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Friday, July 10, 2015

Parashat Pinchas 5775

Our parasha ends with many different sacrifices through the cycle of the year. Different times get different sacrifices. The Sifrei deals with a possible explanation for the different sacrifices: maybe each is for a different god, or God has different hungers through the year. However, it explains God does not need food, and the different amounts are not for God. That is why only one name for God - the most special name - is used in this portion. This way we learn the sacrifices are only for the one God, and their amount is irrelevant. In its discourse it alludes to the famous saying, “One who does much and one who does little,” equating the two. That is, they are for the same God and any size meal work since it is not for His satisfaction. At first I thought this midrash might be mixed up by intertwining the use of God’s name with one who does much and one who does little, but the more I read it, the more convinced I am that the order is correct to teach us the irrelevance of the sacrifices to God.
ספרי במדבר סיני פרשת פינחס פיסקא קמג
Sifrei B’midbar Sinai Piska 143
A fire offering of pleasing scent to Hashem. A pleasing presence before Me. As I said, and My will will be performed.
אשה ריח ניחוח לה', נחת רוח לפני שאמרתי ונעשה רצוני.
Shimon son of Azzai says, “Come and see that about all the sacrifices that are in the Torah neither ‘Elohim’ nor ‘your Elohim’ is written; nor ‘Shaddai,’ nor ‘[Lord of] hosts,’ but rather yud [י] and heh [ה], the special name. So as not to give an opening to the sectarians to criticize. To teach you whether one does much or one does little before the Holy One, blessed be He.
שמעון בן עזאי אומר בוא וראה בכל הקרבנות שבתורה לא נאמר בהם לא אלהים ולא אלהיך ולא שדי ולא צבאות אלא יו"ד ה"י שם המיוחד שלא ליתן פתחון פה למינים לרדות ללמדך שאחד מרבה ואחד ממעיט לפני הקב"ה
As it says, “Of pleasing scent” about an ox, so too is says about the offspring of the flock, and the offspring of the bird to teach you that before Him is not food and drink but rather He said [to do this] and His will will be performed.
[שכשם] שנא' ריח ניחוח בשור כך נאמר בבן הצאן וכך נאמר בבן העוף ללמדך שאין לפניו אכילה ושתיה אלא שאמר ונעשה רצונו.
And so it says, “If I will be hungry, I will not say so to you, for the earth is Mine and its expanse,” (Psalms 50:12). “I knew every bird of the moutain and the animals of the field are with Me,” (Psalms 50:11). I [might] understand that He has, the text says, “Does I drink the meat of bulls and drink the blood of rams?” (Psalms 50:13).
וכה"א אם ארעב לא אומר לך כי לי תבל ומלאה (תהלים נ יב) ידעתי כל עוף הרים וזיז שדי עמדי (תהלים נ יא) שומע אני [שיש] לפניו אכילה ושתיה ת"ל האוכל בשר אבירים ודם עתודים אשתה (תהלים נ יג)
Rather, why I did I say to you, “Sacrifice to me?” To fulfill your desire. So it says, “When you sacrifice an offering of praise to Hashem, according to your desire offer it,” (Leviticus 22:29).
אלא מפני מה אמרתי לך זבח לי בשביל לעשות רצונך וכן הוא אומר וכי תזבחו זבח תודה לה' לרצונכם תזבחו (ויקרא כב כט)

The last Mishnah in M’nachot extends our phrase to include “as long as she directs her her thoughts to heaven.” It teaches that different sacrifices have different sized animals (or grain) to teach that intention matters more than the offering. It is no longer about proving that God does not need the sacrifices.
משנה מסכת מנחות פרק יג, משנה יא
Mishnah, Tractate M’nachot, Chapter 13, Mishnah 11
It is stated about an olah offering of cattle, “a fire offering of pleasing scent,” and about the olah offering of a bird, “a fire offering of a pleasing scent,” to teach that whether one offers a lot or a little, it is only that a person directs his thoughts to heaven.
נאמר בעולת הבהמה אשה ריח ניחוח ובעולת העוף אשה ריח ניחוח ובמנחה אשה ריח ניחוח ללמד שאחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין אדם את דעתו לשמים:

The Talmud has a similar midrash to the Sifrei, but it somewhat breaks the connection between the use of one name of God and the different sizes of sacrifices.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת מנחות דף קי עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate M’nachot 110a
It was taught, said Rebbi Shimon son of Azzai: Come and see what is written in the portion about sacrifices. For “El,” nor “Elohim” is written in them, but rather “Hashem” [the actual four letter personal name of God], so as to not give an opening to a litigant to challenge.
תניא, אמר רבי שמעון בן עזאי: בוא וראה מה כתיב בפרשת קרבנות, שלא נאמר בהן לא אל ולא אלהים אלא ה', שלא ליתן פתחון פה לבעל דין לחלוק;
And it is stated about the large animal the ox, “a fire offering of pleasing scent,” and about the small animal the bird, “a fire offering of pleasing scent.” And about the grain offering, “a fire offering of pleasing scent.” To tell you one who does much and one who does little, just that one directs her heart to heaven.
ונאמר בשור הגס אשה ריח ניחוח, ובעוף הדק אשה ריח ניחוח, ובמנחה אשה ריח ניחוח, לומר לך: אחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין את לבו לשמים;
And lest you say, “God needs it for food,” the Text says, “If I will be hungry, I will not say so to you, for the earth is Mine and its expanse,” (Psalms 50:12). And it is stated, “For mine are all the living things of the forest, the beasts of thousands of mountains,” (Psalms 50:10). “I knew every bird of the mountain and the animals of the field are with Me,” (Psalms 50:11). “Does He drink the meat of bulls and drink the blood of rams?” (Psalms 50:13).  I did not say to you, “Sacrifice to Me that you will say, ‘I will do His will and then my will will be done.’” It is not per my desire that you sacrifice;rather for yours that you sacrifice, as it says, “According to your desire offer.” According to your thoughts offer.
ושמא תאמר:לאכילה הוא צריך, ת"ל: אם ארעב לא אומר לך כי לי תבל ומלואה (תהילים נ יב). ונאמר: כי לי כל חיתו יער בהמות בהררי אלף (תהילים נ י) ידעתי כל עוף הרים וזיז שדי עמדי (תהילים נ יא) האוכל בשר אבירים ודם עתודים אשתה (תהילים נ יג), לא אמרתי אליכם: זבחו כדי שתאמר אעשה רצונו ויעשה רצוני, לא לרצוני אתם זובחים אלא לרצונכם אתם זובחים, שנאמר: לרצונכם תזבחהו. דבר אחר: לרצונכם תזבחהו - לרצונכם זבחו, לדעתכם זבחו;
The Talmud tells us that our saying about doing much and doing little is actually a wise saying from Yavneh used to remind the Rabbis of the importance and good character of non-Rabbis (in this case, farmers). This piece has a small hint of superiority, however, in seeming to think the Rabbis do more.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף יז עמוד א
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate B’rakhot, 17a
A regular saying from the mouths of our Rabbis in Yavneh: I am His son and my fellow is His son. I, my work is in the city, and he, his work is in the field. I rise early for my work and he rises early for his work. Just as he does not excel in my work, so I do not excel at his work. And lest you say, “I do a lot and he does little,” we taught, “Whether one does a lot or one does little, just that one directs his heart to heaven.”
מרגלא בפומייהו דרבנן דיבנה: אני בריה וחברי בריה, אני מלאכתי בעיר והוא מלאכתו בשדה, אני משכים למלאכתי והוא משכים למלאכתו, כשם שהוא אינו מתגדר במלאכתי כך אני איני מתגדר במלאכתו, ושמא תאמר: אני מרבה והוא ממעיט - שנינו: אחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים.

The Shulchan Arukh codifies this saying in terms of how much supplication one should say through the day.
שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות הנהגת אדם בבקר סימן א, סעיף ד
Shulchan Arukh, Orech Chayyim, Laws of a Person’s Conduct in the Morning, Siman 1, Article 4
Yosef Karo, 16th Century Palestine
A few supplications with intention are better than many without intention.
טוב מעט תחנונים בכוונה, מהרבות בלא כוונה.


The Taz is bothered by the statement and the Shulchan Arukh’s formulation (as well as the earlier Beit Yosef). Why are the two equal? Wouldn’t more be better? And why does the Shulchan Arukh formulate it as less is better with intention than a lot without intention. Why not use the original statement. He explains the entire issue as one who is praying and realizes she cannot concentrate, or has other things to do like study [or perform] Torah should not be lengthy. And this is when being short is better. And other times being lengthy is better if there is nothing to distract saying more prayer.  
ט"ז אורח חיים סימן א
Turei Zahav [Taz], Orech Chayyim, Siman 1
David HaLevi Segal, 17th Century Poland
This is the wording of our Rabbi [Yosef Karo], “One who does a lot and one who does a little, it is just that she directs her heart in supplication. For a little with intention is better than a lot without intention.”
ז"ל רבינו אחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו בתחנוניו כי טוב מעט בכוונ' מהרבות בהם שלא בכוונ'.
But this is difficult, for anyway you say it, if your are dealing initially with one who does much with intention, why should that be equal with one who does a little. And if it is without intention, why say after after “it is better,” when initially it equalizes them.
וקשה ממ"נ אי מיירי תחל' במרב' בכוונ' למה ישוה עם הממעיט ואי בלא כוונה למה אמר אח"כ כי טוב יותר כו' ומתחל' השוה אותם
And in the Gemara, at the end of M’nachot, it says, “One who does a lot and one who does a little, just that she directs her heart to heaven.” And it seems that based on what we find in the first chapter of tractate Shabbat, Rava saw Rav Hamnunah being lengthy in prayer and said, “We put away the matters of the world and engage in the matters of the moment?” And he thinks that the time for Torah is separate, etc. And based on this opinion, they said well, “One who does much in prayer,” like Rav Hamnunah, for he thinks the time for Torah is separate. And the one who does little in prayer is like Rava whose intention is to engage in Torah.
ובגמ' סוף מנחות אמרי' א' המרבה וא' הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים ונראה ע"פ דמצינו בפ"ק דשבת דף י' רבא חזיה לרב המנונא דקא מאריך בצלותי' אמר מניחין חיי עולם ועוסקין בחיי שעה והוא סבר זמן תורה לחוד כו' ועד"ז שפיר אמרו א' המרבה בתפל' כרב המנונא דס"ל זמן תורה לחוד כו' ואחד הממעיט בתפל' כרבא שכוונתו לעסוק בתורה
And based on this it ends well, “As long as she directs her heart to heaven.” That is to say, the matter about which she does little in prayer, it is for the sake of heaven. And according to this our Rabbis said sometimes one is lengthy in prayer since one cannot focus, and if so, it is better to be short and focus. On this it was said, “One who does much and one who does little,” so that one has intention. And based on this it ends, “as long as,” meaning that one does less so that one can direct her heart to heaven, for it is better to do little with intention from one who does much without intention. And this is the reason one does less so that one has intention, as recalled above correctly.
וע"כ מסיים שפיר ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים כלומר באותו ענין שממעט בתפל' הוא לש"ש ועפ"ז אמר רבינו כי לפעמים הוא ריבוי התפל' סיבה לשלא יוכל לכוון וא"כ טוב לקצר ולכוון ע"כ אמר אחד המרב' ואחד הממעיט מטעם שיהי' לו כוונ' וע"כ סיים ובלבד כו' פי' שהמיעוט שהוא ממעט הוא לסיב' שיכוין לבו לשמים כי טוב יותר למעט בכוונ' ממי שמרבה בלא כוונה וזהו סיבה שממעט שיהי' לו כוונה כנ"ל נכון:

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