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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Devarim’

My Machberes

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

This week’s column written with Rabbi Yaakov Klass.

The Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas

The Torah commands that six events be remembered always. Consequently, some halachic authorities maintain that the biblical verses detailing those commandments be recited daily. They are the remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt (Devarim, Re’eh 16:3); the remembrance of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai (Devarim, Va’eschanan 4:9-10); the remembrance of Amalek’s attack (Devarim, Ki Seitzei 25:17-19); the remembrance of the golden calf (Devarim, Eikev 9:7); the remembrance of Miriam (Devarim, Ki Seitzei 24:9); and the remembrance of Shabbos (Shemos, Yisro 20:8).

Those who took part last week in the 5772-2012 Siyum Daf Yomi at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will forever remember it as corresponding to receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

MetLife has a seating capacity of 82,500, making it the 30th largest stadium in the world and the single largest in the greater metropolitan New York City area. More than 10,000 seats were added by filling the playing field with folding chairs, making for a total of almost 93,000 seats, all of which were sold.

Despite inclement weather, tens of thousands of Jews converged on East Rutherford. The New York City and New Jersey public transit systems were crowded with people traveling to MetLife. Roadways, highways, bridges and tunnels were teeming with vehicles of every description carrying observant Jews to the Siyum. Thousands flew in from cities near and far (from Mexico, California, Toronto, Montreal, Florida, etc.) to take part in the special event.

Awe is the only word that can describe one’s feelings in seeing the huge electronic SIYUM HASHAS New Jersey highway directional signs, indicating the enormity of the event. Traffic stops gave motorists and passengers an opportunity to look around and see so many others heading in the same direction with the same feeling of wonderment. Well before the scheduled opening, large crowds, impervious to the rain, had already gathered to wait for the earliest possible access.

Many brought along their Gemaras. Some had two Gemaras – the final tractate of Shas and the first – to finish and to re-begin. Thousands brought binoculars in order to have a close-up view of the great Torah leaders on hand.

When the doors to the Siyum opened Wednesday afternoon, Av 13 (August 1), everyone underwent a thorough security screening. Once inside, people rushed to acquire HaSiyum, the oversized booklet that was distributed, as well as HaSiyum Jr. for younger participants.

Fully armed with the coffee table-sized HaSiyum journal, the assembled proceeded to their designated seats. Every seat, even the most inexpensive, offered full views by means of multiple huge digital overhead screens. Of course, the more expensive seats were situated closer to the dais and to the venerated rabbis, rosh yeshivas, and chassidishe rebbes. The HaSiyum journal included the final and first pages of the Talmud and the entire closing Hadran formula, (all courtesy of the Mesorah Heritage Foundation of ArtScroll Publications). It also contained Minchah, Maariv, and chapters of Tehillim that were recited.

Right before 7 p.m., the official starting time, an announcement was made advising that due to the weather, traffic, and transit conditions, tens of thousands had not yet arrived and that Minchah was being postponed until 7:15. But right before 7:15 the same announcement was made, this time deferring Minchahto 7:30. As people filed into their seats, open umbrellas were closed and towels were used to mop up soggy seats. Miraculously, the rains greatly diminished at 7:30 and the weather for the rest of the evening was quite pleasant.

* * * * *

Once settled in, the huge crowd davened Minchah, led by Rabbi Yaakov Levovitz. The tefillah was awe-inspiring, leaving everyone wondering how many – if any – times in recent history so many people had prayed together in one group.

The program included a series of inspirational speakers including Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshiva Beth Medrash Govoha Lakewood, who formally closed the 12th cycle of study; RabbiYissocher Frand, Rosh Yeshiva Ner Yisroel Baltimore, who advised Daf Yomi beginners to have a plan to complete the Daf Yomi study cycle (at the last Siyum Rabbi Frand memorably declared that the study of Daf Yomi is “never too little, never too late, and never enough”); and Rabbi Gedalya Weinberger, chairman of the Daf Yomi Commission, who drew sustained enthusiastic applause in beginning his address proclaiming “Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov!

Haredi or Conservadox?

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

There are many people who claim to be Haredi Jews, but they aren’t Haredi at all. In the Torah portion of “V’Etchanan,” which we read on Shabbat, we learn from Rashi’s commentary the true nature of a Haredi Jew, epitomized by Moshe Rabeinu himself. On the verse which describes how Moshe set aside three cities of refuge on the eastern bank of the Yarden, Rashi states, “Being that his heart was God fearing (hared) to set them aside, even though their status wouldn’t take effect until those in the Land of Canaan were set aside first – Moshe said, ‘A mitzvah that is possible to observe, I will observe it’” (Devarim, 4:41).

In other words, we learn from Moshe that the true meaning of Haredi is someone whose fear and reverence of God so fills his being that he rushes to do every single mitzvah as speedily and as completely as he can, not wanting to miss the slightest opportunity in serving God.

We also find this Haredi quality in Moshe’s great desire to live in the Land of Israel. Moshe wanted to make aliyah more than anything else. This is a sign of a true Haredi Jew – a towering love for the Land of Israel and a passionate desire to live there. As we wrote in a previous blog, our Sages tell us that Moshe begged God again and again, 515 times, to enter the Land of Israel. This was his life’s supreme desire – not merely to long for the Land of Israel, but to go there to perform the commandments of the Torah the very first opportunity he had. This is what being a true Haredi Jew is all about. A person who wants to fulfill the will of God as completely as he can, rushes to perform every mitzvah he can. He doesn’t wait for a mitzvah to come his way – he hurries to be first on line. Loving God and fearing him with a burning reverence and awe, Moshe yearned to fulfill God’s will in everything, especially regarding the mitzvah of living in the Land of Israel, a mitzvah which our Sages tell us is equal in weight to all the commandments of the Torah (Sifre, Reah, 12:29), as it says over and over again in the portion we read on Shabbat:

“Now therefore, hearken O Israel, to the statutes and to the judgments which I teach you to do them, that you may live and go in and possess the Land which the L-rd G-d of your fathers gives you (Devarim, 4:1).

“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the L-rd my G-d commanded me, that you should act accordingly in the Landwhither you go in to possess” (Devarim, 4:5).

“And the L-rd commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might do them in the Land into which you go over to possess (Devarim, 4:14).

“Thou shall keep therefore His statutes and His commandments which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou may prolong thy days upon the Land which the L-rd thy G-d gives thee, forever” (Devarim, 4:40).

“I will speak to thee all of the commandments and the statutes and the judgments, which thou shall teach them, that they may do them in the Landwhich I gave them to possess” (Devarim, 5:27).

“You shall walk in all the ways which the L-rd your G-d has commanded you, that you may live, and that it be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the Land which you shall possess (Devarim, 5:30).

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments, which the L-rd your G-d commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the Land into which you go to possess it (Devarim, 6:1).

“Hear therefore, O Israel, and take care to do it, that it may be well with thee, and that you may increase mightily, as the L-rd G-d of thy fathers has promised thee, in that Land that flows with milk and honey” (Devarim, 6:3).

Just from a straightforward reading of this Torah portion alone, it is obvious that God wants the Jewish People to keep the Torah in the Land of Israel. After all, the holy Torah is meant to be kept in the Holy Land, not in Egypt, or the Sinai wilderness, not even in America. Because of our sins, when we were exiled from our Land, our Prophets and Rabbis told us to continue to keep whatever mitzvot we could, so we wouldn’t forget them, saying, “Set up waymarks for yourself, make yourselves signposts” (Yermiyahu, 31:20), but the true, intended place for the observance of the commandments is in Eretz Yisrael, as the Torah clearly repeats again and again (See, Sifre, Ekev, 11:18. And Rashi and the Ramban, Devarim, 11:18). So, of course, a true Haredi, in the original meaning of the term, would rush to do everything he could to fulfill the will of God in keeping the commandments of the Torah in the Land of Israel – giving it at least the same passionate effort as he exerts in securing the most glatt kosher food for his family, and in finding the straightest, most perfect lulav for Sukkot.

Daf Yomi

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

A Hadran On Shas
‘Tam V’nishlam’
(Niddah 73a)

When we complete studying a mesechta, and surely when completing the whole Shas, we say “Hadran alach.” What does “hadran” mean?

Hadran Means To Revisit

Hadran” means “to revisit” and the intention of the person saying it is that he will review the subject matter he just finished studying. A person may think that he already knows the subject matter, but he must review it for there is an explicit verse: “Just be careful and watch yourself very much lest you forget the things” (Devarim 4:9, cited in Menachos 99b). It is interesting that Rishonim write that in the past only people who had already reviewed the tractate would say “hadran” (see Sefer Haeshkol, Hilchos Sefer Torah, 14, p. 160 in the Albek edition).

Chazak, Chazak Venischazek

Eliyahu Rabah states (139, cited in Peri Megadim, ibid.) that the same rationale, of “revisiting,” is why we call out “Chazak” on finishing any of the five Books of Moses in shul. We are wishing the person who received the last aliyah to be strong and review it and not be satisfied that he successfully concluded it.

Many people maintain that “hadran” was not meant to be said at every siyum. In old editions of the Gemara, the words “selika lah maseches” appear at the end of some tractates while the word “hadran” appears at the end of other tractates. It all depended on how the tractate concluded. Generally, one would say “selika lach maseches – the tractate is finished,” but if the last sentence of the tractate dealt with something negative, one would say “hadran.” In other words, the person was declaring that he should learn the tractate again in order not to finish with something negative. Over the years “hadran” replaced “selika lah” in all tractates (Minhagei Yeshurun at the end of the book in the name of Sefer Takanos Utefilos). All the aforesaid is based on the assumption that “hadran” means “to revisit.”

Hadran Means Glory

However, some believe that “hadran” comes from the word “hadar – glory.” In the long version of the siyum, we say “Hadran alach vehadrach alan.” Rabbi Chayim, the Maharal’s brother, explains that the glory of our holy Torah is recognized through us, the Jews, as we are the ones who learn it, and our glory is similarly recognized through the Torah (Sefer Hachayim, Sefer Zechuyos, 1:3). From the version of Sefer Hakeidah for the siyum (Devarim, sha’ar 87), this explanation is plainly evident, as it reads: “Hadrach alan vehadran alach, zivach alan vezivan alach – …your radiance is upon us” (see Minhagei Yisrael, 1:228 et al.).

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English are available for simcha and memorial dedications and are distributed by e-mail – dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

Remembering Har Sinai

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In this week’s parshah Moshe Rabbeinu recounts ma’mad Har Sinai – the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai. Additionally, the Torah warns us earlier in the parshah not to forget the revelation that we witnessed at Har Sinai, for as the pasuk says: “Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen and lest you remove them from your heart all the days of your life, and make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Devarim 4:9).

The Rambam does not count this as a negative commandment. The Ramban, in his commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos (in the section of the prohibitions that the Rambam neglected to count mitzvah 2), writes that we learn from this pasuk that there is a prohibition for one to forget ma’mad Har Sinai and that the Rambam forgot to count it. He continues by explaining the importance of this mitzvah: for if we were to believe that our Torah came from a navi, even a true navi whom we trust, it would not be the same; another navi or dream could then discredit the Torah, creating doubt in our minds. However, now that we know that the Torah was given by Hashem to millions of people, no doubt could ever arise in our minds, since we were the ones who witnessed Hashem’s act of giving us the Torah.

The Magen Avraham (60:2) asks why Chazal did not decree that we should read from the Torah about the giving of the Torah, similar to the decree that we read about annihilating Amalek – since we must remember both events. He answers that it is because we have the Yom Tov of Shavuos to read about it – and that is sufficient.

The Aruch Hashulchan suggests another reason why we do not have a special reading on Shabbos to remember the giving of the Torah. He writes that even according to the Ramban’s view that it is a negative commandment to forget the giving of the Torah, it is only a prohibition to forget and not a positive commandment to remember. We only have special Torah readings when there is a mitzvah to remember, not against forgetting.

However, other Rishonim argue with the Ramban by saying that there is no negative commandment to forget ma’mad Har Sinai; rather the pasuk is prohibiting forgetting the Torah itself. The Yereim (359) says that the pasuk is referring to forgetting Torah, and draws a proof from the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (3:8) that says that anyone who forgets what he has learned is considered to be deserving of death. The Mishnah quotes this pasuk as a reference. The same is implicit from the Sefer Mitzvos Ketanos (96).

The sefer Megillas Esther (commentary to the Ramban’s commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos) explains that the Rambam did not count this pasuk as a negative commandment because he understood (like the other Rishonim) that it is referring to forgetting the Torah itself. This makes it a general mitzvah that encompasses all of the Torah, commanding us to follow the Torah and its mitzvos. The Rambam does not count this type of mitzvah in his count of mitzvos.

The Ramban asks on himself a question from the Gemara in Kiddushin 30a, which derives from this pasuk that when one learns Torah with his grandchildren Hashem considers it to be as if he himself accepted Torah on Har Sinai. Seemingly, the Gemara understands that this pasuk is referring to learning Torah and not remembering about the giving of the Torah. The Ramban answers that learning about emunas haTorah (belief in the Torah) is learning Torah as well.

The sefer Hararei Kedem suggests that the Rambam agrees with the Ramban that the pasuk is referring to forgetting the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai, yet the Rambam did not count it (among his mitzvos) because he believes that the prohibition of forgetting ma’mad Har Sinai is a part of the mitzvah of learning Torah. The Ramban explained that the teaching of emunas haTorah is also regarded as learning Torah.

This can be interpreted this way: There are two parts to the mitzvah of learning Torah. One is to learn Torah; the second is to teach emunas haTorah. It is regarding the second aspect of the mitzvah that the Gemara in Kiddushin said that one who learns with his grandchildren is considered as having accepted the Torah on Har Sinai himself. This is because when one learns Torah with his grandfather, it is as if he is learning with someone from one generation closer to Har Sinai. This learning has both aspects of the mitzvah in it. It has the actual learning, and it strengthens the grandchild’s belief in the Torah. Thus, regarding emunas haTorah, the Gemara reveres a grandfather who teaches Torah to his grandchildren – for it is as if he has accepted the Torah on Har Sinai.

Devarim: Like The Sand Of The Sea

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Moshe’s blessing to the nation of Israel is interesting in that a similar blessing, which Hashem had given Avraham and Yizchak, had already been fulfilled. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, observes that among the greastest blessings is abundant offspring, and therefore this blessing was particularly auspicious – even the third time around.

“Hashem your G-d has caused you to increase, and behold: you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven” (1:10): This very important statement by Moshe declares that the prophetic promise given by Hashem to Avraham (Bereishis 15:5, 22:17) and to Yitzchak (ibid. 26:4), that their seed would be as numerous as the stars, was already actually fulfilled by this time. If we should include in the count all men even over 60, and all women and children, the total would certainly be two million. (The additional blessings given here by Moshe that they increase a thousandfold, has not yet been fulfilled but it is proper to believe that the kindly and pious blessing by Moshe will eventually be fulfilled by Hashem.)

This declaration is part of the list of kindnesses Hashem bestowed, and it is used as a preface to the rebukes Moshe subsequently voiced. (The stars actually number more than two million, but, “The Torah speaks in the language of men” – Berachos 31b; and when the intention was to express a very large number, the comparison to the stars was employed.) The mention of their numbers is also intended to encourage them to be more bold in the conquest of Canaan.

We read later: “Yehudah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea, in multitude” (I Kings 4:20), but we find the prophecy which was said long afterward: “The number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted” (Hoshea 2:1). Thus it is evident that the original promise to Avraham (Bereishis 13:16), though fulfilled in the days of Moshe, included even more for some day in the future. This additional increase may perhaps be due to the prayer Moshe now said: “Hashem, the G-d of your fathers, should make you a thousand times so many more as you are, and bless you, as He has promised you” (1:11).

This hoped for increase in the numbers of the holy nation is one of the most desired wishes of Hashem and also of our great fathers. Nothing can equal the blessing of a huge multitude of the holy people. The Presence of Hashem increases in proportion to their numbers. Every ten Jews gain the Shechinah (Sanhedrin 39a), and a greater “Shechinah dwells upon 22,000 Jews” (Yevamos 64a); and when 600,000 assembled, Hashem came down upon Mt. Sinai.

All of the benefits that are enumerated (which Hashem had bestowed) were for the purpose of the great conclusion: “Fortunate are you Israel; who is like you” (33:29) – the very last words of Moshe.

“That Hashem your G-d carried you just as a man carries his son” (1:31): This is a most significant declaration. Israel, and Israel alone, is Hashem’s son, as He had declared, “My son, My firstborn is Israel” (Shemos 4:22); and “Send forth My son” (ibid. 4:23). All the severe castigations and the heavy chastisements were the strongest demonstrations of Hashem’s love: “And you should know with your heart that just as a man chastises his son, does Hashem your G-d chastise you” (8:5).

Though that generation, more than any other, was privileged to see and to be close to Hashem, the principle that Hashem bears Israel in His arms as His son continues to hold good for all their generations. This is an astonishing statement, which we ourselves would never have dared say; yet Hashem declares openly for the entire world to hear that the loyal and observant Jewish nation is held in His arms as a father holds his beloved child. This is repeatedly stated, as in Yeshaiah 49:15-16 and elsewhere.

This Tisha B’Av, be inspired by the thought-provoking words of Rabbi Avigdor Miller. Access free streaming lectures from your computer or smartphone at www.simchashachaim.com/tisha-bav.html or bit.ly/rabbimiller9av.

Are the Olympics for Jews?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

With the Olympics coming up, and with world attention focused on the brawny athletes who will be competing for gold, silver, and bronze medals in London, it is a good time to see what Judaism has to say about exercise and sport. We will use Rabbi Kook as our mentor and phys-ed instructor, and draw from his teachings, which appear in his books, Orot and Orot HaT’shuva.

Rabbi Kook begins his exploration of t’shuva, or penitence, by telling us that a person seeking happiness in life should have a healthy body and mind. The concept of t’shuva, which goes far beyond its normal understanding as making atonement for one’s sins, begins with the simple advice to be healthy. T’shuva is essentially a return to one’s roots. To do this, a person must first return to his natural physical well being, to his natural physical self. To reach inner peace and harmony with the world, an individual must first have a healthy body.

In our days, where health-food stores and sports clubs abound, this simple teaching is known to almost everyone. A healthy body is the basis of all creative endeavor. What is new, however, is that Rabbi Kook sees this as part of the process of t’shuva. Being in good shape is an important factor not only in attaining personal well-being, but also in forging a connection to God.

Rabbi Kook writes: “Every bad habit must cause illness and pain. Because of this, the individual and the community suffer greatly. After a person realizes that his own improper behavior is responsible for his life’s physical decline, he thinks to correct the situation, to return to the laws of healthy living, to adhere to the laws of nature, of morality, and of Torah, so that he may return to live filled with all of life’s vigor” (Orot HaT’shuva, 1).

To hook up with the spiritual channels connecting heaven and earth, a person must first be in a healthy physical state. For instance, one of the basic requirements of prophecy is a strong, healthy body (Rambam, Foundations of the Torah, 7:1). Physical and spiritual health go together. The Rambam, who worked as a physician when he was not studying Torah, has systematically detailed in his writings the rules of healthy living, stressing the importance of exercise, proper diet, and bodily care as a prerequisite to keeping the Torah (Laws of De’ot, Ch.4).

Today, everyone seems to have a battery of doctors. People cannot seem to do without an assortment of pills. Medical clinics are filled up months in advance. Yet the natural state of a man is to be healthy. Physical ailment, lethargy, and being overweight are all signs that the body is in need of repair. Sometimes the remedy is medicine. Sometimes a proper diet. Sometimes rest and relaxation are the cure.

Rabbi Kook’s call to return to a state of natural well-being has been partly answered in our generation. Today, there is a vast world industry in being natural. We have natural foods, natural organic vegetables and fruits, natural whole wheat bread, natural herbal teas and medicines, natural clothes, natural childbirth, and an assortment of back-to-nature lifestyles. In the past, it was written on food labels which ingredients were included. Now it is often written which ingredients are NOT INCLUDED: no preservatives, no additives, no salt, no sugar, no carbohydrates, no artificial coloring, and the like.

In line with this return-to-Eden existence, Rabbi Kook teaches that when a person corrects an unhealthy habit, he or she is doing t’shuva. It turns out that gyms and health clubs from California to Miami are filled with people doing t’shuva. If you are riding an exercise bike to get back into shape, you are coming closer to God. Tennis players are doing t’shuva. In Las Vegas, even though the morals of the people in aerobics classes may be bent out of shape, they too are engaged in the beginnings of t’shuva.

Accordingly, if a person stops smoking, he is engaging in repentance. If a fat person goes on a diet, he is embarked on a course of personal perfection and tikun. When a teenager who is addicted to Coke begins to drink fruit juice instead, he is returning to a healthier state. In place of caffeine, his blood will be carrying vitamins throughout all of his system. In the language of the Rambam, this person is replacing a food which merely tastes good, with one that is beneficial to the human metabolism (Laws of De’ot, 5:1). As he explains, a person should always eat what is healthy and not merely foods that give his taste buds a lift. Interestingly, the Rambam’s guide to healthy living, written generations ago, reads like the newest best-seller on the market.

The Tremendous Heart Of Pinchas Daddy

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

We’ve just read the Torah portion about Pinchas, an amazing tzaddik who performed an unusual act instinctively and for the sake of Hashem and His honor.

About two weeks ago I was tidying my desk area and the shelves above it. Suddenly, on the floor, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw an old article from a major Hebrew daily, written the day after Sergeant Pinchas Daddy was stabbed in the heart by an Arab who had crept up and attacked him from behind.

Pinchas Daddy. How I loved him; how everyone involved at the Kotel loved him. I had a kiosk near the Kotel and he always greeted me – as well as all the Arab shopkeepers – with a gleaming smile. He was 38 but seemed older – wise and fatherly.

He was like a television cop, twirling his nightstick and helping children cross the street. I’m telling you we all cried, Jews and Arabs alike, when our Daddy was suddenly, and ruthlessly, taken from us.

I picked up the old yellowed article, looked at the photo of that beautiful man and said to myself, “I must call his family and tell them how much I loved and miss him.”

I dialed information and asked for the Daddy family in Talpiot. Moments later I was speaking to Mrs. Daddy. I immediately started crying and told her how I found the little article and picture. She probably couldn’t believe that out of the blue someone on the line was crying for her tzaddik husband.

She told me his 20th yahrzeit – this Thursday, erev Rosh Chodesh Av – will be marked by a ceremony on Mount Herzl. I assured her I would be there.

“Did you ever get remarried?” I asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Yes, I understand,” I said. “Who could ever replace a husband like yours? Pinchas was so gentle, so loving.”

“Our oldest son is a ramach [the abbreviated term for head of a division] at the Russian Compound police station,” she said, “and believe me, he emulates his father’s ways. Pinchas, I’m sure, is very proud of him.”

And now, in his honor, I present the secret power of Pinchas.

When we read in the Torah that Pinchas took the romach, the spear, with which he stabbed Zimri and his idol-worshipping girlfriend, the word romach is spelled without the Hebrew letter vav. Therefore it can be read as ramach, which we use for the number of positive commandments in the Torah.

Ramach is spelled resh (numerical equivalent: 200) mem (40), ches (8), which corresponds to the 248 organs in the body. Each positive commandment fixes and nurtures a different organ.

So the verse hints to us that Pinchas’s meticulous keeping of all 248 positive commandments gave him the strength to do what he did.

But I still didn’t have a proof for my theory until I walked into the Diaspora Yeshiva on the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz and heard Rav Goldstein, the rosh hayeshiva, quoting the famous Mussar sefer Shaarei Teshuvah, which deduces from a pasuk in Devarim that keeping all the positive commandments makes a person a yorei Shamayim – someone who properly fears Heaven – while a person who tramples even one positive commandment is not a yorei Shamayim.

Now it was clear to me that the verse reveals to us the true power of Pinchas – that it was his careful observance of the positive commandments that gave him the strength to avenge God’s honor.

Returning to our Pinchas, of the Daddy family, let’s remember that Rebbe Akiva declared that loving your neighbor like yourself is klal gadol b’Torah – equal to all the positive commandments and all the negative ones too.

Even though the human body contains 248 organs and 365 arteries that are fixed and nurtured by each of the 613 positive and negative commandments, the heart is essentially the most vital organ in the body, without which nothing will work. In police terminology, as mentioned above, the ramach is the chief of the department. So certainly the great mitzvah of loving your neighbor like yourself is klal gadol b’Torah – the heart of all 613 mitzvahs.

A year before he was killed, Pinchas Daddy had suffered a heart attack at the young age of 37. He recovered and was stationed at the holy Kotel, where he shared his heart with every human being, appreciating the importance of the heart to the body and to the mitzvah of loving your fellow man with all your heart – regardless of his color or religion.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/the-tremendous-heart-of-pinchas-daddy/2012/07/18/

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