated in the daily tamid – the Levites on their platform, where they performed the musical accompaniment to the service, and the Israelites on their station, where they arranged all the preparations for the service. Tamid is for everyone. (Rav Moshe Feinstein)
אלה בני דן למשפחתם…ארבעה וששים אלף וארבע מאות
“These are the children of Dan according to their families…sixty-four thousand and four hundred.” (26:42-43)
The Chafetz Chaim noted that the total population of the tribe of Binyamin was forty-five thousand and six hundred. Dan’s population was sixty-four thousand and four hundred. What is so remarkable about this is Binyamin had ten sons, while his brother Dan had only one son, Chushim. What is even more amazing is that Chushim was handicapped; he was deaf. Although Dan had only one son and Binyamin had ten, Dan had more descendants than Binyamin.
From here we can learn that if the Almighty wants a person to be successful, he will succeed even if it appears at first that he has less than someone else. It is possible that from one son a person can have more than from ten sons. Similarly, as regards wealth and possessions. There are some people with only limited amount of money and possessions but they feel happy with what they have and live very cheerful lives. On the opposite side, there are wealthy people who lack true success in life even though they own a lot. Some people see that others have more than they do, and they feel so bad about this that they fail to enjoy what they themselves have.
This envy is a mistake. You can live a very joyous life even if you appear to have less than others. Pray for the Almighty’s blessing with what you have. Quantity is not always a valid measurement for success in life. The person who masters taking pleasure with what he has is guaranteed a life of happiness. (Growth Through Torah)
ובחדש השביעי באחד לחדש…יום תרועה יהיה לכם
“On the first day of the seventh month…it shall be a day of blowing the shofar.” (29:1)
Chazal noted that while here the Torah clearly called for the blast of a shofar, the expression in Parshat Emor is lightly obscure. There (Vayikra 23:24) it speaks of a “memorial” of the shofar blasts. Tractae Rosh Hashana (16a) uses this as a hint of the fact that in the future there would come a time when the rabbis would omit the shofar of the first day when the holiday starts on Shabbat, and it would only be “a memorial” until the next day. R’ Yaakov Reinitz asked an excellent question. Shouldn’t the first reference in the Torah to the shofar speak of using it, and the second one could have been recorded with the hint to future events? This is especially logical since in most years it does not begin on Shabbat!
However, the Magen Avraham, in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 494) quotes from the ancient volume, Seder Olam, that the exodus from Egypt began on a Thursday. Based on the calendar, that year’s Rosh Hashana was (one day only) on Shabbat. Hence the Torah recorded this hint to the future immediately (although this Rabbinic enactment did not apply then).
After recording this response forma volume called Likutei Chayim, R’ Yaakov Reinitz offers his own, excellent solution. Since Parshat Pinchas deals with the sacrifices brought in the Temple, where blowing the shofar on Shabbat was never omitted, it would have been inappropriate to record the hint of a possible omission there! [Interesting, two answers complement one another.] (Great Torah Lights)
This week’s parsha sheet is sponsored by Alisa Hoenig in memory of her mother, Barbara Olen, who practiced loving kindness excellently. For future sponsorship opportunities or to receive this publication, please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.