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The King and the High Priest were not invited - Pinchas

Friday, 26 July, 2019 - 6:51 am

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A Jew came once to the Rebbe and complained about a rabbi who was only thinking about his own interest and not about the whole Jewish people. The Rebbe smiled and told him about an interesting law.

When the Temple existed, a large assembly of all the rabbis took place once a year in order to decide if the upcoming year would be a leap year, adding an extra month of Adar. Even though all the important people were invited to this assembly, the two most important were not: The King and the High Priest. Why?

The King was not invited because he had an interest in adding an extra month. He was paying the soldiers yearly, so if the year was longer, he would benefit more. The High Priest was not invited for the opposite reason. His interest was the year should be shorter. If an extra month was added, Yom Kippur would fall later in the year, closer to the winter. On this holy day, the High Priest had to go to the Mikve five times, and the later Yom Kippur would fall, the colder the water of the Mikve would be…

The Rebbe explained to the man that no one can trust himself not to think about his own benefit. Even someone on a high spiritual level such as the High Priest, even for a small benefit (a few degrees in the temperature of the Mikve) could not trust himself.

This was Moses’ line of thinking in this week’s Parasha Pinchas. Five women, whose father had died in the desert and did not have brothers, came to Moses and asked to inherit the portion of the land of Israel of their father. They explained to Moses that their father had not died in one of the big sins of the Jewish people such as the rebellion of Korach against Moses.

Moses did not answer them and turned to G-d. Even though Moses knew the law, he did not want to judge on his own, since he had been bribed in some way. The women, by telling him that their father did not take part of the rebellion against him, had sweet-talked to him. Moses realized this and asked G-d to decide instead of him.

Each one of us loves himself, and as we know, love covers up for everything. It is very important not to judge or take important decisions on our own, because we may not be seeing the whole picture. We are somehow bribed…

The Mishna tells us to choose a rabbi, someone we esteem and can consult for our important decisions. Someone neutral who will be able to help us to decide correctly.

If even Moses refused to decide on his own when the matter regarded him personally, then how can we? We certainly need to consult with someone neutral.

Shabbat Shalom!


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