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Vertlach: Parshas Pinchas

This week’s parsha begins (25; 11) ‘Pinchas the son of Elazar the son of Aaron the Kohen has turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them, so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal.’
Medrash Raba comments by saying ‘din hu sheyitol sicharo’. He was deserving of receiving his proper schar. This comment seems a bit baffling. What exactly is the Medrash coming to add or tell us by saying that Pinchas deserved his reward?
Yeshaus Yaakov offers a beautiful idea. Chazal say that tzadikim do not ask Hashem to reward them for their actions but rather, they request from Hashem a gift; tzadikim feel they don’t deserve it so they ask Hashem to give it to them for free. Why? The reason is that ‘schar mitzvah b’hay alma leka; reward in this world does not exist (Kedushin 39b).’
Let us take this idea a step deeper, why not? Why is there no reward in this world? Maybe they should receive a small portion of pleasure? What is wrong with that?
Chofetz Chaim explains pshat through the following parable. Imagine you have a child of a young age who is in receipt of a gold coin. He walks into a candy store and asks the clerk how much candy he can purchase with this shiny coin? The clerk responds that he can fill up five garbage bags of nosh for the coin. The boy proceeds to do just that. When he is finished he walks home with the bags of nosh. Upon his arrival at home his father notices that his son has garbage bags full of nosh and inquires about the recent purchase. The little boy answers that he traded it in for the gold coin. Furious, the father runs to back to the store and yells at the clerk how could he trick his son like that! The clerk answered that he made a sale and that the sale was final. The father counter claims that his son didn’t know the value of the coin and had no clue that it was worth much more than five bags of nosh!
Continues the Chofetz Chaim, the same is true here. We have no concept of Olam Haba. For if we did, we would understand ‘schar mitzvah b’hay alma leka- reward in this world does not exist.’  If we had the smallest inkling of what Olam Haba is we wouldn’t trade it for anything; especially for some mundane pleasure in this world.
Yeshuas Yaakov explains a different reason and says that the reason why there is no reward in this world is because maybe the person will change his ways and he will become undeserving of this reward and it will be a chilul Hashem-who knows-so we rather not give any reward. It is for this reason that Chazal say ‘anyone who provides the public with a zechus-Hashem makes sure he won’t sin. (Avos 5; 18) Therefore, since Pinchas killed Zimrie and Cuzbi he was destined not to sin and therefore was fit for reward in this world! That’s how Yeshous Yaakov explains this Medrash.
We learn from this, how well one is protected for his actions and his role/involvement on behalf of a tzibur. Being mezakeh the public allows one that extra coat of protection against sin; as well as deserving reward on this world and the next.
The Brisker Rav was once asked what the segulah is for one to have righteous and ehrliche children. His response was ‘I don’t know the secret; but one thing I do know from experience and seeing firsthand. The common denominator that all the families had, whose children were righteous and ehrlich, were that each family was mezakeh the public in one way or the other.’ There are many organizations and programs that are already helping the community. One need not to open a new organization to be mezakeh the tzibur.  For one not to get involved in any of them is more than a mistake. Who wouldn’t want the security of knowing Hashem has provided them an extra wall of protection against sinning for the services that they are providing on behalf of the public?
Anything that will enable people to become closer to Hashem; be it learning, davening or performing acts of kindness-is considered being mezakeh the public. Look around us at what’s happening in society. The closeness of death of three Torah leaders and the brutal murder of an eight year old boy-Hashem is begging us to take action. We need zechusim. Each one of us should try to pick one area that we can work on in strengthening ourselves as well as others. Whether it’s learning extra, davening with more concentration or any other way one can be mezakeh other people. Through us taking it up a notch we should all merit to be present when Hashem will be mezakeh us with the coming of Moshiach-speedily-in our days.



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