This week we begin with a shtikel belated mazel tov and apologies from the Oisvorfer for forgetting last week to mention the bat mitzvah of Esther Mael, the special tuchter of Autumn and Bruce Mael. Bruce may be considered a talmid muvhok of the Oisvorfer; he reads, enjoys and chazers (reviews) every word of the Toirah each week and mamish chaps. Mazel tov as well to Esther’s grandmother, Mrs. Joan Mael and to the Lidos, Atumn’s parents; all readers and followers of the Oisvorfer.
Earlier this week, word reached the Oisvorfer of another great big simcha in the community. It gives the Oisvorfer great pleasure to wish a big big mazel tov to our friends Shevy and Richie Cooperberg on the engagement of their daughter Bonnie to Dan Klein. The Oisvorfer has known Shevy since college days way back. We look forward to dancing at this wedding and at any other simcha that may be cooking. May they walk Bonnie down to the chuppah in good health and enjoy many years of nachas.
And last week, mamish after we went to print, we got word that Rachel Rosen, daughter of our long time friends Malki and Phil Rosen, got engaged quite romantically to Shai Peyser, son of Mindy and Alan, also longtime friends. The Oisvorfer has been friends with Malki for over 30 years, and has known Rachel kimat since birth. Best wishes to the entire extended Rosen, Peyser, Horowtiz and Leifer mishpochos; we avada look forward to dancing at that wedding.
Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
A no chap parsha-
Speaking of weddings, this week’s special Parsha of Pinchas does discuss the plight of five single girls, seemingly in their 40s, the daughters of Tzelofchod, who will argue for a piece of the land that Moishe is to divide and dole out through a magical lottery system, the first of its kind. In the end, the RBSO ruled in their favor and with plenty of inheritance, they quickly found husbands and lived happily ever after. We covered this topic last year.
What’s a shtikel unusual about this week’s parsha? Givaldige news: for the first time in a number of parshas, there are no dead Yiddin. Actually that’s not entirely emes because as the parsha begins, it does retell the story of two dead people, one Jew and one hot shiksa princess ober they were killed at the very end of last week’s parsha. And in case you missed it, this week’s heylige Parsha of Pinchas, identifies the protagonists and recounts parts of their shenanigans which led to Pinchas killing them. Was Pinchas a football player? And how does one get punished for committing a double murder? Does he face the death penalty, life in prison efsher? Avada nisht because in this case, it appears that the RBSO sanctioned the hit and Pinchas was not just exonerated but seemingly also rewarded. He will receive the peace prize! How and why is Pinchas rewarded with a covenant of peace after violently killing others on his own accord? Ver veyst and wait, there’s more: he gets a parsha with his own name and why not? Hey, didn’t Bolok, the anti-Semite get one just last week? Nu, if you read the parsha you will find that if the RBSO likes you and believes you did good, rewards could come your way as they did for Pinchas. As a final reward, he is also appointed into the priesthood, he is suddenly elevated to a koihen. Doesn’t one’s father need to be a koihen for the son to be one? Yes for everyone else ober Pinchas, our parsha hero, is, we are taught, the only person besides Aharoin and his sons, to be so appointed. What that means, we’ll explain soon. Never mind, we’ll do it now. Although he was taka the son of Elozor and the grandson of Aharoin, he was not included in the original selection of Kohanim. Since he was already born when only they were selected, he was not a koihain ober as we said above, the RBSO rewarded him and he was elevated: No other person would ever be so honored.
Zicher you’d like to hear details of the minuvildike encounter that Zimri and Kosbi carried on and what led Pinchas to spear the sinners right through their privates, and who wouldn’t, ober as you know, the Oisvorfer already covered this shanda of a story last year and mistama also in 2011. Do you want to hear it again? Don’t answer that; of course you do. Ok ober ershtens a shtikel review of the gantze parsha in one or more paragraph, here we go.
Pinchas is rewarded for his act of zealousness and bravery. In retaliation efsher for the incident at Baal Peor, where thousands of hapless Yiddin were seduced into not just sex but sex plus avoido zoro, Moishe is told to do battle against the Midianites. The combo of sex and avoido zoro always angers the RBSO. The actual war will be covered in next week’s parsha. After losing so many Yiddin these last few weeks, mostly due to plagues after the Yiddin angered the RBSO and this being the book of Numbers, a new census is ordered. Moishe counts the Yiddin one last time before they will enter the Promised Land. Interestingly enough, the total number of men over 20 years old, not including the Leviyim, is 601,730. Forty years earlier at the first count, the number was 603,550. Not a single person counted in the original census is included in this census, a new generation has arisen. This one will get to enter. As an aside, efsher you recall that the RBSO had, following the meraglim incident, decreed that all males of the generation that left Mitzrayim, would die in the midbar. Only two made it though, one will play a major role later in the parsha. Including all men, women and children, the total size of the nation is approximately three million. Next: The RBSO tells Moishe to apportion the Land to the shivotim (tribes) by size: smaller ones gets less land, larger tribes get more. This will be accomplished via a miraculous talking lottery. Moishe divides Israel and taka matched each tribe to its proper portion. The Leviyim are counted, no land for them. New tangent: The daughters of Tzelofchod, bereft at having lost their father seemingly way back in the early days of the Midbar trek, approach Moishe and argue for a portion in the land of Israel. They win their case. For more on this story see 2012 archives at www.oisvorfer.com where the heylige Oisvorfer covered this topic biarichus (at length) . Moishe is unceremoniously fired, is told to prepare for his death, and to appoint his disciple Yehoishua who will be ordained as his successor. The remainder of the Parsha details the various public sacrifices offered throughout the year: daily, Shabbis, Musaf, Rosh Chodesh, and every Yom Tov. And now, let’s discuss a topic or two.
Efsher your recall learning that it was the Moabiite mydlich (whores) that led the hapless Yiddin astray and that being the case, why did the RBSO instruct Moishe to war only against the Midianites? Taka an excellent kasha ober says the Medrish something mamish givaldig. Seemingly Kosbi was a Midianite Princess and it appears that the plan concocted by the Midianites, was to ensnare the Jewish leaders into sexual exploits. And how is that different than the plan of the Moabite girls? Seemingly the RBSO said to give the Moabites a pass because their plan was only to chap the regular Yiddin ober the Midianites had the unmitigated chutzpah to chap the leadership, even attempting to seduce Moishe Rabaynu – say it’s not so- and B’H not successful. Seemingly, they had partial success since Zimri was epes a shtikel tribal leader. Veyst zich ois (it appears) that the RBSO can easily forgive the regular Joe for chapping with a shiksa, ober gets very upset and unforgiving with the leadership. They avada and avada need be more careful about chapping and getting chapped.
Efsher you recall that just a few weeks back, following the incident where Moishe inappropriately used his shtekin, he was immediately advised that he too, would be among those destined not to enter the land and this week, he got a notice of termination. This week, the RBSO gives him another reminder. Avada you recall your Rebbe telling you that the Toirah does not have any extra letters and avada not one word is extra. That being the case, why is the Toirah telling us that Moishe was again reminded that he was fired? And why does this story follow the entire incident where the Tzelofchod five (his daughters) asked for and were rewarded their share of land? Nu, in order to chap what went down here, lommer chazerin a few pisukim (let’s review some text).
Said the RBSO “Ascend these mountains and look out over the Land that I am giving to the Children. Gaze upon it, and then you will be gathered to your people as your brother and your sister were gathered.” Answered Moishe azoy: “Appoint someone competent to lead the people, someone who will charge first in war and return safely in victory.” Said the RBSO in response: “Convince your own servant Yehoishua to be leader. Place your hand upon him. Present him to the priest and to all the people. Instruct him then, and grant him some of the prophetic glow. When he must go to war, tell him to stand before Elozor the Koihen who will interpret the law through the Urim.” Moishe did exactly as told or did he? Soon we’ll see. Says Rashi azoy: When Moishe heard the RBSO’s instructions to give Tzelofchod’s inheritance to his daughters, he said, “It is time to ask for my own needs – that my son should inherit my high position.” Seemingly, like any father, he was trying to get his son a good job, a great one. Moishe was klerring and reasoning that if Tzelofchod’s daughters inherited from their father, why couldn’t his own children inherit his position of honor. Ober the RBSO immediately let it be known that they were out of the running, so was everyone else.
Seemingly, Moishe was mamish a true leader and concerned only with continuity. Instead of asking for a pardon or reprieve, he instead wanted to make sure that the Yiddin would have a competent leader. Ober whom did he have in mind? It appears from Rashi and others that Moishe did not have Yehoishua in mind, not at all, and instead wanted one or both of his own boys to take over. After all, isn’t that how the Rebbes of today, especially the grand Rebbes do it? And taka says another Rashi that when a son is competent, it’s his job to get.
Nu, efsher you’re wondering why Yehoishua got the nod. Where did he come from and what were his qualifications for the job? Why not Pinchas, the apparent hero of the parsha, whose actions and vigilantism, efsher saved the Yiddin from being wiped out by the plague? Were there not any other potential candidates among the over 600,000 men? Not one of the Sanhedrin that Moishe appointed? Why not Colev ben Yefuneh, the only other survivor that will make it into the Land. Wasn’t he, too, a good guy and didn’t he good mouth the Land? And avada as mentioned above, what about Moishe’s two sons? Were they not leadership worthy? Ober the medrish (BaMidbar Rabba 21:14), as it always does, provides some color. Moishe said “Master of the Universe, I am getting old. We need a new leader. I want my sons to take over.” Ober the RBSO responded that Yehoishua deserved this position because he never left Moishe’s side. He was Moishe’s trusted disciple and he would become the next leader of the Yiddin. Says the Yalkut, the conversation went like this: the RBSO said: Moishe, it is not like you think. Your sons will not inherit your position. You know that Yehoishua served you with devotion and showed you much respect. Morning and evening he was the one who arranged the benches in your academy and spread down the carpets. He shall take the rule. As it says, ‘He who guards a fig-tree shall eat its fruit” (Mishle 27:18). Moreover, the RBSO Himself testified that of all of Moishe Rabbeinu’s talmidim, only Yehoishua truly served Moishe with all his strength. Moishe had a Yeshiva in the midbar? It had benches? Nu, ver veyst ober as you should well know, the medrish uses color to give oisvorfs like many of you, a fuller picture. Avada you recall that the midbar was a magical place and if you can imagine Mun for food, , clouds of glory and many other miracles, why can’t you also imagine a yeshiva with benches and carpet?
Interestingly, it does not tell us that Yehoishua was a great Talmud chochom, a great leaner; what we know is that he was a dedicated student who arranged the benches and laid out the carpet in Yeshiva; is that enough? Seemingly, yes !
Ober didn’t Moishe’s children fit all the requirements? Didn’t they observe him regularly for 40 years as he held the fragile nations together? And didn’t they observe how he handled crisis after crisis that included rebellions, civil disobedience, challenges to his leadership and more? And didn’t they come form a good gene pool that included Moishe, Aharoin, Miriam and others? Or is it the case that yichus, as we have stated many times in the past, didn’t count. And this week’s parsha contains yet another example of how one’s own yichus is all that counts. When Pinchas took out his spear and was about to kill the two chazerim, an entire anti-Pinchas faction were quite upset and were wondering how he, Pinchas, of questionable lineage on his mothers side, would have the chutzpah to take on and out, Zimri, who was from royal ancestry. Ober Pinchas’ opponents were told that they were totally incorrect, for yichus, in this case, poor yichus maybe, was not a factor; Pinchas could be viewed as the regal grandson of Aharoin the Koihen just as easily as he could be viewed as a descendant of lowly Midianites. The RBSO instructed the people to look at Pinchas’ deeds, not his background, for one’s own deeds are what count when it comes to spiritual endeavors and standing up for Torah principles. Lets’ remember this givaldige halocho: a Toirah scholar who is the product of an illegitimate parental union is to be accorded greater honor that a Koihen who is not a talmid chochom.
Says the heylige Gemora (Temura 16a): when Moishe Rabaynu was about to die, he asked Yehoishua to share any remaining doubts he had. If he had any, this was going to be his last chance to hear an answer from Moishe. Yehoishua was surprised at the question; surely he was prepared to carry on the tradition. Said Yehoishua: did I even leave you for a second?” Immediately, Yehoishua completely forgot 300 halachos and 700 doubts popped up. The Yiddin were so angry, and they wanted to kill Yehoishua. A fellow by the name of Osniel ben Kenaz was able to retrieve all the lost halachos through analysis and saved the entire nation from another disaster.
Efsher you’re wondering why Moishe didn’t put up a fight to enter the land? Is this the same Moishe that went to battle for the Yiddin at least several times and saved them from annihilation and obliteration, ideas by the way that the RBSO discussed with him? Didn’t Moishe also tell the RBSO to erase his name form the heylige Toirah to get his way? And didn’t he use other convincing tactics when arguing or discussing things with the BSO? How is it that he didn’t even put up a fight? Why is Moishe allowed to look upon the land? And isn’t a trip up to the mountain top to gaze at the land but mamish a tease? Ver veyst ? Nu, so many questions and so few answers. Let’s try and close a few windows and speaking of windows, it’s zicher the case that Parshas Pinchas which has so many disjointed topics going on, was mamish a forerunner to any version of windows, efsher its inspiration, ver veyst.
As to why he was reminded again about his sentence not being commuted, we have this givaldige answer: Having been tasked with dividing the Land according to the censuses and lottery, Moishe might taka have thought that the decree against his entry was rescinded. Therefore, his being told to view the Land and prepare to die comes as a poignant reminder that the decree stands, nebech.
Nu, earlier we mentioned that Moishe was instructed to place his hand on Yehoishua and to anoint him ober a few pisukim later we will learn that Moishe didn’t exactly follow orders. The RBSO’s order were quite clear. “Take Yehoishua …and lay one hand on him” (Bamidbar, 27, 18). Yet, while executing the order, instead of using one hand, he placed both hands on him. Can you just imagine? And already knowing how the RBSO judges tzadikim so harshly for the tiniest of infractions, one has to wonder why Moishe did this. And taka Rashi and others do discuss this point ober we need to move on. Want to know more? Open the Chumish and learn the heylige Toirah.
And some good news: though Moishe was instructed to climb up the mountain and have a last peek at the Land before dying, he does not die in this parsha; what a relief. And taka had he died here, would the Toirah end here with Parshas Pinchas? Ver veyst? And taka asks the Abarbanel azoy:”The ninth question concerns the RBSO telling Moishe, ‘Ascend this Mt. Avarim and see that land,’ concluding with the words, ‘And you, too, shall be gathered to your people AS AHARON YOUR BROTHER WAS GATHERED’ – but Moishe did not die upon receiving this command! Aharoin, on the other hand, upon being commanded to die, ascended the mountain and taka died. Likewise Moishe, will follow suit ober not until Parshas Ha’azinu (Devarim 32:48-52, 34:1-5).and that being the case, why did the RBSO command him to ascend the mountain if the day of his death has not yet arrived?”
And the good news suggested earlier: A great distance separates Parshas Pinchas, where we find ourselves, and Ha’azinu and Ve-Zot Ha-Berocho, where Moishe is commanded once again to ascend to die, and he does so. We will get to enjoy Moishe all summer.
A gittin shabbis
The Oisvorfer Ruv