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(5736) (First Haftorah of three weeks): "The words of Yirmiyahu" and its connection to Parshat Pinchas.



1. Regarding the Haftarot of the Three (Haftarot) of Retribution (“Telata d’Pur’anuta”) and the "Seven (Haftarot).of Consolation (“Shiv'a d’Nechemta”), it has been spoken of many times that even though they are not in accordance with the “theme of the Parshiot”, but rather are “according to the time and the occurrence” – nevertheless since all aspects of Torah are the epitome of preciseness, it is understood that even these Haftarot have a relation (not just to the time and the occurrence, but also) to the Parshiot in Torah which are read at that time.

We find, actually, an open connection between the present Haftorah, the “words of Yirmiyahu etc.” (which, in the beginning tells how Yirmiyahu became a prophet) and Parshat Pinchas.

It states in the Midrash that that Pinchas and Yirmiyahu both were descended from a “gentile family” (ממשפחת נכרי׳):

  • Pinchas from “the daughter of Putiel” and
  • Yirmiyahu from “the descendants of the children of Rachav”.

And because of this, the Yidden “denigrated” them.

Therefore, G-d compared Pinchas to Aharon HaKohen as it states in the beginning of the Parsha: “Pinchas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the Kohen”. In addition, Scripture delineates the ancestry of Yirmiyahu as it states: “The words of Yirmiyahu son of Chilkiah, of the kohanim etc.”

It is however understood that the connection between them is not just in this unique aspect – namely that the Yidden all “denigrated” them and therefore, “Scripture needed to state their ancestry” – but (also) in the general theme of (the Avodah) of Pinchas and (the Avodah) of Yirmiyahu.

This general connection visibly expresses itself in this common detail and aspect. Therefore, this detail (and connection) is explicitly stated (in the Oral Torah).

What is this general connection, in our case?

2. We also must understand the connection between the beginning of the Haftorah: “the words of Yirmiyahu etc.” to the Three (Haftarot).of Retribution.

In the beginning portion of the Haftorah, it is told how Yirmiyahu became a prophet, as it states:

“And the word of the L-rd came to me, saying ‘When I had not yet formed you in the womb, I knew you. . I had appointed you; a prophet to the nations I made you’“.

 Yirmiyahu then said:

“I know not to speak for I am a youth“

and G-d answered:

“Say not, ‘I am a youth’, for wherever I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Behold, I have appointed you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to uproot and to crush, and to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant “

 (And only after this, the prophecy is told of the destruction which would come “for all their evil“ and in a manner of “a rod of an almond tree“, because of which it is, as is understood, this Haftorah is of the Three (Haftarot).of Retribution.

It is not understood:

What relation does the preface of how Yirmiyahu became a prophet to retribution?

3. The general connection and commonality between the aspect of Pinchas and Yirmiyahu is:

In both of their times, the Yidden found themselves in a low (spiritual) state.

  • In the episode of Pinchas, there was the sin of the “daughters of Moav” and “Baal Peor”.
  • And in the time of Yirmiyahu there were the “prophets of Baal” etc., as it is told in detail in the prophecy of Yirmiyahu regarding the condition of the Yidden at that time.

And both of them, at that time, aroused the Yidden to do Teshuvah:

  • Yirmiyahu through words of rebuke (mussar) and
  • Pinchas – through that which he killed Zimri in a manner that “everyone saw that he had not killed them for nothing“ which brought the Yidden to do Teshuvah.

(Consequently, it is understood why the verse emphasizes (regarding Pinchas) “zealously avenging Me among them “. For seemingly the word “among them” is superfluous (as the commentators ask). However the verse alludes with this, that the zealousness of Pinchas was imbued “within them”, namely in the Bnei Yisroel, evoking within them a motion of Teshuvah. And this brought atonement to the Yirmiyahu, as it states: “and atoned for Bnei Yisroel“)

This alone, however, is not sufficient, since this aspect – namely awakening Yidden, who are in a low state, to do Teshuvah – is not a specific innovation of Pinchas or Yirmiyahu. This is found by many leaders and shepherds of Yisroel, and especially among the prophets.

But rather – the common point among them is the special method of their bringing the Yidden to do Teshuvah.

4. The Talmud states regarding the difference between the prophecy of Yeshaya and the prophecy of Yirmiyahu that: “Yirmiyahu speaks throughout of destruction . . and Isaiah is full of consolation”.

Yirmiyahu‘s prophecy was concerning the destruction of the Temple and Galut. Whereas Yeshaya’s prophecy was regarding the (salvation and the) consolation (which comes about through it). This is also alluded to in their names:

  • Yeshaya is from the word salvation and
  • Yirmiyahu –has within it the letters Mem and Reish (מר - the word for bitterness). Or, in the words of the Sages: “why was he called Yirmiyahu – because in his time Yerushalayim was made a “Irmiyah” (אירמיאה - a destruction)

This aforementioned difference in their prophecy is connected with the era when they spoke their prophecy. And in the words of the Rebbe Rayatz: “Yirmiyahu was in an era of ‘rejection and concealment’ (דחי׳ והסתר) .Whereas Yeshaya was in an era of “revelations” (גילוים). Therefore, the prophecy of Yirmiyahu was in a manner of “rejection and concealment“- “Churban”. Whereas the prophecy of Yeshaya was regarding “revelations” – “consolation” and Geulah.

And even though the prophecy of Yeshaya also contains many words of rebuke to the Yidden for their sins, as one sees in many of the chapters, so much so that the harshest of the Three Weeks is “Chazon Yeshaya” - nevertheless, his (sefer) is called “complete consolation” since the rebukes spurred a rectification and Teshuvah through words of “consolation” (“revelations”). The prophecies regarding the Geulah which will come through the Teshuvah of the Yidden.

However, Yirmiyahu awakened the Yidden in a manner of rejection and concealment – through bringing the Churban which would arise if the Yidden would not do Teshuvah.

And this is the connection between Yirmiyahu and Pinchas. For Pinchas also, like Yirmiyahu, accomplished the atonement of the Yidden (not in a manner of “revelations”, but) in a manner of rejection and concealment, as will be explained.

5. One can understand this by prefacing an explanation in that which G-d said that since Pinchas:

“Turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them, so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal”,

G-d gave him the reward of “I hereby give him My covenant of peace. It shall be for him and for his descendants after him (as) an eternal covenant of Kehuna etc.”

From the words of the verse it appears that the main reason why Pinchas received the reward of “My covenant of peace“ is because he “Turned My anger away from the children of Israel . . so that I did not destroy the children of Israel etc.”. And “zealously avenging Me among them“ is just a detail and a side remark, which tells us the method (מיטל) through which Pinchas accomplished the “Turned My anger away etc.”

It is not understood:

The aspect of “Turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them, so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal” is also found by Moshe Rabbeinu. And we are told this not just one time but many times, as it states in the Chumash. Therefore what is the innovation of Pinchas, namely that specifically he was given the reward of “My covenant of peace“?


Not only do we find that Moshe did not receive the reward of “My covenant of peace . .to him and for his descendants after him“, but on the contrary, we find that, indeed, G-d refused to give him such a reward. The Sages explain, regarding a later verse in our Parsha: “Let the L-rd, the G-d of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation“ that Moshe meant with these words that: “my son should inherit my high position”. And G-d immediately did not concur but said: “Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun“. In other words, Moshe’s high position did not pass over to “his descendants after him”.

6. Among the differences between the Avodah of Moshe and the Avodah of Pinchas are:

  • By Moshe, the “Turning My anger away “ was though that which he prayed to G-d and his prayer effected that from Above, the decree was removed from the Yidden.
  • Whereas, by Pinchas, it was in a manner that through his Avodah of “zealously avenging Me“ – and especially according to the emphasis of “zealously avenging Me among them“ (as aforementioned par 3), he accomplished by Yidden that they should do Teshuvah and though that is was “He atoned for Bnei Yisroel“.
  • Moshe stood on behalf of the Yidden even to the point of Mesirat Nefesh, as it states: “if not, blot me out from your book that You have written“. A Mesirat Nefesh from the perspective of the soul.
  • Whereas by Pinchas, it was actual Mesirat Nefesh, placing his body in real danger. As the Sages tell us, the tribe of Shimon wanted to kill him and he was saved in a miraculous manner.

It is understood and plain, that although that we do not find by Moshe the aspect of physical Mesirat Nefesh, it does not mean, G-d forbid, that he was lacking in this regard. If it would have required actual Mesirat Nefesh, Moshe Rabbeinu certainly would have had it. However, the reason is because, his Avodah was not in that area.

7. The gist of the explanation in the difference between the Avodah of Moshe and the Avodah of Pinchas is:

  • Moshe‘s Avodah was in a manner of “above to below” (מלמעלה למטה) – namely from the perspective of revelation of light (גילוי אור).
  • Whereas the Avodah of Pinchas was in a manner of “below to above” (מלמטה למעלה) – refining the “below” and raising it to “above”.

Therefore, Moshe’s aspect was (mainly) – “Moshe received (from above to below) the Torah from Sinai and gave it over” to his students - to teach Torah to Yidden. For Torah forewarns against undesirable aspects in the manner of Torah Or (the light of Torah) – which disperses darkness. The G-dly light of Torah effects (from above) that the darkness is dispersed “of its own accord and immediately”.  Whereas, Pinchas, through his Avodah, effected within the Yidden a motion of Teshuvah – breaking the darkness, and uplifting and turning them to G-d.

The same was also regarding their Avodah with themselves:

  • The Avodah of Moshe was from the perspective of the soul.
  • The Avodah of Pinchas was from the perspective of the body.

When the Avodah is from the side of revelation of light (גילוי אור), it (mainly) affects the soul (which is a receptacle for “revelations”). It does not, however, persuade the body (the “below”). For although the revelation of the soul also affects the body, it is however, not in a manner, that the body, of its own accord, becomes a receptacle to the light of the soul.

Whereas, the Avodah in a manner of 'below to above' is mainly from the perspective of the body – working with the “below” and refining and uplifting it.

In this there is also a connection between Pinchas and Eliyahu, as the Sages stated that “Pinchas is Eliyahu”, since even Eliyahu‘s Avodah was in a manner of below to above. As is known, the Avodah of Eliyahu (which has the gematria (numerical value) of 52) represents the refining and polishing of the body (the Kabbalistic name ‘Ban’, which has the gematria of 52).

And this is the reason for both of the aforementioned differences between the Avodah of Moshe and the Avodah of Pinchas:


  • Through his prayer to G-d, Moshe accomplished that G-d should remove the decree on the Yidden – in a manner of from above to below.
  • Whereas Pinchas accomplished through his Avodah and the Teshuvah of the Yidden – in a manner of below to above.


  • With Moshe, Mesirat Nefesh was from the perspective of the soul.
  • Whereas by Pinchas – it was Mesirat Nefesh from the perspective of the body.

(Therefore it states in Zohar that Pinchas rectified the sin of Nadav and Avihu, since their sin was in that which they brought about the expiry of the soul (out of spiritual rapture) without “taking with it” (מיטנעמענדיק) their body – as it states: “their soul was burnt and their body remained”. And through the Avodah of Pinchas, from the perspective of the body, he rectified their sin).

8. The difference in the result of both of the methods of Avodah is:

When the Avodah is in a manner of from above to below, from the perspective of revelation of light, indeed, the “below”, at the time, is illuminated and persuaded from the revelation of light (גילוי אור).

However, the “below” itself is not refined. Indeed, as soon as the revelation stops – the “below” remains in its previous condition and standing.

Therefore, one finds that although Matan Torah effected within the Yidden the aspect of “their moral contamination ceased“(פסקה זוהמתן), nevertheless, even afterward there was also room for the Sin of the Calf, through which “their contamination returned“.

However, when the Avodah is in the manner of 'below to above', the “below" itself is refined and elevated - it is an everlasting aspect. Therefore, the atonement that Pinchas attained was not an unrepeatable thing, but rather it remained an everlasting atonement, and was continuous (נמשך). As it states in the Sifri regarding the verse “He atoned for Bnei Yisroel“ – that “even now, he does not move, but stands and atones, until the dead will be revived”.

And this is the explanation why the reward of “My covenant of peace . . to him and for his descendants after him“ was specifically given to Pinchas . For since, Pinchas’s method of “turning My anger away etc.“ was in a manner that did not have any discontinuation, even the reward was measure for measure. Namely that “My covenant of peace“ continues “to him and for his descendants after him“, without stoppage.

9. According to all the aforementioned, one can also understand the connection between Pinchas and Yirmiyahu:

As mentioned previously (par 4) regarding the difference between Yeshaya and Yirmiyahu, namely that “Yirmiyahu was in a time of rejection and concealment and Yeshaya was in a time of revelations” – and that this is the reason from the difference between the Avodah in a manner of from above to below versus that of Avodah in a manner of below to above, one can elaborate:

The Avodah in a manner of from above to below is from the perspective of revelation of light (גילוי אור). (revelations) from the perspective of the soul. In general, this is the Avodah in the time of the Temple (consolation) when the G-dly light visibly illuminates.

The Avodah in a manner of below to above is with the “below” itself, in the “place” of the “rejection and concealment”. For a person, specifically, this is the Avodah to polish and refine (אויסאיידלען) the body and the animalistic soul and his portion in the world. And in the general timeframe this is the Avodah in the time of Galut (“Churban”), not to be influenced from the hardships and tests due to the darkness of Galut. Moreover, it is a time where one must overturn the darkness itself to light – “and the night will light up like day“.

And this is why Pinchas and Yirmiyahu both descended from a “gentile family” (ממשפחת נכרי׳)“ and Yidden denigrated them etc. (as aforementioned par 1). This mainifests the common point of their Avodah in the manner of below to above. Not only regarding themselves – to refine and elevate their individual “below” (the “gentile family“) but also with regard to “their surroundings” in the world. That notwithstanding the “denigration” from the Yidden, they awakened the Yidden themselves to do Teshuvah.

Through drawing from above to below, the light reaches and effects only in such a “below” which does not oppose the light. However if the “below” is so low that it opposes light, then the light cannot reach there (unless – it “breaks” it).

Whereas through elevating from below to above, where one refines and elevates the “below” itself, one also refines that very “below” which “denigrates” holiness. One refines even this darkness, so much so that it becomes transformed to light.

10. The lesson from this in actual Avodah is:

There are those who excite in the aspects of the soul –Torah and prayer etc. However, they do not allow for the Avodah that is with the “below”. Namely, that the aspects of the body should be permeated with holiness.

Also, in a more general manner:

Regarding the person himself, he indeed forewarns all the aspects, not just the aspects of the soul, but also the aspects of the body and even his portion in the world. However, he remains in his ownfour cubits” – his own zone. He does not deal with others and the “outside”.

One should therefore know that such a manner of Avodah does not always endure. When one is involved with aspects of the soul, he is indeed standing in a lofty level. However when he afterwards has to deal with worldly aspects, not only does he not ascend, but on the contrary, they, G-d forbid, cause him to descend and become coarse (מגשם).

This also pertains to the general aspect of “below” and “outside”:

When he is in his own area, he is complete. If however, there arises a situation where he must deal with the world - with the “outside” – the “outside” can, G-d forbid cause him to fall from his level.

Therefore, it is demanded from Yidden, that together with the inner Avodah in the aspects of the soul, one must be also involved with the “outside”, even to the ‘outside that has none lower than it’ (חוץ שאין למטה ממנו), that even he should be a receptacle to the fountains of Torah and Mitzvot.

And this is also the connection of the aforementioned aspect to the “Bein HaMetzarim”. The reason that G-d sent the Yidden into Galut was with the intent that Yidden should refine the aspects of Galut, so much so that they transform them in a manner of transforming darkness to light (אתהפכא חשוכא לנהורא).

11. A Yid could however claim:

How can one, indeed, withstand such a dark time of rejection and concealment? And especially, when it is demanded from him that not only should he not be influenced from the darkness and concealment, but on the contrary, that he should transform the “Bein HaMetzarim” to a time of gladness and joy (ששון ושמחה)?

On this, the Haftarah (of the first Shabbat of the “Bein HaMetzarim”) answers and prefaces before the story of the retribution (דפורענותא), the ancestry and beginning of Yirmiyahu, and his prophecy:

  • First it tells that Yirmiyahu is the “son of Chilkiah, of the kohanim”.
  • And afterward we are told of how Yirmiyahu shirked from becoming a “prophet to the nations”.
  • And in reply to this, G-d answers him “Fear them not, for I am with you etc.“.

In other words, G-d tells Yirmiyahu that He is with him and gives him all the necessary powers to transform and influence the “nations” and the “kingdoms”.

The same is for each specific individual:

Notwithstanding the great hiddenness of the time of Galut, one is given from above all the necessary abilities to transform the darkness to light.

12. It is known that the descent of the soul below is “an actual level of Galut” (בחי׳ גלות ממש). Accordingly, this is found in each person individually – in the “microcosm’ of the world (ןעולם קט) - man.

When a soul descends into the Three (Haftarot).of Retribution (“Telata d’Pur’anuta”) – meaning into the three worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah (where in the world of Beriah there is already the existence of evil) – the soul starts to cry out: how is it possible to carry out her mission, her Avodah in the Galut of the world?

The answer is that the soul is told at the very beginning of its descent – in the first Haftarah of the “Three (Haftarot).of Retribution” – “When I had not yet formed you in the womb, I knew you, and when you had not yet emerged from the womb, I had appointed you; a prophet to the nations I made you.”.

You have no reason to cry regarding your mission to be a “prophet to the nations” – namely the Avodah to refine the “nation that is within you” (גוי אשר בקרבך) – meaning the body and the animalistic soul and your portion in the world – since:

  1. “Before I had not yet formed you in the womb, I knew you“. You have a holy soul, a veritable portion of G-d above, whose root is higher than the source of the descent (“Before I had not yet formed you . . I knew you “)
  2. “Before you emerged from the womb, I appointed you“. Not only do you have a holy soul, but you also were “appointed“. You were 'prepared' in “the mother’s womb” (במעי אמו - Before you emerged from the womb), for “the soul is taught the entire Torah” (מלמדין אותו כל התורה כולה).

And although at the time it is born, an angel comes and ‘he causes him to forget the entire Torah” – this is only outwardly (בגלוי). However, inwardly (בפנימיות), the Torah remains within him. It gives him a power that even when he finds himself below in this world, he is able to study Torah, the way he studied it in his “mother’s womb“.

However the soul claims: “I know not to speak for I am a youth”, meaning that while it is indeed true that inwardly it has “the entire Torah”, however, visibly – he is “a youth”. It is well and good that regarding the aspects of the soul, his Pnimiyut, that he has sufficient inner abilities not to be influenced from the world and to study Torah, etc. However with regard to his being a “prophet to the nations” (“ outside? -דבר “) – meaning to transform his body and animalistic soul and his portion in the world – he is “a youth”!

To this G-d answers him – ‘Say not, "I am a youth," for wherever I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Fear them not, for I am with you”:

Not only does a Yid possess a veritable portion of G-d above, and not only does he possess the power which derives from that which he has “the entire Torah” which he was taught “in his mother’s womb” – but even afterwards, when the soul is already in the body and in the time of Galut, he is given abilities from above (“I am with you“). In other words, even when he is found below, he is enabled to carry out the mission “wherever I send you“- to transform the “nations” and the “kingdoms”, and in both avenues:

  • Both in the aspect of turning from evil (סור מרע) - “to uproot and to crush, and to destroy and to demolish”.
  • And also in the aspect of “do good” (ועשה טוב) – “to build and to plant”.

Moreover, he is warned “be not dismayed by them, lest I break you before them”. You should not think that you can content yourself with saving yourself – like the saying: ‘I have saved my soul’, and that you will have nothing to do with the “world”, claiming that “I am a youth”. On the contrary, you are told that since you are in a body and an animalistic soul in this physical world, the condition of the world affects you. If you will forewarn from the “breaking you before them” it will be: “do not be dismayed” – you should not fear to make the world an abode for G-d.

And through the Avodah in this manner – one will speedily see that “Pinchas is Eliyahu”, who will announce the tidings of the coming of Moshiach, who will redeem us (אויסלייזן) with the true and complete Geulah.

MSichas Shabbat Parshat Pinchas 5721

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