Parshas Pinchas:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Pinchas:

Pasuk: (27:1)

"The daughters of Tzelafchad drew near..."

Before the Bnei Yisroel entered into Eretz Yisroel, Moshe divided the land

amongst each tribe and family.

There was a man named Tzelafchad who died because of his sins, and left a

widow and five daughters. They were not allotted a portion in the land.

They had a strong passionate love for Eretz Yisroel, and they wanted a

portion of the land. They came to Moshe with the claim that their father

had no sons, and thus there was no one to inherit his portion of Eretz

Yisroel. They told Moshe that "The compassion of Hashem is unlike the

compassion of human beings. For a human being may have compassion for

males, but Hashem is different. His compassion is for both male and

female, his compassion is for all." (Artscroll Chumash - Sifre) They felt

that they had a justified argument, that they had a right to receive a

portion of the land.

They started their request by first making it clear to Moshe that their

father had died in the desert, because of his own sins, and he was not

amongst those who perished in Korach's rebellion.

Asks Rav Henach Leibowitz, why did they have to add this fact to their


The Rambam explains that they were afraid that Moshe may associate their

claim with Korach's rebellion, and since he was so angry at Korach, he

will not even listen to their argument.

One may ask, how can we even think that Moshe, such a great leader, would

have a biased opinion?

So he explains that human dynamics and psychology is, that one may never

realize what interaction ones mind has with his heart. We may think that

our thought process is unbiased, yet every decision that we make, is in

some way, distorted by our feelings and emotions. Even Moshe, who reached

such a high level, that he received the Torah, and learnt directly from

Hashem himself, may have had a minute amount of Negiah(unbiased) to the


We must strive to purify our hearts and minds, and not let our selves be

affected by outside sources.

Vav or Nun - Nuh:


Rav Dovid Feinstein writes that the word "Mishpatan" (their case) is

written with an enlarged "Nun". If the word was written with a small

"Nun", we may mistakenly read a small "Nun" as a "Vav", and thus read

"Mishpatoh". This will maybe make us think that the daughters were

selflessly representing the interest of their deceased father. Moshe on

the other hand thought that they may have had a personal gain here and

maybe they really wanted it for their own selfish self.

Thus Moshe was saying, don't think that it is Mishpato, rather Mishpatan,

with a "Nun", that it is not their father's request, rather their request.

Hashem, however can read the heart of every human, and saw that indeed

they were sincere.

Thus Hashem answered Moshe that "The daughters of Tzelafchad speak

correctly.....give to them".

The word "Lahem (to them), is in the masculine form, it appears to be

grammatically incorrect.

The great Emunah:


However, the land was only to be given to them because of their father's

sake, and Hashem wanted to stress that their claim was sincere, thus the

stress of "to him".

This great Emunah that the daughters of Tzelafchad had was the "fruit of

Moshe's hard labor."

The death of Moshe, which occurred before the Bnei Yisroel entered Eretz

Yisroel, had the ability to affect the Emunah of the people, that they may

think that now they lost their chance to enter Eretz Yisroel. Thus the

Torah first brings the case of the daughters of Tzelafchad. Even though

it was as if they were claiming an "unhatched egg", since the nation

didn't even conquer that portion of the land which they wanted to receive,

yet this showed a strong Emunah. They felt that the conquering of the

land was certain, thus they already wanted their share. If Moshe

Rabbeinuh instilled into his people such a high level of Emunah, that his

vision turned into a reality, thus his job on this world was complete.

Thus he would now not have to fear about the Emunah of the nation after

his death, and so he went up to Har Ha-Evarim. (Sefer Higei Yona)

We can also reveal the Torah in our everday lives:


In recognition of the righteousness of the daughters of Tzelafchad, the

chapter of inheritance was written through them, because of their question

to Moshe.

A similar case is found by the chapter of Pesach Sheni(the second Pesach

offering, which was brought by those who were unable to bring it on the

first Pesach). This Mitzvah of Pesach Sheni was also initiated because of

the longing which the people had to come closer to Hashem, and to fulfill

the requirements of the Torah. We see from here that through ones

actions, he can bring out Hashem's gifts or word to this world. At times

one must just take that extra step, in his service to Hashem. We can see

from here the great power one has, when he sincerely wants to fulfill

Hashems commandments. If we truly try our outmost to keep the Mitzvohs,

to Daven with a Minyan, to keep Shabbos, we have the ability to bring out

Hashems word and gifts to this world.



The Fast of the 17th of Tamuz:


This year, 5759, the fast of the 17th of Tamuz falls out on a Thursday

(July 1 1999).

Five terrible things happened on this day Mishna Taanis(26a):

1) The first Luchos were broken by moshe when he came down from Har Sinai,

when he saw the people worshiping the golden calf.

2) The walls of Yerushalayim were breached by Titus, during the 2nd Bais


3) The Korban Tamid was no longer being offered.

4) There was an idol which was erected in the Mikdash.

5) Apustimus burned a Sefer Torah, in an attack on Jewish villages,

several years before the destruction of the 2nd Beis Hamikdash.

This day is held as a Fast Day. The fast starts in the early morning

hours, "Amud HaShacar"(please check your local calendar for an exact time)

and ends at night fall.

This fast is more lenient than the 9th of Av and Yom Kippur, for it starts

in the morning, and not the night before. This day starts a period of 3

weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. This period

is called, "Bein HaMitzarim".

On this day, one is permitted to wash himself, wear leather shoes, put on

ointment. But still, one who is able, should try not to wash himself

(shower, bathe) on this day.

Eating and drinking in the morning:


If one plans to eat/drink before the fast starts, then before one goes to

sleep, he should make a condition, that if he arises before "Alos

HaShachar", he plans to eat or drink. Since one is allowed to eat and

drink before "Alos".

Some permit drinking, even if he didn't make a condition before he went to

sleep, yet one should not eat. The Zohar writes that, one should not eat

even if he made a condition. However, one may drink even without a


Special Prayer's:


During Shacharis and Mincha, we read the Torah portion "Vayechal....".

According to Minhag Ashkenaz, we say the additional prayer of "Aneinu" in

the Shmonei Esrei of Mincha. The Chazan says it in Shacharis and Mincha.

One who broke his fast before Mincha, should not say "Aneinu" in Shmonei


There is also a special Selichos which is said on this day.

One is to say "Avinu Malkeinu" during Shacharis and Mincha.

Since we commemorate the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash on this day, it

is very important to fast on this day. For, "He who mourns the

destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, will merit to rejoice its rebuilding".


I would like to thank my mother (S.M.F) for helping me out by

looking over the first draft.

(The above Halacha is not Psak, it is there to try to help to increase

ones Torah awareness, for final Psak, please consult your : Local Reliable

Orthodox Rabbi.)

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Parsha is now back to the same for Israel and Chutz L'Aretz, by next week.