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Home » Pinchas

Pinchas: Food for Thought for Your Dinner Table

Submitted by on July 13, 2008 – 3:05 amNo Comment | 3,826 views

Sunday: Commensurate Reward

For slaying Zimri, the man who committed a sacrilegious act in public, Pinchas was rewarded with the High Priesthood. What is the connection between the act and its reward?

Jewish law stipulates that a priest forfeits his priesthood through murder. Pinchas would have known this when he slayed Zimri, but he killed him anyway. In a sense he was saying that one who desecrates the Torah should not be permitted to live even if his executioner has to pay a price for his execution. For the sake of G-d’s glory Pinchas took it upon himself to slay Zimri even though the act of execution would disqualify Pinchas from the priesthood. G-d appreciates such devotion and, in return, not only granted him priesthood, but named him to succeed his father as High priest. Tiferes Shlomo

Monday: Pure from Conception

The Talmud teaches that Ish, the Hebrew word for man, consists of the letters Aleph, Yud and Shin. Isha, the Hebrew word for woman, consists of the letters, Aleph, Shin and Hei. The letters Aleph and Shin spell the word Aish, which means fire, the third letter of the two names spell the Divine name, the Yud in the masculine and the Hei in the feminine. The message therein is that when man and woman are devoted to G-d, their marriage is warmed by a sacred flame. When they turn from G-d, the letters of the Divine name are removed from their name, leaving them with Aish, a fire that will consume them.

In our Parshah, the names of the Jewish families are framed by Yud and Hei, the letters of the Divine name. The family of Kehat, for example, appears as “Hakehati,” preceded by Yud and followed by Hei. This demonstrates that Jewish families born in Egypt were conceived in holiness. They merited that G-d invoke His name upon theirs because from the time they were conceived, their parents were devoted to the sanctification of G-d’s name. Toras Moshe (Rabbi Moshe Alshich)

Tuesday: They Believed

Of all the Jewish men who entered the land of Israel only two, Calev and Yehoshua, were over the age of twenty when they left Egypt, all others died before entering the Holy Land because they belived the spies’ negative report about Israel. However, all Jewish women entered the Holy Land   because they refused to believe the negative report. Those Jews who did not believe that Israel belonged to them from the moment it was promised to Avraham worried that they might not win a war of conquest against the local tribes. The women, who believed that the land was already theirs, did not fear the war because they viewed it as a formality that would surely end in victory despite the difficulties.

This is illustrated by the daughters of Tzlafchad. Tzlafchad died in the desert and his daughters asked to inherit their father’s portion in Israel. Had they believed, like the men, that the land was not yet theirs and would have to be acquired by conquest, they would not have expected that their father, who perished before entering Israel, was entitled to a portion of the land. Because they believed that the land belonged to the Jews since the moment it was promised to Avraham, they fully expected that their father was entitled to a share of the land though he never entered it. Ksav Sofer

Wednesday: Every Generation

Moshe appointed Yehoshua to lead the people after Moshe’s passing. Moshe (despite his humility) knew that he was irreplaceable; no future leader would ever fill his brilliant shoes. Yet he spoke as if Yehoshua would succeed him perfectly. Jewish law stipulates that decrees of the high Jewish court must be respected regardless of the court’s erudition or lack thereof. Yiftach, who was not known for his scholarship, was to be revered in his generation as Moshe was in his. No Jewish court, despite their brilliance, can truly know G-d’s will. Their verdicts are sacrosanct because they are guided by G-d to the Halacha He desires. In effect, rabbis and Torah scholars are not legislators of Torah, but facilitators of Divine legislation. Their brilliance or lack thereof is immaterial. Moshe in his generation, Yehoshua in his and Yiftach in his are all equal facilitators of G-d’s will. Chafetz Chayim

Thursday: The Daily Sacrifice

Shortly after the discussion of Moshe’s passing the Torah introduces the laws of the daily sacrifice. Our sages taught that the sacrifice was brought daily at sunrise and sunset to atone for idolaters, who worshiped the sun as it rose and set. Moshe’s personal merit atoned for the sin of all idolaters as evidenced by his reaction to the sin of the Golden Calf. However, once we learn that Moshe would pass on, a new atonement for idolatry would be required. Hence, the introduction of the daily sacrifice shortly after the discussion of Moshe’s passing. Malbim

Friday: Judged As a Unit

Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgement. A human judge considers the behaviour of every person on an individual basis. G-d views the entire nation as one unit. When one performs a Mitzvah, the entire nation collects merit, however, when one commits a sin, no one but the sinner accepts blame because they don’t agree with sin and, in fact, remonstrate with the sinner. This complimentary perspective is only offered when we unite and perceive all Jews as members of a single family. The Torah mentions twice that Rosh Hashanah is a holiday, “lachem,” for you (in the plural form). On this holiday we are expected to celebrate as a community with a focus on Jewish unity so that we can be judged in a favourable manner. Or Pnei Moshe

Shabbat: A Comprehensive Mitzvah

The holiday of Sukkot is so named for the mitzvah of Sukkah rather than Lulav, the Mitzvah of Four Species, which is also unique to this holiday. The Mitzvah of Sukkah begins as the sun sets, when the holiday commences, whereas the Mitzvah of Four Species, which is practiced only during the day, does not begin till the next morning. Another point, the Mitzvah of Four Species is performed by the hands only, whereas the Mitzvah of sitting in the Sukkah is performed by the entire body. Lastly, the Mitzvah of Four Species is fulfilled only when it is performed in the prescribed manner, whereas the Mitzvah of Sukkah is fulfilled regardless of what one does in the Sukkah. One might read, eat, relax, sleep or even nothing at all, so long as it is done in the Sukkah, it is considered a Mitzvah. Likutei Sichos