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24 Tammuz 5772/July 14, 2012
Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Parshat Pinchas
 
Vol.3 Num. 39
 
ben Puti 
, mocking Pinchas for the factthat his grandfather, Yitro, had oncebeen an idolater who had fattened(
 pitem 
) calves for idolatry. (Sotah 43a)
Despite Divine approval for Pinchas’ 
actions, he gained a stigma amongthose who feared him.And then the curtain rose on a thirdact: Pinchas persevered despite nationalopprobrium, entering Israel andembarking upon a new career as aprophet. (Seder Olam 20) Pinchasserved as an ambassador of peace,halting a near civil war fourteen yearsafter the Jews entered Israel. (Yehoshua22) Pinchas was the prophet consultedby the Jews of a later generation, beforelaunching a war against their own tribeof Benjamin. (Shoftim 20:27-28)According to the sages (Vayikra Rabbah1:1), Pinchas came to a woman namedHatzlelponit and told her that the babyshe carried in her womb would grow upto be none other than Shimshon. Inthese roles, Pinchas became known by anew name:
malach Hashem 
, an agent of G-d. These three distinct roles were notmutually exclusive. Pinchas did notcease his outrage for G-d when hebecame
malach Hashem 
, and he wasstill the child of leadership and privilegewhen he lashed out against immorality.Pinchas's path was not so muchmetamorphosis as it was accretion;each additional layer provided anotherpotent weapon for his arsenal.With these three dimensions, Pinchasfulfilled the words of an insightfulmidrash regarding the breadth of eachhuman being's life: "A person is knownby three names: One is the name whichhis father and mother call him, one isthe name which others call him, andone is the name by which he will beknown in the book of chronicles of hisexistence." (Vayikra Rabbah 7:3) Wegain talents, skills and proclivities fromthree unique sources, and these areembodied in the names by which webecome known. Just as each name assigned to Pinchaswas true and accurate, albeitincomplete, so our names represent non-exclusive facets of our own trifurcateidentities. Our parents, the roots of ournature and providers of our nurture,establish our initial name. Our peersexert their social pressure, as rolemodels, sounding boards and realitychecks. Our actions provide a thirddimension; we are blessed with aninnate desire to rebel, and this desire tomake our own way catalyzes a limitedindependence. These multiple names can be confusing,leaving us wondering about our "real"selves. Am I my parents' child? Am I theperson others perceive? Am I theidentity I shape? Faced with thesequestions, we can learn much fromPinchas's experience. Each of ournames is legitimate, and should bepursued. The names bestowed by ourparents are justifiably powerful anddurable. The names given us by ourpeers reflect the assessment of thosewho see us most clearly. The names wecraft for ourselves reflect our deepestideals and desires. We are a compositeof all three, as Pinchas was a compositeof all three; may we succeed inharnessing all of our names to theservice of Hashem.
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
 
Pinchas 3-D
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please contact info@torontotorah.com or 416-783-6960
In last week’s parshah (Bamidbar
25:7), Pinchas was introduced with amighty name, "Pinchas, son of Elazar,son of Aharon, the kohen." Hispaternal grandfather Aharon was thefirst kohen gadol (high priest). Hispaternal grandmother Elisheva wasamong the leadership of the royal tribeof Yehudah. His maternal grandfather,Yitro, was a celebrity in his own right
and Moshe’s father
-in-law. His fatherwas Elazar, was the leader of theLevites and the nation's second kohengadol.In the middle of a full-fledged rebellionagainst Moshe and Torah; as Jewisharistocracy and rank-and-file alikewere rejecting Divinely legislatedmorality and entering the tents of Midianite women; as the leader of themighty tribe of Shimon publicly floutedthe law; up stepped this man with themagnificent name, Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aharon the kohen.When Moshe failed to act, whenAharon failed to act, when the nationstood by and wept, one man abrogatedthe chain of judicial command,subverted the authority of hisprophetic betters, and executed theleader of a tribe. Only a man of regalheraldry could have done this.Despite his aristocratic heritage,though, Pinchas gained a new namevia his vigilante justice. Quailing at hisstrength, fearing that he might turnagainst them next, the Jews labelledhim
kana'i 
, the Zealot. (VayikraRabbah 33:4) Worse, they called him
Two Golden Opportunities this Sunday 
9:15 AM R’ Ezra Goldschmiedt 
 
The Mission of the Exiled Jew 
Breakfast & Beit Midrash, Forest Hill Jewish Centre11:00 AM Mrs. Elyssa Goldschmiedt 
 What is our service to Hashem during this time of year?
Lunch and Learn, Westmount,
women, $18, RSVP required 
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 
therein. Although they have purifiedthemselves and although they work inthat area on a regular basis, the kohanimare thus prevented from becoming overlyfamiliar and losing their respect forsanctity.On a similar note, we do not enter asynagogue sanctuary other than forsacred purposes. If we were to chat, jokeor manage our business in a shul, wewould be most challenged in shifting ourfocus when it came time to use that samespace for communication with G-d.
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
2
We are always encouraged to sanctifyourselves and to build our connectionto holy places and pursuits, but the Torah voices concern that one who istoo close to holiness might becomede-sensitized. This is one idea behind Mitzvah 184,which warns the kohen gadol not toenter the
kodesh kodashim 
[Holy of Holies] other than to perform hisannual tasks therein, and thekohanim not to enter the BeithaMikdash other than for thepurpose of performing their tasks
613 Mitzvot: #184
 Familiarity Breeds Contempt
 
Rabbi Mordechai TorczynerHitoriri: Jewish Spirituality
Swim Safely
 
Hillel Horovitz
 
 ("):  ." . . . . . , . .
 
, . . , . ,, . "" . .
 
"",  .""  . . , ' .
 
. "" , .
 
hhorovitz@torontotorah.com 
Before the Nine Days
 
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
 
In
Out of the Whirlwind 
, RavSoloveitchik draws parallels betweenthe periods of 
bein hametzarim 
in whichwe mourn for the Beit haMikdash andthe periods in which one mourns for arelative. The start of the month of Av isequated with the year of mourning aftera parent's death; the week of Tishahb'Av is equated with the
shloshim 
 month; Tishah b'Av is like the week of 
shivah 
.Rav Soloveitchik does not treat theopening days of the Three Weeks, beforeRosh Chodesh Av, as a periodmandating particular mournfulactivities. No such requirement appearsin mishnah or gemara, and so he doesnot link this period to the framework of personal bereavement. Our practices of the first part of this
bein hametzarim 
period are only the customs of Ashkenaz, mentioned by the Rama(Orach Chaim 551:2, 4), extending theprohibitions of the Nine Days into theearly days of the Three Weeks.In truth, the Rama only extendedcertain prohibitions of the Nine Days,but not others. Upon analysis, it seemsthat only unusual pleasures, markingextraordinary events
 – 
weddings,dancing, haircuts
 – 
were forbidden byAshkenazim during the incipient stageof the Three Weeks. In contrast, duringthe Nine Days we prohibit routinepleasures
 – 
eating meat and imbibingwine, laundering and bathing. One maysuggest that the goal of the prohibitionsof the Nine Days is to arouse mourningand grief, but the goal of those earlierdays is to reduce the escapism of unusual, extraordinary pleasures. The Ashkenazi custom of avoidingunusually joyous events springs fromthe belief that our mundane lives arelacking and broken; our daily blissfulignorance is a result of the joy we injectinto our lives via special occasions,disrupting the grind of our troubles.Weddings and dancing create the illusionthat we live in an ideal, whole, fulfilledworld, a world in which the
Shechinah 
isopenly manifest, with G-d walking in themidst of our camp. Even the haircutdemonstrates the wholeness of Man andhis strength, expressed in his controlover his appearance (as seen in the lawsof tonsure for kohanim and kings). Whenthese unusual events are withheld, wesink into dull, banal routine, and asensitive person comes to sense the lossof the Beit haMikdash without need forthe active mourning of the Nine Days.With the quieting of the escapist noiseand bells, a feeling of displacement andexile is awakened within us. The dailykorban is absent. Prophets are absent. The Davidic dynasty is absent. We areincapable of filling the role designated forus by G-d, the mission of becoming "anation of priests and a holy people." Ouridentity is incomplete.Above all, during
bein hametzarim 
avague longing fills the soul, a yearningfor some distant land and dimly visibletime, when day-to-day life was completeand meaningful without resort to noiseand bells. This is the message of theperiod between the 17
th
of Tammuz andRosh Chodesh Av, a slowly buildingrecognition of the gap between our livesas they are and as they are meant to be.With the onset of Rosh Chodesh Av thisrecognition brings about practicalmourning for the destruction of the BeithaMikdash, which precipitated this gap."Hashem, bring us back to You, and wewill return! Renew our days as of old." (Eichah 5:21)
bweintraub@torontotorah.com 
 
Ma’alot, located in the Galil, was
established in 1957 as a town forMoroccan and Iraqi immigrants. In1963, it merged with the nearbyArab town of Tarshiha, andcurrently houses approximately20,000 residents. It was officially
recognized as a city in 1997. Ma’a
lot is located 20 kilometers east of Nahariya, and 45 kilometersnortheast of Haifa.Many residents work in the IscarMetalworking plant, which islocated nearby. Iscar, an Israeli tool-making company, was acquired byBerkshire Hathaway in 2006.Warren Buffet purchased an 80%stake in the company for $4 billion,the first time that he had purchaseda company located outside of theUS. Warren Buffet described the
company as “a dream deal,” and in
2012 he wrote that the managers
are “brilliant strategists andoperators.”
 
 The residents of Ma’alot have many 
options for recreation, including anew, state-of-the-art fitness center,an ice skating rink, and multipleOlympic-size pools. There is also abeautiful manmade lake with kayakand pedal boat rentals. In January,
2008, Ma’alot hosted the Israel
International Chess Championship,and there is an annual InternationalSculpture Symposium.
Ma’alot is perhaps most well
-knownfor a tragic massacre perpetrated inthe Netiv Meir elementary school onMay 15, 1974. Three terroristsaffiliated with the Democratic Frontfor the Liberation of Palestine, amember organization of the PLO,infiltrated Israel from Lebanon onMay 13. The next day, on their way
to the school in Ma’alot, the
terrorists shot and killed six people. The terrorists took about 115 peoplehostage, most of them students,and demanded the release of 23terrorists. An elite Israeli unitstormed the building, but tacticalerrors caused the operation to goawry. 25 hostages were killed,including 22 high school students.According to a 2007 article inHaaretz, American filmmakers areplanning to film a documentary on
the Ma’alot massacre.
ymanas@torontotorah.com 
Born in Baghdad in September of 1832,Chacham Yosef Chaim was the oldest of three children. His father, EliyahuChaim, was a Rabbi and communityleader whose advice was sought after bynumerous Middle Eastern Sephardiccommunities.As a young boy, Yosef Chaim wasplaying with his sister when he trippedand fell into a deep well. Members of thecommunity were able to retrieve the boyand carry him home, but his breathinghad completely stopped. The family satin prayer as the doctors worked on the young boy, and eventually he wasrevived. Although Yosef Chaim did notremember the events of that day, uponhearing the details of his near deathexperience he decided to commit his lifeto Torah. When Chacham EliyahuChaim died, the community appointedhis 25-year old son Yosef Chaim to fillhis position, and he served for fifty years. The published works of Chacham Yosef Chaim, which cover the areas of halachah, aggadah and responsa, arecentral in Sephardic literature to thisday. Many of his books take their namesfrom a biblical description of KingSolomon's loyal aide, Benayahu the sonof Yehoyada (Shemuel 2 23:20),"Benayahu the son of Yehoyada, the sonof a valiant man of Kabtze'el, who hadperformed mighty deeds."
dzirkind@torontotorah.com 
You, the questioner, can see with your owneyes how the great Sages trembled regardingtranslation of our religious texts into otherlanguages, forbidding buyers frompurchasing them. How much more so thewords of the holy
Idra 
(Zohar) which areentirely lofty secrets; even their revealedelements speak the languae of the soul toattract the ear. Certainly, translating theminto another language would be a serioustransgression, because translation suggeststo the reader that the revealed sections arethe author's actual intent.Know that three years ago one of the localteachers came and proudly told me how hehad translated Song of Songs from Hebrew toArabic, literally, beginning to end. Each of his students had copied his translation tostudy from it, and he was extremely pleasedwith this. I said that it was not appropriate todo this, and he was mistaken inimplementing this novel idea, for it wouldnot be appropriate to teach the verses of Song of Songs to children and simple peoplein their national language, translatingliterally. All of the verses of Song of Songswere not stated literally; all of them useparable, allegory and hints to theillumination of the
Shechinah 
, while theliteral words sound like a love song, G-dforbid. For those of small mind, likeschoolchildren, when they are taught theverses in their national language then thewords will be taken lightly by them. It willappear in their eyes like a love song, G-dforbid. Therefore it is not appropriate totranslate the text literally into anotherlanguage; Song of Songs is the holiest of theholy.I brought him an absolute proof for this fromthe author of the Targum to Tanach; he wascareful not to translate Song of Songsliterally as he did with the rest of Tanach.For each verse of Song of Songs he renderedit as allegory, with its lesson, and he did nottranslate the words as they were written atall. His reasoning is clear and simple: Theverses of Song of Songs have no meaning intheir simple form, but all is allegory and
hint… This can then prove our position
regarding our question of translating the
Idra 
, that there is great reason to prohibit its
Ha’Aretz
 
Ma’alot
 
Yair Manas
 
Torah in Translation
The Dangers ofTranslation
R’ Yosef Chaim of Baghdad
 
Rav Pe’alim 56
 
Translated by R’ Dovid Zirkind
 
translation to another language. It maybe logically inferred, and the intelligentwill understand this on his own andthere is no need to expound on thisfurther.Regarding that which the questionerwrote in his question, that the translatorof the
Idra 
to Arabic objected that thereis no prohibition in doing so, saying,
“Just as we trust when we learn it in its
original language that the words shouldnot be taken literally, so we trust thosewho learn it in Arabic that it is not to be
taken literally.” Know that aside from the
corruption which will emerge fromthisedition, this Arabic edition will fall intothe hands of non-Jews who understandArabic and their mouths will blasphemewhen they see the [seemingly] mundanematters ascribed to the heavens, andthere will be further bad results which Icannot explain here. In truth, even forthe people of the covenant, Jews whoknow the words should not be takenliterally, it will be a great stumblingblock, mistake and heresy when theyrecite these words in Arabic astranslated in front of them.
Biography: Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad
 
R’ Dovid Zirkind
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
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