Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Pinchas

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In introducing tonight's vort, R' Frand explained that his vort could be equally applicable to Pinchas, Matos-Maasei or Devarim. He further noted that since he does not give shiur during those weeks, it was perhaps appropriate to give this vort tonight.

R' Frand observed that the story which commences Parshas Pinchas is the conclusion of Pinchas' fight in the end of Parshas Balak. However, the end of the story which is war with Midyan which the Jews engage in, does not happen until Parshas Matos when Hashem tells Moshe to go to war with Midyan before he will die.

When the Jews do go to war with Midyan in Parshas Matos, they kill off the men and bring the women back. Moshe gets mad at this since the women were the cause of the tragedy. Then Elazar tells the Jews that the possessions of Midyan need to be kashered before they are used. Rashi explains that the parsha is taught by Elazar because Moshe forgot the halachos of kashering utensils when he got mad at the Jews for bringing the women back. Rashi also cites other incidents where Moshe forgot because he got angry, including when Moshe forgot to talk to the rock after getting mad at the Jews and calling them rebels.

R' Frand then skipped to Parshas Devarim and quoted its first pasuk. He quoted Rashi on the first pasuk, wherein Rashi paraphrases the Sifri, who explains that the places named in the pasuk were actually meant as mussar and did not really exist. These locations reminding the Jews of how they got Hashem angry in the midbar, complained about Yam Suf, complained about the manna.

R' Frand then quoted a sefer called Me'or V'Shemeh. He stated that every time the word "aleh" is used, it is meant to exclude what came before. When Moshe uses V'aleh to start Devarim, he is admitting that he had been too harsh in the past. Moshe in Devarim says, I am going to give mussar, but subtly. A person can ask "How could you do THAT" which means that the action is horrible. When a person asks "How can YOU do that" it is less critical and meant to invoke thought.

R' Frand next quoted a Shela on Mishlei which states - don't give mussar to the cynic, give it to the wise man. The Shela explains that each person has both a foolish and wise aspect. When giving mussar to a person, appeal to his wise side, not his foolishness. This lesson is what Moshe is teaching here - I used to attack the fool. Now I appeal to his wiser side.

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