Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pinchas 5773

The Torah Portion of Pinchas 

Pinchas is called "Eliyahu the angel of the Brit (Covenant or Circumcision)".  It is written in the Holy Zohar, that Eliyahu said to Hashem (in the book of Melachim) that the people of Israel transgressed your Brit (Covenant).  Therefore Hashem said to him,  because you are accusing Israel, you are required to attend every Brit Mila (Circumcision).  The Ari asks, what kind of a punishment is it that he needs to participate in a Brit? On the contrary it is a great Mitzvah!  The explanation is, that he needs to miss out on some of the Chiddushim (new Torah thoughts) in the Heavenly Yeshiva, because occasionally in the middle of the Chiddush (new Torah thought), he needs to go down to participate in a Brit.  

"...And he atoned for the children of Israel." (Bamidbar 25:13) 

It is written in the Midrash, that someone who participates in a Brit Mila (Circumcision), has all of his sins atoned for.  And that is hinted at in the verse: "...And he atoned for the children of Israel". (Bamidbar  25:13) And so it is brought in the Gemara Pesachim (114) in Tosefot, that everyone who enjoys the festive meal at a Brit Mila (Circumcision), is saved from the decree of Gehinom.

"...Because he took vengence for his G-d, and he atoned for the children of Israel." (Bamidbar 25:13)  

It is told that once Maran HaGaon Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz"l participated in the Brit Mila (Circumcision) of his grandson, and said, that it is written in the Midrash, that Eliayahu said to Hashem that he is not able to tolerate going to a place where there are transgressors. [As it was stated in "Tana D'vei Eliyaha", that one time Rav Yehoshua ben Levi was walking with Eliyahu,  and Rav Yehoshua ben Levi said that he sensed a bad smell from a dead animal, and wasn't able to tolerate it.  Eliyahu said to him, that he doesn't sense any bad smell.  After that they went to another place, and Eliyahu told him that he wasn't able to stand there, because there was a bad smell, and he explained that it was because in that place there were transgressors.  But Rav Yehoshua ben Levi didn't sense that.]  And  therefore, Eliyahu told Hashem that he wasn't able to go to Brit Mila ceremonies.  Hashem said to Him, I will atone for the transgressions of those who participate in a Brit.  And HaGaon Rav Shlomo Zalman asked: Is a Brit Mila (Circumcision) more important than Yom Kippur, about which the Sages said that it atones only by means of Teshuvah (Repentance)?  For that was the Psak (legal decision) of the Rambam (but Rabi reasoned that Yom Kippur atones even without repentance).  And HaGaon Rav Shlomo Zalman came up with  a Chiddush (new Torah thought), that just as there is a physical air purifier, also there is a spiritual air purifier.  The Holy One Blessed Be He said to Eliyahu, I will purify the air from transgressions, and then you will be able to participate in Brit Mila ceremonies without sensing the presence of transgressors.  And certainly, Brit Mila ceremonies are a propitious time to get closer to Hashem.  And in the aforementioned Brit Mila ceremony, Maran Rav Yechezkel Avramski ztz"l was also a participant, and he commented that in the Midrash there were no distinctions written (regarding how much participating in a Brit Mila atones), but rather it is written that it is Hashem who atones, in any event (whether it is Yom Kippur or a Brit Mila, etc.).  And also in the book "Bnei Yissachar", it is said about  the Midrash on the verse "...Because he took vengence for his G-d, and he atoned for the children of Israel", (Bamidbar 25:13)  that Hashem gave power to Pinchas - who is Eliyahu - to atone at every Brit Mila (Circumcision), for all generations.  

"To the chief musician...on the eighth" (Tehillim 6:1)

Rav Eliahu Gutmacher brings in his explanation of Masechet Shabbat on the Chapter "R' Eliezer D'mila" that it is a great Segulah (charm) to say at the time of Brit Milah (circumcision) the sixth Chapter of Tehillim "To the chief musician...on the eighth" (Tehillim 6:1), and to request all that one's heart desires.   And he concludes there that this is a wonderful piece of advice.

"To Ozni, the family of Ozni" (Bamidbar 26:16)

Rashi says that the family of Ozni is Etzbon, which is mentioned in the Torah Portion of Vayigash.  On this the Sages said, that the fingers were given to man, so that if he will hear Lashon Hara (derogatory speech) he should plug up his ears with his fingers. And this is hinted at by the text, "Ozni" is linguistically related to "ozen" (in Engish, "ear"), and he is from the family of Etzbon, which linguistically related to "eztbaot" (in English, "fingers").

"To Puva, the family of Puni" (Bamidbar 26:23)

The Ohr HaChaim says, that "Puva" is linguistically related to "peh" (in English, "mouth").  The mouth that learns Torah is like a tool for serving Hashem, and one needs to empty it of eating unnecessary food and from speaking forbidden words, because those things prevent the fulfillment of the Torah. And that is why it says "Puva" which is "peh" (in English, "mouth"), and "Puni" is linguistically related to "P'nui" (in English: "free, vacant, or unoccupied"), to tell us to empty our mouth of forbidden things (i.e. forbidden speech and food). 

The Torah Portion of Pinchas has 168 verses.  6 positive commandments.Haftora: "Divrei Yirmiyahu" (Yirmiyahu 1).

The Hebrew letters that spell the name of the month of Tammuz are: Tav, Mem, Vuv, and Zayin.
These letters are the initial letters  of two important messages:
1) "Z'manai T'shuva M'mashmashin U'va'in"  (Note: Z'manai starts with Zayin, T'shuva starts with Tav, M'Mashmashin starts with Mem, U'va'in starts with Vuv)
In English that means: "The time for repentance is actualizing and coming."

2)  "Z'rizin M'akdimin V'osin T'shuva"  (Note: Z'rizin starts with Zayin, M'akdimin starts with Mem, V'osin starts with Vuv, T'shuva starts with Tav)
In English that means: "Alacritous people begin early and repent." 

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  
Shabbat Shalom.

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772

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