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Parshas Pinchas

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Parshas Pinchas
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Revach L'Neshama

The Lonely Road

The two Parshas before Pinchas, Chukas and Balak, are often read together (in Eretz Yisroel only). The two parshas afterwards, Matos and Maasei are almost always read together. Pinchas which is between these parshios is always alone. Why??

This teaches us that when you are Kana'i (zealot) you should be prepared to spend your life alone. People do not have the courage to fight for what is right and even if they start out behind you by time you turn around they will be gone.


Vilna Gaon - Pinchas Turns Around The Word Chamosi

"Pinchas Ben Elazar Ben Aaron HaCohen Hayshiv Es Chamosi Mai'al Bnei Yisroel"; "Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aaron the Kohen, turned back my anger from upon the Bnei Yisroel" Instead of saying "Hayshiv"- "turned back" my anger - it should have said "Bateil"- "nullified"?

Dovid HaMelech says in Tehillim,"Pinchos arose and executed judgment and the plague stopped. It was counted to him "LiTzdakah"- as a righteous deed - for all generations forever." What does the act of Pinchas have to do with Tzdakah?

The Vilna Gaon answers, according to the Torah every Jew is obligated to give annually a Machatzis HaShekel - a half Shekel- for the purchase of Korbonos Tzibur - communal offerings. The word "Machatzis' consists of 5 letters, the middle one being a "Tzadi", the first letter of the word ‘Tzdakah". Immediately flanking the Tzadi are a "Ches " and a "Yud", which spell the word "Chai" - life - and at the outer ends are the letters "Mem" and "Tof", which spells the word "Mais" - death. This is an allusion to the adage "Utzedakah Tatzil MiMaves" - Tzedakah saves from death.

Pinchas through his zealousness removed the plague from the Bnei Yisroel, thus committing an act of Tzedakah whereby life prevailed and death was excluded.

In the word "Chamosi" - "my anger" - it is the reverse. The middle letters are "Mem" and "Tof", which spells "Mais" - "death" - and the outer letters "Ches " and a "Yud", which spell the word "Chai" - life. Hashem was saying that Pinchas "Hayshiv Es Chamosi" - inverted the word "Chamosi " - chasing death away and bringing life.


Bnos Tzelafchad - Five Daughters And A Loyal Father

The Bnos Tzelafchad told Moshe that their father died in the Midbar and was not part of the Korach's group and didn't have sons. What does their father's not being part of Korach's group have to do with not having sons?

The Lev Aryeh explains that the gemara in Moed Katan (18a) says that the members of Korach's group all accused their wives of having an illicit relationship with Moshe, deeming them a Sotah. If a women accused of being a Sotah is exonerated after drinking the water, if she has only daughters she merits having a son. All those who followed Korach and accused their wives shortly thereafter had sons. The Bnos Tzelafchad told Moshe, our father was not in Korach's group and to prove it our mother did not have sons.


The Men Shame Themselves And Stir Up Controversy About Their Lineage

"Bnei Reuvain Chanoch Mishpachas HaChanochi"; Rashi asks, why does the Torah add a "Hey" to the beginning of each family name and a "Yud" to the end (Chanoch becomes HaChanochi, Palu becomes HaPaluee)?

He answers, because the nations of the world were ridiculing Klal Yisroel by saying, "Why are you tracing your ancestry to your Shevatim? Are you under the impression that the Mitzriyim were not Mezaneh with your mothers?? If they controlled the Bnai Yisroel by forcing them to work, they surely were Mezaneh with the Bnos Yisroel. So all of you are really descendants of Egyptians!" Therefore Hashem added a "Hey" to the beginning of each family name and a "Yud" to the end, using the name of Hashem - "Koh" - as a testimony that the Jewish women in Mitzrayim were not Mezaneh.

Why did the nations of the world first accuse the Bnos Yisroel of Znus at this point (by the counting of the 40th year in the desert)? This accusation should have been made when the Bnai Yisroel were counted for the first time - in the first year in the desert (Parshas Ki Sisa)? Secondly, why is the name of Hashem placed backwards in the names of the families - Hey and then Yud - why wasn't the "Yud" placed in the beginning of the name and the "Hey" at the end?

The nations of the world would have never accused Klal Yisroel of transgressing the Avayrah of Znus, were it not for the episode that happened in Shittim where the Bnai Yisroel were Mezaneh with the daughters of Moav. It was only after the nations saw this Avayrah, that they said "Just like the men were Mizaneh here, so too were the women Mezaneh in Mitzrayim.

We know that in the Hebrew language Ish means a man and Ishah a woman. They both have the letters Aleph and Shin in their name. What differentiates between them is that an Ishah has a "Hey" and Ish a "Yud". Although it would have been more correct to place the "Yud" in front of the names of the families and the "Hey" at the end, since the ‘Yud" represents the men, who were Mezaneh in Shittim, and were the cause for the accusation of the nations, they are placed at the end of the names. As opposed to the letter "Hey', which represents the women, who were not Mezaneh in Mitzrayim, they are placed at the beginning of the names.


Yisaschar Gives His Son A Shin

Bnei Yissachar LiMishpichosom...LiYashuv Mishpachas HaYashuvi'; The family of Yissachar according to their family... to Yashuv the family of Yashuvi". When the children of Yissachar, who came down to Mitzrayim, are enumerated earlier in Parshas VaYigash, Yashuv is listed as Yov (Bereishis 46:13). Why was his name changed to Yashuv?

Daas Zekainim MiBaalai Hatosfos and Chizkuni both answer, when the Jews arrived in Mitzrayim, Yov became aware that the Egyptians had an idol called "Yov". He complained about this to his father, and as an appeasement Yissacher gave him a "Shin" from his name, which changed his name to Yashuv.

There are varying customs whether to read the name Yissachar with a double "Shin" or one "Shin". Some read it with a double "Shin" until Yashuv's name is mentioned in this parsha, afterwards reading Yissachar with one "Shin". The Chasam Sofer (Parshas VaYatzai) says, the first time Yissachar's name is written in the Torah it should be pronounced with a double "Shin", and after that with 1 "Shin".


The Perfect Gift For a Kana'i and The Broken "Vuv"

After avenging Hashem's honor Pinchas received from Hashem a gift of peace. Why? The Netziv says that when a person acts boldly even if it is totally out of character, as was Pinchas's act of murder, it leaves remnants in that persons character. Someone who murders a person no matter what the circumstances are, even totally L'shem Shamayim, will never be the same again. Therefore Hashem gave Pinchas a gift of peace. Despite his act Hashem restored his character to its pristine state from before his bold act.

In fact adds the Netziv this gift of peace was so powerful that it came back to haunt Pinchas. When Micha made his infamous Pesel, Pinchas being such a peaceful soul did not protest although he should have. This is why says the Netziv, the letter "Vuv" from the word "Shalom" is broken in half (Vuv Ketiya). Although he received the gift of Shalom it turned out to be imperfect.


The Odd Kohen Out

Rashi tells us that even though Aaron and his children received the Kehunah at an earlier time, Pinchas did not become a Kohen until after he killed Zimri. The question arises, if Aaron and his children all became Kohanim much earlier, why wasn't Pinchas, who was living at that time, also, given the status of Kohain?

Maharal answers that Pinchas was a Katon (a minor) at that time and therefore was not included.

Torah Temimah answers, that Hashem did not want Pinchas to be considered a Kohain at the time that he killed Zimri. Since the Gemorah (Bava Basra 160b) says that the nature of Kohanim is to be hot tempered. If Pinchas had been considered a Kohain at the time that he killed Zimri, people would have attributed the act to the fact that he was a "hot headed Kohain". Therefore Hashem waited until after the incident of Zimri, allowing everyone to see that Pinchas was a zealous individual who stood up for what was right!


Haftorah Pinchas: Yirmiya and Pinchas Underappreciated and Roughed Up

This week although it is Parshas Pinchas we read the Haftorah of Parshas Matos which is the opening of Sefer Yirmiya because it is appropriate for the 3 weeks. Yirmiya lived before and through the churban bayis rishon and spent years pleading with Bnei Yisroel to do tshuva to avoid his prophesy of doom and gloom. Although there are some positive nevuos in Yirmiya the gemara in Bava Basra says "Yirmiya Kulei Churbana"; Sefer Yirmiya is entirely destruction, because as the Maharsha explains "Ruboi K'Kuloi"; the vast majority is gloomy.

Although this is not the haftorah designated to Parshas Pinchas, the Ahavas Yonoson (Rav Yehonoson Eibishitz) says there is a strong correlation between Pinchas and Yirmiya. Rashi quotes the Medrash saying that the Pasuk calls Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aharon HaKohen because the shevatim would embarrass him and say that Pinchas whose maternal grandfather used to fatten cows for idol worship had the nerve to kill a Nasi. Therefore the Torah counters that he was the son and grandson of Kohanim Gedolim. Similarly the Jews living in the time of Yirmiya, who was imprisoned and attempts were made on his life, did not very much appreciated him either to say the least. The false prophets of his day and his other enemies used to embarrass him and dismiss his nevuah reminding everyone that his genealogy stemmed from Rachav HaZonah. Therefore here as well the Navi tells us Yirmiya was the son of Chilkiya HaKohen that lived in Anasos.

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