Points to Ponder

Pinchas 5776

When he took my vengence (25:11) – Rashi explains that when Pinchas killed Zimri, he did what Hashem was supposed to do himself. What does it mean that Hashem has vengeance? What is Keil Nikamos Hashem? Rav Shlomo Wolbe ztl. explains that Hashem’s vengeance is to eradicate evil from the world. Pinchas was motivated the same way. His was not based on taking revenge in the regular sense, it was about eliminating evil by destroying the pervayor of it. One who is apathetic to perpetrated evil is not a real Talmid Chacham. Real Talmidei Chachamim take vengeance not for themselves but rather in order to rid the people around them from evil and negative character traits.

And I did not destroy Bnei Yisrael with my anger (25:11)- Last week’s Parsha ended with the mention of the death of 24,000 people in the plague with Midyan. How could a Parsha end on a negative note? Rav Yochanan Zweig Shlita explained that the fact that Hashem considered destroying Bnei Yisrael with his anger and limited himself to 24,000 is a good thing – considering.

Therefore you should tell him I grant him my covenant of peace (25:12) – Rashi tells us that it is a Din that he receives this reward. Why? Moreover, Rashi and Tosafos (Zevachim 101a) that the Kohanim Gedolim come from Pinchas. Why? Rav Gavriel Saraf Shlita of Kerem B’Yavneh notes that the action of Pinchas was Halacha V’Ein Morin Kein.  Pinchas becomes a Kohein because of his actions alone. The Avnei  Neizer is quoted by the Shem MiShmuel as noting that unlike a regular Kohein who is instructed to become Tamai for his relatives, a Kohein Gadol does not. The reason is simple. The Kohein becomes a Kohein as a result of his familial relationship. His father was a kohein and he is too. Therefore he needs to show respect and becomes tamai upon the family’s loss. The Kohein Gadol did it himself. Therefore he is not permitted to become Tamai. Similarly, the ideal Kohanim Gedolim come from the descendants of he who pronounced his Kehuna by himself, namely, Pinchas.


And you will command him in front of their eyes (27:18) – Rav Schachter Shlita quoted the Seridei Eish who noted that based on this possuk we see that Semicha needs to be granted in front of the Tzibbur. This is so because the granting of Semicha is a public issue. Rav Schachter uoted the Gemara that Rabbi Meir received Semicha twice – once in his youth and again later. The reason he needed the Semicha twice is that the people did not accept him the first time. Clearly, the granting of Semicha is a public position that requires communal awareness and support.

And the daughters of Tzlofachad Ben Machir Ben Menashe of the family of Menashe ben Yosef  came close (27:1) – The Talmud learns that Bnos Tzlofchad loved the land just like their great grandfather Menashe did -- hence, the reference to Menashe twice. The mother of the Imrei Emes asked her son why this proved that they loved Eretz Yisrael. Maybe they only loved getting an equal portion? The Imrei Emes answered that the sin of Tzlofchad preceded the episode of the spies. Hence, it was already 38 years old by the time the women came to Moshe. Had they only been interested in the financial compensation they would have come sooner.

And Moshe brought their request before Hashem (27:5) – Rashi tells us that Moshe forgot the Halacha. This was punishment for the fact that he told the people that all difficult questions could be brought to him which in its own way implied haughtiness. Why was this considered a problem? Rav Nosson Tzvi Wachtfogel ztl. explained that every person created must carry the primary mission of Ein Od Milvado. A Primary example was assumed to be Moshe whom Shechina Midaberes Mitoch Grono – the Shechina spoke from within his mouth. When he implied that he offered opinions  that were independent of Hashem’s it ws necessary to show what happens in that case – and he forgot the Halacha.

And you will make an Olah (29:2) – In regard to the Korbanos of Rosh Hashana, the Torah uses the word VaAsisem instead of the more correct V’Hikravtem. Why? Rav Dovid Feinstein Shlita explained that the Yirushalmi (Rosh Hashana 4:5) notes that on Rosh Hashana each person is to make himself into a korban before Hashem. The purpose of blowing the Shofar is to raise ourselves up to the level of offering ourselves sincerely to Hashem. Thus, the section is introduced as Yom Teruah Yihiyeh LAchem – it is a day of Teshuva for US and then we are to make ourselves ready  for Hashem and one of the methods is a korban.

Haftorah: Go and call out to the ears of Yirushalayim saying so said Hashem, I recall your kindness of your youth (Yirmiyahu 2:2) – The Haftorah talks about a payback in the future for events that happened at the time of Yetzias Mitzrzyim. How does that work? Rav Pam ztl. explained that the Possuk “Shlach Lachmecha Al HaMayim teaches us that Hashem saves the opportunities to pay us back for our Chessed for the most critical times that we need it. Here too, despite Hashem’s anger as the Churban approaches, Hashem is willing to hold out, delay and give us a chance so that we come to our senses and engage in Teshuva.