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Shabbat Parashat Pinchas 5776

Ein Ayah: Connecting the Seasons and the Deeds

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:225)

Gemara: Due to the sin of not giving terumot and ma’asrot (tithes to kohanim and levi’im, respectively), the skies are prevented from giving rain and dew, prices rise, people lose their profits, and people pursue their livelihood and do not achieve it. This is as the pasuk says: “Desolation and also heat will steal the water of snow; they have sinned to the depths” (Iyov 24:19). What is the implication? Because of things about which I commanded in the summer and you did not do, you will have the waters of snow withheld in the rainy season.  


Ein Ayah: The concept of a broad blessing that stems from the joining together of powers that appear distant from one another can be seen in all elements of creation.

A prominent example, which is testimony to the great broadness of the concept, is the seasons of the year, which have very different characteristics, yet join together. The summer and the winter [the rainy season in Israel], despite their greatly different characteristics, are unified in providing the basis for the survival and the welfare of life, based on the influence of their interconnection. It is specifically the heat of the summer that causes that the cold of the winter is able to bring rain. [Presumably this is referring to the phenomenon that the sun hastens the evaporation of water, which provides the water for rain.] The impact of the heat on the cold when they join together is called “the water of snow.”

Just as this phenomenon is found regarding seasons, so it is found regarding actions and regarding different categories of people. There are people who are set aside for matters of sanctity that are used for the service of Hashem and spiritual matters. They are connected with “people of actions” involved in the fleeting times and improving the physical world for their own benefit and that of others. When they interact properly, with each one benefiting from and helping the other act properly, human society and especially the Jewish national entity will be set and will maximize its full spiritual potential.

When those elements designed by Hashem to be linked together fail to be so, the fabric of society develops visible ruptures. One major example relates to the covenant between those of the Jewish people who were given a portion in Eretz Yisrael and the kohanim and levi’im who were not, so that the former should support the latter. Tithes are not given when people do not fully understand the situation and are not emotionally sensitive to the needs of the national functionaries. Different parts of society appear distant from each other, in contradiction to Hashem’s desire to link them through the arrangement of multi-faceted mutual assistance.

Those who do not do their duties in the summer, when produce is in the field, show that they separate themselves, as if all parts of the nation do not form one entity. Just as when the heat of summer does not provide water for winter precipitation, there are severe climatic consequences, so too, nationally, when the people do not support kohanim, there can be physical consequences such as withheld rain, which causes people to contemplate the situation. “Let us hear what Hashem will say, when He speaks of peace for His nation and the righteous therein, and they will not return to unwise behavior. Hashem’s salvation is close to those who fear Him so honor will dwell in our Land. Kindness and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will grow from the Land, and justice will gaze from heaven. Hashem will also give goodness, and the Land will give its produce” (Tehillim 85:9-13).


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