October 25, 2020 ~ Shabbat LEKH LEKHA. SABA.

Shabbat Pinehas - שבת פינחס

Maqam SABA > BAYAT

A Broken Peace

את בריתי שלום - After Pinehas wages war against those involved in acts of sexual immorality, God grants him His "Peace Covenant" (Numbers 25:12). In a scribal oddity of the Masoretic Text, the stem of the letter 'Vav' in the word שלום is cut in half (ו׳ קטיעא); leaving a "broken letter." There is often a very heavy price for going to war. Even if one returns safely, they were exposed to experiences that are deleterious to their mental well-being. When my grandfather, David I Betesh (1925-1997), returned from the Pacific in World War II, he was scarred for life. His experiences of watching his friends die was traumatizing to him, even though he, himself, survived. In the "peace years" after the war ended, he was never again "at peace." An explanation for the broken 'Vav' in the word "peace" is that although God wishes to extend peace to Pinehas, this feeling of peace is incomplete and imperfect due to the blood and acts of violence involved in order to obtain it. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, July 27, 2019.

Sons of Dan

אלה בני דן למשפחתם לשוחם משפחת השוחמי - The Second Census, the official tally of the Israelites, is presented in Numbers 26. There, the tribe of Benjamin, son of Jacob's most loved wife, Rachel, and originally with 10 children, has a tally of 45,600, and immediately after, in Numbers 26:42, we read that the tribe of Dan, son of his maidservant, Bilha, and originally with only one child, Shuham (mentioned in Genesis 46:23 as "Hushim"), has a tally of 64,400; making Dan, the second largest tribe. The juxtaposition of the numbers of these two tribes teaches us that tables can turn and that ones luck can change; what is originally small can end up large, and what is originally large can end up small. One should never think that because one is small, weak, or insignificant today, that one will always be this way. With the will to survive and the confidence to succeed, even the smallest person, like Shuham son of Dan, can rise up and become great. Beth Torah Bulletin, July 7, 2018.

Consistency

שנים ליום עלה תמיד- A debate took place amongst the sages of the Mishna asking: What single verse encapsulates the most important values of the Torah the most? Many great suggestions were offered (see introduction to Ein Yaaqob), but none were as well received as the verse from Numbers 28:4 presented by Shimon Ben Pazi; "The first lamb you shall prepare in the morning" (את הכבש האחד תעשה בבקר), "and the second lamb you shall prepare in the evening" (ואת הכבש השני תעשה בין הערבים). The fact that most agreed on this particular verse highlights the importance of the concept of consistency in Israel's relationship to the Almighty. The simple routine of worshiping consistently every morning and evening regardless of ones current state of mind is preferable and stands in sharp contrast to those who only approach God during times of trouble or during times of experiencing extreme religious fervor (Beth Torah Bulletin, July 15, 2017).

No One is Perfect

כִּֽי־בְחֶטְא֣וֹ מֵ֔ת - When the daughters of Selophehad come forward with their petition to receive their father’s holding, they say “Our father died in the desert, and he was not part of Qorah's faction that banded on God, but 'in his own sin' he died, and he did not have male offspring” (Numbers 27:3). My question is, in their father's death, why include the unnecessary remark that he also sinned? Perhaps there was a belief that any death is as a result of a sin? My answer, based on Rashi, is that the daughters wanted to make a point that their father was not a perfect person, and that he may have sinned in his life, but any damage in a sin made was only limited to himself and that he never involved others to drag them down with him (as was the case with Qorah's rebellion). The lesson that I learn from Selophehad's daughters is that they acknowledged that no one is perfect and completely removed from sin, but this is nothing to be embarrassed about, nor does it disqualify them from being part of the community. Beth Torah Bulletin, July 11, 2020.

Maqam of the Week: SABA

On Shabbat Pinehas (Numbers 25:10- 30:1), the eighth perasha in this book, prayers are conducted in Maqam SABA according to most Aleppo sources. This is because God gives a “Berit Shalom” (peace covenant) to Pinehas for his courageous actions to defend God's name. SABA is used in other cases with the mention of covenant, because this is the maqam for the Berit Mila (circumcision). According to Qabbala, Eliahou HaNabi, the witness of every Berit Mila, is linked with Pinehas. HAZZANUT: Semehim: Habib Allah Eliahou (page 92). PIZMON SEFER TORAH: Shelah Segani (page 480).


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