Please include Israel's captive soldiers in your tefillot: Zecharia Shlomo ben Miriam Baumel, Tzvi ben Penina Feldman, Yekutiel Yehuda Nachman ben Sarah Katz, Ron ben Batya Arad, Guy ben Rina Chever.
Motzaei Shabbat, June 22, 2013
The final section of Parashat Pinchas discusses the temidin u-musafin,
the public sacrifices that were brought in the
Beit Ha-mikdash each day and on special occasions. The
Sifrei offers an explanation for the juxtaposition between these commands and the
preceding section, which tells of the formal appointment of Yehoshua as Moshe’s
“The Almighty said to him: Before you command Me with
regard to My children, command My children with regard to Me.” Moshe had petitioned God to name a
successor to ensure that
Benei Yisrael would be properly cared for after his passing.
God responded by instructing him to formally appoint Yehoshua for this
role, but according to the
Sifrei, this was not God’s only response to Moshe’s
petition. He also demanded that before Moshe “commands” Him to worry about
Benei Yisrael, he must concern himself to ensure that Benei Yisrael fulfill their obligations to God. “Before you command Me with regard to
My children, command My children with regard to Me.”
Moshe understood that his imminent death could potentially leave
Benei Yisrael in a precarious situation. They had received and studied the
Torah from him, and have followed his guidance and been inspired by his
leadership since they were slaves in Egypt.
Their faith and devotion to God was cultivated by Moshe, and it was
naturally questionable whether it would be sustained after his passing. Moshe therefore insisted that God
step in to provide
Benei Yisrael with the leadership they would
need going forward. He begged that
the Almighty give them the conditions they would need to survive the imminent
transition and remain one people united in their commitment to God.
God complied with Moshe’s demand, but added that this is not sufficient. We are certainly entitled to request
that the Almighty provide us with conditions which enable us to serve Him
properly and fulfill our obligations, but ultimately, this is our
responsibility. It is wrong to sit
and wait for the circumstances to be suitable for Torah observance. We are God’s servants in whatever
circumstances He puts us in. And
thus it is insufficient to ask for conditions that are conducive to
avodat Hashem. The
Sifrei teaches that even if God would not have granted
Moshe’s request to appoint a capable and qualified leader, it would still have
been Benei Yisrael’s responsibility to continue serving God with sincere
and unshakable devotion. We can ask
for ideal conditions, but we are responsible to obey His commands even when the
conditions are difficult.
Rav David Silverberg
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