Friday, July 13, 2012

Posts so far for parshat Pinchas


1. Pinchas sources -- further improved.

2. YUTorah on parshas Pinchas.

3. What made the daughters of Tzelaphchad so brilliantRashi says they were smart, since they would not have brought their claim had their father had a son. But this is common gentile law as well! Rather, Levush HaOrah explains that they meant had their father had a daughter of a son. I explain why this is compelling peshat in Rashi, based on the Sifrei. And why I still don't think it is correct peshat in Rashi.

  1. Pinchas sources -- further expanded. For instance, many more meforshei Rashi.
  2. Yocheved's mother, whose name was Otah -- Why don't Rashi, Bechor Shor, and Ibn Ezra leap at the cute derash as peshat? I am not convinced they even had access to this midrash, but they might reject it onpeshat grounds -- that it does not feel like peshat -- rather than having to reject it on technical grounds of dikduk.
  3. YU Torah on parashat Pinchas.
  4. How does Onkelos translate עצרת תהיה לכםShadal brings various variants, but dismisses a proof from Zoharic Aramaic. He is cryptic why, but I think that his comment in the addendum of the Vikuach, together with a bit of calculation, can aid us in arriving at why.
  5. A son going off the derech is the mother's fault -- so claims the Kav HaYashar on parashat Pinchas. And he backs it up with a apocryphal story of the Ramban's wife being raped. It should be clear that I don't agree with the Kav HaYashar here.
  6. Did Korach's sons go to Gehinnom, or did they become prophetsMizrachi shows a contradiction within Rashis. The Taz attempts to solve it. And I offer suggestions throughout, that Rashi didn't say it, or that Rashi means that their songs ascended, not that they physically ascended.
  7. Was Pinechas initially a kohen?  Someone, by email, called my attention to a dispute between the Zohar and the gemara as to whether Pinchas was initially a kohen, prior to his killing of Zimri and Cozbi...  However, if we read that gemara in Zevachim carefully, we see that it is actually amachlokes whether Pinchas only became a kohen then...  Therefore, it would be no surprise if the Zohar presents an interpretation which differs from the one proffered by Rashi.
  8. Is marrying two sisters intrinsically or extrinsically obnoxious  We consider the perspective of Rashi (intrinsically), Ibn Ezra (based on the land), and Ibn Caspi (who rejects Ibn Ezra and gives a rationalist reason for the prohibition). I suggest that it is extrinsically bad, based on intent and social mores. -- This touches on Pinchas' assertion that Yocheved was Amram's aunt.
  9. Was Baba Elazar a con-artist I am not going to address this question head-on, at least initially. I would prefer to start with a story, which happened to some close family friends of mine, a few years back...

  1. Pinchas sources -- revamped, with over 100 meforshim on the parasha and haftarah.
  2. Elokei HaRuchot and avoiding blasphemy -- Shadal is correct from a grammatical perspective of what the text of Onkelos should be, but accidental chiruf ve-gidduf due to grammatical ignorance doesn't really concern me. A short post.a
  3. Was Pinchas descended from Yisro or from YosefOr both? Should we indeed follow the gemara's harmonization? A study in Rashi, and in approaches to midrash aggada.
  4. Tossing Korach -- out of the pit and into the fire -- Did Korach die with Datan and Aviram, or within the congregation consumed by the fire? Different reads of parashat Korach yield different results. And then, in parshat Pinchas, Korach's fate seems a bit ambiguous. How the Samaritans resolve this difficulty by messing with the Biblical text.
  5. Does Eliyahu Hanavi come to every bris? Some sources associate Pinchas with Eliyahu Hanavi, I thought to discuss the midrash that Eliyahu Hanavi visits every bris, such that we have a kisei shel Eliyahu.
  6. Yocheved His Aunt, and the Length of the Servitude --  If Yocheved was literally Amram's aunt, it is difficult to make the servitude 210 years, and even more, 400 years. Relax this and you have more leeway. Rav Saadia Gaon and the Targum Hashiv'im give us this leeway.

  1. Datan and Aviram were at fault, while Korach was just along for the ride. Ralbag's interpretation of certain pesukim in Pinchas.
  2. A quick trivia question or two on Pinchas. In a followup, I identify the pasuk that has a peh in each word, discuss Baal Haturim's answer and note his source, note the loss of peh in HaShufami, discuss Baal Haturim's answer and note his source, and finally give my own explanation for the loss of pheh.
  3. Should the yud of Pinchas be small? Part one and part two. How the tradition in the Zohar differs from all masorot and sifrei Torah in the time of Minchas Shai. What about now? Look it up this Shabbos and report back.
  4. How did one "join" to Baal Peor? Was the method of worship sleeping with a virgin? I disagree.
  5. How does the Torah trace the lineage of the wicked for shame? Analyzing Rashi and his sources, as a supercommentator.
  6. Zimri the exhibitionist? I don't think so! Considering the typical dumb Pinchas dvar Torah that appears in Jewish newspapers this week, year after year, in which Pinchas' actions were improper and Hashem is trying to reform him.
  7. Did Pinchas have to fear for his life? An interesting idea I saw in Chizkuni, but I should have looked at Ibn Ezra, where we can find the same.
  8. How Onkelos translates Ish -- why he sometimes translates it gevar and sometims anash. I spot what I think is the rule, after a stark juxtaposition in this week's parsha.
  9. An eternal covenant of Kehuna Gedolah -- based on Shadal, Ibn Ezra, and Ralbag. And what about when it did not go to the sons of Pinchas ben Eleazar, but to the sons of Itamar? Was this a violation of the covenant? Why not? And how this might have caused a rift.
  10. What was Tzelophchad's sin? And why I favor specific identifications, within the realm of midrash.
  11. Did Rabbi Akiva create his own midrashim? I would argue yes, even in the case of Tzelofchad's sin, where he has a gezeira shava working for him.
  12. What's in a name? Salu -- where I discuss the name, what it may mean, and its form.
  13. Pinchas sources -- links by aliyah and perek to an online mikraos gedolos. Plus a number of meforshim on the parsha and haftarah.
  14. Why the war with Midian before Moshe's deathFrom Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz, that they should not think Moshe did not take revenge upon them on behalf of Klal Yisrael because he, too, was guilty.
  15. Teshi, with a unique small yud -- but if the masorah states that the yud in Teshi, in Haazinu, is unique, then how can the yud in Pinchas be small?! See also post #3 from the same year.
  1. Every week, I first try to plot out what posts I am going to make by going through the parsha with and without various meforshim and noting to myself points of interest. Since I am (more or less) the same individual, going through the same parsha, it can easily occur the same points of interest occur to me from one year to the next. And where I am not careful to first read through old posts, I might end up posting the same thing. That happened this year, with Pashta-Zakef or Mercha on UMinchatam, which is more or less identical to the last post from one year ago. In this version, I include more pictures and perhaps make it clearer. Also, this year, an anonymous commenter suggests that the distinction between trup is musical rather than syntactic, as I had proposed.
  2. The ascension of Eliyahu, and the Pinchas-Eliyahu connection.
  3. Based in part on targum on the incident with Pinchas (at the end of Balak) as one of many sources, we see that beis torfah does not mean "thigh area," but the pudenda, in contrast with the misinterpretation provided by Rabbi Falk in his Oz veHadar Levushah.
  1. Why Isn't Zimri Identified by Name Initially?
    To show the degree to which Bnei Yisrael were attached to Baal Peor? But note Kozbi is also not identified. Various precedents, and then stylistic suggestions. Perhaps to show that Pinchas did not concern himself with rank, or to better stress Cosbi's Midianite identity.
  2. Midiantites as a Generic term?
    This would solve problems locally and by the sale of Yosef.
  3. Why the Count, and Why The Break Mid-Pasuk?
    Perhaps the preceding plague, perhaps as a closing count matching the count as they left Egypt. I suggest also a count in preparation for war against the Midiantites, And perhaps the pause in mid-pasuk because not just the command, but the entire section, was an interjection, placed by Moshe after the fact.
  4. Pinchas or Pinechas?
    Do we pronounce a sheva na in his name? Is there a keri and ketiv in play?
  5. Pinchas Picture Punning Puzzle
  6. Chirik Chaser vs. Chirik Malei in Aramaic (as a followup to Pinchas or Pinechas)
  7. Points on Pinchas
    Individual points that would not merit individual posts.
  8. Zimri as the Gilgul of Shechem
  9. The trup on UMinchatam
    Shadal notes trup at odds with the minchat shai, and suggests both are possible.

  • Brit Kehunat Olam. What Exactly Did Pinchas Get? Also, how could Pinchas Kill Zimri?
    • Wasn't he already a kohen? Rashi's famous answer about Pinchas' missing out before. But wouldn't certain Leviim be excluded under the same? Other pashtanim: the high priesthood. How could Pinchas kill Zimri? Would this not make him impure? One answer is that he was not yet a kohen; another is that Zimri was a goses until he left the tent.
  • Who was Cosbi bat Tzur?
    • How Tg Yonanat creatively reparses the pasuk, such that Tzur becomes Balak.
  • Blog Roundup
    • What other blogs are saying about Pinchas
  • Chamber or Belly?
    • Did Pinchas thrust the spear into her belly (/womb)? Or did he kill her in her tent, just as he killed Zimri in his tent? Different approaches on the level of peshat. Then, more parsing of the pasuk to get all the details of the midrashic approach in Sanhedrin.
  • Giv'at Pinchas
    • Many times we hear that the Levites received no inheritance in Eretz Yisrael (with the exception of certain Levite cities) yet the last pasuk in sefer Yehoshua states that Eleazar was buried in Giv'at Pinchas beno - the hill of Pinchas his son - which had been given to him in Har Ephraim.
      The Sifrei explains this as an inheritance from Pinchas' wife, who was from the tribe of Ephraim. I tie this in with the daughters of Tzelophchad, later in Pinchas, in Bemidbar 27, and to the explicit mention at the end of parshat Masei (in Bemidbar 36) that inheriting from a woman who has inherited can cause land to switch tribes.
      I also give two other suggestions - that is was not a true inheritance, but was granted to Pinchas in perpetuity as an achuzat kever, a place to bury his dead; and alternatively, just as we see that Yehoshua seems to have gotten a nachala in Har Ephraim (within his own tribes' land) after and apart from the usual division of the land, perhaps the same was true for Pinchas, as a practical matter of being a member of the ruling elite, who should be in close proximity to Yehoshua, or else as an expression of gratitude for his leadership, for example in the war against the Midianites, as we see in parshat Matot.
  • A Real Shlumiel
    • A tongue-in-cheek etymology of the word Shlemiel. I note that midrashically, Rabbi Yochanan identifies Zimri ben, the nasi of a household in the tribe of Shimon, with Shelumiel ben Tzurishaddai, the nasi of the tribe of Shimon, and gives explanations of the import of the other names. I also note that this follows a closed-canon approach.
      Thus we have the ultimate Shlemiel. Zimri does the sin, and Shelumiel is blamed for it!
  • How Many Tents? (cross-listed from parshat Korach)
    • How did Korach die? Was he burned with those offering incense or was he swallowed alive together with Datan and Aviram? I point out in this post that parshat Korach does not answer this explicitly, while in parshat Pinchas, when arriving at the lineage of Datan and Aviram, while the death of Korach is mentioned, how he died is perhaps left ambiguous. The psukim in Pinchas:

      וּבְנֵ֣י אֱלִיאָ֔ב נְמוּאֵ֖ל וְדָתָ֣ן וַֽאֲבִירָ֑ם הֽוּא־דָתָ֨ן וַֽאֲבִירָ֜ם קרואי (קְרִיאֵ֣י) הָֽעֵדָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִצּ֜וּ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֤ה וְעַֽל־אַהֲרֹן֙ בַּֽעֲדַת־קֹ֔רַח בְּהַצֹּתָ֖ם עַל־ה׃
      וַתִּפְתַּ֨ח הָאָ֜רֶץ אֶת־פִּ֗יהָ וַתִּבְלַ֥ע אֹתָ֛ם וְאֶת־קֹ֖רַח בְּמ֣וֹת הָֽעֵדָ֑ה בַּֽאֲכֹ֣ל הָאֵ֗שׁ אֵ֣ת חֲמִשִּׁ֤ים וּמָאתַ֨יִם֙ אִ֔ישׁ וַיִּֽהְי֖וּ לְנֵֽס׃
      וּבְנֵי־קֹ֖רַח לֹא־מֵֽתוּ׃
      One could read this as either the earth swallowing them (Datan and Aviram), and Korach up, or else as the earth swallowing Datan and Aviram up, while Korach died with the death of the congregation, the other 150 who offered incense. The trup, in many ways, favors the former interpretation.
      Within parshat Korach, I point out that Moshe explicitly says that Korach will offer incense with the congregation; that he speaks to Korach and his congregation before turning to Datan and Aviram; that we would not truly expect the tent of Korach to be next to the tent of Datan and Aviram (for it to be swallowed up); that Moshe only addresses Datan and Aviram and not Korach; that the phrase mishkan-Korach Datan VaAviram has a makef between "tent" and "Korach," and that this, combined with other trup, suggests that 
      mishkan-Korach means the Korachite tent of Datan and Aviram, and so Korach is not present at all; that only Datan, Aviram, and their families emerge from the tents, and no mention is made of Korach and his family; and finally, that this could be the cause of the statement in parshat Pinchas that the sons of Korach did not die - they were not present at all.
  • Why Did Pinchas' Action Stop the Plague?
    • I suggest that his act recast the situation from "Me vs. Them" into "Me and Some of Them vs. Others of Them," such that it did not merit as severe a response.
  • Did Pinchas Act On His Own Initiative? (cross-listed from parshat Matot)
    • After rejecting a silly reading which condemned Pinchas' act and claimed he was "healed" and was now a Peace Now activist, I put forth two readings which show Pinchas did not act on his own. According to the traditional reading, put forth by Rashi, he told Moshe the law and received instructions to carry it out on Zimri. According to a possible pshat reading, he was explicitly told a verse earlier to kill the leaders who had joined Baal Peor, and Zimri fit this description.
  • Midianites or Moabites(cross-listed from parshat Matot)
    • Considers the issue and evidence of whether Moabites or Midianites were involved in the harlotry and idolatry of Baal Peor, explores Midianite involvement earlier in parshat Balak, and suggests a possible resolution of this difficulty.
to be continued...

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