Thursday, July 13, 2017

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.

Rabbi Frand began the parsha vort by discussing how the introduction to Pinchas and his reward for taking up arms was that he received a "brisi Shalom" literally translated as a covenant of peace, but in reality was that he was given Kehunah.

Rashi points out that when Pinchas is introduced he is called the son of Elazar who was the son of Aharon. Why? Because the people were making fun of him, saying --look at who his grandfather was--it was Yisro who fattened calves to be used to worship idols. Therefore the pasuk connects him to another grandfather - Aharon.

But this really does not solve the problem. We know that he was the grandson of Aharon, but he was also the grandson of Yisro. This act does not come from him being from Aharon, these are the Yisro genes which caused him to act! So what good does the connection to Aharon do for him?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Ksav Sofer, who explains that the action that Pinchas took was an act of Aharon. Aharon was an Ohev Shalom and a Rodef Shalom, but not a Rodef Achar Shalom. There is an intrinsic difference between Rodef Shalom and Rodef Achar Shalom. The latter is one who runs after peace. But a Rodef Shalom means that sometimes he ran and pushed away the peace, because the times required that an act be taken. This was how Pinchas had emulated Aharon.

R' Frand also quoted R' Bukspan who derived from the Sfas Emes that the Ohev Shalom and Rodef Shalom is like a question --who is not for peace? Of course people want peace, but its not always easy to do an act which promotes peace. Everyone is for peace and want peace, but not everyone (when the situation demands it) will take an act which will promote the greater peace. And here, when people were crying on the outside of the Ohel Moed because of what they saw, they needed someone to act in order to restore the peace. And he got that from his grandfather who did whatever was necessary to promote peace.

The Sfas Emes says this is why he got the Kehuna. Because a Kohain actualizes the thoughts of teshuva and makes them reality. The person feels like he wants to repent, and the Kohain can take that thought and turn it into an action.

R' Frand also said a second vort which is based on the Gemara in Bava Basra which states that when it was announced the Yehoshua would succeed Moshe, it was because he put in the hours and time. He never left Moshe's side. He cleaned up the Beis Medrash and sweated and toiled. Yet when the transition occurred, people said that Moshe's face was like a sun and Yehoshua was like the moon and this is an embarrassment.

R' Frand asked --have you ever been to a funeral where they say --this man who died was great, what an embarrassment of who will replace him?

R' Frand quoted R' Bissele M'Volozhin who explained that Moshe was great from birth and was a different kind of person. He was a miraculous child who was once in humanity, not just once in a lifetime.

But Yehoshua was an average guy. I went to school with him and he was not top of the class. But something happened which changed him. Not because he was born with superhuman abilities, but because he put in his time and effort when everyone else was hanging out. Moshe was Moshe, but Yehoshua was just a reflection and anyone else could have been the reflection if they put in the time. What an embarrassment to us that we did not put in the effort and become him.

[This reminded me of the way that the Heienken Man describes a classmate of his in high school who became ... R' Nosson Tzvi Finkel].

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