Yeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov

Parshat Pinchas 21 Tammuz 5773/June 29, 2013 Vol.4 Num. 38

Toronto Torah
becomes more and more difficult to escape the transgression. Finally, at the tenth level, where one distances himself from the evil inclination and guards himself from transgression with all his power until it is impossible to guard himself anymore, if his evil inclination overpowers him and he does such an action, then it certainly must be the will of G-d. Such was the case with Yehuda and Tamar, for she was his true soulmate. This is also the case here, for Zimri truly guarded himself from all evil desires, and now it occurred to him that she was his soulmate, since it was not within his power to remove himself from the action.” [Mei haShiloach, Edwards translation, pg. 313-314] The Izhbitzer adds that the episode ends by telling us that Zimri was the prince of a family of Shimon in order to show that Pinchas was wrong, for there is no way that such a person could have been in engaged in a licentious act. In Zimri’s defense, Rabbi Leiner adds that it is unfathomable that G-d would have included such an episode in the Torah if it was truly about an adulterer. Rabbi Leiner continues to explain why Pinchas wasn’t punished, if he was actually incorrect. He contends that Pinchas knew Zimri's defense, but thought that Zimri really had the potential to fight his evil inclination harder. Therefore, he wasn’t convinced that Zimri was licensed to do as he did with Kozbi. However, Pinchas was not punished, and was actually rewarded, because he had used the best data and judgment available to him. Pinchas was unaware that Zimri and Kozbi were soulmates, paired in the Garden of Eden (as the Ari z"l taught); according to his understanding, he acted


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Was Pinchas Wrong?
We all make assumptions, whether based on more fact or less. Reading the first narrative of our parshah, most of us assume that the zealous act of Pinchas was proper. Confronted with a horrific scene - a leader of the tribe of Shimon engaging in relations with a Midianite woman in front of a weeping nation, right beside the ohel moed, in the midst of a plague which was killing many thousands of Jews - Pinchas stabbed Kozbi and Zimri, ending the plague. Rashi (Bamidbar 25:14) explains that Zimri’s ancestry is mentioned at the end of the episode “to inform you of the praiseworthiness of Pinchas; even though Zimri was a prince, he did not restrain himself from avenging desecration of the Name [of G-d].” Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izbica (a.k.a. "the Izhbitzer", 1801-1854; the founder of the Izhbitza-Radzyn Hasidic dynasty) strongly questions our assumption that Pinchas was correct. Despite Hashem's promise to bless Pinchas with a covenant of peace, seemingly a reward for appropriate actions, Rabbi Leiner argues that Pinchas didn’t see the whole picture. Basing himself on the teachings of kabbalah regarding the souls of Zimri and Kozbi, the Izhbitzer explains that there are “ten levels in znut (perversity or licentiousness); the first (and lowest) level is when one dresses up and goes intentionally to commit a sexual transgression, meaning one who deliberately invites the evil inclination upon himself. After this there are nine other levels, with each one a man’s power of free choice is taken from him a little more. (With the first level it was totally within his power to refrain,) and with each level it

Adam Frieberg
correctly, and he was therefore blessed with a Covenant of Peace. The view presented above is hard for many of us to accept, but let's contemplate its implications. We live in complicated times; many pressing and important issues face the world, and the Jewish people specifically, in Eretz Yisrael and beyond. Many of these issues require thorough analysis and serious inquiry to even be partially understood, before we can form our opinions and decide whom to support. It is that process of investigation and discovery that requires us to open our eyes and minds. The Izhbitzer’s novel interpretation is not the majority opinion, to say the least. It may not even be compatible with statements of our sages, such as the talmudic claim (Sanhedrin 82b) that “six miracles were done for Pinchas [when he killed Zimri].” Nonetheless, it is the opinion of a serious Torah scholar and so it is worthy of our consideration. Intricate problems require intricate solutions. As we focus on the destruction of the Temple at this time of year, may we increase the amount of time we dedicate to investigating various opinions, before jumping to conclusions. Hopefully, this will result in respect for all well thought-out approaches, even the ones with which we don’t ultimately agree.



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More Than a Sin
As we see from the vindication of Pinchas in this week's parshah, Zimri's sin in cohabiting with a non-Jewish woman was a serious matter, worthy of an extreme response. Pinchas made use of a law unique to this situation: Kana'in pogin bo, the zealous are to strike perpetrators without the due process of law normally required in criminal cases. This crime's unique punishment demonstrates that Zimri's act constitutes one of the most severe transgressions in the Torah. Yet upon further inspection, this doesn't seem to be the case. While indeed, the concept of kana'in pogin bo is strict in its own right, actually applying due process to such a situation would yield a far more lenient punishment. A beit din can respond with no more than rabbinicallymandated lashes for such a crime, whereas other arayot can be punishable by death! (Rambam, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 12:2, 6) How then, are we supposed to understand the application of kana'in pogin bo to this transgression? Rabbi Shimshon Pincus ( Nefesh Chayah, page 167) suggests that Zimri's sin violated a unique aspect of our connection to G-d. Unlike other illicit relationships for which the Torah presents formal prohibitions, intermingling with the other nations affects the very core of the Israelite's identity, the fundamental basis upon which a relationship with G-d exists. The unique nature of this particular act w a s wh a t m o t i va te d B i l a m t o orchestrate it as his last-ditch attempt to vanquish the Israelites. As Rabbi Pincus writes, "Bilam said [to Balak]: As long as we [merely] cause them to sin –

Rabbi Ezra Goldschmiedt
and they can be the most serious [sins] – they will always ultimately return in repentance; they will cry out to G-d, and when Moshe prays for their sake, the prayer will be accepted. What then, can we do to destroy them? There is only one way: to cut them off from G-d! If we can cause them to connect to non -Jewish women – this is not merely a sin, they simply will no longer be G-d's nation!" Such relationships are the beginning of the end for Jewish identity. Indeed, Rambam tells us that this "leads to a detriment that has no parallel among all the other forbidden sexual relations. For a child conceived from any other forbidden sexual union, is [the father's] son with regard to all matters and is considered a member of the Jewish people, even if he is a mamzer. A son conceived by a nonJewish woman, by contrast, is not considered his son." (Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 12:7) Perhaps this concept explains the legal quirks involved in prosecuting this act. No explicit biblical prohibition or punishment exists for having such a relationship, as it touches on something beyond the do's and don'ts of the commandments. The unique rule of kana'in pogin bo may also stem from this concept – a metatransgression deserves an extra-legal punishment, to the exclusion of the normal rules of criminal cases. [For more on this, see Sanhedrin 82a.]


A Non-Kohen Kohen
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
The Talmud (Zevachim 102a) describes the superlative joy felt by Elisheva bat Aminadav on the day the Mishkan was dedicated, beyond her joy in our own spiritual heights: "Elisheva experienced five joys, beyond the joy felt by all Jewish women. Her brother-in-law [Moshe] was the king, her husband [Aharon] was the kohen gadol, her son [Elazar] was the sgan, her grandson [Pinchas] was anointed to lead the nation in war, and her brother [Nachshon] was head of a tribe." This passage contains an apparent anachronism, though: As the Talmud (Zevachim 101b) explains Bamidbar 25:13, "And Pinchas and his children after him will have the covenant of eternal kehunah," Pinchas was not a kohen until the events of our parshah. This was almost forty years after the dedication of the Mishkan! Rabbi Baruch HaLevi Epstein (Torah Temimah to Shir haShirim 3:6) contends that the two talmudic passages are simply contradictory. However, Rashbam offered a possible resolution, suggesting that one could become a kohen as far as leading the nation to war, without becoming a kohen for the rest of the roles of the kohen. [This may explain the Rambam's view, in Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Klei haMikdash 4:21, that the position of leading the nation to war is not an inherited position.] One might suggest that the reason Rashbam feels comfortable splitting military leadership from general kehunah is his explanation of the word "kohen". To Rashbam, as seen in his commentary to Bereishit 41:45, the word "kohen" does not mean "member of the priestly family". Rather, "kohen" means "officer", one designated to perform a particular task. Therefore, Pinchas might be the "Military kohen" before he ever becomes a "Mishkan kohen". Rashbam's point should resonate for all of us who are not part of the kohen caste, for we, too, are partial kohanim. We are charged with the role of being "mamlechet kohanim," an empire of priests. (Shemot 19:6) Like Pinchas preParshat Pinchas, we are officers, with leadership roles. Rather than bemoan the fact that we are not privileged to be full kohanim, let us rejoice in our elevated mission, and go forth with it to the greatest success.

613 Mitzvot: #281-283

Who Eats the Gifts?
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
We are instructed to give special tithes and gifts to kohanim; these portions include terumah from Israeli produce and portions of kosher animals which have been slaughtered. These gifts are intended for the exclusive use of eligible kohanim and their families, marking the sanctified status of the kohanim. Therefore, a non-kohen may not eat from them (#280), and a kohen’s employee may not eat from them (#281). A male kohen who lacks a brit milah may not eat from them (#282), but some suggest he may eat if there is a medical reason for him to avoid circumcision. (Tosafot Zevachim 22b arel, Minchat Chinuch 282:9) Women who are from the line of kehunah, but who wed someone who is not halachically eligible for this marriage, are disqualified from eating of these portions (#283).


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Biography: Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz
Torah in Translation Yeshiva Students During War Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz
Sichot Mussar Erev Succot 5734 1
Translated by Rabbi Yair Manas

Rabbi Yair Manas

This Week in Israeli History

[Translator’s introduction: This is one of six lectures given by Rabbi Shmuelevitz to the At the age of 18, Rabbi Shmuelevitz was Mirrer yeshiva during the Yom Kippur War.] appointed to teach a shiur in the yeshiva in Grodno. About four years We learn in Berachot (63a), "Whoever later, Rabbi Shmuelevitz transferred to weakens himself from words of Torah will the Mirrer Yeshiva, where he quickly have no strength to stand in a time of became a favorite of the Mirrer Rosh distress, etc." We see that the power to stand Yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. during a time of distress comes from Shortly thereafter, Rabbi Shmuelevitz strengthening Torah study. This obligation married Rabbi Finkel’s daughter, and falls all the more so upon yeshiva students. began teaching in the Mirrer Yeshiva. During intersession, a time when there is a weakening [in Torah study], we need to After World War II broke out, Rabbi greatly strengthen ourselves during this time Shmuelevitz accompanied hundreds of students to Shanghai, where they lived of distress… and studied throughout the war. In Our sages teach (Vayikra Rabbah 28:6) that Shanghai, Rabbi Shmuelevitz turned when wicked Haman found righteous down American visas for him and his Mordechai teaching the laws of bringing the family in order to remain with his korban haomer, he said to Mordechai, "Your students. [study of the] barely offering has pushed aside my ten thousand coins." We see that After a brief stay in the United States in even wicked Haman knew that the salvation 1947, Rabbi Shmuelevitz joined his of the Jewish people comes from the study of father-in-law in Israel. He served as the Torah. In Eruvin (63b), our sages teach that rosh yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva for 32 when an angel appeared to Yehoshua with an years, until his death in 1978. In 1964, outstretched sword, Yehoshua asked which he began to present shmuessen, ethical sin caused the angel to come: the sin of not lectures on improving character traits. learning Torah, or the sin of not bringing the [See accompanying translation.] In daily korban. The angel answered, "I have addition to his Torah knowledge, Rabbi come now," for the sin of not learning Torah. Shmuelevitz was also known for his care Rashi explains that they were fighting during a n d c o n c e r n f o r f e l l o w J e w s . the day, and they did not have time to study Approximately 100,000 people attended Torah except at night. Immediately, his funeral; he is buried on Har "Yehoshua rested on that night in the valley." HaMenuchot. Rabbi Yochanan teaches that this means they studied Jewish law in depth… This is what saved them from the angel with the those who give their lives [i.e. the outstretched sword. This is the first piece of soldiers] to protect us; nobody can reach advice during these difficult times. their plateau. Our obligation to pray for The second piece of advice is to pray. Regarding the battle with Midian, the Torah twice says, "A thousand per tribe, a thousand per tribe." (Bamidbar 31:4) The sages teach (Bamidbar Rabbah 22:3) that one thousand from each tribe went to battle, and the other thousand from each tribe went to pray. We see that we require one corresponding to the other, one praying corresponding to one fighting... At the end of the talk, we pointed out two fundamental ideas: First, the sages (Bava Batra 10b) teach that no one else can stand with those who were killed in Lud [two brothers who volunteered to be killed in order to save their community from annihilation]. This is because they gave their lives for other Jews. I declare the same for

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz was born on the 2nd day of Rosh HaShanah, 1902, in Kovno, Lithuania. He was educated by his father, Rosh Yeshiva in Grodno, until the age of sixteen, when his father passed away. The great Rabbi Shimon Shkop became Rosh Yeshiva, and developed a close relationship with the young Rabbi Shmuelevitz.

23 Tammuz 1099

The First Crusade
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
23 Tammuz is Monday In the 8th century, Muslim forces defeated the Byzantines and conquered the Land of Israel. A few centuries later, for religious, economical and political reasons, the European Christian world united in order to capture it back. Heeding the call of Pope Urban II, about thirty thousand Christians of all economic and social classes set off for the Holy Land. En route to Jerusalem, many of the Crusaders took advantage of an opportunity to battle non-believers closer to home, and they slaughtered Jewish communities of the Rhineland. The Christians then arrived in Asia, and eventually in Eretz Yisrael. On June 7, 1099, they initiated a siege of Jerusalem; this ended with the fall of the city on the fifteenth of July, five weeks later. According to historical accounts, the Jews of the city fought shoulder-toshoulder with the Muslim defenders, perhaps because they had heard of the fate of their brothers at the hands of the Crusaders.

As the Christians entered Jerusalem, they began immediately to kill everyone, Muslim or Jew. Writing about the Temple Mount area alone, Fulcher of Chartres, a chaplain, said, "In this temple, ten thousand were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain… neither women nor children were spared." According to the Muslim chronicle of Ibn alQalanisi, "The Jews assembled in them is infinite… their synagogue, and the Franks The second fundamental idea is that we burned it over their heads." must not be afraid, for that is the most dangerous thing in battle. The Torah In the aftermath of the First Crusade, lists prohibitions against being afraid in Jewish settlement in Israel was battle, and the sages teach (Sotah 44b) devastated. It seems more than that the beginning of downfall is fleeing, symbolic that these events occurred during 'Yemei Bein HaMetzarim' which is fear and terror… between the 17th of Tammuz and The prophet of repentance (Hoshea 14:4) Tishah b'Av. says, "Assyria will not save," by which we mean the United States, "we will not ride upon horses," by which we mean the fighter jets, "and we will not call our handiwork 'our gods'", meaning the army. "For with You an orphan finds mercy," we have no support; only G-d Himself will save us.

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Our Haftorah: Yirmiyahu 1:1 - 2:3
Who is the prophet of our haftorah? Yirmiyahu was the last major prophet of the first Beit haMikdash, and his experience may well have been the most bitter of any prophet in Tanach. He lived in the 5th century BCE (according to Seder Olam), and his task was to warn the Jews of his day that time was short and destruction was coming. The nation did not heed Yirmiyahu's words; instead, they beat him and imprisoned him (Yirmiyahu 20 and 37), threw him into a cistern (ibid. 38) and threatened to kill him. (ibid.) Rembrandt's Jeremiah Weeping Over the Destruction of Jerusalem is hauntingly evocative of the mood of Yirmiyahu’s book; Indeed, the word "jeremiad" was coined to refer to a prophecy of doom and gloom. Throughout his misery, though, Yirmiyahu carried with him a Divine promise, "I am with you, to save you." (ibid. 1:8) According to the Talmud (Bava Batra 15a), Yirmiyahu authored his own book, the book of Melachim, and the book of Eichah. What is the message of our haftorah? Our haftorah consists of four different prophecies:

Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
What is the connection of our haftorah to this time of year? Our haftorah is the first in a series of haftarot which do not follow the parshah, but rather follow the calendar. As Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein emphasizes, this fact to itself bears witness to the goal of the institution of the haftorah: providing spiritual guidance. In a regular week that happens with a correlation to the parshah, but special needs will dictate deviation from this rule. Our haftorah, apart from its explicit contents of destruction and consolation, can also serve as guidance for our spiritual state during these first days of Bein HaMeitzarim, between the 17th of Tammuz and Tishah b'Av. Yirmiyahu found it difficult to convey a vision of devastation to the people; the nation didn’t want to hear about their own destruction. Indeed, they fought Yirmiyahu, muting him. The nature of the human being is to refuse to see the disaster, even when it knocks on his door. We, living more than two thousand years after the destruction that Yirmiyahu predicted, and 1900 years after the second one, still face the same problem. We refuse to believe that life as we know it is, in fact, broken and lacking. However, this understanding is essential in order to set off, once again, on the voyage to draw nearer to G-d.

that may remind us of Moshe Rabbeinu's response to G -d, Yirmiyahu tries to avoid the mission, claiming he is young. Hashem insists that he has appointed Yirmiyahu 'over the nations and over the kingdoms, to uproot and to crush, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.'

The Rod of Almond (1:11-12) In this very short prophecy Yirmiyahu is being shown a rod of almond wood. G-d explains the meaning of the image by saying, "I will fulfill My words with diligence." In Hebrew, almond is shaked, while one who is diligent is shokeid. The Bubbling Pot (1:13-19) Now Yirmiyahu sees a bubbling pot, facing north. Hashem explains that this image symbolizes the enemy coming from the north. This prophecy ends with encouragement for Yirmiyahu, calling him to be brave in the face of people who would try to silence him. The Remembrance (2:1-3) Concluding our Haftorah, this prophecy is G-d's promise to keep His covenant with us, remembering the loving and trusting way in which we followed Him in the desert. Those who will attack the Jews will be judged and punished.

The Dedication (1:1-10) Yirmiyahu is chosen by G-d to become a prophet. In a fashion

Many of our shiurim are on summer hiatus, but opportunities remain!
Shabbat, June 29 7:45 AM R’ Baruch Weintraub, Reasons for Mitzvot, Or Chaim 10:20 AM R’ Baruch Weintraub, Parshah, Clanton Park Derashah Adam Frieberg, Shaarei Tefillah 7:20 PM R’ Mordechai Torczyner, Daf Yomi, BAYT 8:05 PM Adam Frieberg, Pirkei Avot, Shaarei Tefillah After minchah R’ Mordechai Torczyner, Gemara Avodah Zarah: Roman Fairs, BAYT Tuesday, July 2 8:00 PM R’ Ezra and Elyssa Goldschmiedt, Parenting I: Ages and Expectations, 26 Meadowbrook #7, women 8:30 PM R’ Baruch Weintraub, Rambam’s Laws of Kings, Shomrai Shabbos, men

Highlights for June 29 – July 5 / 21 Tammuz - 27 Tammuz

Wednesday, July 3 10 AM R’ Mordechai Torczyner, Women of Tanach 2 of 4: Sunday, June 30 Chuldah, Yeshivat Or Chaim 9:15 AM Hillel Horovitz, Parshah, Zichron Yisroel, Hebrew 8 PM Chabura Night at BAYT - Final Session (Shacharit 8:30 AM)  Hillel Horovitz: Journey through Judges (Ch. 12-15) R’ Mordechai Torczyner: Medical Halachah 6:30 PM R’ Baruch Weintraub, Contemporary Halachah in  Israel, Hebrew, 4 Tillingham Keep, mixed After Maariv Chabura Night at Shaarei Shomayim 40 min. pre-minchah R’ Baruch Weintraub, Contemporary Thursday, July 4 Halachah in Israel, Hebrew, Clanton Park, men 9:30 AM R’ Mordechai Torczyner, Journey of the Soul, BAYT, women - with Machon Maor, register at Monday, July 1 8 PM Beit Midrash Night at Bnai Torah, Clanton Park 8:00 PM R’ Baruch Weintraub, Sotah, Clanton Park 8 PM Hillel Horovitz, Melachim II 21-23, Bnai Torah 9 PM Hillel Horovitz, Rav Kook, Bnai Torah


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