Category Archives: Bamidbar

Parshas Pinchus 5775

And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you. You shall offer up (lit. make) a burnt offering… (Bamidbar 29/1-2)

The Medrash comments, “Rav Tachlipha asks that in all the musoffim of the other Yom Tovim it says that you should bring the korbon as a sacrifice but here it says that you should make it! (Rav Tachlipha explains) Hashem said to Yisroel today I (Hashem) look at you as if you were newly created, as if I created you a new being!”

In other words, Rav Tachlipha learns that the phrase “you should make” does not go on the mussaf sacrifice but rather it means that through the mussaf you make yourself.

Zera Shimshon asks how do we benefit from the fact that we are re-created on Rosh Hashana

He answers in light of a concept that he mentions in other places; even after one does teshuva for a sin that he committed the purification process is not over. Although Hashem atones us for what we did, we still have to be cleansed from the pleasure that we got for doing the specific sin. Sometimes this is done through suffering and pain (yissurim) and sometimes Hashem cleanses us simply through great mercy. (This is the meaning of what we say at the end of the confession on Yom Kippur “Erase (our sins) through Y.our great mercy but not through yissurim)

A proof to this idea is found in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Bikkurim) that says that a Talmid Chochom, someone who gets married, and a leader of Clal Yisroel are granted atonement for their sins. 

Zera Shimshon asks how do we understand this Gemorra? If these people didn’t do teshuva why should their status atone for them? If they did do teshuva, why do they need their status to atone for them? Why isn’t teshuva enough?

From here we can extrapolate the above concept; even when these people actually do do teshuva it is not enough to be TOTALLY pure. Most people still need to endure yissurim to complete the purification process. The Yerushalmi teaches us that the status of these three types of people, after they do teshuva, totally purifies them without having to suffer yissurim.

In light of the above we can now understand the benefit being re-created on Rosh Hashana. The Medrash teaches us that when a person sins and brings a korbon, the korbon brings us closer to Hashem. However that person is still not completely pure. The pleasure that he had when he did the sin still taints his neshama.

On Rosh HaShona it is different. The tremendous kedusha of the day, doesn’t only bring us close to Hashem but it makes us into a new being just like a convert who converts who is considered re-born. And just like a convert becomes a new person to such a degree that he is not held at all responsible for that he did before the conversion (according to one opinion in the Gemorro), so to on Rosh Hashana the kedusha of the day totally remakes us, and if we do teshuva there is no need for any “yissurim” to fully purify us!
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Parshas Balak 5775

And the malach of Hashem stood in the path of vineyards with a fence on this side and a fence on that side. (Bamidbar 22/24)

Zera Shimshon asks why is it important for the Torah to mention that the Malach stood in a path of vineyards between two walls. Why wouldn’t it have been enough to say simply that the Malach stood on a path closed in by two walls?

He answers in light of the Medrash Rabah (Parshas Noach) that says that after Noach left the ark and planted a vineyard he met a female demon. She said to him, “Let’s be partners (in the vineyard). But be careful, she warned, because if you take from my portion I will strike and injure you.”

In other words the Medrash teaches us that vineyards and wine are not something simple but they have  two parts, one portion is kosher and the other one belongs to the Satan. Therefore when someone drinks wine he has to heed the advice that the female demon gave to Noach and be very careful not to “cross lines” and take from the “other” half.

According to this, Zera Shimshon explains, the reason that the Malach appeared to Billum in a vineyard was to allude to him that he is similar to a vineyard in that he also has two parts. One the one hand Hashem gave him prophecy but on the other hand there is an evil part of him that belongs to the Satan. The Malach, who was a Malach of Mercy, was warning him not to fall into the hands of Satan but to carry out the wishes of Hashem.

According to this, adds Zera Shimshon, we can also understand why the Malach appeared to Billum between two walls. It is to allude to him that he has to be very very careful to stay on the right side of the partnership in him and not to go to the side of the Satan.
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