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B”H

PINCHAS: THE REMEDY PRECEDING THE ILLNESS
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

 

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In light of the crisis in Israel, please add every day in prayer, charity and Torah study. Many communities are adding chapters 20, 22 and 69 of Psalms (Tehillim) every day. Every Mitzvah elicits Hashem’s blessings. Tefillin, Mezuzah, and Shabbat candles before sunset elicit special protection. If you need to improve in any of the above, now is the time. If you fulfill all of the above, now is the time to share these Mitzvot and encourage others. Even as missiles fall, Hashem guides them away from causing death and destruction. Each Mitzvah that you do or convince someone else to do may save a life.

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Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat we read the portion of Pinchas. Amongst the subjects that are discussed in the portion is the apportioning of the Land of Israel to the twelve tribes. The Torah (Bamidbar 26:53-56) describes what seem to be two very different divisions of the Land. At first the Torah says that the Land should be divided demographically, with the larger tribe receiving the larger portion of land. Thereafter, the Torah says that the Land must be divided by lottery. Further, the Torah states that it is divided by the word of Hashem. Rashi, based on the Talmud, explains that Israel was divided into twelve portions. The twelve portions were written on wooden lots and mixed in a container. The names of the tribes were written on other wooden lots and mixed in another container. Elazar the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) wore the Urim and Tumim (a special garment which aided in prophecy) and announced that if a particular tribe would be picked, this would be the portion of the tribe. The leader of that tribe would then pick the lots, and by divine miracle his tribe and portion would come up. By a further miracle, the wooden lots themselves would announce the tribe and portion. Thus the division of the land was by size, lottery and prophecy.

The division of the land has an important teaching both in our attitude toward life and in our service of Hashem. Each tribe received the portion that suited them logically. Underlying this was the prophecy that this was to be their portion and the lottery. The third Lubavitcher Rebbe once told a Chossid “make here (in Russia) the Land of Israel.” We all have a portion in life. We understand how we got there and sometimes question the justice of our portion. In truth, every person was given his portion in the world by Hashem in order to perfect the part of the world that his soul was uniquely created to perfect. Each of us was endowed with unique abilities to deal with our portion. When we focus in this manner our lives gain new meaning and we attain immeasurable success.

This carries a deep lesson in our service to Hashem. Many Mitzvot are within our comprehension. It is important to realize that underlying those Mitzvot that we do understand are deeper reasons that are beyond our comprehension. We must serve Hashem not only on the level of reason but also on the levels of lottery and prophesy which transcend our understanding.

This Shabbat precedes the Three Weeks when we mourn the destruction of the Temple and intensify our prayers for its rebuilding. The discussion of the inheritance of the land of Israel this week gives us strength to look forward to the redemption through Moshiach when the entire land of Israel will belong exclusively to the Jewish people. This is echoed by the end of the portion which mentions the Jewish holidays. Their total number is twenty-one, paralleling the days of the three weeks. This is because when Moshiach comes the days of mourning will be transformed to days of joy and great holidays. The context of the holidays in this portion is the offerings in the Temple, which intensifies our faith and yearning for the third Temple. The Midrash teaches that Pinchas, for whom the portion is named, is the soul of Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) who will herald the redemption. May we hear his announcement this Shabbat!!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs


Dedicated to David Cohen and Irena Kaplan on the occasion of their wedding. May the Hand of Hashem that transcends our understanding watch over them and grant them wonderful blessings.

17 Tammuz-Borders

The fast in NY City begins at 3:54 and ends at 8:58 p.m.

For other locations and for more information on the 17th of Tammuz go to http://www.chabadgn.com/calendar/zmanim.asp?tDate=7/15/2014 and adjust the location

Shalom and Bracha

Tuesday, July 15th, is the seventeenth of Tammuz, which is a fast day that ushers in a three-week mourning period. When the Babylonians attacked Yerushalayim, eventually resulting in the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish people, the Wall of Yerushalayim was breached on the seventeenth of Tammuz. Three weeks later, on the ninth of Av, the Temple was destroyed.

Everything in Torah is a teaching and a directive both in the service of Hashem and in our private lives. When we correct the breach in the wall of Yerushalayim in our own lives, we cause Hashem to rebuild Yerushalayim. The word Yerushalayim in Hebrew is a composite of two words: Yirah, which means fear, and Shalem, which means complete. Our personal Yerushalayim represents our awe and fear of G-d. Fear of G-d is not only that the fear He can punish us. When we realize that our greatest asset is our bond with G-d, and that the strength of that bond is dependent upon keeping his commandments, we fear damaging that bond. Shame is a form of fear. When we feel ashamed for disrespecting G-d by doing a sin, it is part of Yirah.

The Wall surrounding Yerushalayim represent the steps we take to avoid doing things against the will of Hashem. When we are afraid of something being damaged, we take steps to protect it. Our love and fear of G-d dictate that we not only carefully keep his commandments, but that we also take steps to prevent mistakes. This is the reason for most Rabbinical ordinances. Similarly, in our private lives, the wall of Yerushalayim represents the steps we take to protect our meaningful relationships. If we know an act might hurt someone we love, we prevent it at all cost. The Seventeenth of Tammuz is a time when we reexamine our fences, making sure to fortify that which is truly important.

The prophet Yeshaiah (Isaiah) related, “Zion will be redeemed through justice and her captives through charity.” Justice in this verse refers to the study of Torah. In these three weeks while we mourn the destruction of the Temple and pray fervently for it’s rebuilding, it is customary to study extra Torah and add in acts of charity. It is especially desirable to study the laws of the construction of the Temple. This year, as Israel is under siege, these directives are even more imperative in order to beseech Hashem’s protection for those who live throughout Israel, and the Jewish people throughout the entire world. The prophet describes the wall of Yerushalayim in the times of Moshiach as a wall of fire. When we serve Hashem with warmth, light and intensity it protects us from mistakes. When we lack warmth, the wall can be breached.

Interestingly, the number 17 is the equivalent of the word Tov, which means good. This is because underlying the destruction are the seeds for an even greater future. When Moshiach will come, the world will be in a higher and more perfect state than the time of the Temple. Way we merit seeing that time now!

Shalom and wishing you an easy and meaningful fast,

Rabbi Biggs


Dedicated in memory of Mordechai Ben Norma (Max) Farca. May his soul be bound un the bond of eternal life


My website http://www.chabadgn.com/holidays/3weeks/ has a wealth of information on the Three Weeks as well as excellent classes about the Temple


In order to bring blessing and stability to the world, many people are participating in a daily charity campaign , billed monthly to their credit card. To participate, please contact
makingeverydaycount@gmail.com


A Project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807


If you wish to be removed from this list please contact me at rabbibiggs@gmail.com


 
   
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