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Parshas Pinchas ~ Torah Gems

This shiur has been dedicated in memory of Norman Gawronsky ————–

by his son, Andrew Gawronsky

Pinchas

I. Forgiving

1. “You shall say to them this is the fire offering that they should bring for HaShem*, perfect lambs in their first year, two a day, for a continual offering. One of the lambs you should make in the morning and the second lamb you should make in the evening.” Bamidbar* 28.3-4. I heard in the name of the Chasid and man of G-d Rabbi Yitzchok, who is called by everyone Reb Itzikel Doravitcher ZTvK’L* (the father of Rabbi Mechel the Maggid* of Zlotchov ZT’L*), that everyone holds onto the anger he has with his friend until the day before Yom Kippur*. Then[, on the day before Yom Kippur,] we see everyone going around forgiving one another. But that is not the proper way for people to act. One should forgive his friend for anything that he had done to him in the same day before going to sleep. In the morning he should forgive him for anything that had been done to him the night before. He should not leave his anger for a full year [until Yom Kippur]. This is what the verse means: ‘This is the fire offering’ [i.e. how should you deal with your anger which is compared to fire.] ‘That you shall offer to HaShem’, in order that it should be pleasing to Him [and should be considered as an offering.] ‘Lambs [Heb. kavusim] in their first year’.  This means to say that those things that are usually hidden [Heb. kavish] in your heart for a full year until the day before Yom Kipper, you should not leave hidden. [You should grant forgiveness for your fellow.] ‘Two a day’. [You shall do it] two times a day. ‘One lamb [kavis] you should make in the morning.’ That which is hidden in your heart [i.e. your anger at your friend] you should rectify [in the morning]. ‘And the second lamb you should make.’ You should rectify the hidden things at night before going to sleep. (Sefer Mayim Rabim p.99 teachings of Rebbe* Mechel the Maggid of Zlotchov ZT’L, a Talmid* of the Baal Shem Tov)                                 * * * II. Humility 2. “To Zerach the families of Zerach” Bamidbar 26.13 The Torah is teaching us the ways of repentance. The main trait that brings one to repentance is humility. A person should always appear in his eyes as if he had never done a single Mitzvah*. That is what ‘to Zerach’ [Heb. to shine] means. Something in the future. The person is always waiting ‘to shine’ [i.e. to Zerach], meaning that he is waiting to do a Mitzvah. Those Mitzvos that he has already done he should consider as nothing [i.e. as if he had never done anything]. If he does this then he will find that he will receive much help in doing the Mitzvos. ‘The families of Zerach.’ There will be many ‘families’ to help him shine. [Many paths will be opened for him by HaShem to perform mitzvos.]  (Sefer Razin D’Oraysa p.  66 teachings of Rebbe Velvel of Zabriz ZT’L, son of Rabbi Mechel the Maggid of Zlotchov ZT’L)                                 * * * 3. “The continual offering that was commanded (lit. made) on Mount Sinai” Bamidbar 28.6 It is well known (from the Talmud Sota* 5a and Megilla* 29a) that ‘Mount Sinai’ refers to the idea of humility. It was for this reason The Holy One, Blessed is He revealed himself on Mount Sinai and gave the Torah to Israel. Therefore this is what the verse is saying:  ‘That was made on Mount Sinai.’ The person who is humble, which is the level of Mount Sinai, is able to achieve a very high level in his service of HaShem. And [he can] rise higher and higher. That is the meaning of a ‘continual offering.’ The one who is able to offer himself continually to HaShem.  This is the one who has made himself humble like Mount Sinai. He [the humble person] will bring a ‘fire offering that is pleasing for HaShem.’ (Toras Shimon p. 34 teachings from Rabbi Shimon of Yarislov ZT’L, a Talmud of the Chozeh of Lublin and a number of other Rebbes of that time.)                                 * * * III. Praying 4. ‘My pleasant aroma you shall be careful to offer Me in it’s appointed time.’ (Bamidbar 28.2) In the Midrash* [on this verse] it says, “The verse says, ‘The Tzaddik* eats to satisfy his soul and the stomach of the wicked is always lacking.’ ‘The Tzaddik eats to satisfy his soul’ this is Eliezer [the servant of Avraham] who said, ‘Let me sip please.’ ‘And the stomach of the wicked is always lacking,’ this is Esav who said, ‘Pour into me, please.'” We can explain this according to what the Talmud* says, ‘A person should always pray [to HaShem for help] before the troubles come, in order that they should not come.’ We may say the reason is as follows. The truth is that everything comes from HaShem. Even the prayers, themself, that a person will pray comes from HaShem. The reason is that if HaShem were not to help him [and give him the strength] he would not be able to do anything. Therefore a person needs to pray that HaShem should send to him the [proper] words of prayer, so that he should be fluent in his prayers. Then when he needs them he will know what to pray and HaShem will then answer him when he has troubles. And He will fulfil all of his needs for his own well being. This is ‘My pleasant aroma.’ That which is done which is pleasing before Him, which refers to prayer. ‘You shall be careful’ [Heb. tishmoru] This is the same language of ‘And his father kept [Heb. Shomer] the thing. [i.e. His father waited to see that it would be fulfilled.] This means that you should pray before you have a need for something. In order ‘to offer to Me in it’s appointed time.’ In order that when you need something, whether that something has to do with your livelihood or some other physical need, you should be fluent in your prayers for this need.  Then HaShem will hear you. That is the meaning of ‘The Tzaddik eats to satisfy his soul.’ His prayers are fluent in his mouth and he is able to accomplish what he wishes with his prayers. He can bring down sustenance and compassion on himself and on all of the Jewish people who need compassion [from HaShem.] This is what their holy words mean: ‘This is Eliezer who said “Let me sip please.”‘ The word ‘please’ [Heb. na] is a language that implies prayer. Therefore the meaning is that this is the reason that he is called a Tzaddik according to this Midrash. ‘The Tzaddik eats to satisfy his soul,’ means that he prays to HaShem that he should ‘Let me sip please.’ His prayers should be fluent in his mouth. [The verse there continues,] ‘A little water from your bucket.’ ‘Water’ refers to the mercy of HaShem. [The meaning being that] his eating should be in order to bring down HaShem’s mercy to this world to bring His good mercy to all the Jewish people. “‘And the stomach of the wicked is lacking.’ This is Esav who said, ‘Pour into me please.'” He does not pray to HaShem that his prayers should be fluent in his mouth before he needs them. He only asks to fill his desires, and his stomach. [However] his prayers are not heard, therefore ‘and the stomach of the wicked are lacking.’ HaShem holds back his light from the wicked. (p. 91 sefer Zerah Yakov teachings of Rebbe Yakov of Melitz son of Rebbe Naftuli Tzvi of Ropshitz.)                                 * * * IV. The reward of a Mitzvah 5. “Pinchas the son of Eluzer the son of Aaron the Kohen (priest) turned back my anger from the Children of Israel when he was jealous for my sake among them, therefore I did not destroy them in my anger. Because of this behold I will give to him my covenant of peace. And it shall be a covenant for him and his seed after him; a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was jealous for his G-d, and made atonement for the children of Israel.” Bamidbar 25.11-13 Let me explain the problems with these verses. First it says, ‘when he was jealous for my sake among them.’ Then it says, ‘he was jealous for his G-d’. [First it says that his jealousy was among the people of Israel, and then it says it was for G-d alone.] Again, first it says, ‘I will give to him My covenant of peace’ then it says, ‘it shall be a covenant for him and his seed after him’ [First it says the reward is for him alone, then it says it is for him and his children] We can explain the problems this way: There are two aspects in the performance of the Mitzvos. First the physical action of the Mitzvah itself. This is apparent to everyone, since everyone can see him do it.  However this has a limit. [The person has done a specific action. The action has a time and length etc.] The second aspect is the intentions and the joy one feels when doing the Mitzvah. This is something that is hidden from other people. It is revealed only to G-d what his intentions were and what the good thoughts that he had were.  To this there is no limit or end. [Since there is no limit to the possible intentions one could have] Therefore the reward for these intentions is also without limit or end. This is what is meant by the verse that says, ‘The Mitzvos are a lamp and the Torah is light’ (Mishleh* 6.23) The Rabbis say that from this verse we see that a Mitzvah protects only when you are doing it, but the Torah protects when you are learning it and when you are not learning it. What they mean is that when one does a Mitzvah in the manner revealed to all, as I mentioned above. This is like a lamp, and only protects the person when he is doing it since it has a limit to it, like I mentioned above. However if you do a Mitzvah with inner intentions and joy, this is without any limit to it (which is the hidden meaning of what the rabbis say ‘A commandment brings another commandment’ Pirkei Avos* 4.2.) [Since by doing a Mitzvah with joy and inner intentions you will bring another Mitzvah and another Mitzvah, without any limit] Therefore this manner of the performance of the Mitzvah will protect you always without any time limitation. This is called ‘Torah’, and as is explained by the Rabbis: ‘Anyone who keeps one Mitzvah in the proper manner it is as if he kept the whole Torah’.  For this reason when you spell out the word lamp [Hebrew ner: spelled out nun vav nun; resh yud shin. 106 + 510 = 616] you get the numerical value of ‘The Torah’. [Hebrew HaTorah: heh tof vav resh heh = 616] This is a remez* that because of the ‘lamp’, i.e. a Mitzvah performed in the proper manner, it is as if you have kept all of the Torah, and your reward is one that does not have a limit. This therefore is the point of these verses: ‘Pinchas the son of Eluzer …turned back my anger from the Children of Israel when he was jealous for my sake among them.’ [This means when he was] ‘among them’. This refers to the performance his Mitzvah in from of all the people where they could see it. This was an action with a limit therefore his reward was ‘I will give to him my covenant of peace’. A reward with a limit. [i.e. to him ALONE] But ‘it shall be a covenant for him and his seed after him’, a reward without any limit ‘because he was jealous for his G-d’.  Because of the inner intentions he had when doing the Mitzvah that no one but G-d knew of, which is a thing without limits.  (Tzemach Tzaddik p. 243 teachings from Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Viznitz ZT’L the son of Rebbe Chaim of Kosov ZT’L, the father of the Viznitzer dynasty)

Zechisom Yugan Aleini v’Al Kol Yisroel

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Glossary:

Arizal: Hebrew initials of the words: Adoni Rabbenu Yitzchok    Zechorono LeVaracha our master Rabbi Yitzchok. Better known as    Yitzchok Luria the great 16th century Kabbalist
Baal Tshuva (Baalei Tshuva): Hebrew for someone who is a repentant    sinner.
Bamidbar:
Fourth book of the Torah. Called in English Numbers
Chazal: Hebrew initials for: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha (Our sages    of Blessed memory) Used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud
Chesed: Hebrew word meaning acts of mercy
Drash: A method of Biblical interpretation ascribing moral or ethical    meaning to verses in the Torah.
HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name
mikvah: Hebrew word referring to a ritual bath used for purification
Mishnah: An ancient Jewish work made of specific laws.
Moshe Rabbeinu: Hebrew for Moses our teacher. A common Jewish way of referring to Moses.
Or HaChaim: Jewish Torah commentary
Rashi: The primary commentary on the Tenach.
Rebbe: Leader of a Chassidic group or a teacher
Rebbe Reb: A title added to a few special Rebbes as a sign of their   higher spiritual stature.
remez: A method of Biblical interpretation based on finding hints in the Torah for various concepts.
Rov: An official rabbi who renders legal decisions. Many of the   Rebbes were both a Rebbe of Chasidim, and the Rov of the city in which they lived.
Sanhedrin: 1. Tractate in the Talmud                  2. Name of the highest level of the Jewish court system.

sefer (seforim): A Jewish religious book.

Talmud: An ancient work of Jewish law.
Tehillim: Hebrew name for Psalms.
Torah: a. First 5 books of the Jewish Bible    b. Also refers to the whole of Jewish law    c. also common term for a chassidic teaching

Tshuva: Hebrew word for repentance

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