תשע”ט פ’ פינחס

Volume 29, Issue 8


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, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.


                The parshiyot of Pinchas and Balak are two of the five parshiyot in the Torah named for people. Our Sages say that we can very well discover and absorb the differences in these two figures who have parshiyot named for them. We have before us two personalities extremely different, in character and in action. Balak, king of Moav, does nothing himself. When he felt imminent danger from Bnei Yisrael, to his kingdom and army, he called upon others (Bilaam and the people of Midian) to do his work for him.

                Contrary to him, Pinchas was a man of action. He did not stand aside and let someone else do this unpleasant task. He acted at the right time to do what was necessary to save his people. He set the course which Hillel instructed: In a place where there are no people, strive to be a man. (Avot 2:5) Balak’s efforts bore no fruit and he could not get Bilaam to curse Bnei Yisrael. On the other hand, Bnei Yisrael benefitted immediately by Pinchas’ act. These two parshiyot must serve as a moral lesson to man at all times: Never push off for tomorrow what must be done today; and do not have others do what you must do yourself!                                                                          (Torah Gems)

הנני נותן לו שלום

“Behold! Give him My covenant of peace…” (25:12)

                QUESTION: Why in a Torah scroll is the foot of the “ו” in the word “shalom” split?

                ANSWER: The name Eliyahu is written five times in the Torah without its usual “ו” (אליה) while the name of Yaakov is written five times with an extra “ו” (יעקוב). Rashi explains that Yaakov took the “ו” from Eliyahu as a pledge that he will herald the coming of Mashiach to the Jewish people. (Vaykira 26:42). Therefore, the “ו” is incomplete to allude that as long as PinchasEliyahu – does not reveal the coming of Mashiach, the Jewish people have no real peace and the “ו” taken by Yaakov will not be returned.                                                                                                               (Ba’al HaTurim)

קח לך את יהושע בן נון איש אשר רוח בו

“Take unto Yehoshua son of Nun, a man in whom there is spirit…” (27:18)

Rabbi Shimshon Rephael Hirsch zt”l explains the meaning of “ruach” (spirit) as analogous to “ruach” (wind). Just as the wind is invisible, only recognizable by its effects, so too, are the moral and spiritual agents of a human being. This active and moving force in a human being, the power of a discernment between right and wrong, although invisible, is reflected by its effect on the human being. Although every person possesses this invisible “spirit”, it was reflected emphatically in Yehoshua. He was an “ish asher bo ruach” – one who possessed this spiritual quality to an eminent degree. One must be an “ish”, a human being, who possesses unseen spiritual qualities; they should be manifested throughout his endeavors, as the guiding force of his spiritual leadership of Klal Yisrael. That “ish” is then transformed into a man in whom it is noticeable that there is a spirituality in him.                                                                                                                                                               (Peninim on the Torah)

יום תרועה יהיה לכם

“It shall be a day of shofar-sounding for you.” (29:1)

                Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgment, is called Yom Teruah, because of the three kinds of shofar sounds (teruah, tekiah, shevarim). The teruah represents din – judgment. However, the teruah note is always preceded and followed by a tekiah to note that justice does not stand alone but is always enclosed by a sound that represents peace and joy.                                             (Rabbi Munk)

                ובעשור לחדש השביעי הזה

“On the tenth day of this seventh month…” (29:7)

                Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are very similar and yet quite distinct. Ramban (see commentary to Vayikra 23:24) explains that Rosh Hashana is called a day of justice, tempered by mercy (forgiveness), whereas Yom Kippur is a day of mercy, tempered by justice. The spirit of strict judgment in which the month of Tishrei first makes its appearance is gradually attenuated over the next ten days so that it becomes almost entirely mercy on the tenth day.                      (Rabbi Munk)

                Rav Shimon Shkop zt”l  would say: “A person is granted wisdom not only for his own benefit, but also for the benefit of others. One is obligated to share his Torah knowledge with others. Hence, if he is a reliable transmitter of this wisdom to others, Hashem will bestow even greater wisdom upon him, in order that he may continue to share it with others.”         (Torah Tavlin)