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Pnei Menachem: Parah and Nadav & Avihu

The 16th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Pinchas Menachem (ben Avraham Mordechai) Alter, the Pnei Menachem of Ger (1926-1996). The fifth son of the Imrei Emes, Rav Pinchas was born in the resort  town of Palinitz, Poland when his father was 60 years old. Along with his father and other family members, he escaped to Erezt Yisrael during World War II. In 1946, he married his cousin, and two years later, his father passed away. Three of the Imrei Emes’ sons became Rebbe of Ger: Rav Yisrael (the Beis Yisrael, niftar 1977), Rav Simcha Bunim (the Lev Simcha, niftar 1992), and Rav Pinchas Menachem (the Pnei Menachem). However, Rav Pinchas Menachem was Rosh Yeshiva of Sefas Emes of Ger in Yerushalayim from the time he was 30, and was head of Agudas Yisrael after the petria of Rav Yitzchak Meir Levine.


Rabbi Levi said, “Do not think that anyone other than Moshe wrote the Book of Iyov, for it is written, ‘Oh, that they (Job’s words) were inscribed in a book (Job 19:23)!’ and it is Moshe who is described as the ‘one who inscribes,’ as it is written, ‘And He (Gad) saw fit to take the first part for himself, for there (was) the burial portion of the one who inscribes (Moshe) [Devarim 33:21].’”

To inscribe is to be Michokeik, as in, “Zot Chukat ha-Torah,” the introductory verse to Parshat Parah. This means that Moshe was michikeik, inscribed, the words of Torah on the hearts of Israel.

“Now, go and write this prophecy on a tablet in their presence, and inscribe it in a book (Isaiah 30:8),” in order for Isaiah to purify the hearts of Israel he had ti inscribe his teaching on the hearts of Israel so that they would desire only good. This is what Moshe did with all of Torah.

The Midrash on this weeks portion teaches, “Lest he drink and forget the statute of the Torah, Michukak (Proverbs 31:5),” that which was inscribed on Solomon’s heart, and on the hearts of Nadav and Avihu, who had much Torah, but were lacking in Awe of Heaven, as was Shlomo, and therefore never achieved inscribing the words of Torah on their hearts.

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