Points to Ponder

Pinchas 5774


When he took my vengenance for me (25:11) – Rav Gifter ztl. explained that Kannaus is an external middah and is not usually associated with spiritual matters. How then does Hashem reward it with peace? Rather, Pinchas’s action was motivated by an internal realization that if one does not act for the pride of Hashem in his life, then he has no life. This is the concept of internal Kannaus – it is the recognition of the individual that in order to achieve Sheleimus, one must know what the purpose of his life is all about. Thus, the ultimate reward for the one who seeks this sense of purpose, is the achievement of that which he seeks – Shalom – a sense of Sheleimus.


Who were smitten on the day of the plague due to the episode of Peor (25:18) – Rav Yechezkel Abramsky ztl. notes that generally one is moved by tragedy toward Teshuva – or at the least a hesitation from sin – when one experiences the moment of tragedy. The great Avaira of Zimri is highlighted when we discover that he sinned after the plague had started, as if it had no effect on him whatsoever.


Why should the name of our father lose out (27:4) – Rav Chaim Sabato Shlita notes the link between the arguments of those who brought the Korban Pesach Sheni and the daughters of Tzelofchad. Both begin their arguments with the comment “Why should we lose?” but what is the basis of the argument? Rav Sabato explains that the argument of “why should we lose?” is a statement of desire (Ratzon) – in one case to be a part of Bnei Yisrael at the time of the Korban Pesach and on the other to be a part of Eretz Yisrael. The same is true for Torat Yisrael – when we ask Lama Nigara, we offer educational opportunities to all and provide the greatest chance for success.


Take Yehoshua who has spirit in him (27:18) - Although there were others who possessed greater intellectual capabilities than Yehoshua (see Ramban), Yehoshua was chosen to lead. Sforno explains that this was due to the fact that he had the spirit of Hashem in him, which Rav Chaim Shmuellevitz ztl interprets as the readiness to accept the mission of God and the desire to grow the spiritual relationship more and more.  Rav Baurch Simon shlita would often add that the desire and readiness to grow must be on our minds especially when we are weak, weary and need of vacation. Yehoshua was Lo yamish -- he grabbed every minute. We must as well.



And you shall take from your glory and place it on him (27:20) – The Talmud notes that the face of Moshe was like the sun and the face of Yehoshua was like the moon. Rav Dovid Povarsky ztl. used to note that this was the problem with Yehoshua’s leadership. He lacked the right to innovate in the way Moshe did. His son, Rav Boruch Dov Povarsky Shlita notes the exact opposite message – Moshe was the originator of the Mesorah from Sinai. As such, he was the source of power like the sun. Yehoshua, as the primary disciple and the beginning receiving link of the mesorah served and led Bnei Yisrael proudly from the point of the moon – highlighting the value of Mesorah in our tradition.


My Korban you shall be careful to offer in its right time (28:1) -  Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Shlita noted the significance of the Korban Hatamid over the Mussaf offerings offered elsewhere in the Parsha. In fact, he notes, the only korban with the word “L’Shmor” is the Tamid. This is due to the fact that Timidiyoos is an overwhelming virtue in the Torah. Simply focusing on the unique, once in a while, holidays will not guarantee the survival of the spirit of the Jew. Hence, one of the great tragedies of the Shiva Asar b’Tammuz day was the Bittul HaTamid – the spiritual loss of consistency as a value.


And on YOUR Roshei Chodoshim (28:11) - Why is Rosh Chodesh specifically granted the status of being referred to as OURS -- as opposed to the Yamim Tovim? Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita explains that when we sanctify Rosh Chodesh, we in turn are sanctifying the Yamim Tovim. Without us taking the first step with Rlsh Chodesh, Yom Tov cannot happen.