1. People say that sometimes חקת and בלק are together and sometimes they are separate, as are מטות and, מסעי but פנחס is always by itself because the קנאי is always by himself. קנאות is a word that is one of the most misused terms in Jewish life. Because if you look in the Mishna in סנהדרין צא ע"א you see that there are only four things that we say קנאין are פוגעין בו and the הלכה is אין מורין לו. Which means even though it is the הלכה, nevertheless we won’t pasken it. So there are four instances where the הלכה is קנאין פוגעין בו yet we won’t pasken that a person should do so. As Rashi says on צב ע"א in סנהדרין that the Halacha is only for someone who is מקנא מעצמו and not because we tell him to. So these four instances are interesting that on the one hand it’s the Halacha yet on the other hand we say אין מורין כן. As opposed to by all other mitzvos, if we say אין מורין כן, then the halacha is against it, and if it’s מורין כן then you don’t have to be a קנאי to do it and every Jew is obligated to do it. הוכח תוכיח is a mitzvah that is given to every Jew and you can’t exempt yourself by saying that you are not a קנאי. On the other hand, even if you are a קנאי, you are not allowed to do anything that is beyond the guidelines of Halacha except for these four things where even though we would say not to do it, he is allowed to. So קנאות is a very specific word that only appears in a particular context and it’s not something broader than that. Similarly, there is a din thatכך מצוה שלא לומר דבר שאינו נשמע (יבמות סה:) כשם שמצוה לומר דבר הנשמע. So we see it’s not a הידור or קנאות to say things that are אינו נשמע , rather it’s a mitzvah שלא לומר. Sometimes people say, “Who is that רשע מרושע to decide whether or not it’s a דבר הנשמע or not rather I decide if it is or not”. But that is really stupidity because determining whether or not it’s נשמע or not is obviously up to the listener and not the sayer.
    To highlight this point, there is a story with the Vizhnizter Rebbe, the אהבת ישראל, that once they needed money for an important tzedaka and the rebbe said he’s going to ask this very rich man who was a miser who never gave to anyone. The Rebbe went and knocked on his door and the miser was surprised but walked him in. The miser asked the Rebbe what he was here for and the Rebbe didn’t say. The miser asked again what the Rebbe was here for and he responded, “I can’t say”. The miser started getting all nervous so the Rebbe said that I am not allowed to say because Chazal say כך מצוה שלא לומר דבר שאינו נשמע כשם שמצוה לומר דבר הנשמע so therefore I can’t say because what I want to say is a דבר שאינו נשמע. And just like if I would be coming to say a דבר הנשמע I would come to say it, so too I came to not say a דבר שאינו נשמע. Finally, he got out of the Rebbe what he wanted to say and the miser gave him the money. So קנאות is something that you have to know what it means and it doesn’t mean to go beyond the guidelines of Halacha. Just it happens to be that there are four places where a קנאי is פוגעין בו even though the Halacha says not to. But besides for these four cases, the halachic guidelines are very clear and if a Jew is obligated to do so, then he is, and if he isn’t, then no Jew is allowed to do it.
    The Shinener Rav in his sefer Divrei Yechezkel says why does the Pasuk says תחת אשר קנא לאלקיו as opposed to ?אלקים The answer is because the קנאות has to do with how you are connected to Hashem, and it’s not an objective thing, rather it’s how the person feels about it.
  2. This week’s Haftorah talks about Eliyahu, and the impression you get is that Eliyahu did the right thing. However the Rambam in the אגרת השמד brings a Medrash in שיר השירים that Hashem is actually complaining to Eliyahu because he is speaking negatively about his children as Hashem says are they your מזבח or are they my מזבח, and is it you or is it me? And the idea from the Medrash is that Hashem is saying to Eliyahu let me take care of it. The Medrash concludes that when Hashem say to Eliyahu go to דמשק, he is saying if you want to talk negatively, then go talk negatively about the goyim. According to this, if you reread the Haftorah, one can see that it repeats itself twice that לא ברעש etc. And the point is that Eliyahu didn’t get the message and Hashem repeats to him לא ברעש, rather the approach should be an approach of קול דממה דקה, without all this fanfare and without all this anger. But because Eliyahu didn’t get it, Hashem repeats the whole vision again. Then the Rambam goes on ranking out a Rabbi whose gave a harsh response to people who were forced to convert to Islam. He tells them that they are worthless and they shouldn’t even go to shul because they are desecrating the shul and the Rambam ranks out this Rabbi with this Medrash from שיר השירים.
  3. After the מגפה, the Pasuk says וידבר משה ואלעזר הכהן אתם (כו,ג). Rashi says that אתם means עמם that speak to the people about which Hashem said to count them. The חזקוני brings two explanations for the meaning of אתם in the Pasuk. The first explanation is that אתם is going on the צווי from Hashem to count the Jews. The דבר אחר is that אתם means עמם. See the שפתי חכמים on Rashi that wants to explain Rashi like the דבר אחר in the חזקוני which is a דבר אחר and not the simple meaning of the Pasuk which is very odd. The כתב והקבלה has an interesting explanation on this Pasuk that וידבר משה ואלעזר הכהן אתם means that he brought them, he led them. Like it says דבר אחד לדור and ידבר עמים תחתינו that he brought them in front to ask them if they are twenty years old.
  4. The Parshah begins with something that is rare and out of the ordinary but later in the Parshah we have something that’s the most ordinary, and its actually daily, the קרבן תמיד. We learn from the Pasuk העולה- עולה הראשונה that no korban can precede the תמיד של שחר in the morning. And from here we learn the Halacha that תדיר ושאינו תדיר תדיר קודם, and that is why the קרבן תמיד precedes all other korbanos, because it is the most תדיר (זבחים צא ע"א). However this would appear counterintuitive because we would have thought that something that is rare and less often is something we get excited about and has more religious significance like לולב on ,סוכת as opposed to something that we do all the time and is daily which has less of a religious significance. But from here we see that it is not so, rather something that is daily, such as the קרבן תמיד, has more religious significance. Judaism believes that the habitual and repetition has much more impact on shaping our personality than the occasional great מעשים that we do. Even though we don’t experience it as a peak religious experience, nevertheless it becomes ingrained in who we are and it changes our personality. That is the principle of אדם נפעל לפי פעולתיו ואחרי הפעולתה נמשך אל לבבות mentioned in חינוך מצוה טז. This is the same idea said by the Rambam in Avos on the Mishna that says הכל לפי רוב המעשה (ג,טו). The Rambam says that the Mishna does not say לפי גודל המעשה rather לפי רוב המעשה. He explains that if a person has an opportunity to give small amounts of Tzedaka on a daily basis or a onetime large sum of money, it’s better for him to do the daily small amount. That’s the idea behind רוב המעשה, that we acquire the מידה of נדיבות by doing small acts of נדיבות over and over again and not by doing one large act of נדיבות. The more times we repeat simple acts of kindness, that’s what will make us into a better person. This is the idea behind תדיר ושאינו תדיר תדיר קודם that תדיר takes precedence because even though we might not realize the effects that it has, nevertheless it’s like the water dripping on the rock, that repetition over time of small acts is what makes the difference. It’s our job to make the daily doings as meaningful as we can even though we repeat them every day. Now the Pasuk says להקריב לי במועדו and Rashi says במועדו thatהוא מועד התמידים בכל יום. But this seems impossible to understand because it says you should bring the קרבן תמיד every day so what does it mean that every day there is a designated time because מועד is a designated time, but it’s not that it’s a designated time, rather it’s just that you have to bring the תמיד every day? It must be that it’s not just that you have to bring the תמיד every day, rather just like on סוכות it’s a designated time for the korbanos of סוכות, and same for פסח, so too, every day is a designated time for the תמיד. A person has to recognize, realize, and understand that it’s not just that he’s doing the same thing over and over again. Rather, every day requires and creates a new opportunity for a korban which brings closeness to Hashem and it’s unique to today that can’t be done tomorrow and couldn’t have been done the day before. Every day is unique and every day is a new opportunity and if לא ברא הקב"ה בעולמו דבר אחד לבטלה that means every day there is something to be accomplished today that couldn’t have been done any other day in the history of the world. That’s why every days is the מועד התמיד. The Gemara in זבחים דף צא ע"א says that the תמיד on Rosh Chodesh has the קדושה of Rosh Chodesh. That shows that the תמיד is the תמיד specifically of today, and that’s why it takes on the character of Rosh Chodesh. As opposed to if it would just be a continuous ongoing Mitzvah, then there would be no difference between the תמיד on Rosh Chodesh and any other ordinary day. But we see that every day is really an individual, unique, and new obligation of the תמיד. Therefore, a person should realize that even what he does תמיד, it’s really unique and special every time he does it. The נפש החיים שער א פרק ב הגה"ה says that even though we don’t see a difference between today and yesterday, really every day is a onetime occurrence and today never happened and never will happen again. This is the idea that כל היום הוא מועד התמיד. But not only should today and every day be the first day of a person’s life, rather it’s the only day in a person’s life because Chazal say שוב יום אחד לפני מיתתך. But since a person doesn’t know when that is, he has to live each day as if it’s his last. At the same time, the רבינו יונה ביסוד התשובה writes that a person should consider that today is כאילו נולד, that every day it’s as if he was born. So a person has to feel as if he was born that day, but that tomorrow he may die. Therefore every day, is just today. People always have a tendency to think about the past and plan for the future. But the truth is, that it’s really about the now and the today. There is no future, and the future is only an accumulation of all the nows, and therefore if you’re thinking about the future, then you won’t have a future.
    When we talk about מועד, it also has the meaning of a meeting, a get together like the אוהל מועד. The idea is that every מועד is a time of meeting with Hashem and every day which is a מועד התמידים, therefore, is like a יום טוב where there is a time of meeting with the creator. This we find in the ירושלמי פסחים in the beginning of פרק מקום שנהגו that asks how is it permitted to do מלאכה every day if each day is a יום טוב because the day a person brought a קרבן, it was a personal יום טוב. Therefore every day that the תמיד was brought was a יום טוב so there should be a איסור מלאכה? The Yerushalmi answers that since otherwise it would be impossible as it says ואספת דגנך, therefore מלאכה is permitted. We see that in reality, every day is a יום טוב because the תמיד is brought and every day obligates its own korban תמיד. So on one hand, the תמיד is regular and frequent, but at the same time we realize that every time is not the same time. We recognize that every day is really unique and special, and never was and never will be a day like today. The Pasuk says העשויה בהר סיני and Rashi gives two explanations. Either העשויה בר סיני is כאותן שנעשו בימי המילואים, or it’s to compare this תמיד to the תמיד at הר סימי that it says וישם באגנות. But what is Rashi trying to say with this? The explanation is, being that the תמיד is brought every day, there is concern here more than any other korban that it will become routine and regular and it will lose its meaning. Therefore we say that every day the תמיד is brought should be like that day by הר סיני which was the first time. Every day should be like the time בימי המילואים where they inaugurated the משכן and it should never become old, rather it should be fresh and new every day.