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Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen


   (25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen.” The parsha begins by tracing the genealogy of Pinchas back to Aaron. Why was it necessary to mention his grandfather? The reason is because people doubted the sincerity of Pinchas’ actions. Perhaps since he descended from Yisro his deeds were not Leshaim Shomayim? Hashem therefore wished to publicize that he was a tzaddik the son of a tzaddik. Also Hashem wanted to heal some of the residual bad feelings that might have existed against Aaron who at the time when he made the Eigel had inadvertently become the cause of many Jewish deaths. Now a grandson of Aharon had come and saved many more lives than Aaron had ever even indirectly caused to be lost.

   (25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Cohen-Pinchas the son of Elozer the son of Aharon the Cohen.” Pinchas was virtually unknown as a public figure. This perhaps is why his name is spelled with a small Yud to indicate that he was a simple man. After all Moishe and Ahaon stood up for Klal Yisroel several times and yet they were not awarded a Bris Sholeim? But it was expected of them as leaders to stand up for their people. Pinchas on the other hand was a common Jew. His acts therefore stand out all the more.

But there is a deeper message here. Pinchas through this act of zealotry merited to be one of only nine people to enter the next world without dying. The understanding of this is that when a person so negates his very essence for the sake of heaven, death is no longer an issue, its not needed for the tikun of that Neshama. Pinchas, took his life into his own hands and risked everything by killing Zimri. Perhaps we can say that this is why he was given the priesthood. This is akin to the type of sacrifices performed by the Kohanimin in the Beis Hamikdosh. We find the expression “Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A satisfying aroma to Hashem." frequently used there.If we look at the first mention of a concept in the Torah we can glean a better understanding of its root. At the end of parshas Noach we find the first mention of a “satisfying aroma.” After the flood, when Noach emerged from the ark, he brought a sacrifice which was totally consumed. Perhaps we could suggest that this phrase is used only in a case where there is no gain for the one performing the sacrifice. Every subsequent mention of a “satisfying aroma” is either by a Korban Olah or Minchaeach of which is totally consumed. The owner has no share in the sacrifice. Giving of themselves totally with nothing in return is the ultimate expression of sacrifice.

   Of the 33 times, “Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A satisfying aroma to Hashem” appears in the Torah it is only spelled with the letter “Heyas the definite article in front of the word Nichoach once (Reach Ha'Nichoach). This is the first mention of this “satisfying aroma” in the Torah, This is the essence of who Pinchas was, ready to be totally consumed for the sake of heaven. The numerical value of the name Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen equals 956. The same as the verse (Bereishis 8:21)Vayorech Hashem es Raiach Hanichoach-Hashem smelled the pleasing aroma.” What pleasing aroma was in the air? That of total negation to Hashem and thus connecting totally with Hashem with no barriers of physicality in the way.

   Pinchas attains the pedigree of a Kohen after performing this act even though the Halacha is that a Kohen that has killed someone is no longer eligible to serve as a Kohen. The idea behind this is that when someone takes another person’s life he is erasing the likeness of Hashem from the world. The job of the Kohen is to increase the

awareness of Hashem in this world. Therefore he becomes excluded from the priestly service. However in the case of Pinchas, his act insured that the Tzelem Elokim would continue. (Tzror Hamoror)

   (25:12) “Lechain Emore Hininy Nosain lo es Bris Sholaim”.Hashem say’s that He is giving to Pinchas this Bris Sholaim! What does this mean for Pinchas and why is the letter “Vav” of the word Shalaim broken in half in the Sefer Torah? There is a Machlokes about this letter “Vav”. One holds it's a short “Vav” one holds it's a split “Vav”. The word Shalaim equals 376 the same as the words “Zehu Moshiach.” The Zohar say’s that Pinchas is Eliyahu, who will announce the coming of Moshiach, and that he never died. How could this be? We know that there is a Gizairah (a decree) for all men to die in this world. How could Pinchas be exempt from it? At the time of this incident where he killed the Nassi of Shevet Shimon and the princess of Midian, he became so terrified that his neshama left him. Earlier when Nadav and Avihu died it say's that their Neshamas remained hovering around Klal Yisroel. When they saw the Neshama of Pinchas leaving him they entered into his body. This is how he was able to get around the Gezairah of death. He fulfilledthe Gezairah through this. How was it possible for two neshamas to enter into one body? We know that a person who is not married is considered incomplete. Nadav and Avihu never married, so each was only half a zivug. Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Cohen-Pinchas now became the son of Aharon through the Neshamas of Nadav and Avihu.

   What is the connection between Pinchas and Nadav and Avihu? There are various interpretations as to the exact nature of the sin, which caused their death. But there is one common theme. Nadav and Avihu had an intense desire to draw close to Hashem. We know that Nadav and Avihu were also zealots. They went beyond the limitations of their status. They were impatient with the ways of Aharon and Moishe to the point that they overstepped their bounds. They would issue halachic opinions in Moishe’s presence. They advocated a bolder approach to coming close to Hashem. This is why the posuk tells us (16:1) “B’kirvosom Lifnei Hashem V’yomusu” they died when they attempted to come close to Hashem. Pinchas also had this zealous desire to draw close to Hashem, and he too, acted without authorization from Moishe. The law, which he carried out, was by its very nature one which transcends legal authority. It is the type of law that is accepted but not taught. (Shabbos 12b) It had to be an act of spontaneous zeal, and not of calculated vengeance. The neshamas of Nadav and Avihu were looking for a body to enter that would rectify their own sins. They found a kindred spirit in Pinchas. He displayed the same zeal to come close to Hashem but was able to channel it in a manner favorable to Hashem.

   Throughout the generations Eliyahu has visited Klal Yisroel. At the end of time he will come to announce the coming of Moshiach and bring Shalaim to the world. This is what Pinchas did. By standing up for Hashem he brought peace. Now the one who say's that the letter “Vav” is short holds that there is only peace at the end of time when Moshiach will come. The “Vav” in the word Shalaim is short. This could also be looked at as the letter “Yud” thus spelling the word Shelim which equals 380 in gematria. The gemarrah says that there were 80 Kohanim Gedolim in the first Beis Hamikdosh and 300 in the second. All were descendants of Pinchas. This is alluded to in the word Shelim. The one who say's the “Vav” is split believes that as long as the Shalaim is incomplete there can be no total peace in the world.

   Why the letter “Vav”? The letter “Vav” is the letter that joins together. But on a deeper level the Midrash explains that there are five times in the Torah where the name of Yakov is spelled with an extra letter “Vav” and there are five times when the name of Eliyahu is spelled without the letter “Vav.” This signifies that Yakov took five “Vav’s” away from Eliyahu as a bond to ensure that Eliyahu would someday redeem Yakov’s sons. Therefore the meaning of the broken “Vav” is that for the time being any peace we may see is incomplete. In order to enjoy true everlasting peace we must wait for the arrival of Eliyahu to redeem us and reclaim the “Vav’s” that he pledged. (Baal Haturim)

     (25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Cohen-Pinchas the son of Elozer the son of Aharon the Cohen.” Why was it that Pinchas received the priesthood for his role in stopping a national sin? Why did he merit becoming Eliyahu Hanavi? To answer this we must look back to the origins of Jewish history. In Bereishis, when Avraham was still named Avram, His father brought him to Nimrod for destroying his idols. This was the first of Avraham’s ten trials. He was offered to serve the idol or be thrown into the fiery furnace. As we know he chose the latter and survived but his brother Horon did not. Horon figured that if Avraham survived he would be willing to give up his life but if he did not survive he would worship the idol. This was not a totally pure expression of devotion. But as we know in the spiritual world nothing is lost. His self-sacrifice was given a second chance to fulfill its destiny in the form of Aharon. Aharon, whose name contains the letters of Horon, was a reincarnation of Horon in order to rectify and fulfill that area in which his Neshama fell short. That opportunity took form when Moishe failed to return from the mountain on time. Klal Yisroel was given a vision of Moishe being carried off on his deathbed and they wanted to create a replacement for him. Chur, Aharon’s nephew, attempted to prevent the national sin but was stoned to death. When Aharon saw this he thought it would be better to stall the nation rather than risk the possibility of receiving the same fate as his nephew. The sin of killing the Kohen Gadol would be a sin too great for the nation to overcome. But he was wrong. He did not count on the strength of the Meserus Nefesh to protect him. Had he stood up to the crowds he would have prevailed. He would have corrected the soul of Horon and fulfilled his life’s mission. But this did not come about until 39 years later through his grandson Pinchas. At this point in time Pinchas faced a test that would save Klal Yisroel then and in the future. By putting his life on the line he not only survived the test but was granted eternal life in the form of Eliyahu Hanavi, to form the link for the final gulah.

     This characteristic of Meserus Nefesh has faced a roadblock on the way to the final redemption. It has been taken up in our time by the enemies of Klal Yisroel in the form of suicide bombers. May Hashem help us when our test of faith is presented to us, may we be able to rise up to the challenge.

     (24:14) “Veshaim Ish Yisroel-The name of the Israelite was.” Why the mentioning of the name of the sinner? And why is he called “Ish Yisroel?” This is a hint that even after such a tremendously sinful act as was done by Zimri, he was still considered Ish Yisroel. He had not been totally uprooted from his holy origin. The word Hamokah refers to what Pinchas had done to him. By adding the words Es Hamidyanis the Torah indicates that it was this relationship that was lost. Normally the effects of such a sin would cling to a person’s Neshama and would not be easily removed. This act of clinging to his soul is described by the term Hakoh, a fatal blow. This teaches that by becoming Pinchas' victim Zimri's soul was released from the negative spiritual force his soul had absorbed from Kosbi. His death acted as atonement and as soon as she departed from him physically, Zimri's soul no longer bore the imprint of that association. This is why he can now be called Ish Yisroel.

   Pinchas was the grandson of Aharon who was by nature an Ohaiv Shalom V'rodaif Shalom- a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace. Pinchas' nature was the same as Aharon’s. He was not a hot headed individual but a man of peace. Because of this he was considered a true Kanoi (zealot).

   How was it that Pinchas was able to stop the plague by his actions? And why were all of the deaths from one Shevet? We know that Billem is the one who advised Balak to entice Benei Yisroel into sinning with the princesses of Midyan. The Zohar writes that Billem was the antithesis of Moishe. He used his powers of speech to cast a spell on Klal Yisroel. It was Shevet Shimon that was particularly susceptible to this form of pollution because of their spiritual nature. The name Shimon, in Hebrew, comes from the word Shemah which means to listen or hear. The tribe of Shimon served Hashem through the power of hearing. Therefore, they were more susceptible than the other tribes to absorbing the pollution of Billem’s speech. In last weeks parsha it says (25:7) “Vayar Pinchas-And Pinchas saw” What he saw was the letter “Mem” floating above the tent. This letter was emitted by Billem and was about to join two other letters “Vav” and “Tav” which would spell the word “Maves-Death.”Pinchas saw this and acted quickly to avert any further disaster. He connected the letter “Mem” to his own name, which equals 208 and increased its value to 248. The same as the word “Ramach” (spear). He now not only had a physical spear but a spiritual one too! This enabled him to break the spell of Billem.

   The Gemarrah in Nazir (23b) compares the actions of Zimri to those of Tamar (the daughter-in-law of Yehudah) and just as her actions were L’Shaim Shomayim so too were Zimri’s. But while hers produced the forerunner of the Moshiach, his caused the death of thousands of Jews.      

   The Ohr Hachaim comments regarding the laws of Yefas Tohar ( A beautiful woman permitted to an Israeli soldier in times of war) that sometimes a Neshama that has it’s source in a very high place becomes trapped in the shell of tumeh and that an association with a righteous person can free that Neshama and cause it to return to Kiddusha, to convert. The fact that the Torah writes the laws of Yefas Tohar is otherwise very difficult to understand. The only people who were permitted to go to war were those of the highest spiritual levels. Anyone with the slightest degree of sin was told to remain home. How could such a person be attracted to the sight of a beautiful woman? The Ohr Hachaim explains that this righteous person possessed the sensitivity to be able to pick up on a person with this type of Neshama. The type that had become trapped in the shell of tumeh and through association with a righteous person could become freed. This perhaps is what Zimri thought when he was attracted to Kozby. That the reason he was attracted to her was for the purpose of freeing a trapped soul. That perhaps he was destined to produce offspring that were great people. We find this by Yehoshua, who married a prostitute, and yet great people descended from that union.

 (25:17) “Tzoror es Hamidyanim- Treat them as enemies.” Of the two nations that Israel encountered the first Amalek ,endangered them physically, while the second, Midian, put their souls in danger. (Kol Torah)

     Hashem instructs Moishe “Tzoror es Hamidyanim- Treat them as enemies.” the loshon used is in the singular. Then it says “vehekisem osom” they should smite them which is a plural form? The reason is because originally Midian sent their kings daughter to try to snare Moishe himself. They thought that the best way to cause Israel to have a downfall would be if they could get to Moishe. So it was a personal thing that Hashem told Moishe to avenge. Therefore the use of the singular. But when that didn't work they tried to entice Klal Yisroel, therefore the use of the plural, it says that they should collectively smite Midian.

   (26:5) “Reuvein Bochor Yisrael Benei Reuvain Chanoch Mishpachas H’chanoci”   The parsha lists the genealogy of Benei Yisroel and attests to its purity by adding the letters of Hashem's name to the beginning and end of each shevet. The letter "hey" is found in the word for woman “Isha”. And the letter “yud” is found in the word for man “Ish”. The question is why does the “hey” appear first placing woman ahead of man in this praise? The answer is just that. In Mitzraim it was the women that were the most responsible for maintaining the purity of Benei Yisroel. It is for this reason that they are mentioned first.

   Throughout the sojourn in the Midbar the women always rose to the challenge. By the sin of the golden calf they refused to donate their gold. By the building of the Mishkon they were the first to donate their gold. They remained steadfast when the Meraglim slandered Eretz Yisroel. Why were the women able to withstand every challenge while the men seem to have failed so many tests? At the creation of man and woman in Bereishis we find when man was naming all of the animals, he found no match for himself. Hashem then created woman for him. He named her Isha for she came from Ish. The name Ish comes from the word Aish. Man is likened to fire for he is at times able to accomplish tremendous things, but like fire he can also be very destructive if left unchecked. This is the job of the woman. To keep the fire of man focused and in line. The Gematria of the word Isha is the same as the word Mussar. This could explain the measure for measure of the deaths of Aharon's two sons Nadav and Avihu. They were killed by fire, they refused to marry! Without the Isha to contain the fire they were consumed by it. The same letters of Isha are used by the first sacrifice brought in the Mishkon. " Reiach Nichoach Ishei L'Hashem " Fire being used for the first time for its ultimate purpose.

   We learned by the Macos in Mitzraim that every Plague that they experienced had the exact opposite effect on Benei Yisroel. If they experienced darkness the Jews experienced light. It even say's that by the Makeh of the first born Benei Yisroel also experienced a momentary death and were immediately reincarnated. This is why Hashem himself had to perform that particular Makeh, because resurrection of the dead is one of the three keys that are held exclusively by Hashem. But there was one aspect of the Macos Bechoros whose opposite effect we don't readily see. When the Bechorim were dying Rashi say's there was not one house that did not experience death. Because the Mitzriim were very promiscuous they had many first born from different husbands. So in many homes they would find several children dead. This was an additional pain that the Mitzriim had to experience. We find the opposite reaction in this week’s parsha. Hashem here is testifying to the purity of Klal Yisroel by adding the letters of his name to the names of each Shevet. Why was this brought down here at the end

of the wanderings in the midbar? After the incident with Kosbi the nations of the world had an opening to point a finger at the purity of Klal Yisroel. Therefore Hashem at this point testified by placing his name at the beginning and end of each family name.

   (26:11) U’Benei Korach lo Masu- And the children of Korach did not die.” The posuk says that the children of Korach did not die. Rashi comments that they did teshuva and were given a higher place in gehinom. If they did teshuva why were they not forgiven in full? The answer is that a person can do teshuva on his own avairos but the negative influence he affects to others can’t be so easily erased.

   (26:33) “U’Telaphchad ben Chaifer Lo-Hayu Bonim- Tzelaphchad the son of Chaifer had no sons.” When the daughters of Tzelaphchad came to Moishe they had a good claim. If their mother doesn't have to perform Yivum because she had daughters then why can't daughters be good enough for yerusha? The halocha was hidden from Moishe. Why was it necessary for the halacha to be hidden? Hashem didn't want Moishe to feel that he was on a very high madrege because he had separated himself from his wife all the years of the midbar. These daughters of Tzelaphchad were around forty years old and they were not married. If they had been married they would not have been entitled to a Yerusha. They chose not be married because they didn't want to lower their standards. Not because they couldn't find husbands. They were on a very high madrege. When Moishe saw this in them he realized that his separation from his wife was not as great a feat as their voluntary abstention was, since his was commanded by Hashem while they chose not to be married. In the end they did finally marry and Hashem granted them many children even though they were past the normal age for child bearing.

   This incident of the daughters of Tzelaphchad is the fifth and final case where a Halacha was brought about through a story. There was the one who cursed Hashem, Pesach shenei, the Mekoshesh, and the Eigel. Each one of these cases is reflected in the letters of Menatzpach. The letters of the Aleph Beis that are doubled, they appear one way in the middle of a word and another way at the end of a word. Mem-the wood gatherer, Nun- the one who cursed Hashem, Tzadik- the daughters of Tzelaphchad, Phey-Pesach Sheni and Chuf-was the Eigel. According to Pirkei D’ Rebeliezer each of these letters were used for a different geulah. The end letters relate to the end of an era. What is the connection? We know that Pinchas was a zealot, he was pro-active. So too were the daughters of Tzelaphchad. They did not wait for the halacha to come to them but rather initiated the question themselves. This is the lesson we must learn here. We too must we be pro-active when it comes to bringing the Moshiach. We must take the initiative in order for the final geulah to come.

   (26:46) "Serach Bas Asher" Why was she singled out here? Serach was the only person alive who had seen Yakov Avinu. She was the one who notified Yakov that his son was still alive. She was able to testify in Mitzrayim about the authenticity of Moshe. Whenever a challenge arose against Moshe, she was there as a witness. Now as Klal Yisroel were poised to finally enter the promised land the nation knew what she had been saying was true.

   (27:5) “Vayakrev Moshe es Mishpatan-Moshe brought their claim before Hashem.” Why is there a “Nun” at the end of the word Mishpat? Just as the fiftieth, “Nun” level of Daas was hidden from Moshe, so too was this law.

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Omer the day after Shabbos

During the time between Pesach and Shevuous we count the Omer.

Why is the term Sefiras H’omer used? The Omer was a onetime offering brought the day after Pesach consisting of barley-basic animal food. Forty-nine days later an offering o

If chametz is analogous to sin, to the Yetzer Hora which prevents us from performing Hashem's will, why is it permitted at all, at any time of the year? Why are chametz and se'or prohibited for only one week each year, and permissible during the remaining 51 weeks?

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   The Parsha begins with the words “ Im Bechukosaye Teilech. If you will go in my ways.”

We read this portion of the Torah every year before Matan Torah. This is in order to put the curses that are contained in this weeks parsha behind us before the new year. In fact they are read twice. Once before Rosh Hashana and once before Matan Torah. The question is what is the connection of these curses to Matan Torah?

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Vayomer Hashem el Moshe Dabaer el Hakohanim Benei Aharon

EMORE (21:1) “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe Dabaer el Hakohanim Benei Aharon-Hashem said to Moshe, speak to the Kohanim the son’s of Aharon.”

Why does the Torah need to mention that they were the son’s of Aharon? Who else would be called Kohanim?

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Daber el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.”


   (19:1) “Dabaer el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.” The parsha begins with a very general statement to be holy, then goes on to specific mitzvos that seem to parallel the Ten Commandments. How are we expected to be like Hashem who is holy?

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