?? QUIZ TIME?? Answers can be found on page 11 1. How many miracles happened to Pinchas when he went to kill Zimri and Kozbi and what were they?
AHWhat Appears Unjust May Be Our Salvation
R' Barry KaganJFS
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Imagine you are a rising star in your chosen sport, you have been selected to play in all the top youth teams and you have been training every day for most of your life with the same group of talented youngsters. You have been through a rigorous regime, honing your skills and fitness and planning the perfect strategies. Your group has risen through the ranks and you are about to embark on a promising career as a multi-million pound star. Your future is guaranteed. Nothing could go wrong.
But then, you wake up one morning and read the morning press: your training partners have all been selected for the next step up, theyve all been selected to represent their country at international level, whereas you have been overlooked. You have not been chosen with the others after it seemed a mere formality.
Imagine the feeling of pain; imagine the feeling of disappointment, anguish and heartache. It could have been; it should have been! Why not me? I am so good; I am as good as anyone else! Why not me? The thoughts would resound in your head over and over again. You would be faced with the same pain every morning when you wake up. You would be faced with the same pain every time you see your previous team mates perform when you have been sidelined.
When the kehunah was introduced to Klal Yisrael, Hashem appointed Aharon, his sons and any other future grandsons as Kohanim (Kach es Aharon ves banav ito, (Vayikra 8:2)). However, Pinchas, the son of Elazar had already been born so he was not anointed. According to the Maharal he was too young to be anointed. He was from exactly the same family, but was not appointed as a Kohen. Imagine his pain, imagine his anguish! He might think: Am I worse than anybody else? My father is a Kohen, my uncle is a Kohen, all my cousins will be Kohanim, why not me? Every morning he would be faced with the same reality, the same missed opportunity. He may be excused for feeling hard done by and overlooked.
Yet, when it came to standing up for the glory of Hashem, he zealously stepped forward and avenged the honour of Hashem: Haeshiv es chamosi mei al Bnei
Yisrael bkanoy es kinosi he turned My wrath away from the Bnei Yisrael, in that he was zealous for My sake. For this act of killing Kozbi and Zimri he was rewarded with the bris kehunas olom and brisi Shalom, eternal priesthood and a covenant of peace. Not only was Pinchas recompensed by becoming a Kohen, but the Ibn Ezra says that the line of the Kohanim Gedolim would originate from him. Indeed, according to the Yalkut Shimoni, he will be the one to usher in the ultimate geulah as Eliyahu Hanavi. He ended up receiving a much greater reward than he would have received had he been included at the outset.
We never know what the future may yield. When we view events as isolated and disconnected, then events in our life can appear burdensome. The whole picture does not make sense and we wonder why things have not worked out the way we desired. But then, the very negative itself transpires to be the source of positivity, growth and success. It is easy to recognize this in hindsight, but as Rav Mattisyahu Salomon says, we need to recognize this in foresight.
Rabbi Zev Leff gives an analogy of a person in shul hearing the chazzan say Ashrei. However, he leaves early and only hears the chazzan say the beginning of the passuk: shomer Hashem es kol ohavav ves kol hareshaim he misses the last word of the passuk and thinks, thats not fair, Hashem protects all the ones He loves and the wicked! If he arrives late he only hears the end of the passuk: es kol ohavav ves kol hareshaim yashmid and he thinks, thats not fair, Hashem destroys the ones He loves together with the wicked. Of course, had he been in shul to hear the whole passuk, he would make sense of the entire verse. He would have been able to put the comma in the correct place: shomer Hashem es kol ohavav, ves kol hareshaim yashmid! Everything is coordinated from Above and everything fits into an ultimate plan.
By definition, we enter this world in the middle of davening we all arrive after the beginning and we all leave before it ends. We cannot envisage the whole picture. We need to have the awareness that all events are directed towards our good and the perfection of the world. The account of Pinchas teaches us to keep perspective, to maintain a broader view and recognize that everything transpires for our ultimate good.
So the next time we see ourselves as having been overlooked, despite our skills and talents, let us remember that what appears unjust at first, might turn out to be our salvation. Even if we are not initially picked for the team, we may yet end up being the captain.
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?? QUIZ TIME?? Answers can be found on page 11 2. When else during the year do we read from Parshas Pinchas?
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RYPolish Jewry [part 3]
Dr Charles LandauJewish historian and Dentist. He has lectured and given shiurim around Britain, America, German, Poland and Italy. He is a Jewish Tour leader, having led groups to Germany, including Berlin, Italy and Poland2
The Deluge and The Mashiach 1648-9Mid-17th century Poland was seen as the Goldene Medinah
and was perceived as so special, that many had visions that the coming of the Mashiach was imminent and he would first come to Poland. All the turmoil in the world at that time was seen as
chevlei mashiach, the birthpangs of the Messiah - suffering on the way to his coming. All around the Jewish world it had been predicted, based on the Zohar, and foretold by the Shelah HaKadosh and others, that in the year 5408, equivalent to the year 1648, the Mashiach would come.
In this (Hazos = 1648) year of Jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession
Many saw only the glory of the Jewish position, but the Maharshal offered an insight into the Jewish situation and warned:
The Jews in this time must not prosper too well in order to avoid becoming too proud, nor must they suffer too much punishment or they will vanish.
As the 17th century unfolded it was blighted by the unfolding of anti-Jewish attacks as well as epidemics, famine, pillaging and raids and then in 1648-49 (Years of Tach vTat) the Cossacks rebelled and Eastern Europe imploded. Bogdan Chmielnicki, the Ukrainian hero, attacked Polish nobility, clergy and, as Shavuos commenced, Jews as well.
The attacks were noted for their unspeakable cruelty, exterminating Poles and Jews alike.
We are ashamed to write down all that the Cossacks and Tatars did unto the Jews, lest we disgrace the species Man who is created in the image of God
Jews died and this period, The Deluge, was seen as the third greatest Jewish tragedy after the destruction of the two Temples. It is considered that up to 20% of Polish Jewry was murdered, between 30,000 and 100,000 people. Rabbi Nathan Nata Hanover in his Yeven Metzulah (The Abyss of Despair):
Many communities beyond the Dnieper and close to the battlefield, such as Pereyaslaw, Baryszowka, Piratyn, Boryspole, Lublin, Lachowce and their neighbours, who were unable to escape, perished al kiddush Hashem.
Other Jews were sold into slavery or forcibly converted whilst many fled to Prussia, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Silesia and other places.
These horrific years were a watershed in Jewish history.
Public mourning took on new meaning, but no new fast day was to be instituted. In Megillas Efah (Scroll of Terror) by Rabbi Shabbesai Katz there is an account of the Cossack massacre and the resulting fast day:
Therefore I have ordained for myself and for the coming generations of my descendants a day of fasting, sorrow, mourning and lamentation on the 20th day of the month of Sivanbecause on this day has been the beginning of persecution and painfor the persecution of 4931 (1171 - Blood Libel in Blois) was on the same day.
Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (the Tosafos Yom Tov) lived in Krakow during The Deluge. He played a major role in the responses of the Jewish communities to the massacres. He was responsible for instigating the fast day, the freeing of agunos where husbands could not be found, writing selichos for the day and for stating there should be no new kinos. He was also credited with having popularised a Mi-she-berach tefillah as a special blessing for those who refrained from talking during tefillah, but also as a reaction to the massacres of 1648-9. Some people stated that the massacres were a divine punishment for talking during prayer!
Tefillos were instituted and expanded in recognition of the enormous tragedy that befell Polish Jewry. Private and communal mourning came together. Yizkor was sharply as