Shabbat Parashat Pinchas| 5767
Pinchas | | 01/01/2006
Twice in Sefer Bamidbar, the Torah recalls Mosheand Aharon’s sin at the “waters of quarreling” and its responsibility for their inability to enter Eretz Yisrael. Both times it mentions their failure to sanctify Hashem. Let us investigate the wording of the Torah’s description in our parasha.
Case: The plaintiff (=pl)bought a used car for 50,000 shekels from the defendant (=def), according to the standard price list. A third party who bought the car from pl discovered that the car had been a company car, a fact that lowers its price value by 3,000 shekel. Pl now demands from def, who withheld this pertinent information, the 3,000 shekel he had to return to the third party. According to the pricing system, a car that was owned by a public company depreciates 15%, as opposed to 10% for a private company. Def admits that the car was owned by a company but says it was a private one. Pl says it was a public one.
The majority of our parasha deals with the preparations to enter Eretz Yisrael. These include a census of men of army age, instructions for dividing and settling the Land, the laws of inheritance, the appointment of Yehoshua as Moshe’s successor, and the addition of korbanot that were not in practice during the stay in the desert.
Question: We hired a contractor to do major home renovations. His prices for various jobs were relatively high, but he told us that he would throw in major parts of the work we asked for as a bonus. After doing about 75% of the total job but only around half of the “bonus,” he became sick and had to stop working. He now demands 85% of the set price, pointing to the line items he completed and their corresponding prices on the written work order. He promises to make up for the bonus items with jobs of similar value after he recovers. While we feel bad for him, his illness not only complicated our lives, but we also had to pay another contractor good money (more than 25%) to finish up. We do not want to settle for future services of questionable value to us. How much should we pay?
Hemdat Yamim is dedicated by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of Max and Mary Sutker and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.
May their memory be a blessing.
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).