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ומנחתם ונסכיהם לפרים לאלים ולכבשים במספרם כמשפט

And their meal-offering and their libations for the bulls, the rams, and the lambs, in their proper numbers, as required. (29:18)

Simply, v’niskeihem, “and their libations,” refers to the libations of the two sheep of the Korban Tamid, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Chazal (Taanis 2b) note the Torah twice departs from the singular form, v’niska, which is used in five pesukim, one time in the above pasuk, where it is spelled v’niskeihem, in the plural (with an added “mem” at the end of the word). Also, in pasuk 31, the Torah writes U’nesachecha with an added yud. To add to the equation, we note the word k’mishpatam (pasuk 33), while it says k’mishpat throughout the pesukim….

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אשר יצא לפניהם ואשר יבא לפניהם ואשר יוציאם ואשר יביאם ולא תהיה עדת ה' כצאן אשר אין להם רעה

Who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall take them out and bring them in; and let the assembly of Hashem not be like sheep that have no shepherd. (27:17)

Moshe Rabbeinu asked Hashem to appoint his successor, presenting criteria for an effective leader, a person: who leads from the front; who takes the nation out and brings them in; who does not remain in the background. He then adds, “And let the assembly of Hashem not be like sheep that have no shepherd.” Horav Aryeh Finkel, zl (Rosh Yeshivah Mir/Brachfeld), wonders why Moshe had to supplement his request for a leader with a comparison to a herd of sheep who are shepherdless. Was not his request sufficient in its own right, without the added analogy about sheep? The Rosh…

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ושם איש ישראל המכה... זמרי בן סלוא נשיא בית אב לשמעוני

The name of the Yisraeli man who was slain… was Zimri ben Salu, leader of a paternal house of Shimoni. (25:14)

Chazal (Sanhedrin 2a) teach that Zimri was the first Jew to fall prey to the sin of public debauchery. When one is first, he opens the door, releases the floodgates for those who use his example as the green-light for their immoral debasement. His real name was Shlumiel ben Tzurishadai. When he began to sin, he was called Shaul ben HaCanaanis.  Only after he had become completely dissolate was he called Zimri ben Salu. In Bereishis 46:10, Rashi explains that Shaul ben HaCannanis was the son of Dinah, Yaakov Avinu’s daughter, who was violated by Shechem. When her brothers, Shimon…

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בקנאו את קנאתי בתוכם

When he zealously avenged Me among them. (25:11)

The zealot acts on behalf of Hashem. After being completely certain that he has expunged every vestige of personal interest and emotion, to the point that he truly feels that he is acting only for Hashem, then he can move forward by acting zealously. The commentators question the meaning of b’socham, among them, and its placement at the end of the pasuk. It is almost as if the Torah is conveying to us the criterion for kanaus, zealousness: it must be b’socham, among them. Simply, this implies that the kanai should view himself as being “among them,” a member of…

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פנחס בן אלעזר בן אהרן הכהן

Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaKohen. (25:11)

When the Torah details Pinchas’ lineage, it does so only up until Aharon. In other instances, while the Torah does not list ancestors all the way to the Patriarchs, it does extend to the rosh ha’mishpachah, head of the family. For example, Betzalel’s lineage is recorded up to Yehudah, and Ohaliav’s is listed up to Dan. The Torah stops short of Yaakov Avinu. Concerning Pinchas, the Torah stops with Aharon. Why not mention Amram and Levi? [Simply, we could say that the Torah is addressing the Kehunah and Pinchas’ relationship to it. Amram and Levi were not Kohanim, since Kehunah,…

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יפקד ד' אלקי הרוחות לכל בשר איש על העדה

May Hashem, G-d of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the assembly. (27:16)

Horav Mordechai Ilan, zl, comments that, although Moshe Rabbeinu was acutely aware that his sons were not worthy successors to his mantle of leadership, he nonetheless asked for them to succeed him. Chazal (Midrash Tanchuma) relate that Hashem countered that Yehoshua, his primary student, who never left his side, would succeed him. Why did Moshe ask if he knew the answer? Moshe sought to underscore that sons do not inherit a Torah position solely due to pedigree. One must be worthy to be a leader. Torah leadership is not transmitted by inheritance, but by substance and distinction. Furthermore, the Torah…

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יפקד ד'... איש על העדה אשר יצא לפניהם ואשר יבא לפניהם... ולא תהיה עדת ד' צאן אשר אין להם רעה

May Hashem appoint… a man over the assembly who shall go out before them and come in before them… and let the assembly of Hashem not be like sheep that have no shepherd. (27:16,17)

The text of the pasuk appears superfluous. Once Moshe Rabbeinu presented his request for a leader who would go out and come in before the nation, it is obvious that he was seeking someone who exemplified caring leadership. If so, why was it necessary to add “the assembly should not be like sheep who have no shepherd”? If they have a leader who cares and worries about them, it goes without saying that they will not be left like sheep without a shepherd. That is the purpose of a leader. Horav Avraham Yoffen, zl, explains by relating an incident that…

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אבינו מת במדבר והוא לא היה בתוך העדה הנועדים על ד' בעדת קרח

Our father died in the wilderness, but he was not among the assembly that was gathering against Hashem in the assembly of Korach. (27:3)

The daughters of Tzlafchad approached Moshe Rabbeinu concerning their father’s inheritance. Moshe replied that he would present their case to Hashem. Our quintessential leader rarely had an issue with proffering an immediate response to a Halachic query. Why was he reluctant to answer Bnos Tzlafchad? Furthermore, the women added a caveat to their identity of Tzlafachad, claiming that he had not been a member of Korach’s mob of usurpers. Their father was not guilty of impugning Moshe’s authority. What did this introduction have to do with the case? The Minchas Chinuch, who asks this question, replies practically by employing an…

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ובני קרח לא מתו

The sons of Korach did not die. (26:11)

Chazal teach that Bra mizaki abba; “A son (children) brings merit to his father (forebears).” If so, why did the teshuvah, repentance, committed by Korach’s sons not serve as a merit to save him from spiritual infamy? Horav Eliyahu Lopian, zl, offers a powerful insight. The idea that a son’s mitzvos, z’chusim, merits, can somehow mitigate a father’s punishment applies only as long as the father has not become deficient in the principles/foundations of emunah, faith. A kofer, apostate, heretic, who has denied the existence of his Father in Heaven, who has repudiated Hashem, Our Father, Our King, cannot be…

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פנחס בן אלעזר בן אהרן הכהן השיב חמתי מעל בני ישראל... לכן אמר הנני נתן לו את בריתי שלום

Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaKohen, turned back My wrath from Bnei Yisrael… Therefore, say: Behold! I give him my covenant of peace. (25:11,12)

Hashem granted Pinchas and his descendants the covenant of peace as a result of Pinchas’ zealous intervention. Why was Pinchas granted this reward more than Moshe Rabbeinu? When Klal Yisrael sinned with the Golden Calf, Moshe intervened on their behalf. He petitioned Hashem to forgive them to the point that he was prepared to see his name erased from the Torah. He succeeded in quelling Hashem’s displeasure with the Jewish nation – not once – but many times. Yet, it was Pinchas who intervened one time during an act of moral profligacy, and, consequently, was credited with turning back Hashem’s…

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