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Pinchas: Rav Yaakov Weinberg zt”l

The following is a rough transcript of the Aish HaTorah tape by Rav Yaakov Weinberg ztllh’h on parashat Pinchas Tape I. It is contains some of the most precious treasures of Rav Yaakov’s all time greatest lessons. We are posting it today l’ilui nishmato.



Vayedaber Hashem El Moshe Leimor – Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aaron Hacohen Heishiv es Chamasi Mei’al Bnei Yisrael B’kano es kinasi b’socham v’lo chilisi es bnei yisrael b’kinasi. Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aaron the cohen , we have to understand here one of two possible alternatives. Either it was only the fact that he was a cohen the grandson of Aaron and the son of a cohen that made it possible for him to do so. That is had it not been a cohen then even the kinas hashem that pinchas showed would not have been sufficient to remove the kinas… chamas hashem from bnei yisrael, or the fact that he was a cohen was what gave him the strength and the initiative to undertake to do it. That is to say the Torah is certainly making it clear that it was only as a cohen that pinchas acted, therefore it was either that because he was a cohen he was brought to do it, it was the fact of his kehunah that gave him the drive and the undertaking to do it, or that even had he done it but if it were not that he did it as the grandson of Aaron it would not have been sufficient to remove the cheimas hashem. The sevarah is that it was the fact of his kehuna that brought him the zerizut that brought him the energy and commitment to undertake the task, rather than the first pshat because it is a little hard to see why it should not have taken away cheimas hashem if in fact that kedushas hashem had been done even by a non-cohen. And therefore I think that we ought to more likely accept the second pshat namely that it was only the fact that he was a cohen that gave him the initiative to undertake the task. But certainly this the chumash makes clear that it was as a cohen, that is as a grandson of a cohen, that he did it.

This is a statement of fact. That is to say the torah does not say I am rewarding pinchas because he did such and such, the Torah says pinchas did this thing, therefore I am giving him a reward. The difference between the two ways of putting is that one is the reward is what the torah is stressing and what he did is only to explain why he received the reward. The way the chumash is putting it is that what pinchas did is itself the greatest statement that can be made. Also he got a reward for it. But without the reward it is necessary for you to know what it is that pinchas did, because this in and of itself is the highest of all the things that can be said of pinchas. The reward is a taphel, the reward is a side issue. That is the way the torah is putting it. The torah is putting it that pinchas succeeded in doing a tremendous achievement and it is this in itself that is his zchus, that is his monument, that is the thing that will remain forever and ever, an eternal thing that he accomplished and brought about. And the existence of klal yisrael owes itself to pinchas to a large extent. Lachen therefore because of this fact, I am also going to … whatever the next thing will be. But it is not that it is the explanation for what happens to pinchas, it is the statement in itself that the Torah is making. You should know what pinchas is.

What is it that he did? He removed my anger from the bnei yisrael through the fact that he was zealous for my zealousness. A keil kanah v’nokeim is translated in English as jealous which at one time I thought was the height of absurdity to use the word jealous in terms of G-d, it is ridiculous, who was G-d jealous of. It turns out I discovered that the word jealous originally meant zealous. And the translation was accurate, it is that the word has come to have a different connotation. A jealous G-d means a zealous one. [?Albeit?] b’kano es kinasi, there is both … the statement of b’kano es kinasi is extraordinarily revealing. It was not that because of what he did that G-d ceased to be angry on the klal yisrael. It was that what he did was the same that the ribbono shel olam would do. Kinasi would have brought about kilisi es yisrael, but he carried it out the same kinah, only he carried it out a different way. In other words it was not as a reward of what pinchas did as a result of what pinchas did that the anger of the ribbono shel olam was quieted, it was that pinchas carried out that which was necessary and therefore the anger no longer has a place to express itself. Do you follow? Kinasi, the kinas hashem, the zealousness of the ribbono shel olam would have had required the destruction G-d forbid of the jews. The same exact thing was accomplished by pinchas, by his undertaking to kill zimri and the midianis. B’kano, when he carried out es kinasi, my zealousness. Therefore what pinchas did was the equivalent. This means, a general understanding if you stop to think, of how we human beings or specifically how we bnei yisrael can accomplish things. Pinchas, by undertaking to wipe out the locus of the infection accomplishes exactly that which the hasgacha would have do to through kilisi es yisrael. Meaning that the kinisi es yisrael would only have re-established the balance of Kiddush hashem, but a man can re-establish that balance kaviyachol, the hasgacha cannot re-establish that balance by letting the chotei die, because that does not reestablish the Kiddush hashem, the Kiddush hashem was done b’soch yisrael, but Pinchas, a yisrael, his action does in fact reestablish the Kiddush hashem that was destroyed by zimri. And therefore he can with killing zimri and the midianis, do that which if the hashgacha does, can only be accomplished by kilisi es yisrael. You follow? Which means that if an adam undertakes, if a ben yisrael undertakes, we can accomplish enormous things because of the fact that as people working within the world what we do has a different kind of an impact than what the hashgacha does, [?you see?]. A pinchas, because he is a mekadesh hashem by undertaking such an initiative can restore a balance which if it has to come milimaila, would require no less than G-d forbid kilisi es yisrael. B’kano es kinasi, he carried out the zealousness that I would have carried out. And therefore v’lo chilisi es bnei yisrael because b’kinasi I would have had to be mechaleh to destory es bnei yisrael. That would have been the only way to restore the balance of my zealousness. Therefore we see the repetition of kinasi, it is a pecu[liar?] … but with this understanding you see it very clear. It is what he says. With my kinah it would have had to been chilisi, he took care of that which the chilisi would have done. Which means that when we do things it is not rewards and punishments. It is not that keviyachol would have had to punish yisrael by destroying them. It is that to restore the shechina in the world after this chet required kilisi. If you can accomplish that same restoration without it there is no need for the kilisi. You see what we derive from this an insight into the meaning of responses of kaviyachol of the hasgacha’s responses. They are not responses of punishment for an evil done, they are responses of fixing the pirtzah, of fixing the wound that was created. And a zimri creates a wound the fixing of which requires either kilisi es yisrael or the alternative that yisrael fix it up. If they fix it up they can fix it up simply by being … showing the zerizus in kinas hashem. Therefore it is not a reward to pinchas that I will not kill the Jews, it is that pinchas made it unnecessary by restoring the balance that zimri had upset.

Yeah. (Audience: What was the chet that was started as that required v’chilisi es yisrael, was it just by zimri, or was it something that many jews were doing?) Well obviously it was not just by zimri, it was that zimri did it biphnei kol yisrael, it was a public affirmation, it was a destruction of the whole understanding of the relationship of yisrael with hashem yisbarach that he was undermining. And he did it for that purpose. Why did he take her and show in front of everybody and say “do you want is there anything you can do about it?” That is what he undertook to do. And this response said, “No, we are not going to tolerate a breaking of Yisrael’s kedushah, we are not going to stand by.” Which tore away what zimri thought he was going to do, and therefore he did not succeed in doing it and by not succeeding it made it totally unnecessary for the chilisi.

(Audience: Does chilisi mean that hashem would have to wipe out the entire klal yisrael?) I do not know, but it certainly means something very drastic. Lachen …(Audience: Why should, I mean 24,000 died, right? Why should so many more have died than by the eigel?) I do not know.

Lachen, therefore emor, say, hineni nosein loh es brisi shalom, I extend to him my covenant of peace. V’haysa loh u’lezaro acharav bris kehunas olam and this should be to him an to his progeny or seed after him a covenant of eternal kehunah tachas asher kineih leilohav v’yechaper al bnei yisrael. All we have to determine is are we talking of two rewards or one? It would appear from Rashi that we are talking of one that becomes two. That is to say brisi shalom includes bris kehunas olam. Kaviyachol extends to him brisi shalom, and because he has this bris shalom it remains to him a covenant of eternal priesthood. There is a very great difference in the two ways of learning. I could well have learnt that there are two covenants made with pinchas, one covenant brisi shalom, my covenant of peace, and another one of bris kehunas olam, a covenant of eternal priesthood and it would have fit in the second half of the pasuk, tachas asher kinei lailokav he did two things one he was mekainei he was zealous for his G-d and second vayechaper al bnei yisrael and he atoned [?both?] the translation would be for the bnei yisrael. And one would then could think that for one of the two he got bris shalom, for the other of the two he got bris kehunas olam. Rashi says no it means brisi shalom, the consequence of brisi shalom is bris kehunas olam, in which the second half of the pasuk reads like this. Tachas asher kinei leilokav for in return for having been zealous for the ribbono shel olam vayechaper thereby atoning al bnei yisrael. You understand? Once you read the first as a bris that includes a consequence then the second is an action that includes a consequence. The first is brisi shalom that includes the consequence that he is going to be a kohein olam in return for being zealous for hashem that includes the consequence of vaychaper al bnei yisrael. It would fit in actually too. Vayechaper al bnei yisrael is what a cohen does. The bris kehunas olam is for the vayechaper al bnei yisrael. Therefore brisi shalom is for kinei leilokav. This becomes a very insightful point.

One ordinarily does not associate zealousness with peace. The ribbono shel olam here is saying to moshe tell him that his zealousness is peace. Brisi shalom of peace comes from kinei leilokav, of being zealous for hashem. And that of course is necessarily the pshat anyway. By killing zimri hashem gives him shalom. Shalom for killing, [?that is?] their peace is not a passive lack of war. If peace is a passive lack of war there is no way that through a violent act of killing one achieves peace. Peace is not a lack of war peace is a state of being, a state of being in which there is a closeness a relationship a way of dealing with each other. It is not just that I do not bother you and you do not bother me, that is not peace. It is that we live together and work together and have a shaichis to each other a unity a commonness and that the all of us are a wholeness that is shalom. And therefore that which disturbs and destroys this state, must be removed in order for shalom to exist. And that is why a pinchas that is zealous is actually creating shalom, peace. [?Just?] in general, an understanding. That it is very often necessary to create peace only through what seems to be an act of violence. One must remove those things that disturb the harmony and that create tensions between peoples in order for peace to exist. Therefore peace is an active pursuit. It is not a passive lack of war. What pinchas then has done is kinei leilokav for which he gets brisi shalom.

The vayechaper al bnei yisrael is a consequence. This tells us something. In the hierarchy of values when we stop to think, what is most important, to atone for the Jews or to be zealous for G-d? To save the Jews, or to bring kedushas hashem into the world? It says here, the ikkar is that he undertook to save kedushas hashem. The consequence is atoning for the Jews. Pinchas undertook and the torah says correctly not to save the Jews, he undertake to be mekanei beshem hashem, to be zealous for the holiness of the ribbono shel olam. That was his burning drive. Because of that he was able to be mechaper al bnei yisrael. Had we learnt not with rashi possibly we would have learnt the other way though I think that the words themselves would have squeezed us to learn rashi’s way anyway. We would have said that they are both of equal value. That the zealousness and the atonement each was a part of his undertaking. But once we understand that brisi shalom means and therefore v’haisa loh bris kehunas olam then necessarily the kinei leilokav and therefore the vayechaper which definitely states that the value and the drive was to be mekanei kinas hashem, and because of that he also succeeded in vayechaper al yisrael. That the kedushas hashem is the ultimate value, and it is through this ultimate value that we can achieve the other value of kaparas yisrael.

In which case we have to point out that the opposite was said just one sentence ago. Because in pasuk yud aleph it said the exact opposite. What was the great accomplishement of pinchas? Heishiev es chamasi mei’al bnei yisrael by being zealous for my name! Right. It is clear over there that the accomplishment of pinchas was saving yisrael. The being zealous is only the means, the way through which he did it. Here we are taking out of the pasuk that the main thing is to be zealous for hashem, the atonement for yisrael is the by product, the pasuk therefore says very clearly that the saving of yisrael is the accomplishment, the kino es kinasi is only the means by which he accomplished it! Do you see that we have over here what seems to be a clear contradiction. And in truth it is a clear contradiction. And this contradiction exists all through torah and all through our relationship with kaviyachol. We wear tephillin in which we state the greatness of our creator. Kaviyachol’s tephillin states the greatness of klal yisrael. We call it chag hapesach to commemorate the ribbono shel olam’s passing over our houses when he killed the bechorim in mitzrayim, kaviyachol always calls it chag hamatzot to commemorate the tovah the chesed of yisrael, lechtech acharai bamidbar ba’eretz lo zerua. There is always this dichotomy. There is kaviyachol the G-d’s point of view and there is yisrael’s point of view. From our point of view the thing that matters is serving hashem. From hashem’s point of view the thing that matters is the good of yisrael. Therefore when he says heishiv es chamasi, when kaviyachol states what his accomplishment … of course the accomplishment was saving the Jews, and the kinasi was the means, that is what the ribbono shel olam considers precious. But in terms of what pinchas did, he did serving the ribbono shel olam first. To him it was kinas hashem first, and the kapparah came as a result, [?you see?]. There is pinchas’ motivation is the motivation of a yisrael to whom the ultimate value is the ribbono shel olam. And to whom yisrael is only the means by which G-d is served. To G-d the ultimate value is yisrael because the worship and the service is only the means by which he can give yisrael, the tov the good which he wants to give them. To him the worship is meaningless, he does not need it. Therefore from his point of view the thank you, the appreciation of pinchas is the saving of yisrael, for pinchas and for us the point is serving the ribbono shel olam in his kedushah. So there is this contradiction, but correctly so. There are the statements of what pinchas did from his point of view and there is the statement of what kaviyachol is kaviyachol grateful for from his kaviyachol point of view. So that both diyukim are correct, there are both these things there. There is that the thing that counts is the saving of yisrael and there is that the thing that counts is the avodas hashem, both are correct. We kaviyachol he.

And this is basic to all of avodah, because otherwise for instance how would we deal with the fact that we have a mishna, al tihiyu k’avadim hamishamshim et harav al menat l’kabeil pras, you should … ele havu k’avadim hameshamshim et harav sheloh al menas l’kabeil pras, some even have the girsa al menas sheloh l’kabeil pras. We have to worship G-d without thought of reward. And it is wrong to worship G-d for the sake of reward. The mesillas yesharim says what is the purpose of man? The purpose of man is to get reward, olam habah [?how did he see dirt?] The mishna says you should not even think of olam habah, it should not be your drive, your drive is to worship hashem because he is and you love him and you recognize his grandeur and you could not do anything else and he has already paid you in advance because you cannot worship with more than he has given you. The messilas yesharim says the whole purpose of your life should be directed towards getting olam habah. [?] … How do you put these two together? Well we just said. Man’s purpose is to serve his creator, G-d’s purpose is for man to receive reward. He does not need the service. Therefore if I want to fulfill the will of G-d, what do I have to do? I have to achieve the maximum amount of olam habah that I can. Because what is the will of my creator? That I should achieve as much olam habah as is possible. My goal has to be olam habah but not so that I should have it, but so that kaviyachol’s ratzon should be fulfilled in giving it to me. This is not an easy task. It can be done. I eat by my mother aleh hashalom a wonderful delicious meal, it is a delicious meal, I eat it because it gives her pleasure to see me savor and enjoy it. It is a fact in such a situation that the motive is not the meal because I could do without it very very nicely. The motive is to give her the great satisfaction of seeing her work appreciated and enjoyed. It happens that the meal is a savory one. The truth was if it was not well done I would have enjoyed it just as much or appeared to. There is a difference you see it does make a difference. The difference is what it is that I am looking for in it. It is a hard thing to draw the line when you really enjoy it as well. After all olam habah is a very delicious thing. But the fact is that there is a difference in what the motivation is.

(Audience: “It is a ma’aleh to be striving for olam habah in just the [sangrol] isn’t it?) Yes it is but the difference would be if you are striving for olam habah in order to enjoy it you will want yourself to get the olam habah. If you are striving for olam habah in order for G-d’s will to be served, then you will give up your own for the sake of twenty others getting olam habah. Because there will be more olam habah given even though you will not be the one to get it. There is an enormous difference as to which is your motivation. If you are interested in your achieving the highest possible degree you ignore everybody else, concentrate on your own growth, on your own being a tzaddik, [?ani es napshi eshmah?]. If you are interested in G-d’s will being served then you say “Look if I can influence 100 people and every one of them will get a tenth of the olam habah I can get it is still 10 times as much olam habah being earned” which is more. You see the difference, it is an enormous difference. You know there is a mashal that the dubna maggid gives. It is a magnificent mashal. He tells the story of a man who had two sons in another city. One of whom was very wealthy and the other nebuch was a struggling poor person. And he writes a letter to his wealthy son and he says, “My son I would very much appreciate if you can come and visit with me and bring along your brother as well.” END SIDE ONE

The journey the carriage the horses the clothes that we would have to get the food we would have to prepare, it is an enormous economic burden. How can I bear it?” The father writes him back and says my son I promise you that every penny that you will spend for me I will give you back. Wonderful. He goes and he buys clothes for himself and his children and he orders hampers and picnic hampers and all the food that go in it and a wonderful carriage and horses to take them and drivers and all the rest and he is ready to go and he reminds himself, oh, wait, I forgot brother. So he says a messenger and they come and they bring him running and he comes as he is nebuch and he sits him on the front of the horse, let’s go. They come and they spend a wonderful two weeks at their father’s house, it is time to go. He says, “Ahem, father [?] I hate to bring it up but you did say that you would compensate me for all I spent. He says, “No, I didn’t say that.” He says, “Father, I have the letter.” He says, “What does it say.” It says I will give you back every penny you spend for me. He says, “Right” he says, “Every penny you spent for me.” What did you spend for me? He gives him a list, he says, “Wait a minute, you didn’t spend for me, if it was for me you would have spent the same for your brother. If you didn’t buy it for your brother you were buying it for yourself. If you did it for me than your brother and yourself are the same, to me you are both sons. If that is what you meant, you are spending it for me, why didn’t you spend the same amount on him? Therefore you didn’t have me in mind, you had yourself in mind.” That is the point. If G-d is whom you have in mind, you want olam habah for him. If it is yourself you have in mind, you want olam habah for yourself. There is an enormous difference. That is why G-d’s point of view is to give you olam habah, our point of view is to serve G-d. It happens that the only way we can serve him properly is by earning olam habah, because that is his ultimate will, there is nothing else that will meet his real desires, kaviyachol. Therefore this dichotomy then, this difference of point of view of creator and created, is basic to the whole of creation. And it expresses itself here as well.

V’sheim ish yisrael hamuceh asher hucah es hamidyanis zimri ben saluh nissi veis av lashimoni. The name of the Jew who was smitten, who was smitten together with the midyanis, is zimri ben saluh, nassi beis av lashimoni. Vshem haisha hamucah hamidyanis, the name of the woman who was smitten was midyanis kuzbi bas tzur rosh umos beis bamidyan huh, Tzur is a president a chieftain of midyan. Now, it is a bit peculiar, before we come to read the pesukim themselves. The positioning of the pesukim. One would have expected that these two pesukim would be in balak where the story of their getting killed is to be found. And even if not, at the very least to precede the story of the reward of pinchas. How does it fit in after we finish the whole story about what they did and we are talking about the rewards and the accomplishments of pinchas? It certainly seems very much out of place.

(Audience: “What does telling us their names teach us?”) That is the second question. The next question will be what is the torah telling us over here? And so we said that we are going to have to go back to the pesukim themselves, what the pesukim want. The pesukim are very interesting and detailed and divide the woman into two, one the woman who is with zimri and two the woman who is the woman. Right, with the midyanis, you could say shem haish yisrael shehucah es hamidyanis asher shmah kuzbi bas tzur. She represents two separate things. She represents herself and also the woman through whom zimri did his chet. The woman through whom zimri did his chet has no name. Because it makes no difference who she is. Over there she is simply so to speak a tool, and as a tool tools do not have names. In the second pasuk she is not a tool, she is a participant, and she is kuzbi bas tzur. We have to examine that. Is the second pasuk only to tell us who her father was. That the father was a chieftain who gave his daughter into so to speak prostitution just in order to hurt the Jews. Is that the whole significance of that pasuk? Or is that pasuk because she deserved to die not as a tool but because she deliberately participated in an aveirah. Is she also doing wrong? Or is the wrong that she is doing only the fact that she intends it in order to bring yisrael into difficulty. Is she being used by a father or herself? I think the shem haisha tells me that we are interested not only in who her father is but in who she is that she deliberately wanted to be used in order to bring about the downfall of yisrael. Now this is what the pasuk is telling us.

But we will have to come back, the question first remains, what has this got to do in this place? One thing that seems clear, that pinchas is not a reaction to an event, but is part of the event. Because the beginning of the event, v’hineh ish mebeit yisrael that begins in balak, the last week’s sidrah, bah vayakreiv el echav es hamidyanis le’einei moshe … vayar pinchas ben elazar … vayihiyu hamesim … vayedaber … pinchas ben elazar hesheiv … it does not end until vshem ish yisrael hamukeh, the … it is all one long event, it is not two events. One event the sin of shimi. The other event the mitzah of pinchas. Right. But rather it is one long event, the two together are the story that we are dealing with, the proof of the matter is that the shem haisha is brought afterwards, you see that it was not finished with that man and now we are talking about the reaction to pinchas, but more, not only was pinchas not a separate event, the rewards of pinchas, the brisi shalom of pinchas the Torah is telling us is part and parcel of that whole incident that took place. It is not an incident and the reward. It is that the incident’s significance to yisrael is to be found in what zimri did and how pinchas reacted and how kaviyachol reacted to pinchas. It is all one story. It is not that pinchas did his and that is the end of it and now we say well what do we do to a pinchas who did such and such a thing like l’havdil, an achasverush said “mah na’aseh lo lish” what did we reward the man who saved my life when he told about the conspiracy to kill me. There is a conspiracy and then well we are sitting down now to consider well what ought we to do to the person who saved me? Two separate things. Over here it is not. It is that the brisi shalom is inherent. If you do this action if you do this ma’aseh the consequence is brisi shalom. It is not that kaviyachol says well what should we do for this man pinchas who acted so nicely. He is creating a shalom and a bris shalom and the lachen is hineni nosein loh es brisi shalom, what he did brought forth this bris of shalom which results in a bris kehunas olam because shalom, completeness with hashem is a bris kehunas olam. It is one long thing, once it starts the whole thing is an event that is a unit. And the aveirah with its consequence and the mitzvah with its consequence are all a unit. It is not a mitzvah and then we will talk about what we will do about it. Like kaviyachol a judge who, “Well you did this and this,” let me see I think it ought to be a two year sentence or this. It is inherent in the act, it is consequences of the act bring about its own G-d forbid onesh or reward.

(Audience: “Doesn’t that suggest a mechanical reality?”) Not a mechanical morality. You are pointing out that it suggests a mechanical world, maybe that is what you mean by morality, a world where reward and punishment does not require the knowledge of G-d. It is a question that we are going to have to deal with. In the ikkarim, you know that the 13 ikkarim of the Rambam are three divided into there specific details. The three are the existence of G-d, which he divides into five, the giving of Torah which he divides into four, and reward and punishment which also have four specific details to them. This means that we have to be aware not only of reward and punishment but of these four specific details of reward and punishment in order to be able to function as Jews. The first one that we have to be aware of the Rambam says is that G-d is aware of everything we do. The second one is that he responds to what we do by reward and punishment. Now if the Rambam says that we must understand that G-d is aware of everything we do he is clearly stating that a reward and punishment that is as you put it mechanical will not keep us worshipping hashem. I think we will go over it again. The Rambam says there are 13 specific bits of awareness that is absolutely necessary in order for a Jew to function Jewishly. And if he is unaware of one of these 13 things he cannot function Jewishally. One of the things he has to be aware of is that G-d knows everything we do. Another thing we have to be aware of is that G-d rewards our mitzvoth and punishes our aveiros. It makes it very clear that just to know that G-d rewards and punishes us is not enough. It is necessary that we also realize that he is aware of our chata’im and our mitzvoth. Which means that a built in reward and punishment system. Which would be that G-d created the world in such a way. That whenever you did a mitzvah you got a reward and whenever you did an aveirah you got a punishment, computer, you know that computers can be built this way, G-d could build a world in which built into that world is that every action that is a mitzvah will result in a reward and every action which is an aveirah will result in a punishment. [?] But would not be enough to keep us worshipping G-d, because then we only need to know one thing, that there is reward and punishment. Why do we have to know that G-d is aware of everything we do? You follow? If he says we must be aware that everything we do G-d knows, he is telling us that reward and punishment is not enough, it cannot be a mechanical reward and punishment, it must be an aware and deliberate reward and punishment, is not that what he is saying. If it could be a mechanical reward and punishment, then why must we be aware that G-d knows what we do. You do not hear the? (Audience: “That answers it in the …”) That does not answer it, it makes your question deeper. I am bringing out the full significance of your question.

(Audience: “Do most [?shitas?] briefly restate the pshat in the parshah that [?talks?] about the question?”) Yes.

We were saying that the fact that it ends with vesheim ha’ish tells us that we do not have two separate events, one the event of the chet and zimri’s reaction, another the ribbono shel olam’s reaction to pinchas’ act. Because if that were so then the name of the ish and the isha belong before. If the name of the ish and the isha follow it is telling us that we are telling the same event. It began with zimri picking her up it ends with their names. And therefore the brisi shalom of pinchas is part of this whole one event. The event consists of zimir’s chet, pinchas’ zealousness and G-d’s reward. It is not that G-d’s reward is a reaction to pinchas’ zealousness. In that case it would appear that the … pinchas’ zealousness in and of itself brought about this relationship with hashem yisbarach, that is the reward. For which he says in that case it makes reward and punishment mechanical. That was the point brought up in the question. I am bringing up that to say it is mechanical is impossible because the Rambam says the whole point of reward and punishment is lost if it is mechanical. Because the Rambam is telling us that reward and punishment that is mechanical is not sufficient to keep us worshipping hashem yisbarach. We also have to know that G-d is aware of what we are doing. Now if we have to know that G-d is aware of what we are doing it can only be because reward and punishment is not mechanical. It is something that G-d is deliberately meting out so to speak. Therefore he has got to know what we are doing when we do a mitzvah to give us the reward, when we do an aveirah chas v’shalom to send us the punishment. Whereas if it is mechanical he does not have to know anything. It works that way.

The truth is, that it has to be this way. Because think for a moment, the Rambam says that unless we are aware that there is reward and punishment, we cannot really worship G-d. We must be aware of reward and punishment. Well the question is, why? Are we not supposed to worship G-d without the consideration of reward and punishment? We are supposed to worship G-d without thought of reward and punishment. Then why does the Rambam say that if we are not aware that there is reward and punishment, we could not worship G-d? Sure we could. He worshiped G-d without consideration of reward and punishment, no question the Rambam was an oveid miahavah. We are asking all Jews to become that, to be oveid, worship G-d without thought of reward and punishment. Then why do you say that unless you are aware of reward and punishment you cannot worship G-d? (Audience: “For the consequences of your actions, I mean if you do not look and see that there are consequences to your actions whether it is either reward or punishment, then you are nonexistent.”) That is true, I think it could be brought out slightly different, a little bit more forcefully. The word is what you just said, what he just said was, reward and punishment is not just reward and punishment. Reward and punishment means that what I do matters. As he put it, it has consequences. If what I do does not have consequences then it is meaningless and absurd and do not talk to me about it, there is no way to worship a G-d if there is no consequence to what I do. If whatever I do it is the same, there is nothing to do. There has got to be reward and punishment to tell me that it makes a difference what I do, that what I do matters. That what I do makes a difference. Another way of saying it is, there will never be a child who will behave or not behave because of reward and punishment. He will behave and not behave because of his parents’ response. Reward and punishment means that what I do matters to mother or father. If mother and father do not respond to what the child does he knows they do not care for him, they have thrown him out, they have rejected him. Now reward and punishment does not mean a potch, reward and punishment is any reaction. If mother cries that is a punishment. If mother smiles, that is a reward. There has got to be a reaction to what I do, if there is no reaction to what I do it cannot matter I cannot talk about it I cannot think about it, therefore reward and punishment has to be understood, because reward and punishment indicates that what I do matters, that it makes a difference. But take it a step further, what difference does it make. It makes a difference as to whether I am hurt or not hurt, what difference does that make to me, I do not care whether I am hurt or not, I am worshipping G-d even if I am not hurt. Even if I am hurt. It makes no difference. Therefore reward and punishment cannot just mean consequences, it has got to mean response by the ribbono shel olam, he responds to me differently. I make a difference to him. It is not just that what I do makes a difference to me. For the difference to me I will not do mitzvoth, who cares? So I am willing to lose olam habah, it has got to be that I am aware that it makes a difference to the ribbono shel olam. He is upset with me G-d forbid or he is happy with me. The reward and punishment is an indication of my relationship to him. That he cares that he is concerned, that he knows and responds to me, because how can I worship a G-d who is not aware of me who does not know me, who does not care about me, it does not make a … I mean a mechanical reward and punishment is meaningless. It has got to be a reward and punishment that G-d is expressing his concern and his care and his … that he is not indifferent to what I do, that it matters to him what I do. If it matters to him what I do then I worship him. If it does not matter to him how do you worship him? You cannot worship a G-d to whom it does not matter. You can worship yourself. It is only yourself you are worshipping, it is yourself because you want a reward. You are not doing anything for G-d, he does not even know you. How do you worship a G-d who does not know you? How do you worship a G-d who does not care what you do? For the sake of your getting olam habah? Then you are worshiping yourself, you are not worshiping him. A man who works at a factory, he is working for his employer or he is working for the paycheck. Obviously he is working for the paycheck. If you are working for your reward you are working for the paycheck, it is not G-d that matters, it is not him that you are worshipping, it is yourself you are that you are worshiping. Therefore the only way there can be an avodas hashem is if the ribbono shel olam knows and responds and reacts to what we are doing.

Yeah. (Audience: “Isn’t is a basic principle that hashem’s [?charm?] is not affected in any way by our actions and that he does not become scared or happy by what we do?”) You can react to that in two ways. You can deal with it in terms of the ba’alei kaballah, where all that we talk about has nothing to do and does not relate to the ein sof himself but to the first atzilus, or you can react in it in terms of the ratzon hashem, that even though kaviyachol is not affected one way or the other, but his ratzon is affected. But the fact is that the ratzon hashem is affected is basic to kol hatorah kulah. The ribbono shel olam wants and the ribbono shel olam is angry, and the ribbono shel olam responds, all these are basic. If you are talking (Audience: “Are we separating hashem from his ratzon?”) You are going to do it one way or another. You are entering (Audience: “?”) Tell me, did the ribbono shel olam create a world? Is ribbono shel olam the creator different then the ribbono shel olam non-creator? (Audience: “He himself is the same.”) What is that? (Audience: “He himself is the same.”) He himself is the same, exactly. He himself is the same even though he responds to what we do, his responding to what we do is part of his beriyah. Whichever way you are going to explain the fact that he himself is the same even though at one point he is a boreih kaviyachol and at another not, you are going to explain how his ratzon is involved. Therefore you are meeting the difficulty involved in the etzem beriyah. Once you have passed that point, the rest no longer is a difficulty. [?] Whatever it means, it means that kaviyachol relates. He is nichnas l’galus, he cries he is a sameach, what ever those things mean. But one thing it means for sure, that he knows what we do. Then it says and the Rambam of course that his knowledge is him and not separate from him. So does that knowledge change? We did it or we did not do it. Therefore he knows differently according to what we choose. So that knowledge changes but the knowledge is him, so he changes? And the terutz is that you have got to separate between the borei and the beriyah. And within the beriyah he is a boreih and within the beriyah he does know what I do and he reacts to what I do and he cares about what I do. You have got to deal with that. And therefore since we are not capable of dealing back with that first step at least certainly not, you know in a general setting such as this, we keep speaking the second half as the torah and chazal and rishoning always do. They deal with the first half is what kabbalah is all about. That question you are asking is really what the whole geder that is what kaballah is all about. How an ein sof, how from and unchanging from an absolute transcendental there emanates a beriyah that goes down all the way to material existence and retains a shaychus one with the other. You are dealing with that problem which all the rishonim had to deal with of how kaviyachol relates to chomer anyway. That is true, but that is on a different level. We are dealing as though that level were already taken care of, and we have no choice but to do that.

(Audience: “Is it apikursus to say that the world itself, forgetting schar v’onesh, the world itself is mechanical, or once you say that the almighty is directly involved in schar v’onesh then the entire operation of the world is part of schar v’onesh because if I am moving my arm he is relating to me and that is schar. If there is a leaf moving a million miles away from anybody that is someone affecting me so that is schar or onesh.”) I don’t think I caught on to what you are asking. I really just, I didn’t follow. (Audience: “Alright, let me try again, so let us say we have established that schar v’onesh, you are an apikoris if you say schar v’onesh is not from the almighty…”) No, no no, do not say that, the shelah says these words, schar v’onesh, he says, eino heskami’i, it is not, how would you translate heskamiyi, it is not decision making. It is built in. (Audience: “Oh, so then what do you mean built in?”) It is built in to the beriyah, eino heskamiyi, it is built in, which would seem to be the mechanical. We are asking how could it be? (Audience: “So then if it is built in so if you put that into the yud gimmel ikkarim now I would have to say…”) END SIDE TWO.

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