Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 30, v. 2: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe el roshei hamatos" - And Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes - Why is this parsha placed here after the parshios of sacrifices at the end of parshas Pinchos?

2) Ch. 31, v. 4: "L'chol Matos Yisroel" - Rashi quotes the Sifri 35 that this includes the tribe of Levi. We find in the next verse that 12,000 soldiers were conscripted. If we include Levi, it should have been a total of 13,000 soldiers.

3) Ch. 31, v. 21: "Habo'im LAmilchomoh" - The literal translation of these words is "Who are coming TO war." Earlier, in verse 14 we find that they had already come back from waging war, "Habo'im mi'tzvo hamilchomoh." If so, shouldn't our verse also have similarly said "habo'im Mimilchomoh?" Indeed, Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates, "D'OSU misidrei krovo," - who HAVE COME from waging war.

4) Ch. 32, v. 33: "V'lachatzi shei'vet Menasheh ven Yoseif" - And to half the tribe of Menasheh the son of Yoseif - We do not find that the tribe of Menasheh requested a portion of land in the Trans-Jordan. If so, why is half the tribe given a portion there?


5) Ch. 35, v. 27: "V'rotzach go'eil hadam es horotzei'ach" - We find two terms in the Torah for killing a person, "harigoh" and "r'tzichoh," killing and committing murder. As a rule, "harigoh" is used when a person justifiably kills, and "r'tzichoh" is used when a murder has been committed. There are two exceptions with the use of "r'tzichoh." Our verse says "v'rotzach" as does verse 30, "Kol ma'kei nefesh l'fi eidim yirtzach es horotzei'ach." Why is a term that means "murder" used where killing is permitted?

Answer to questions on parshas Pinchos:

1) Ch. 25, v. 12: "LOCHEIN hin'ni nosein lo es brisi sholom" - The M.R. 21:1 remarks on these words, "B'din hu she'yitol s'choro," - He is deserving of receiving his reward. In general there is no reward for mitzvos in this world as per the gemara Kidushin 39b. If so, why is this different?

1) This rule only applies to fulfilling a mitzvoh that is incumbent upon a person. Pinchos brought himself to do this mitzvoh which he was not responsible to perform. (Maharsh"a on the gemara Sotoh 14a)

2) Reward for mitzvos in this world is only a kindness of Hashem and not deserved, as the verse in T'hilim 63:14 states, "U'l'cho A'do-noy cho'sed ki atoh s'sha'leim l'ish k'maa'seihu." This is because Hashem has created us, and as his servants we must do his bidding. Any reward given is a favour. However, regarding zealousness in killing Zimri and Kozbi, the halacha is that although it is permitted to kill them, one does not rule that way when asked, "halacha v'ein morin kein." Since Pinchos went beyond the required halacha he deserves to be rewarded. (Sfas Emes)

3) The Rashb"o asks, "Why is it that there is no reward for mitzvos in this world (Kidushin 39b)? Does not the Torah say "B'yomo si'tein s'choro," - You shall pay the worker his wages on the same day (Dvorim 24:15)?" He answers that we consider a person like a hired worker who receives payment at the end of the job. Since we are not sure if a person will remain loyal to Hashem ("Al taamin b'atz'm'cho ad yom mos'cho", Pirkei Ovos 2:4), he does not receive his reward in this world, for fear he will lose his reward by sinning. However, in Pirkei Ovos 5:18 it also says that one who brings merit to the public is assured that no sin will come to his hand. Pinchos brought about a great merit for the public, as is stated in verse 11, "Heishiv es chamosi mei'al bnei Yisroel." Since we are assured that he will not sin, he deserves to be paid in this world. (Yismach Moshe)

4) When one risks his life to do a mitzvoh he receives reward even in this world. (Zera Bo'reich on parshas V'es'chanan)

It seems that the logic behind this is that if a person risks his life, he might die and lose the opportunity to do many more mitzvos, as they can only be done in this ephemeral world. In kind Hashem repays him in this world.

5) When one does a mitzvoh that brings a merit to the public, he is rewarded in this world as well. (Pri M'godim in his general preface, P'sichoh Koleles 4:8)

6) Kohanim are an exception and receive their reward in this world as well. (Responsa Givas Halvonone page 4 in the name of the Chasam Sofer)

This would give new meaning to the words of this verse. "Pinchos ...... the Kohein ...... therefore I give him ......" Because he is a Kohein, I give him his reward in this world.

7) Just as there is no punishment meted out in this world for the lack of fulfillment of a positive mitzvoh, similarly there is no reward in this world for doing a mitzvoh. However, the gemara M'nochos 41a says that at a time of Hashem's great wrath He even punishes in this world for the lack of doing a positive mitzvoh. When Zimri sinned, Hashem was about to release His wrath ch"v upon the bnei Yisroel. Only Pinchos's act of zealousness prevented this, "Heishiv es chamosi" (verse 11). Since at this time a punishment would be meted out even for the lack of fulfillment of a positive mitzvoh, likewise reward for doing a mitzvoh at this time also deserves to be rewarded in this world. (T'vuas Shor on B.B. 9a)

8) Similar to the thought of the T'vuas Shor - Pinchos's act was zealousness for the sanctity of sexual activity, "shmiras habris." Not fulfilling the mitzvoh of bris miloh is one of only two positive commandments that carry a punishment, excision. Since this carries a punishment meted out in this world, likewise, guarding it also deserves a reward in this world. (If so, then surely doing a bris miloh itself, and bringing a Korban Pesach, which also carries the punishment of excision for lack of fulfillment, deserve to be rewarded in this world. However, I have not come across anyone who says this.)

9) A worker only receives payment at the end of his work. When applied to reward for mitzvos, this means in the afterlife. Since Pinchos is Eliyohu, and will not die, there is no possibility of giving him reward after he dies and is revived. He therefore deserves it immediately. (Rebbe Reb Heshel of Cracow)

10) In a similar vein, the Holy Zohar says that after killing Zimri, Pinchos's soul left him out of fright of being attacked by other bnei Shimon. He was given a new soul. Since he had already died, he now deserved payment. (Rebbe Reb Heshel of Cracow)

11) The gemara Kidushin 40a says that mitzvos that are between man and Hashem bear no fruit in this world, but mitzvos between man and man do. In the act of killing Zimri, Pinchos has done both. The killing of Zimri was a mitzvoh in relation to Hashem. The kindness of removing Hashem's anger from upon the bnei Yisroel was between man and man. For this he deserves reward in this world. (Beis haLevi Drush #1 and the Hornesteipler Gaon Rav Y.Y. Kanievski)

2) Ch. 25, v. 12: "Lochein emore hin'ni nosein lo es brisi sholom" - Why did Hashem ask Moshe to convey to Pinchos that he and his children would enter into the covenant of priesthood for all future generations, and not tell this to Pinchos directly?

1) The N'tzi"v answers in the name of Rabbi Yitzchok of Volozhin with a parable. A king sent a very highly placed war officer with many men to combat. In the heat of the combat the enemy started overpowering the king's men. Things looked bleak and to turn the situation around required some very immediate and novel strategy. However, the commanding officer was at a loss to come up with any tactic. An officer of the lowest rank ran to the commanding officer and suggested a most brilliant manoeuvre. The commanding officer immediately put this plan into action and the situation took a sudden turn for the better, with the king's men overpowering their adversaries.

Upon returning victorious from the battlefield, the king was faced with a dilemma. Should he openly disgrace the commanding officer who would have lost the battle if he had been left to his own strategy, or should he not do so since in fact the battle ended successfully? Should he only reward the underling who so brilliantly saved the day? If so, this would leave the commanding officer unreprimanded. He decided on a plan that would accomplish both ends. He awarded the underling with a citation, but had it presented by the commanding officer. Thus recognition was given to the person who deserved it and the commanding officer was indirectly reprimanded, as he should have normally received the accolade, and instead he personally presented the citation to another.

So too, Moshe, the leader of the bnei Yisroel, had the opportunity to be the one to act zealously to protect Hashem's honour. However, he did not act and Pinchos did. Hashem therefore told Moshe to verbally present the reward to Pinchos.

2) The Meshech Chochmoh answers that had Hashem told Pinchos directly, even though the message would have been prophetic, it would have been a message that Pinchos was not told to pass on to the bnei Yisroel. A prophecy of this sort is open to being rescinded if the recipient later becomes undeserving, as we find that Yaakov feared that through his sinning he might not merit the blessings Hashem promised him (gemara Brochos 4a). However, a positive prophecy given to one prophet to tell another person, once it is verbalized to the other person cannot be retracted, as per the Rambam in his preface to his commentary on the mishnoh. This is why Hashem said to Moshe "lochein EMOR."

3) Possibly, there might be another reason for involving Moshe. The first appointing of a Kohein was done by Hashem. Hashem originally planned it for Moshe and his subsequent generations, but Moshe lost this opportunity when he stubbornly refused to be the agent to facilitate the exodus from Egypt (Shmos 4:14). Although Moshe lost permanent K'hunoh for himself and for his successive generations, nonetheless, he had the status of Kohein Godol during the eight days of the dedication of the Mishkon. As explained in the Droshos hoRa"n drush #8, Moshe was the conduit for prophecy that spilled over to the 70 elders in parshas B'haalos'cho (11:17). So too, he had to be the one to relate to Pinchos that he and all his future generations were now elevated to the status of K'hunoh, serving as the conduit of this heavenly downpour of sanctity. (Nirreh li)

3) Ch. 25, v. 12: "Brisi sholo-m" - The gemara Kiddushin 66b says that the "Vov" of "sholo-m" is "k'tiah," commonly translated as "cut." What is the "Vov" supposed to look like?

1. Like a "yud" (Rokei'ach)

2. Like a small "Vov" (Rabbeinu Bachya)

3. Like a complete "Vov" with a very fine streak of ink running horizontally through its leg. (RDB"Z)

4. A full length "Vov" with a fine horizontal split running through its leg. (Ritv"a)

5. A "Vov" with a leg long enough to be kosher as a "Vov" with a small amount of space under it, followed by a downstroke to its normal full length. (Reb Akiva Eiger Responsa Vol. 1:75)

6. A vertical split in the downstroke, so that we have a complete kosher "Vov" with a very narrow vertical line next to it. (Hasofer Reb Ephraim of Brod)

7. A full length "Vov" with a downstroke which does not narrow in the usual manner as it is completed. (list from HaRav D. Mandelbaum)

4) Ch. 27, v. 3: "V'hu lo hoyoh" - And he was not part of Korach's congregation. Why is this relevant?

1) The gemara B.B. 118b says that the congregation of Korach gets no inheritance in the land, and if Tzlafchad was part of their group, his daughters would not have any claim of inheritance. However, see Ibn Ezra and Ramban.

2) The Meshech Chochmoh answers that according to the opinion that Moshe had the halacha of a king, adas Korach rebelled against the king. One who rebels against the king loses his property to the king instead of it going to his children, thus necessitating this preface to their inheritance claim.

3) They felt that Moshe had a strong grudge against Korach and his cohorts, to the point that he would be disqualified to decide any ruling regarding them. See the Gan Ro'veh for a few more interpretations.

5) Ch. 27, v. 5: "Va'yakreiv Moshe es mishpotoN lifnei Hashem" - When Moshe was asked if there was an opportunity for the defiled people to bring a Korban Pesach, he responded, "Imdu v'eshm'oh" (Bmidbar 9:8). Why didn't he say the same to the daughters of Tz'lofchod?

1) Perhaps it is because in our case Moshe is dealing with women. Rashi (gemara B.B. 119b) says that they came in front of Moshe, Aharon, and Eliezer in their Beis Ha'midrosh, study hall. Moshe would not say that they should stay there until he has a response from Hashem. He would prefer that they step outside the Beis Ha'midrosh and wait there for his response. (Nirreh li)

2) Alternatively, he did not say these words because of the dictum of the mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 1:5, "Al tarbeh sichoh im ho'ishoh." This answer fits very well with the comment of the Sefer Kol Dodi on the next verse. It states "Kein bnos Tz'lofchod dovros nosone ti'tein ......" Why doesn't Hashem only relate the answer, "Nosone ti'tein ......?" There is an halacha that a judge should repeat the words of those who come in front of him with a claim. This is a safety measure to assure that he has properly understood them. This is derived from M'lochim 1:3:23. However, Moshe did not want to do this with the bnos Tz'lofchod because of the aforementioned "Al tarbeh sichoh im ho'ishoh." Hashem actually told him two things. The first was "Kein bnos Tz'lofchod dovros," - You have CORRECTLY understood the claims of the bnos Tz'lofchod in spite of not repeating their claims to them. Secondly, Hashem responded with an answer, "Nosone ti'tein ......"



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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