Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Pinchas

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.

Those who are familiar with the general format of R' Frand's Thursday Night Shiur are aware that there is usually a 40 minute halacha portion followed by 20 minutes of parsha vorts. Tonight R' Frand began his shiur with the 40 minutes of halacha, but then introduced two stories from the shiva for Naftali Frankel o'h before R' Frand spoke about the parsha. I have summarized the stories below following the parsha vort.

R Frand quotes Bamidbar 25:17 which states that the Jews should take revenge against the Midyanim. The Medrash observes that a person who causes a person to sin is worse than killing him. A person who kills causes the victim to lose his life in this world, but the victim keeps his reward in Olam Haba. A person who leads another to sin hurts the victim both in this world and in Olam Haba.

The Medrash observes that there are two sets of enemies who are treated differently. Egypt and Edom are subjected to punishment but are not banned because they attacked the Jews physically, but there is no requirement to hate them. However, Amon and Moab are on the permanent enemies list and they are rejected by Hashem because they attempted to seduce the Jews.

The Medrash then says that a person who has mercy on an Amoni or Moabi will be pained and suffer as a result. (R' Frand remarked - don't be frummer than the Torah). The Medrash notes that David went against the rule and was mencachem aveil by Chanan ben Nachash, an Amoni. David was later punished and his emissaries attacked by Amoni. The lesson was - don't make your own decisions to go further than the Torah.

R' Frand closed this part of the vort by making reference to a story a told in Otzros HaTorah about when R' Moshe Feinstein ztl was living in Luban in Russia. There was a man in the city who was a moser and would routinely turn Jews over to the communist government. When the man died, he left a letter which contained a request that the burial society not give him a proper Jewish burial. He wrote that he felt bad about how he acted during his lifetime and that the lack of proper burial would be a way to atone for his acts.

The members of the burial society came to R' Moshe and asked what they should do. He responded that the Torah requires that all Jews receive a proper burial. The members of the society protested that this man was evil and that he did not deserve the burial and that if he wanted this to be an atonement they should do as he requested. R' Moshe stood firm and said that you cannot go against the Torah.

A few days after the burial, the Russian government sent representatives to the cemetery and asked to have the man exhumed. The cemetery complied and the man's body was removed, studied and then reburied. 

It was later learned that the man had left a letter for the Russian government wherein he wrote that the Jews have no respect for the government and that they would be punishing the man by not giving him a proper burial.

But R' Moshe prevented this action by following the tried and true rule - you don't go against halacha. 

The levaya stories follow below:

R' Frand read an email that he received from someone who had been present at the shiva and heard  the following story. When the boys were still missing, someone suggested that they perform the Goral Ha'Gra in order to locate the boys. A Rav Elyashiv (possibly R' Elyashiv's grandson) was selected and he performed the goral and it landed on Sefer Shoftim 15:9. The pasuk there says that the Philistines came up to the land of Judah and they spread out in a place called Lechi.

Now that they had the location they needed to find the place called Lechi. Unfortunately, no one knew where Lechi was. Mr. Frankel contacted a tanach authority - R' Yoel Ben Nun. Rabbi Ben Nun said that he checked his tanach and he had a question mark next to the place Lechi, and that he did not know where it was. Mr. Frankel then said, "now sadly we know where Lechi was."

R' Frand also told a story which was heard from Mrs Frankel during the shiva. Mrs Frankel related that their son had always been vigilant to daven daily and to always wear proper tefillin. Mrs. Frankel said that during the 18 day period that the boys were missing she was very upset. Once the boys had been found and she learned that the boys had been killed immediately, she had a nechama as her son died without missing a day of davening with tefillin.

Hashem Yinkom Dameihim.

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