Monday, July 21, 2008

The Satmar Rebbe on Kannaus

A Guest Post by Rafi G.
(cross posted from LII)

On Shabbos, we had a yeshiva bachur over. He said over a dvar torah in the name of the Satmar Rebbe (I do not know which, but it seemed like one of the previous rebbes).

He asked, why does the story of Pinchas killing the Nasi and the princess of Midian get split spanning the end of the parsha of Balak and the beginning of Pinchas, with the names and reward only coming in Pinchas? Why not put it all together at the end of Balak where it related the story itself?

He answered, in the name of the Satmar Rebbe, that the reason is because cheider boys only learn the parsha until sheini (the first section of every parsha) before Shabbos in school (I guess this was the custom of the time).
If the Torah would have rewarded Pinchas at the end of Balak, where the story happened, the cheider boys would never have learned that kannaus is a goal deserving of reward. So the Torah split the story spanning it into the first portion of Pinchas, thereby assuring the cheider boys would learn about his reward for his kannaus.

I then suggested that perhaps that is why our kannoim are the way they are - because they never actually learned past sheini in the chumash. If they would ever sit down and learn beyond sheini, perhaps they would get a fuller picture of the Torah, develop middos, and learn how to behave and when kannaus is appropriate and when it is not.

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