Illuminations #215, Tammuz, 5779, Parshat Pinchas

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Illuminations #215, Tammuz, 5779, Parshat Pinchas

Torah Gems

The Yitzrite family from Yitzer, and the Shileimite family from Shileim (26:49)

This passuk, said the Chafetz Chaim, can also be explained as follows:
Someone who capitulates to the advice of the yetzer hara immediately finds himself surrounded by the family of the yetzer hara, and they are all willing to help him follow a bad path. But someone seeking shleimus, perfection, finds himself surrounded by people who are God-fearing and perfect, who help him on the good path. The way a person wishes to go-that is the way he is led!
Sometimes a person stumbles and sins. When that happens, the yetzer hara quickly comes and goads him: “Look! you are evil! In any case you have transgressed a serious sin; you can do another sin and it won’t make a difference…”
The Chafetz Chaim says that this is like a person walking in the desert. He is surrounded by endless sand, and the sun is baking down on his head. He has just a bit of food and a few sips of water left. And he walks and walks….
After a time, he opens his sack to see how much food and drink is left and he sees that there isn’t enough. What will he do? He thinks: “I don’t have enough food or drink anyway so I’ll toss away the bit that’s left…”
What a fool! So too, a person should not let the yetzer hara inside him to do a sin, and if he has sinned, a Tzadik falls seven times and gets up again!

Parsha Pearls

The Builder of Yerushalayim is Hashem, the dispersed of Yisrael He will gather in. (Psalms 147)

The Prerequisite for the building of Yerushalayim is the ingathering of the exiles. The meaning of our verse is that Hashem will be constantly building Yerushalayim while he is bringing back the dispersed people of Israel. Then, when the ingathering is complete, the building process of Yerushalayim will have been finished.
Now this Yerushalayim is not the City of Jerusalem that we know today. Rather, it will be the Yerushalayim that is described in Neviim as being built of precious stones and gems. These “precious stones,” upon which Hashem is building this future Yerushalayim, are the tefillos and hopes which the Jewish people has expressed throughout the millennia. The familiar tefillos which we have said throughout our long history – the coming year in Yerushalayim, which I say every year at the Seder table, and which was said by my father before me, and by his father before him; May his great name grow exalted and sanctified … swiftly and soon; May it be your will that the holy temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days – are all everlasting. Not a single one of these prayers or hopes or expressions of emunah in the eventual redemption is wasted. These tefillos that were so fervently expressed by the Jewish people throughout history never ceased to exist, and they are the spiritual building blocks from which the future Jerusalem of light and fire is being built. It will be a physical city, but its foundations are spiritual.

Glimpses of Greatness

The descendants of Dan … were sixty four thousand four hundred. (26:42)

The Chafetz Chaim would say that initially the tribe of Dan was the smallest tribe since Dan only had one deaf son, Chushim, and yet he ended up becoming one of the largest tribes. This shows that if Hashem so wills, a person can see as much blessing from one son as someone who has ten sons. Similarly, a poor person can succeed in business even more than a wealthy one, because success does not depend on what you have or own, but only on divine assistance.

Halacha Weekly

Q. When is one permitted to use a non-Jewish name? [I-YD-9-241]

A. Maharashdam ( YD 199, R. Shmuel Ben Moshe of Medina, Z”L) writes that the ruling in these matters was decided for those that were compelled to leave Portugal and take non-Jewish names who later returned, came to search out G-d and His Torah, and subsequently changed their names to Jewish names. Also those who need to leave the place they reside as Jews to a place where they have names like those used amongst the non-Jewish Nations are permitted to write and change their names according to the names that the non-Jews have, and they need not refrain except as a matter of discretionary piety from doing this.

He brings a proof from the  Talmud  in Gittin (11b) that relates that one who comes from overseas bearing a get, even though in the place from where they came the names are similar to non-Jewish names, the get is kosher since the majority of Jews that are overseas (i.e. outside the land of Israel) have names which are like the names of the non-Jews.  Furthermore, he writes that we do not say that it is permitted to use non-Jewish names; it refers to names that are frequently used by Jews and non-Jews as well.  However, he writes that the names which are used specifically by non-Jews one may not use. Since we learn from the words of the Rosh (on the Talmud cited, R. Asher Ben Yechiel Z”L) that there are cases we disqualify a get with witnesses with non-Jewish names, it is implied that those Jews were called also by names specifically used only by non-Jews.