Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 25, v. 11: "Pinchos ben Elozor ben Aharon haKohein" - The Holy Zohar says that Pinchos was so frightened upon entering the room where Zimri was sinning, fearing being killed by Zimri's fellow tribesmen, that his soul left him. Hashem revived him by placing the souls of both Nodov and Avihu into him. When these souls of Kohanim entered him, he became a Kohein. This is alluded to in our verse. Pinchos the son of Elozor and also the son of Aharon, as he was now a reincarnation of Nodov and Avihu, "haKohein," is now a Kohein. What is the connection between Pinchos and his uncles that should bring their souls into him?

2) Ch. 26, v. 59: "Asher yoldoh OSOH l'Levi" - The Daas Z'keinim says Osoh was Levi's wife's name. Why should the Torah point out Levi's wife's name? No other wife of any of the bnei Yaakov is mentioned.

3) Ch. 27, v. 3: "V'hu lo hoyoh b'adas Korach" - And he wasn't in the congregation of Korach - How is this germane to their claim?

4) Ch. 27, v. 3: "Ovinu meis bamidbor v'hu lo hoyoh ...... ba'adas Korach u'vonim lo hoyu lo" - The information given by the daughters of Tzelofchod seems to not be orderly. Seemingly, it should have said that their father died and had no sons, and only afterwards mention that he was not part of the Korach uprising.

5) Ch. 27, v. 15: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe el Hashem LEIMORE" - This is one of 4 places where the Torah uses the word "leimore" when Moshe spoke to Hashem. Rashi on Bmidbar 12:13 brings in the name of Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh that in these four places Moshe asked Hashem for a response.

1) Shmos 6:12 - Moshe asked Hashem if He will personally redeem the bnei Yisroel from Egypt.
2) Bmidbar 12:13 - Moshe asked Hashem if He will cure Miriam.
3) Our verse 27:15 - Moshe asked Hashem if He would appoint a new leader after Moshe's demise.
4) Dvorim 3:23 - Moshe asked Hashem if He would permit Moshe to enter Eretz Yisroel.
Why wasn't a fifth place mentioned? Shmos 17:4 says, "Va'yitzak Moshe el Hashem LEIMORE, 'Mah e'esseh lo'om ha'zeh.'"



The Chidushei haRI"M says that with his courageous act he corrected the flaws of Nodov and Avihu. They brought a foreign fire that they were NOT COMMANDED to bring, while Pinchos with fiery zealousness acted properly, although he was also not commanded to do so, "boh limloch ein morin lo" (gemara Sanhedrin 82a). As well, they sinned by giving a halachic ruling in front of Moshe. Pinchos also ruled in front of Moshe, but did so correctly, as Moshe momentarily forgot that "kanoim pogin bo." Perhaps another matter was rectified. They illegally entered the Holy of Holies with their incense. Pinchos, at the risk of his life, entered the defiled of defiled, the room where Zimri was actively sinning with Kozbi bas Tzur.


Perhaps it is because the gemara Sanhedrin 58b deals with the bnei Noach regarding ara'yos and attempts to prove that their rules differ from Torah rules since Amrom (before the Torah was given) married his aunt Yocheved. The gemara says that we should assume that she was his paternal and maternal aunt. By Torah law this would be an issur ara'yos, so we see that the bnei Noach guidelines are different. The gemara rebuffs this by saying that she was only his paternal aunt.

Now we see a need for pointing out her name, to indicate that "Osoh" was Yocheved's mother but not the mother of her siblings, so Amrom married an aunt who was only a paternal aunt. On Shmos Ch. 6, v. 20 where the verse says that Amrom took his aunt Yocheved as a wife, Rashi says Yocheved was a sister of Amrom paternally, seeming to indicate that she was not a maternal sister to her brothers. However, in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer, Ch. 48 it says that Levi had one wife who gave birth to Yocheved and her three brothers. This is in disagreement with the rebuff of the above-mentioned gemara and Rashi. (Sedrah Selections 5758)

Another answer based on the words of the Ponim Yofos: The gemara Sotoh 12a and B.B. 123a says that Yocheved, the daughter of Levi, was born upon entry into Egypt. This explains why the Torah says that 70 souls of Yaakov's family went to Egypt, while upon counting the people listed we only find 69. According to this, she was conceived during the time of famine which had also effected the land of Canaan. The gemara Taanis 11a says that during the time of famine one should not have relations with his wife. This is derived from the verse in Breishis 41:50 which says that "to Yoseif were born two sons BEFORE the onset of the years of famine." Tosfos d.h. "Ossur" asks, "How was Levi permitted to have relations with his wife during the famine?"

Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi answers that since Levi did not have a daughter yet, he had not fulfilled the mitzvoh of "pru u'r'vu," reproducing, which is only fulfilled when one has a son and a daughter (E.H. #1:5). He was therefore permitted to reproduce even during a famine. The Beis Yoseif on the Tur O.Ch. #574 asks on R.E.M. from the above-mentioned gemara. Why did Yoseif refrain from reproducing during the famine since he also had no daughter and had not yet fulfilled the mitzvoh of "pru u'r'vu?

The Ponim Yofos answers this question by first posing another difficulty. Even if a man were permitted to reproduce during the time of a famine in pursuit of "pru u'r'vu," but how may his wife be involved? She does not have this mitzvoh, and does have the restriction during a famine. He answers that halachic commentators on E.H. #1 say that a woman does have a mitzvoh of repopulating the world on a replacement basis, meaning that she should have one child, male or female to replace herself. This is in fulfillment of the verse, "Losheves y'tzoroh lo sohu v'ro'oh" (Yeshayohu 45:18). It was mentioned earlier from the gemara Sanhedrin 58b that Yocheved was only a paternal sister to her three brothers. We may assume that the mother of Yocheved had no previous children, thus she was permitted to reproduce during a famine to comply with "Losheves y'tzoroh," and Levi was permitted in pursuit of the mitzvoh of "p'ru ur'vu."

This was not the case with Yoseif. He had two sons from his wife Osnas, and although he had permission to reproduce to fulfill "p'ru ur'vu," Osnas was not allowed as she already had two sons. This would explain why in the verse from which we derive the restriction during a famine (Breishis 41:50), the Torah stresses that Yoseif's two sons were born from Osnas, "U'l'Yoseif yulad shnei vonim b'terem tovo shnas horo'ov ASHER YOLDOH LO OSNAS." Had they been born from another woman and Osnas would still be childless, Yoseif would have been permitted to pursue "p'ru ur'vu" and Osnas would have been permitted to pursue "losheves y'tzoroh."

From these words of the Ponim Yofos we see the need for the Torah to tell us that Yocheved was born from Osoh, and not from Levi's wife who bore three sons. This answers how Levi was permitted to reproduce during the time of a famine. Even though he had not yet fulfilled "p'ru ur'vu" as he had no daughter, his wife was not allowed. The answer is that Yocheved was the daughter of Osoh, Levi's other wife, who had no children yet. (Shaarei Aharon)

This answer also does not conform with the Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer which says that Levi had all his children from one wife. Rabbeinu Tam in Sefer Ha'yoshor on parshas Va'yeishev says that Levi's wife's name was Adinoh. This does not contradict the two answers, as he had a second wife named Osoh.


Had their father been one of Korach's cohorts, all his possessions would have been confiscated, as per the words of Moshe, "v'al tigu b'chol asher lo'hem" (Bmidbar 16:26). Indeed, when the earth swallowed Korach's group it took along all their possessions, "v'es kol horchush" (verse 32). Their land claim would have had no basis. (Sforno)

The Meshech Chochmoh has a slight variation on this insight. He approaches it with Moshe's having the status of king and those opposing him losing their possessions as "mordim b'malchus."


The Rebbe Reb Heshel answers that their intention in mentioning that Tzelofchod had no sons was a proof that he was not part of Korach's group. The gemara Sanhedrin 110a says that the reason Moshe fell on his face (16:4) was out of embarrassment. Korach and all his followers warned their wives not to go into seclusion with Moshe. The gemara Sotoh 25b says that if a Sotoh was not guilty, not only was she unharmed, but also received a blessing. For example, if until now she only had daughters, she would be blessed with sons. The daughters of Tzelofchod said that their father was not involved in Korach's rebellion. A proof is that he had no sons. The wives of Korach's people all had sons.

A question came to mind. Technically this blessing only takes place when the woman again goes into seclusion with the same man after being warned not to do so and is brought to the Mikdosh and goes through the Sotoh procedure. This obviously did not take place.


The Eimek HaN'tzi"v answers that Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh only lists the places where LEIMORE covertly indicates that Moshe asked for a response. His direct statement was not a question, but by virtue of his saying LEIMORE, "to say," there is an indication that Moshe requested a response. From the context of the subject matter we derive what his question was. The verse in Shmos 17:4 is an overt question to Hashem. Therefore, Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh does not include it in his list.



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

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