Vol 33.24 - Pinchas 1         Spanish French Audio  Video

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 (5749) "“If one sees Pinchas in a dream, a wonder (peleh) is destined to happen to him.” (Tal. Berachot 46b) The difference between “a miracle (neis) is destined to happen to him" and  “a wonder (peleh) is destined to happen to him". The connection to Pinchas and the concept in Avodat HaAdam. The connection to the Rebbe Rayatz, the "Baal Hageulah" of Yud-Beit Tammuz


1. The Talmud states: “If one sees Pinchas in a dream, a wonder (peleh) will be wrought for him. If one sees an elephant (pil) in a dream, wonders (peleh'oth) will be wrought for him; if several elephants, wonders of wonders will be wrought for him”.

Rashi comments: “’A wonder is destined…’ Just as there occurred with Pinchas, as the Talmud states in tractate Sanhedrin“.

From the simple understanding of the Talmud is appears that the difference between “If one sees Pinchas” and “if one sees an elephant” is that when “one sees an elephant/pil”, - many “wonders” (peleh'oth) will be wrought for him. And when “one sees Pinchas”, only a single wonder is destined to happen to the dreamer (peleh – in the singular)

But this is puzzling:

The Talmud in Sanhedrin states that “six miracles (nissim) transpired with Pinchas.”

(And in the Targum Yonason Ben Uziel and other commentaries it states that twelve miracles were wrought for him, as Rashi himself states in his commentary on Torah: “Many miracles were wrought for him”)

This being so, why when “If one sees Pinchas” in a dream is (only) a (single) wonder destined to happen to the dreamer? This is not “as there occurred with Pinchas”?

And one could additionally point out, that without Rashi’s commentary, we would have been able to say that the difference is similar to the continuation of the Talmud there that:

“If one sees Huna in a dream, a miracle/nes will be wrought for him. If one sees the name Chanina, Chananiah or Yochanan, miracles (nisei nisim) will be wrought for him.

(Rashi explains that this is because it is the letter “nun corresponding to the nun” (i.e. The Hebrew for miracle, nes, also contains one letter nun). The name “Chanina” (for example, contains more than one nun thus equaling many miracles).

Thus, we could have explained it similarly, in our case, that the letter Peh of Pinchas corresponds to one letter of the word “Peleh” (equaling one wonder). Whereas with Pil (elephant), (in addition to the letter Peh) there is also the letter Lamed (equaling two letters of the word “Peleh”). This emphasizes the concept – thus there are (also) “peleh'oth” - many wonders. (For just as there are “Pilim” (elephants) in the plural – this adds to the “peleh'oth” - wonders “pilei peleh'oth”. This means that in addition to the quantity of miracles, there is also an addition to their quality).

Yet Rashi dismisses this explanation at the outset, by stating that the reason that when “one sees Pinchas in a dream, a peleh will be wrought for him” is

(not because of the letter Peh of the word “Pinchas” which depicts the word peleh/wonder, but rather)

because it is: “Just as there occurred with Pinchas” (i.e the person).

(And one could say that reason that Rashi differs between the reason of: “If one sees Huna” to that of: “If one sees Pinchas” is because he follows the continuation of the Talmud there that the meaning of “If one sees Huna” is that he sees the “written” name (i.e. as Rashi states: he sees the word Huna or Chanania written). Therefore it follows that the allegory (remez) (of the dream) is related to the letters that he sees in his dream. Whereas the meaning of “If one sees Pinchas” is not that he saw the written word ‘Pinchas’, but rather that he saw an image of Pinchas or an elephant ( as is proven from the Talmud there that there is a difference if one sees the elephant “saddled” (with a saddle on its back – Rashi) or not saddled. And since “one sees Pinchas” in a dream it is probable that it is speaking of the actual recognition of Pinchas).

Thus the question returns: “Many miracles were wrought for him” (not just one).

2. This can be understood by prefacing another differentiation. For seemingly:

According to Rashi that the reason: ‘A wonder is wrought’ is because it is “Just as there occurred with Pinchas” – why does he state a “peleh/wonder will be wrought for him” (specifically the word peleh/wonder). For in tractate Sanhedrin there, the phrase is: “six miracles (nissim) transpired with Pinchas”. He thus should have stated that: “A miracle/nes will be wrought for him”?

And if you wish to say that the interpretation of the dream is also related to the name “Pinchas”, there are two (all) the letters of the word “nes” (the Nun and Samech of Pinchas) (Therefore, this is a seemingly better suited example than that of the letter Peh to the word “peleh”)?

Sometimes it is explained that the difference between the two words: “peleh/wonder” and “nes/miracle” is that a “nes” is a lofty thing as it states in the previous Parsha, In other words, it is an occurrence that goes beyond and is loftier than the confines of nature. Whereas, the word peleh refers to anything that arouses wonder in a person even if it does not upset laws of nature. In other words even when the miracle is enclothed in nature.

Accordingly one could seemingly explain that the phrase: “a “peleh/wonder will be wrought for him” is precise – for most of the miracles that are enumerated in the Talmud there are not things that exceed the bounds of nature, as it states there, (for example): “Zimri should have separated (from the woman) but he did not. . he (Zimri) should have called out (for help) but he did not”.

But it is difficult to explain it so.

For the last two miracles that are enumerated in the Talmud there – “an angel came and lifted up the lintel (So that it should not interfere with the spear as he was carrying them out aloft), and “an angel came and wrought destruction amongst the people (thereby distracting their attention: otherwise Zimri's partisans would have slain him)” were not enclothed in nature, at all.

(and according to the aforementioned Midrashim that twelve miracles were wrought for him, most of the things delineated there were things that openly transcended nature).

3. Therefore, the matter appears to be the opposite. That here, the intent of: “a wonder/peleh will be wrought for him” refers to a kind of “wonder” that is even loftier than ordinary miracles - nes. This is similar to its usage in the verse: “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I shall demonstrate wonders”. This verse implies that the miracles during the future Redemption will be great “wonders” - that even when compared to the miracles that took place at the time of the Exodus ( which were not enclothed in nature), they will be considered in the category of “wonders” (nifla’ot).

This is also Rashi’s intent when he states: “Just as there occurred with Pinchas, as the Talmud states in Sanhedrin.” For in tractate Sanhedrin there, it is proven that main innovation of the episode with Pinchas is not the quantity of miracles performed for him rather: “a wonder/peleh will be wrought for him” – namely not just an abundance of miracles in quantity but also in their quality , - i.e. a quality beyond nature – a conduct in a “wondrous” manner.

For the six miracles that are enumerated there in tractate Sanhedrin - all transpired as upshots of a single event. In other words, in each detail of Pinchas’ deeds, G-d performed a miracle. And the effect of this was to show that all of G-d’s conduct with Pinchas was in a completely uncommon manner – from the very onset a “wondrous” conduct. And the quantity of the miracles was not the innovation at all, but rather that each interaction with Pinchas was in a “wondrous” manner.

 To elaborate:

A miracle involves upsetting the bounds of nature. From this itself, it is understood that that there is room for natural conduct; but that (the miracle), effects an upsetting and bittul. Thus, each time a miracle occurs, nature must again be subjugated.

But a peleh, where “all wonders/Pela’oth are an expression of separation and withdrawal” – depicts an event that is entirely removed from the bounds of nature, so much so that it is not in the realm of nature.

Therefore there is no need for a specific action to upset nature, in order for the event to occur. Rather, the miraculous conduct becomes established (nikb’ah) and becomes the norm in this entire event.

Rashi thus writes that a “peleh is wrought for him, as it occurred to Pinchas” – “peleh” – specifically a single wonder. For the many miracles that transpired with Pinchas were part of a single (general) action in the manner of a “wonder” — totally removed from the confines of nature. (but it automatically branched out into miracles in every detail etc.). Therefore they are not “peleh’ot/wonders” (or “nisim/miracles”) in the plural. For the intent is to a condition, a ‘“wondrous” conduct” (in the singular).

(And accordingly, it is possible to say that the “wonder/peleh” that is wrought for one who “sees Pinchas” is loftier than “wonders/peleh’oth” (plural) that are wrought for one who “sees an elephant/pil”. For since it states: “wonders/peleh’oth” (plural), it is understood that the intent is an abundance of wonders in quantity. In other words, acts of wonders (niflaot).  Whereas, a “wonder/peleh will be wrought for him” (“as there occurred with Pinchas”) is not referring to one wonder, but to a condition of “wonder”, as aforementioned).

4. According to the aforementioned Rashi that: “If one sees Pinchas in a dream, a wonder/peleh will be wrought for him - Just as there occurred with Pinchas” it is understood that this peleh reflected an integral aspect of Pinchas’ very being;

For if we say that it was just an ancillary and secondary aspect within him, how is it that, because a peleh happened to him on one particular day, as opposed to the years before and after this, - that whoever dreams about him is destined to have a peleh occur in his life? Therefore we must say that this is this aspect of “wonder/ peleh” is an integral aspect of Pinchas.

In other words, the reason G-d acted toward Pinchas in a “wondrous” manner is because Pinchas‘s own conduct and Avodah was (not an ordinary Avodah, but) was an ongoing spiritual service in a manner of “wonder”. And since the nature of G-d is measure for measure - G-d therefore acted towards him (also) in a way that: “a wonder was wrought for him”.

The aspect of a “nes/miracle” in Avodat HaAdam - represents mesirus nefesh, total self-sacrifice. For just as a the simple meaning of miracle is that it depicts the greatness of G-d,

and demonstrates that nothing can prevent the fulfillment of His will, and if there is a condition in nature that opposes His will, G-d changes nature –

similarly is the aspect of Avodah from mesirus nefesh. For this shows the strength of will of a person to perform G-d’s will, in a way that nothing is able to impede the person from executing G-d’s will; if necessary, the person will give his very life.

In this itself, there are the two aforementioned ways – nes/miracle and peleh/wonder:

  • There is an individual whose primary Avodah is based on rationale (ta’am vda’at) whether it is in Torah study or the performance of Mitzvot etc. Yet if it is necessary, in any part that goes beyond the norm, to have mesirus nefesh, he will endeavor and awaken within himself a new conduct – a powerful strength (tokef gadol), even to self-sacrifice. It is therefore understood that the mesirus nefesh each time is a new (type of) Avodah, and he needs to have a new awakening for it.


  • However, there is an individual whose total being embodies mesirus nefesh (an ish mesirus nefesh). He is totally dedicated to the will of the A-mighty, and no other desire, at all. His raison d’etre is self-sacrifice for G-d. Therefore all his actions, automatically, are permeated with mesirus nefesh in every aspect and detail related to his service to G-d.. This is similar to the aforementioned aspect of “peleh/wonder”, which is a condition of miraculous conduct in a manner that this conduct becomes his normal (and natural) conduct.

And this was the level of Pinchas – “zealousness on behalf of G-d”, who endangered himself (even) where there was no obligation to do so,

(and on the contrary, if Pinchas would have asked – they would have responded that “we do not rule that way”)

other than “zealots may attack him” which is an exemption and permissibility to punish the person (committing the sin).  Yet this is specifically contrary to the opinion of the Talmud Yerushalmi which states that zealots are “contrary to the will of the Sages”.

Thus, how much more so in our case, where (even) Moshe Rabbeinu did not do anything (although Pinchas was not aware that the Halacha was hidden from Moshe) – Yet Pinchas did not debate with himself but “zealously avenged the L-rd of hosts”.

For the mesirus nefesh of Pinchas was above reason and limit, and he was a person that embodied mesirus nefesh and since it was an aspect of sanctifying G-d’s name (Kiddush HaShem) he “zealously avenged the L-rd of hosts”.

And measure for measure – a wonder was wrought for him.

5. Accordingly it can be explained why Pinchas‘s reward was - "It shall be for him and for his descendants after him an eternal covenant of priesthood”. According to the simple understanding of the verse, the reason was because: “he was zealous for his G-d”.

One could say that even the manner of the reward corresponds to the aforementioned: that the essence of Pinchas is - that he truly was a man of “wonder”.

For priesthood/kehuna is something that is inherited. It is only for the decendants of Aaron. Yet here the priesthood was bestowed on Pinchas “because he was zealous for his G-d”.

However, this is measure for measure. For just as Pinchas was zealous for his G-d, even though he was not commanded to do so,

(so much so that it is “contrary to the will of the Sages”. For according to the wisdom of Torah, there is a room for debate concerning this (type of) zealotry)

he was given - the priesthood. For according to the wisdom of Torah this is not something that is given as a reward.

According to the aforementioned, one can explain why the reward was specifically the aspect of priesthood, which is an aspect of inheritance and nature, because this also resembles a “wonder” (above a nes/miaracle). In other words, in addition to that which he was given something that was not in accordance with the wisdom of the Torah (for it is impossible to attain priesthood through Avodah), even more so – the reward itself (which is above wisdom) was bestowed on him in a natural way, so much so that it became the inheritance of “his children after him”. This is in the realm of a “wonder” for the aspect of the miracle became his nature, as discussed at length.

6. The redemption of the Rebbe Rayatz (on the day of Yud-Beis Tammuz, 5687) from his imprisonment in that country, fell out on the week of Shabbat Parshat Pinchas. In addition, on Shabbat Parshat Pinchas he made the Bircat HaGomel Blessing. And if all the aspects of the world are with Divine Providence (as the Torah of the Ba’al Shem Tov states), how much more so are the aspects of a Jewish person, and certainly a leader of the Jewish people (Nassi Yisroel).

From this it is understood that the redemption of the Rebbe Rayatz is connected to the essential aspect of Pinchas.

And truthfully, we see by the Ba’al HaGeulah - the Rebbe Rayatz - that his mesirus nefesh in that country was similar to the mesirus nefesh of Pinchas, in a manner that he “zealously avenged” G-d. In other words not just a mesirus nefesh that is required by Torah law, for although many of the sages of Yisroel held that one is not obligated in mesirus nefesh in such a manner –  he sacrificed his soul over it.

And this was because for the Rebbe Rayatz, mesirus nefesh was not a part of his holy Avodah, but rather his entire being was mesirus nefesh. So much so that all of the aspects of this Avodah were permeated with mesirus nefesh.

As has been explained in other places, at length, concerning the three general periods in the thirty years of leadership of the Rebbe Rayatz:

  • The first period in that country
  • The second period in Latvia and Poland
  • The third period in the United States

that his Avodah, in each of these periods, demanded mesirus nefesh, and in each one of them - a different form of mesirus nefesh.

(In the first period) In that country, it was connected to actual mesirus nefesh -Avodah connected to bodily danger. And not just for himself, but also for all his Shluchim and Chassidim. For according to his directives or even his actual Shlichus, they endeavored to spread Torah and strengthen Yiddishkeit, in that country, and he placed their lives in real mortal danger.

In the second period, his Avodah was with Bnei Yisroel who were observant. There the Rebbe Rayatz set up new Yeshivos, and he dealt with spreading Torah, in general, and with spreading the wellsprings and Torah of Chassidus Chabad among all groups.

In the third period, after reaching the United States, where he needed to change the outlook (upleig) of the country that “America is different” and that it is impossible to observe Yiddishkeit exactly as it was in “the old Shtetl” - this endeavor was possible only through steadfastness (tokef) and mesirus nefesh in opposing all (those) trends.

In each of these three manners of mesirus nefesh, it was a different type (of mesirus nefesh ) from the other. Yet the Rebbe Rayatz jumped into the fray (kafatz b’nachshol) with vitality (chayus) and mesirus nefesh, without any boundaries, at all.

And this is (what it means to be) a person who embodies mesirus nefesh (Ish mesirus nefesh). Therfore each and every thing was done with mesirus nefesh (as mentioned in Par. 3 regarding “peleh”)

And this is also a practical lesson – that by “going in the path . . which he taught us . . and following his ways to endeavor to strengthen Yiddishkeit (das) and spread Torah with mesirus nefesh - not through hardship, G-d forbid, but through expanse (harchava), dedication and commitment to the task (avodah), beyond measure and boundary, without considering obstacles and obstructions etc. – we will merit the “wonder/peleh is wrought for him” – that G-d will succeed the Avodah in a manner of “peleh”.

And all this will hasten and bring speedily and in our time the fulfillment of the announcement: “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I shall demonstrate wonders”.

M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Pinchas , 5726





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