שבת פרשת פנחס
Tiere Reb Pinchas, Askonim, Family & Friends Sheyichyu
שלום וברכה 😊
ברוך השם this שבת we read about the reward that הקב"ה gave פנחס for his selfless devotion to stop the opposite of a קידוש השם with total מסירת נפש. This always reminds me of how Reb Pinchas, the Askonim, and the whole family שיחיו worked tirelessly with Mesiras Nefesh to redeem me from the place called prison! Inspiring yidden to daven and care for me and do whatever was needed to be the שלוחים of הקב"ה for the great Yeshuah that הקב"ה sent :)
Story - Seasonal Danger??
We were stopped behind a long line of cars, waiting for a passing train to clear the road, making it quiet enough in the car to hear the phone conversation my wife had just started on her phone with a young rabbi. He introduced himself as the one in charge of the summer Yeshivah our youngest son Uziel was registered to attend.
After some formal niceties he said that he is excited to have our son in the Yeshivas Kayitz and then said, with emphasis: “Since we want the Yeshivas Kayitz to be בהצלחה, and an environment of יראת שמים and Chassidishkeit, your son will not be allowed to bring an iPhone.”
Hearing this I started laughing out loud :) unintentionally. It was loud enough for him to hear, and he asked my wife “Who is that and why is he laughing?” I took the phone to explain.
Here was a young educator who very matter-of-factly asserted that having an iPhone is a direct contradiction to having a yeshivah that has “a environment of יראת שמים and Chassidishkeit” and therefore it would not be permitted.
Of course, this is a wonderful thing to do! :) But why is this limited only to the Yeshivas Kayitz in the summer months? Why is only the “Yeshivas Kayitz” concerned with having “Hatzlocho” as defined by “Yiras Shomayim and Chassidishkeit?” If this is so important for the הצלחה in the summer months, why should the same not be applicable for the Yeshivah which is there for the entire year?
“ברוך השם he has no iPhone,” I told him, “so that is not a concern, but please tell me: Why is this concern only for the Yeshivas Kayitz, and there is no concern for the Yeshivah all year?”
“It struck me as bizarre, which is why I laughed,” I explained “but it’s sadly baffling!”
This wonderful מחנך was obviously doing his best to avoid something he saw as a problem for our children’s Yiras Shomayim, expecting parental support for the duration of his short seasonal program.
Possibly, the places that do not implement this restriction year-round see it as a larger challenge and perhaps think there would not be support from the parents. We, as parents, can rise to the challenge and support our dedicated מחנכים by helping them keep our children in a pure and focused environment without the influence of these devices. Simply put: if it is a danger in two months of the summer, it is a greater danger in the ten months of the school year.
As I learned and lived in a place called prison, the idea that the way we serve השם יתברך varies from one situation to another situation is from the יצר הרע and is exactly the opposite of what פנחס was all about! He was a Yid who was totally dedicated to the will of השם in every situation, without regard to the greatness of the Mitzvoh! The only measure he had was if it was the רצון השם. If it was, then he was going to do it, even if it required total מסירת נפש!
Wonders or Miracles?
Regarding dreams and what we are shown in them, :) Chazal tell us in Gemoro Brochois: Whoever sees פנחס in a Dream, פלא נעשה לו! - a wonder will be made for him-. Why is this so?
Rashi explains the connection between פנחס and “פלא.” Just as פנחס was aided by wonderous miracles when he killed Zimri so too will a פלא be made for the one who sees him in his dream. Rashi refers us to Gemoro Sanhedrin where those miracles are listed.
There is more going on here than meets the eye, and the clue is in the wording.
When listing the miracles פנחס experienced when he killed זמרי, the גמרא says “ששה נסים נעשה לו” - Six miracles were done for him, using the plural form of the word: נסים. When interpreting the meaning of a person seeing פנחס in his dream, however, the גמרא instead uses the word פלא, which means wonder, in the singular form: פלא נעשה לו, a wonder will be made for him.
What is the difference between a נס and a פלא? Also, since many נסים were made for פנחס, why will someone who sees פנחס in his dream only experience a single פלא and not many פלאים, many wonders?!
Which One is Greater?
Generally, the distinction made between a נס and a פלא is in whether the miracle is supernatural or not.
The word נס describes a miracle that is supernatural, above and beyond the laws of nature, while the word פלא describes an event which causes people to be amazed by its wonder, although there is no disturbance to the laws of nature. In other words, פלא describes a miracle which is clothed in the trappings of nature. By this explanation נס is greater and more miraculous than a פלא.
That is clearly not the distinction being drawn here. A number of the miracles described where clear and open supernatural miracles. In this use of the word פלא, it is to describe something far greater than a נס.
We see that פלא is greater than נס in the Possuk "כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות" - “[In the times of Moshiach] I will show you wonders as I did in the days when I left Mitzrayim.” This Possuk uses the word פלא, wonder, to highlight that the miracles which we will see during the Coming Redemption with משיח צדקינו will be so great, that they will be נפלאות, wonderous, even taking into account the נסים which our fathers saw in יציאת מצרים, which were very much supernatural. Clearly פלא is a step beyond נס.
A נס, a miracle, is a moment of absolute clarity against a backdrop of confusion. In that moment, Hashem’s will is expressed in the world in direct contrast with the rules of nature which otherwise obscure the truth of Hashem. A series of Nissim is a series of moments in which we can see through an otherwise natural world.
The word פלא, on the other hand, is not a single moment but circumstances as a whole which evoke wonder and awe. It is a shift from the rules of nature to an entirely supernatural approach, which is expressed in various aspects, but is really a single shift away from the natural rules to a totally different approach.
What happened to פנחס was a פלא in this sense. It was not a series of miracles set in a natural context - as the listed miracles portray, it was a single miraculous episode beyond the natural rules, and that single fact was expressed in multiple aspects of the episode.
Since a נס is a deviation from the surrounding context, it can be measured in quantity: how many deviations were there? One נס? Two נסים? Many נסים? By contrast פלא describes a fundamental shift in the overall approach, not a deviation! There is only one shift, only one wonderous difference, one פלא! It is now a מצב of wonder and הקב"ה will do everything in this situation in a way that is above nature way, in a nissimdiker way!! :)
Miraculous and Wondrous Serving Hashem
The קנאות of פנחס wasn’t out of character. It was the way in which he served Hashem in general: פנחס personified פלא, which is why for all time he is the sign of a פלא to come.
The term “miraculous” as applied to serving הקב”ה is serving Hashem with מסירת נפש.
Just as a Divine נס shows that there is nothing that can stop Him from fulfilling His will and if there is opposition in nature, הקב”ה changes the nature, the same way, when a Yid serves הקב”ה with מסירת נפש, this shows the strength of will of the person to do the will of הקב”ה with no room for opposition. Nothing in the world will stop him from doing the will of הקב”ה, and he is even prepared to give his life for it!
However, just as we have seen two categories in Hashem’s miracles, נס and פלא, there are also two ways a Yid expresses מסירת נפש:
The way of נס: Just as a נס is a deviation, a miracle against the backdrop of structured nature, there is a Yid whose learning תורה and doing מצות is usually grounded in intellect and reason. It is only when extraordinary circumstances demand מסירת נפש that he digs deep and expresses in that moment a different form of service: מסירת נפש. Of course, since it is called upon as needed, he will need to re-awaken that aspect every time to serve הקב”ה with מסירת נפש when called for.
The way of פלא: Then then there is the Yid who is an איש מסירת נפש, a Yid who constantly and continuously grounds his service to Hashem in his utter dedication to do the will of הקב”ה, with no competing will of his own. The readiness for מסירת נפש is not a deviation, it is the day to day approach. For this Yid, every aspect of serving השם will naturally be with מסירת נפש. This mirrors the idea of פלא, a miraculous status quo, in which miracles are the standard way of living for the person. :)
This was פנחס. :) He placed himself in danger to do something which he had no obligation to do and which, if he would have asked, he would not have been told to do it, Even משה רבינו was not doing anything (פנחס didn’t know that משה’s inaction was because Halacha was hidden from him). Despite all that פנחס didn’t engage in analysis or debate - he jumped in and avenged the name of השם!
His מסירת נפש was above all limitations and calculations, because he was a person of מסירת נפש in his essence, and since this was a situation of Kiddush Hashem, he acted with מסירת נפש! Since הקב"ה works with מדה כנגד מדה, his actions were mirrored: הקב"ה gave him transformed his reality into one of פלא which resulted in all the miracles that happened to him. :)
This is why when a Yid sees פנחס in his dream he should expect a פלא: not one נס, not even a series of נסים. A shift to a single new approach which is fundamentally miraculous and supernatural, and which will be expressed in every detail.
This is also connected with the מצוה to have בטחון in השם יתברך. Our עבודה is to find and to have a total reliance on השם יתברך, to throw our burden on השם יתברך and not make any calculations or rely on any other support. This is also an expression of פלא and it causes השם יתברך, by His rule of מדה כנגד מדה, to pour His Brochois in a way of no calculations and sends His salvation in a wondrous, פלא’דיקע, way. :)
We experienced this very publicly when I was released from a place called prison. Throughout the experience, we saw not just נסים, we saw פלא. The whole situation was on miraculous footing and that expressed itself in many ways. This was certainly מדה כנגד מדה for the strong and פלא’דיקע אמונה ובטחון of my בני בית and of the whole כלל ישראל which brought the גאולה פרטית!
May we all learn from the experience and find the same פלא’דיקע אמונה ובטחון for our גאולה כללית and Moshiach will surely come!!
יהי רצון מה' יתברך ליתן לכל אחד ואחד הישועה והגאולה הפרטי שצריכים והישועה והגאולה הכללי שאנו צריכים עכשיו עם משיח צדקנו במהרה בימינו!
א גוטן פריילעכן שבת מברכים חודש מנחם אב = אמונה בטחון :)
פדה בשלום נפשי…..דידן נצח….בשורות טובות :)
עוזי אליך אזמרה :) כי אלקים משגבי :) אלקי חסדי :)
שלום מרדכי הלוי בן אברהם אהרון שיח' :)