Thursday, July 19, 2018

Parshas Devarim - the sin of the meraglim and 9 b'Av


The passuk says in this week’s sedrah (דברים, פרק א', פסוק א' – ב')

אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר בָּעֲרָבָה מוֹל סוּף בֵּין פָּארָן וּבֵין תֹּפֶל וְלָבָן וַחֲצֵרֹת וְדִי זָהָב. אַחַד עָשָׂר יוֹם מֵחֹרֵב דֶּרֶךְ הַר שֵׂעִיר עַד קָדֵשׁ בַּרְנֵעַ.

“These are the words which Moshe spoke to the whole of כלל ישראל on the other side of the Yarden in the desert in the plain opposite Suf, between Paran and between Tofel and Lavan and Chatzeiros and Di Zahav. Eleven days journey from Chorev on a route that passes Har Seir, till Kadesh Barnea.”

The gemara says in Shabbos (דף פ"ט, ע"א)

והיינו דאמר ר' יוסי בר' חנינא ה' שמות יש לו מדבר צין שנצטוו ישראל עליו מדבר קדש שנתקדשו ישראל עליו מדבר קדמות שנתנה קדומה עליו מדבר פארן שפרו ורבו עליה ישראל מדבר סיני שירדה שנאה לעכו"ם עליו ומה שמו חורב שמו ופליגא דר' אבהו דא"ר אבהו הר סיני שמו ולמה נקרא הר חורב שירדה חורבה לעכו"ם עליו

“Rabbi Yosi the son of Rabbi Chanina said, the desert which the benei yisrael travelled through has five names. מדבר צין – because the benei yisrael received mitzvos in it, מדבר קדש – because the benei yisrael became holy in it, מדבר קדמות – because the Torah that was created before the world was given in it, מדבר פארן – because the benei yisrael increased and multiplied in it, מדבר סיני –because the umos ha’olam became hated in it (because they did not accept the Torah), the real name of the desert however is חורב.

Rabbi Yosi the son of Rabbi Chanina argues with Rabbi Avahu because Rabbi Avahu said that the real name of the desert is סיני and it is referred to as חורב because destruction came to the umos ha’olam in it (because they did not accept the Torah).”

  • If the real name of חורב is סיני, then it must be that whenever the passuk refers to חורב this is because of the allusion of שירדה חורבה לעכו"ם עליו. Why does the passuk in the beginning of Devarim say אַחַד עָשָׂר יוֹם מֵחֹרֵב (to make the allusion of שירדה חורבה לעכו"ם עליו) and not use the ordinary name of סיני?

The medrash says (במדבר רבה, פרשה ט"ז)

אלא אמרו (דברים א') נשלחה אנשים לפנינו ויחפרו לנו וכו'. ר' יהושע אומר, למה היו דומין? למלך שזימן לבנו אשה נאה ובת טובים ועשירה. א"ל המלך, זמנתי לך אשה נאה ובת טובים ועשירה. א"ל הבן, אלך ואראה אותה, שלא היה מאמין לאביו, מיד הוקשה הדבר והרע לאביו. אמר אביו, מה אעשה? אם אומר לו, איני מראה אותה לך, עכשיו הוא אומר כעורה היתה, לפיכך לא רצה להראותה. לסוף א"ל, ראה אותה ותדע אם כזבתי לך, ובשביל שלא האמנת בי, קונם שאין אתה רואה אותה בביתך, אלא לבנך אני נותנה.

וכך הקדוש ברוך הוא אמר לישראל, טובה הארץ, ולא האמינו, אלא אמרו נשלחה אנשים לפנינו ויחפרו לנו. אמר הקב"ה, אם מעכב אני עליהם, הם אומרים על שאינה טובה לא הראה אותה לנו, אלא יראו אותה ובשבועה, שאין אחד מהם נכנס לתוכה, שנאמר (במדבר י"ד) אם יראו את הארץ אשר נשבעתי לאבותם וכל מנאצי לא יראוה אלא לבניהם אני נותנה.

Rabbi Yehoshua said, the benei yisrael were comparable to a king who found a beautiful wife for his son, she was from a good family and wealthy. The son said, “I will go and inspect her,” because he did not believe his father. The father said, “If I do not show her to him, he will say this is because really she was ugly.”

In the end the father said, “I will show her to you, but I swear that I will not give her to you, rather I will give her to your son.”

Similarly, Hashem said, “I told the benei yisrael that Eretz Yisrael is a good land, yet they said, ‘Let us send spies.’ If I prevent them from sending spies then they will say this is because it is not really a good land. Rather, the spies will see Eretz Yisrael but not one from this generation will enter Eretz Yisrael, instead I will give it to their children.”

  • We find that the Torah is compared to the bride of the benei yisrael (מדרש רבה, פרשת כי תשא, בשעה שנתן הקב"ה התורה לישראל, היתה חביבה עליהם ככלה, שהיא חביבה על בן זוגה מנין שנאמר ויתן אל משה ככלותו) and that Shabbos is compared to the bride of the benei yisrael (בראשית רבה, פרק א', י"ח, אמרה שבת לפני הקב״ה רבונו של עולם לכולן יש בן זוג, ולי אין בן זוג. אמר לה הקב״ה כנסת ישראל היא בן זוגך), however we do not generally find that Eretz Yisrael is compared to a bride. Why does the medrash here compare Eretz Yisrael to a bride?

  • Why was Hashem so particular because the benei yisrael did not trust Him that Eretz Yisrael was a good land?

The Chasam Sofer explains as follows:

The passuk says (בראשית ל"ב כ"ו)
וַיַּרְא כִּי לֹא יָכֹל לוֹ וַיִּגַּע בְּכַף יְרֵכוֹ וַתֵּקַע כַּף יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב בְּהֵאָבְקוֹ עִמּוֹ

And the sar of Esav saw that he could not defeat Yaakov, so he hit his thigh joint and Yaakov’s thigh became dislocated as he struggled with him.

The Zohar explains (חלק א', דף קע"א, ע"א)
ותקע כף ירך יעקב - שנגע בתמכין דאורייתא

And Yaakov’s thigh became dislocated, this means that the sar of Esav attacked the supporters of the Torah.

The Chasam Sofer explains that the sar of Esav was unable to deter Yaakov from his determination in keeping the Torah and mitzvos but he was able to attack the ability of someone who observes Torah and mitzvos to be naturally supported by olam hazeh in his endeavours. Subsequently, someone who devoted themselves to Torah and mitzvos would find that olam hazeh would tend to present obstacles to him. Additionally, the Chasam Sofer also explains that the day on which Yaakov struggled with the sar of Esav was ט' באב.

Had the מרגלים brought back a good report about Eretz Yisrael on ט' באב, then the benei yisrael would have been able to enter Eretz Yisrael effortlessly, because Eretz Yisrael itself would have become that part of olam hazeh which would have lent itself naturally and eternally to the observance of Torah and mitzvos. Thus, the dislocation of Yaakov’s thigh, representing the difficulties which can face someone who wants to keep Torah and mitzvos, would have been healed.

In other words, even though the benei yisrael may not have been at the level of Torah learning which would coerce olam hazeh naturally support the Torah, had they trusted in Hashem and accepted the gift of Eretz Yisrael, then their בטחון alone would have been sufficient merit for Hashem to provide Eretz Yisrael as that place that would naturally lend itself to the observance of Torah and mitzvos.

As Rashi explains on the passuk in Tehillim (36:7)

 אָדָם וּבְהֵמָה תוֹשִׁיעַ ה' - בני אדם שהם ערומים בדעת כאדם הראשון ומשימין עצמן כבהמה בענוה תושיע ה'

“People who are as clever as adam ha’rishon but in their humility they make themselves like a dumb animal in order to follow the Torah and mitzvos, these people Hashem will save.”

However, since the benei yisrael did not show such a level of trust in Hashem, they were unable to overcome the wound that the sar of Esav had inflicted on Yaakov and his descendants, since neither their level of Torah or their אמונה in Hashem provided sufficient merit for this to occur. Therefore even Eretz Yisrael did not become a place which would inherently and eternally lend itself to the observance of Torah and mitzvos, until mashiach comes.

Subsequently

  • Hashem was particular that the benei yisrael did not go into Eretz Yisrael with simple אמונה, because their failure to do so meant they could now not rectify the wound that the sar of Esav had inflicted on Yaakov, on the same day on which he had struggled with him.
  • The Torah refers to Har Sinai as חורב, because had the benei yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael after they travelled from Har Sinai with complete אמונה, then the downfall of the sar of Esav, who leads the umos ha’olam (who did not accept the Torah), would have been complete.
  • Eretz Yisrael is compared to a bride in the medrash, because it should have become a naturally fitting place for the observance of the Torah, which is also compared to a bride. Even although Eretz Yisrael is the holiest land, we will not merit the full  קדושהof Eretz Yisrael till mashiach comes.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Parshas Matos - making meaningful nedarim


The passuk says in this week’s sedrah (במדבר ל' ב')

וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל רָאשֵׁי הַמַּטּוֹת לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה'

And Moshe spoke to the heads of the שבטים, “This is the matter which Hashem has commanded.”

Rashi explains

"זה הדבר" - (ספרי) משה נתנבא (שמות י"א, ד') בכה אמר ה' כחצות הלילה והנביאים נתנבאו בכה אמר ה' מוסף עליהם משה שנתנבא בלשון זה הדבר

“Moshe said נבואה using an expression of כה אמר ה' as did the other נביאים, however Moshe was greater than the other נביאים insofar that Moshe said נבואה using the expression זה הדבר.”
  • Why did the Torah teach us that Moshe’s נבואה was greater than the other נביאים specifically in the parsha of נדרים?

The Rambam says (פירוש המשניות, פרק ג', משנה ט"ז)

רבי חנניא בן עקשיא אומר רצה הקב"ה לזכות את ישראל לפיכך הרבה להם תורה וכו'. מעקרי האמונה בתורה כשיקיים אדם מצוה מתרי״ג מצות כראוי וכהוגן ולא ישתף עמה כוונה מכוונת העולם בשום פנים אלא שיעשה אותה לשמה מאהבה כמו שבארתי לך הנה זכה בה לחיי העולם הבא, ועל זה אמר רבי חנניא כי המצות בהיותם הרבה אי אפשר שלא יעשה אדם בחייו אחת מהם על מתכונתה ושלמותה ובעשותו אותה המצוה תחיה נפשו באותו מעשה. וממה שיורה על העיקר הזה מה ששאל ר׳ חנניא בן תרדיון מה אני לחיי עוה״ב והשיבו המשיב כלום בא מעשה לידך כלומר נזדמן לך לעשות מצוה כהוגן השיבו כי נזדמנה לו מצות צדקה על דרך שלימות ככל מה שאפשר וזכה לחיי העוה׳׳ב

רבי חנניא בן עקשיא said, “Hashem wanted to make the benei yisrael meritorious therefore He gave them an abundance of Torah and mitzvos.”

This means as follows. If a person does just one mitzva entirely lishmah the person then merits olam habah. Hashem  gave the benei yisrael an abundance of Torah and mitzvos so that it is impossible that a person does not do at least one mitzva entirely lishmah during their lifetime and thus merits olam habah.

This is the meaning of the gemara in עבודה זרה (עבודה זרה, י"ח ע"א) which says

תנו רבנן כשחלה רבי יוסי בן קיסמא הלך רבי חנינא בן תרדיון לבקרו אמר לו חנינא אחי אי אתה יודע שאומה זו מן השמים המליכוה שהחריבה את ביתו ושרפה את היכלו והרגה את חסידיו ואבדה את טוביו ועדיין היא קיימת ואני שמעתי עליך שאתה יושב ועוסק בתורה [ומקהיל קהלות ברבים] וספר מונח לך בחיקך אמר לו מן השמים ירחמו אמר לו אני אומר לך דברים של טעם ואתה אומר לי מן השמים ירחמו תמה אני אם לא ישרפו אותך ואת ספר תורה באש. אמר לו רבי מה אני לחיי העולם הבא אמר לו כלום מעשה בא לידך אמר לו מעות של פורים נתחלפו לי במעות של צדקה וחלקתים לעניים אמר לו אם כן מחלקך יהי חלקי ומגורלך יהי גורלי.

“When רבי יוסי בן קיסמא fell ill, רבי חנינא בן תרדיון went to visit him. רבי יוסי בן קיסמא said to him, ‘Chanina my brother, do you not know that min ha’shamayim they caused the Romans to rule who have destroyed the beis ha’mikdash and burnt the heichal and murdered the tzadikkim and killed good Jewish people and this empire is still standing and I have heard about you that you sit and learn torah and give shiurim publicly with a sefer torah in your lap?’

רבי חנינא בן תרדיון said, ‘Hashem will have mercy on me.’

רבי יוסי בן קיסמא replied, ‘I am telling you something sensible and you say Hashem will have mercy on me? I would be surprised if they do not burn you and your sefer torah in fire.’

רבי חנינא בן תרדיון asked, ‘Will I receive olam habah?’

רבי יוסי בן קיסמא said, ‘Did you ever have the chance to do a special mitzva?’

רבי חנינא בן תרדיון said, ‘My own money that I had set aside for the Purim seudah became mixed up with money set aside for עניים and I gave all of the money to tzedakah.’

רבי יוסי בן קיסמא said to him, ‘If so may my lot be with your lot.’

When רבי חנינא בן תרדיון gave his money to צדקה this was a perfectמצוה  that could guarantee him a place in עולם הבא.
  • [Why did רבי יוסי בן קיסמא not think that being מוסר נפש to teach תורה was a special מצוה which would guarantee רבי חנינא בן תרדיון a place in עולם הבא?

The answer is that when he taught Torah publicly he may have had ulterior motives, such that people should honour him, however when he gave his own money to tzedakah, no-one knew about what he did so he must have done that mitzvah purely lishmah. Therefore, that was the mitzva which would allow him to receive olam habah.”]
  • The Rambam would seem difficult to understand, obviously it was far harder for רבי חנינא בן תרדיון to teach Torah publicly under the scrutiny of the Romans (who ultimately burnt him for doing this) than it was for him to give his own money to tzedakah when it became mixed up with צדקה. Why then should he only receive olam habah for the lesser mitzvah?

The Michtav Me’Eilyahu explains as follows:

The Rambam does not mean to say that רבי חנינא בן תרדיון did not receive olam habah for teaching Torah publicly. In fact, it is likely that the olam habah that he received for teaching Torah publicly far outweighed the schar that he was given for giving his money to צדקה in case of a doubt.

Instead what the Rambam means is that the key to accessing olam habah is one mitzva which is done purely lishmah, it is a mitzva of this level of purity which grants a person access to olam habah. If a person does a mitzva for a reason that relates to olam hazeh, then the mitzva cannot be any more meaningful than that person’s understanding of the value of olam hazeh. However, if a person does a mitzva purely lishmah, then  the person has gained an understanding of the inherent value of that mitzva which is independent of any transient consideration. This appreciation allows the person to inherit olam habah, because they have become a person who has an awareness of the everlasting sublime nature of Torah and mitzvos.

Once a person reaches this madregah, he receives reward in olam habah for all the mitzvos that he ever did, regardless of the purity of intention he had when he performed those mitzvos.

The Michtav Me’Eliyahu further explains that if a person is on the madregah where they appreciate the sublime significance of their own actions and they feel that there is a need for them to make a נדר or a שבועה using the name of ה' in addition to their adherence to the תרי"ג מצות, then the obligation or prohibition which they undertake becomes their personal extension of the general רצון ה' that is represented by the Torah and the mitzvos.

The reason that Moshe introduced the פרשה of נדרים with the expression of זה הדבר is because just as Moshe revealed the general רצון ה' that allows כלל ישראל to acquire the נצחיות of עולם הבא, so too if a person has a sublime appreciation of the significance of their actions and subsequently makes נדרים to safeguard their own שמירת המצות, then they have been מכוון to the most beneficial path which Hashem would instruct them to pursue in order that they can earn their own special חלק in עולם הבא.

In this regard, the person is able to determine the זה הדבר which ה' instructs them for themselves, just as Moshe was granted insight into the זה הדבר which ה' instructed for the whole of כלל ישראל.
When Moshe said זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה', he meant that through the proper observance of נדרים and שבעות you can be מכוון to your own personal זה הדבר אשר צוה ה' and find the path that will lead you to your own special עוה"ב that only you can acquire.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Parshas Pinchas - Pinchas's reward


The medrash says in this week’s sedrah (כ"ד, א')

פִּינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא בדין הוא שיטול שכרו

[The passuk says] פִּינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, Hashem said, “He rightfully deserves to take his reward.”

  • How do the words פִּינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן indicate that פינחס deserved his reward?

The אבן עזרא says (שמות פרק כ"ח, פסוק א')

וכבר רמזתי לך למה נבחר אהרון להקדישו לשם בעבור כבוד משפחת נחשון, שיהיו הכהנים מכפרים על בני ישראל. ואין לדבר על משה אדוננו כי בורח היה ומי יתן לו עברית.

Aharon was chosen to be a כהן because his children were related to the family of נחשון בן עמינדב, Moshe however was not chosen to be a כהן because his children were descended from Yisro.

  • Pinchos was also descended from Yisro, so why was he chosen to be a כהן?

The gemara says in Kiddushin (דף ס"ו ע"ב)

ובן גרושה ובן חלוצה דעבודתו כשירה מנלן אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל דאמר קרא (במדבר כ"ה, י"ג) והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו בין זרע כשר ובין זרע פסול

If a בן גרושה or a בן חלוצה did the עבודה (without us knowing that they were פסול to do the עבודה) then their עבודה is כשר (בדיעבד). We learn this from the passuk that says והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו – the word זרע implies all descendants of פינחס, whether they are כשר or פסול, can be כהנים.
Tosafos (ד"ה ולזרעו אחריו בין זרע כשר בין זרע פסול) asks

ובריש מכילתין (דף ד.) אמר וזרע אין לה אין לי אלא זרע כשר זרע פסול מנין ת"ל וכו' משמע דלשון זרע לא משתמע אלא כשר

(Tosafos’s question is as follows.) The passuk says (ויקרא כ"ב י"ג)

וּבַת כֹּהֵן כִּי תִהְיֶה אַלְמָנָה וּגְרוּשָׁה וְזֶרַע אֵין לָהּ וְשָׁבָה אֶל בֵּית אָבִיהָ כִּנְעוּרֶיהָ מִלֶּחֶם אָבִיהָ תֹּאכֵל

If a בת כהן marries a ישראל (which stops her eating תרומה), but then she becomes a widow or is divorced, then as long as she has no children, she can go back to eating תרומה.

The gemara in Kiddushin (דף ד' ע"א) says

דתניא (ויקרא כ"ב, י"ג) וזרע אין לה, אין לי אלא זרעה. זרע זרעה מנין? ת"ל זרע אין לה, עיין לה. ואין לי אלא זרע כשר, זרע פסול מנין? ת"ל זרע אין לה, עיין לה.

If a בת כהן who is married to a ישראל is divorced or becomes a widow, then as long as she has no children, she can eat תרומה. However, even if the children she has from a ישראל are פסול (such as the child is a ממזר), she cannot go back to eating תרומה, because the passuk uses the negative form and says -  וְזֶרַע אֵין לָהּ – she has no children, which implies she has no children of any kind.

  • You see from this gemara, that the word זרע (descendants) really only means descendants who are כשר (unless you have a דרשה to prove otherwise). If so, asks Tosafos, when the passuk says concerning פינחס, והיתה לו ולזרעו ברית כהונת עולם, this should only refer to כשר descendants of פינחס and not to someone who is a בן גרושה or a בן חלוצה?

The משך חכמה explains as follows:

The gemara says in Sanhedrin (דף פ"ב ע"ב)

בא וחבטן לפני המקום אמר לפניו רבש"ע על אלו יפלו כ"ד אלף מישראל שנאמר (במדבר כ"ה, ט') ויהיו המתים במגפה ארבעה ועשרים אלף והיינו דכתיב (תהלים ק"ו, ל') ויעמד פנחס ויפלל אמר רבי אלעזר ויתפלל לא נאמר אלא ויפלל מלמד כביכול שעשה פלילות עם קונו. בקשו מלאכי השרת לדחפו, אמר להן הניחו לו קנאי בן קנאי הוא משיב חימה בן משיב חימה הוא

פינחס came and threw כזבי and זימרי down before the entrance to the אהל מועד, he said, ‘Hashem! Because of these should 24,000 people die?’

Rabbi Elazar said, ‘As if it were, פינחס criticised Hashem.’

The מלאכים sought to push פינחס away, Hashem said to them, ‘Leave him, he is a zealot the son of a zealot (a descendant of Levi who killed Shechem), one who turns away wrath the son of one who turns away wrath (a descendant of Aharon who stopped the מלאך המות with the קטורת after the מחלוקת of קרח).’”

The Akeidah (במדבר כ"ה א', שער פ"ג) explains the words of the gemara – בקשו מלאכי השרת לדחפו – as follows.

ובמדרש, בקשו מלאכי השרת לדחפו, רוצה לומר המחשבות הנכונות שהם המלאכים המלוים אותו וממונים על מעשיו, עכבו על ידו בטענות מספיקות, אך נתקרב אל הדבר בהערה אלקית, שעל זה אמר שם, אמר הקב"ה הניחו לו, קנאי בן קנאי וכו', שאביו מסר עצמו על דינה, ולפיכך נעשו לו הנסים שמנו במדרש, כי הקל ית' גמר על ידו המעשים, והוא עשה רק ההתמסרות, וזה שאמר אשר קנא לאלקיו.

“What do the words בקשו מלאכי השרת לדחפו mean? This means that פינחס’s own sensible thoughts sought to dissuade him from his course of action, because what he was doing was self-destructive (both from a physical viewpoint, as the other שבטים wanted to kill him, and also from a רוחניות viewpoint, as he should have properly lost his חלק in עוה"ב for criticising Hashem). [Therefore, it was virtually impossible for him to proceed with the course of action that he had set for himself, because his own common sense told him not to proceed,] rather he only steadied himself to kill זימרי and כזבי and then to save the בני ישראל by arguing with Hashem, and Hashem Himself led him through the actions to which he had set his mind.

This is what the passuk means אשר קנא לאלקיו – meaning that he was not jealous for himself, but rather he was jealous for his G-d.”

According to the Akeidah, פינחס was enabled to proceed on his course of action because הקל ית' גמר על ידו המעשים, however the gemara says that פינחס was able to proceed on his course of action because Hashem said to the מלאכים, leave him because he is the descendant of Levi and Aharon. It would therefore appear that that which הקל יתברך גמר על ידו המעשים, and that which Hashem told the מלאכים to leave פינחס because he was a descendant of Levi and Aharon, must be synonymous.  In other words, the way in which Hashem enabled פינחס to proceed was by forming a supernaturally strong connection between פינחס and his forebears Levi and Aharon. This means so say that פינחס was able to proceed not on his own behalf, but rather as a descendant of and as a representative of Levi and Aharon.

Since he placed himself in a situation where naturally he would have lost both his life and also his עוה"ב had he been acting on behalf of himself, i.e. as פינחס, and he was only able to survive (as the rescuer of the בני ישראל) because he was identified as the descendant of Levi and Aharon, therefore rightfully he could now be identified not just as פינחס, but rather as פינחס בו אלעזר בן אהרון הכהן (who has previously saved the בני ישראל with the עבודת הקטורת of the כהן גדול), and thus as a כהן himself.  

This is what the medrash means when it says

פִּינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן, אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא בדין הוא שיטול שכרו

פינחס rightfully took his reward to become a כהן because he placed himself in a situation where he only survived by being identified as אהרון’s descendant and representative.

Additionally, the reason why פינחס was granted that even his descendants who were פסול can still do the עבודה (בדיעבד) is because the very nature of his reward was that there should remain a connection the father and his descendants even in a case where there could be seen to be a reason to weaken that connection due to an adverse influence from the mother’s side.

Just as פינחס overcame the fact that he was descended from יתרו and was מיחס himself after Aharon, to become a כהן, so too if his descendants would have reason to lose the כהונה because their mother is a גרושה or a חלוצה, nevertheless their עבודה would still be כשר.

This is why specifically with regards to פינחס’s reward, the words והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו even refer to a descendant who is פסול, because the reward itself was that פינחס would be considered as a true descendant of אהרון, and therefore מדה כנגד מדה his descendants would be considered to be true descendants of himself, even if there were other mitigating factors involved.
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