by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS PINCHOS 5769 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 12: "Es brisi sholo-m" - My covenant of peace - The letter Vov of the word "sholo-m" is "k'tia." This definitely means that it is diminished in some form. In the 5758 edition on our parsha numerous opinions were cited to describe how the Vov should appear in a Sefer Torah. Rabbeinu Avigdor says that a bit of the Vov is missing. This is still open to interpretation, as it might be the bottom tip, or a bit of the middle of the down stroke. In any case, he says that this missing part is attached to the letter Vov of "gochon" in parshas Shmini (11:42). There the verse discusses creatures that slither on their belly, i.e. a snake. He says that although the snake was instrumental in bringing death to the world, Pinchos, through his heroic act of zealousness, warded off the death of numerous of the bnei Yisroel by plague. His power of investing life into the bnei Yisroel was attached to the description of the snake, to counter its negative powers. He adds that this was unsuccessful, as we see that the snake continues to travel on its belly. He explains that it is specifically the Vov that is unique in the word because the snake was cursed in six manners, and the numerical value of a Vov is six.
In the footnote of Chumasim we find the description of the Vov of "gochon" as a Vov "rabosi," meaning that it is overall enlarged, somewhat like typing in one point size and typing in one letter in a larger point size. According to Rabbeinu Avigdor it seems that it is a Vov "arichta," elongated, rather than overall enlarged. There is a similar issue with the letter Vov of Vaizoso in Megilas Esther.
Ch. 25, v. 12: "Es brisi sholo-m" - My covenant of peace - Yalkut Ho'eizovi writes that since Pinchos took to heart and acted very courageously to stop an improper union, he comes to every wedding (kiso shel Pinchos). If he finds that the groom marries an appropriate bride, he blesses them with wealth, life, and children, and Hashem fulfills the blessing. If Pinchos is not pleased with the match Eliyohu binds the groom and Hashem straps him. This is alluded to in the words, "V'hoyoh im bin hakose horosho," (Dvorim 25:2). "Horosho" has the same letters as "r'sho'oh," an evil woman. Chazal say that one who takes a "r'sho'oh" into his home is deserving of lashes.
Ch. 26, v. 6: "Shloshoh v'arbo'im elef v'sheva mei'os ushloshim" - Forty-three-thousand-seven hundred and thirty - This total is an anomaly considering that all other tribes' totals were complete hundreds and the one exception was also a well-rounded number, fifty, "Chamishoh v'arbo'im elef sheish mei'os vachamishim," also by the tribe of Reuvein (Bmidbar 2:15). To answer this we must take note of the information given in verses 9,10, and 11. The uprising of Korach, Doson and Avirom, and the fact that Korach's sons survived seems to be a total non sequitur, as we are totally entrenched in a census and family tree accounting. A daring explanation is offered by MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki. He says that there were not always exact well-rounded totals for each tribe. Moshe had heads of groupings of 1,000, of 100, of 50, and of 10. By taking note of a few verses we have an indication that the heads of 1,000, of 100, and of 10 were involved in supervising spiritual matters, and the heads of 1,000 and 50 were for war and battle issues (see M'lochim 2:1, Shmuel 1:8, and Yeshayohu 3). Perhaps we can say that when the verse in Yehoshua 1 says, "V'attem taavru chamushim lifnei acheichem kol giborei hechoyil" it means that they should go as regiments of 50 each. A similar explanation can be offered for the words of Shmos 13:18, "Vachamushim olu vnei Yisroel mei'eretz Mitzrayim."
When people who were of the age to be conscripted into the army were counted, they would be counted as groups of fifty each. The extra people who were beyond fifty and did not complete another such grouping were bundled together and created groups of fifty, although in the tribal count they were not listed. This sits well even with the total census count for the tribe of Reuvein in parshas Bmidbar.
In the interim the uprising of Korach and his henchmen took place. Doson and Avirom were the worst perpetrators of the whole lot, as explained in an earlier issue on parshas Korach. To leave a lasting remembrance of the deplorable behaviour of Doson and Avirom, who were of the tribe of Reuvein, no bundling with other "extras" was done, and they ended up with the abnormality of a group of thirty. Verses 9 through 11 explain the unusual total of verse 6, our verse. Because Doson and Avirom raised a tumultuous rebellion against Moshe, their tribe had this count. If you will ask, "If so, why do we round off the count of the Levites, since Korach was a lead player against Moshe, the answer lies in verse 11, "Uvnei Korach lo meisu." Since Korach's sons did not die in the rebellion, it is indicative of their not siding with their father, so there was no reason to stigmatize them with an atypical numbered grouping. This was surely not the case with the tribe of Reuvein, as we find that not only Doson and Avirom were destroyed, but so was their family. Since we have the descendants of Palu, in the persons of his grandsons Doson and Avirom, a dishonour for this tribe is in place. It is now very well understood why the verse relates the happenings by the Korach uprising.
Once we have mentioned that Doson and Avirom were greater sinners than Korach, it might be in place to mention a great "chidush" of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. The mishnoh in Sanhedrin 108 says that "adas Korach" has no share in the world-to-come. The mishnoh then says that there is an opinion that they do have a share in the world-to-come, as per the words of the verse, "Morid sh'ole va'yo'al" (T'hilim). The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that there is no disagreement here. The first statement refers only to Doson and Avirom, while the next statement refers to the rest of the people, including Korach himself.
Ch. 26, v. 8: "Uvnei Falu Eliov" - And the sons of Palu is/are Eliov - Although the verse says that he had sons, plural, nevertheless, the listing of only one son is appropriate. We find this in Breishis 46:23, "Uvnei Dan Chushim." (Perhaps the "ben yochid" syndrome gives the only son a status of more than one child in the eyes of his parents.)
The Rambam seems to apply this to a pragmatic matter in hilchos z'chioh umatonoh 11:1. If one who is on his death bed says that his possessions should pass on to his sonS, daughters are not included. If he had only one son and one daughter, or even a son and a son's son, even though he expressed himself in the plural, the inheritance passes on only to his son, because a person is wont to call his only son in the plural. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
However, the Malbim writes that the plural is used here because Palu had a second son, On ben Pelles. Pelles and Palu are one and the same person. The reason he is left out is because the verse wants to concentrate only on Eliov and his sons Doson and Avirom and their nefarious activities.
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