פ’ פנחס תשע”ח
Volume 24, Issue 9
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholars’ 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.
בקנאו את קנאתי בתוכם…הנני נתן לו את בריתי שלום
“When he zealously avenged My vengeance among them…Behold! I give him My covenant of peace.” (25:11-12)
QUESTION: Superficially, both Pinchas and Korach were zealots. They both saw something that they considered wrong and took drastic action. If so, why was Pinchas so handsomely rewarded and Korach so severely punished?
ANSWER: The major difference between them was not in what they did, but in how they did it. Of Pinchas, the Torah attests that whatever he did was “betocham” – “among them”. He remained within the community and did not harm community unity in any way. About Korach the Torah writes, “vayikach Korach” – “Korach took” – and Onkelos translates “ve’itpeleig Korach,” which means that Korach separated himself.
Thus, for Korach’s endeavors to separate himself and divisively create a following of his own, he was severely punished, though he may have been motivated by a spirit of zealousness. (HaRav Rephael Stein z”l)
אבינו מת במדבר והוא לא היה בתוך העדה הנועדים על ה’ בעדת קרח
“Our father died in the Wilderness, but he was not among the group that banded together against Hashem in the company of Korach…” (27:3)
Why did the daughters of Tzelaphchad mention that their father had not been part of Korach’s followers? Did it affect their claim?
The Gemara distinguishes between the estate of one who is killed by Beit Din and one who is killed by the king. The estate of the former is passed down to his inheritors, while the king appropriates the estate of one whom he has killed (Sanhedrin 48b).
Korach’s followers challenged the authority of Moshe, who had the legal status of a king (see Devarim 33:5). Thus, when they were punished and died, they were considered as having been killed by the king and their property was confiscated. Therefore the daughters of Tzelaphchad claimed that their father had not died for that reason, but rather a different sin, which entitled them to an inheritance. (Meshech Chochmah)
וביום השבת שני כבשים בני שנה תמימם
“And on the Sabbath day: two male lambs in their first year, unblemished…” (28:9)
During the week, men often rise early to go to the morning prayers, while on Shabbos, they often pray at a later time. The Rema, in his gloss to Orach Chaim 281, quotes the Sefer Mordechai (Shabbos Chapter 16, #398) who states that this practice is a custom that is related in the name of Rav Hai Gaon. Rav Hai Gaon found an allusion to this custom in the present verse. The verse states that the daily burnt offering of Shabbos morning is to be brought, U’veyom ha Shabbos, “On the Shabbos day.” This stands in contrast to the terminology used to describe the timing of the weekday daily burnt offering which is baboker, “in the morning.” Certainly, “day” implies a later hour than “morning”.
The Maharal explains that the reason for this custom is to allow people to sleep later than usual, since sleeping is oneg Shabbos, one of the pleasured of Shabbos. (Bach from Otzar Chaim)
ועשיתם עלה לריח ניחח לה’
“And you shall make an elevation-offering for a satisfying aroma to Hashem…” (29:2)
It is interesting to note that in discussing the offerings of Rosh Hashanah, the Torah uses the term “Va’asitem” – “You shall make”, while concerning all the other festivals it says “Vi’hikravtem” – “You shall offer”. What can we learn from this discrepancy?
The Sages taught (Yerushalmi. Rosh Hashanah 4:5) that on Rosh Hashanah, each person should feel that he makes himself into an offering before Hashem. The purpose of blowing the shofar, which has the sound of a person crying in spiritual agony over his sins and imperfections, is to raise us up to the level of offering ourselves totally and sincerely to Hashem. Thus, after telling us that Rosh Hashanah is to be a day of shofar blowing for us, the Torah uses the expression making, to indicate that the shofar will allow us to reach that level. (Torah Gems)
וחגתם חג לה’ שבעת ימים
“You shall celebrate a festival to Hashem for seven days…” (29:12)
There is a very good reason why the Yom Tov of Sukkot is called Zman Simchateinu – The Time of Happiness. The sins and transgressions that we commit are with us throughout the entire year, interfering with real joy, the joy of the heart. However, right after we have experienced the High Holy Days and we have been granted forgiveness for our sins, we sense a feeling of spiritual elevation, relief and inner joy. As Dovid HaMelech says “Ohr zarua la’tzaddik ul’yishrei lev simcha” – Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright of heart (Tehillim 97:11). After we have reached the level of upright of heart, with the forgiveness of our sins on Yom Kippur, we are then worthy of gladness on Sukkot. (Rav Nachman of Breslav)
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