Friday, July 28, 2023

why does Moshe tell us about his rejected tefilah?

1) Why do we need to know the behind the scenes story of Moshe's unsuccessful bid through his many tefilos to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael?  That's between him and the Ribono shel Olam; why does Moshe tell us about it?  Ibn Ezra writes:

וטעם זאת הפרשה לחבב ארץ ישראל, ואם הארץ תהיה חביבה ישמרו מצות השם, שלא יגלו ממנה.

Moshe's actions are a lesson in love for Eretz Yisrael.  If we love Eretz Yisrael and observe mitzvos properly in Eretz Yisrael, then we would not have to suffer galus.  Is it any wonder that this is the parsha we read right after Tisha b'Av?

2) The parsha tells us that we will go into galus and וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם מִשָּׁ֛ם אֶת ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ וּמָצָ֑אתָ כִּ֣י תִדְרְשֶׁ֔נּוּ בְּכׇל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכׇל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ (4:28)  The word וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם is in the plural, but the word וּמָצָ֑אתָ is in the singular.  During the three weeks we talk about sinas chinam that destroyed the mikdash and ahavas chinam needed to bring it back.  Sefas Emes comments (5664) on our pasuk that כי בעת שמתעורר הרצון והתשוקה של בנ"י אל השי"ת נעשין אחדות א' שזה הרצון לה' מאחד ומחבר נפשות בנ"י.  If each of us individually takes it upon ourselves to search out Hashem, then וּמָצָ֑אתָ, we will find him as one, united together.  It doesn't matter that your form of וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם is by learning a Ketzos and someone else's form of וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם is via Likutei Moharan.  You share the same mission, so the result is וּמָצָ֑אתָ.  I think I've quoted the Ishbitzer on the pasuk "yismach lev mivakshei Hashem" at every one of my kids' sheva brachos because this pasuk is the geder, the definition, of what a good marriage is.  "Mevakshei Hashem" is in the plural because each and every person has his/her own way of being mevakesh Hashem.  No two people are alike, no two people have the same avodah, even if they are as close as husband and wife.  However, the pasuk says "yismach lev" in the singular -- it has to be done with one heart.  That's what marriage is all about, having the same lev.  The Sefas Emes is telling us the same vort on a national level.  וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם, every one of us in our individual way, but at the end of the day,וּמָצָ֑אתָ  we don't discover Hashem as individuals, but rather as a community, as a people. נַחֲמ֥וּ נַחֲמ֖וּ עַמִּ֑י  Hashem gives us consolation as an "am," as a people, not as isolated individuals.  

My son quotes the Sefas Emes (5653) on the opening of Eicah, אֵיכָ֣ה׀ יָשְׁבָ֣ה בָדָ֗ד.  It's not the destruction that Yirmiyahu focusses on, but rather it's being alone, separated from Hashem.  The destruction was just an outgrowth of that, a symptom, not the cause.   Moshe in our parsha tells us the road out of galus is וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּ֥ם מִשָּׁ֛ם אֶת ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ, reuniting with Hashem.  The rest of the story -- the return from exile, the binyan ha'bayis -- will take care of itself once you fix the root cause.

The Yalkut writes:

ועוד משל למה״ד לרועה שיש לו צאן ונכנס ארי וטרפן למי מנחמים לא לבעל הצאן, כך צאן אובדות היו עמי, אעפ״כ לכו ופייסו את כנסת ישראל, מיד מתכנסין כל הנביאים והולכים אצלה והיא אומרת להם איך תנחמוני הבל ותשובותיכם נשאר מעל, א״ר אבא בר כהנא דבריכם צריכים מירוק, עד עכשיו אזני מלאות מן התוכחות שהוכחתם אותי ועכשיו אתם באים לנחמני, הלך הושע לנחמה א״ל הקב״ה שלחני אצלך לנחמך, אמרה לו מה בידך אמר לה אהיה כטל לישראל, אמרה אתמול אמרת לי הכה אפרים שרשם יבש פרי בל יעשון, ועתה אתה אומר לי כך לאיזה נאמין לראשונה או לשניה. הלך יואל לנחמה, א״ל הקב״ה שלחני אצלך לנחמך, א״ל מה בידך, א״ל והיה ביום ההוא יטפו ההרים עסיס, א״ל אתמול אמרת הילילו שכורים ובכו הילילו כל שותי יין על עיס כי נכרת מפיכם ועכשיו אתה אומר כן לאיזה נאמין לראשונה או לשניה.

The Yalkut continues navi after navi with the same story -- each one tries to offer nechama, but each one is rejected by Klal Yisrael with the same argument: "Why should we believe you and accept your nechama when previously you castigated us and told us how bad we are?  Should we believe what you say this time or what you said in the past?" Finally, the Midrash concludes:

 מיד הולכים כלם לפני הקב״ה ואומרים רבש״ע אינה מקבלת ממנו תנחומין שנאמר עניה סערה לא נחמה, א״ל הקב״ה אני ואתם נלך וננחמנה הוי נחמו נחמו עמי – נחמוה נחמוה עמי אין ראוי לילך אלא אני בעצמי 

Nachamu nachamu not ami, my nation, but imi, with me, with Hashem himself kavyachol. אֵיכָ֣ה׀ יָשְׁבָ֣ה בָדָ֗ד, all alone!  The tikun therefore is when Hashem kavyachol Himself comes back to be with us.  

 ירושלם הבנויה כעיר שחוברה לה יחדיו A chibur and connection between each other, a chibur between Klal Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim, and most of all, a chibur between us and Hashem.

3) Yesterday in a 9 Av talk someone mentioned a shaila that came up related to the Holocaust.  Sadly there is halachic literature on all kinds of extreme issues that r"l we should never have to deal with again, some of which never before had been dealt with in our history.  The wanton cruelty of the sho'ah is unparalleled.   

My daughter now lives in Yerushalayim and when she called before Shabbos she asked how we can say nacheim and refer to עיר הבּזויה והחריבה, the desolate, destroyed city, when Yerushalayim is that way no more.  This issue is discussed in poskim, but the technical details are not for now.  The point I want to make is that a generation or two ago (depending on how old you are) we had shailos that had never been asked before because we were faced with persecution the likes of which we had never seen.  Now we have shailos that have never been asked before because we are in the aschalta d'geula and we have issues that have never come up before.  Tell me what cheilek of shulchan aruch I look in to figure out if I should be in favor or opposed to judicial reform?  The whole shulchan aruch is only for halachos that only apply in galus, so how am I going to find it there!? We are in unchartered waters.  Baruch Hashem that we are here, with all the confusion, with all the difficulties.  

4) I am stuck on Rashi's comment on the words  וְצַ֥ו אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וְחַזְּקֵ֣הוּ וְאַמְּצֵ֑הוּ כִּי־ה֣וּא יַעֲבֹ֗ר לִפְנֵי֙ הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה (3:25) where Rashi implies that the battle of Ai was lost because Yehoshua did not personally march at the head of the army in battle:

כי הוא יעבר – אם יעבר לפניהם – ינחלו, ואם לאו – לא ינחלו. וכן אתא מוצא כששלח מן העם אל העי, והוא יושבב לו, ויכו מהם אנשי העי וגו׳ (יהושע ז׳:ה׳). וכיון שנפל על פניו, אמר: קום לך (יהושע ז׳:י׳). קם לֵךְג כתיבד – אתה הוא העומד במקומך ומשלח את בניי למלחמה, למה זה אתה נופל על פניך (יהושע ז׳:י׳), לא כך אמרתי למשה רבך: אם הוא עובר – עוברים, אם לאו – אין עוברים.

The gemara (San 45a) offers a different interpretation of those same words קם לֵךְ:

 בתר דנפק אוקים רב אמורא עליה ודרש כאשר צוה ה' את משה עבדו כן צוה משה את יהושע וכן עשה יהושע לא הסיר דבר מכל אשר צוה ה' את משה א"כ מה ת"ל קום לך א"ל אתה גרמת להם והיינו דקאמר ליה בעי ועשית לעי ולמלכה כאשר עשית ליריחו ולמלכה 

Rashi there explains: קום לך. משלך ומידך היתה זאת להם שאף בשבילך נענשו שלא קיימת את דברי  It was because Yehoshua declared the spoils of Yericho off limits that the battle of Ai was lost.  Had he not done so, Achan would not have done anything wrong in helping himself to the loot.  

Granted that you can have different aggadic interpretations to the same words of קום לך, but why should Rashi have gotten into the issue at all?  He could have just said Rashi  כי הוא יעבר – אם יעבר לפניהם – ינחלו, ואם לאו – לא ינחלו.  

10 Av - why don't we accept R' Yochan's view and fast on this day?

The gemara (Taanis 30) quotes R' Yochanan as saying that had it been up to him, he would have instituted fasting on 10 Av instead of 9 Av because even though the fire started on the 9th, the majority of the mikdash actually burned on the 10th.  Why don't we accept this reasoning?  Back in 2007 I quoted in the name of the Brisker Rav, and it is more famously found in the Chasam Sofer O.C. 33, that ובאו בה פריצים וחללוה (Avodah Zarah 52), as Rashi explains,  מכיון שנכנסו עובדי כוכבים להיכל יצאו כליו לחולין וכיון דנפקי לחולין קנינהו בהפקירא והוו להו דידהו.  Once the aku"m entered the mikdash on the 9th, it lost its sanctity.  What burned on the 10th was sticks and stones, not a place vested with holiness.  Therefore, it only the start of the destruction that has significance.

Did R' Yochanan not hold of this din of ובאו בה פריצים וחללוה?  R' Leizer Silver pointed out that in fact the gemara elsewhere (Nedaim 62) quotes this very sevara in the name of R' Yochanan!   ואמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר ר' יוחנן כל המשתמש בכתרה של תורה נעקר מן העולם קל וחומר ומה בלשצר שנשתמש בכלי קודש שנעשו כלי חול שנאמר ובאו בה פריצים וחיללוה כיון שפרצום נעשו חול נעקר מן העולם דכתיב בה בליליא קטיל בלשצר המשתמש בכתרה של תורה שהוא חי וקיים לעולם על אחת כמה וכמה  

See vol 1 of Sheiris Yosef by R' Wahrman where he attempts to resolve this issue.  ובאו בה פריצים וחללוה applies when something has been sanctified by a person.  However, the walls of bayis sheni may not have needed kiddush by Ezra; they may have automatically taken on the kedushas karka that remained from bayis rishon.   

Monday, July 24, 2023

don't stock up for the road

Bnei Yisrael is told that they are not allowed to wage war against Eisav, but can only pass through their land.  When they do so, they should buy food and drink from the local stores (2:6-7):

 אֹ֣כֶל תִּשְׁבְּר֧וּ מֵֽאִתָּ֛ם בַּכֶּ֖סֶף וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֑ם וְגַם־מַ֜יִם תִּכְר֧וּ מֵאִתָּ֛ם בַּכֶּ֖סֶף וּשְׁתִיתֶֽם׃

כִּי֩ ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ בֵּֽרַכְךָ֗ בְּכֹל֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָדֶ֔ךָ יָדַ֣ע לֶכְתְּךָ֔ אֶת־הַמִּדְבָּ֥ר הַגָּדֹ֖ל הַזֶּ֑ה זֶ֣ה׀ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֗ה ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א חָסַ֖רְתָּ דָּבָֽר׃

What does כִּי֩ ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ בֵּֽרַכְךָ֗ בְּכֹל֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָדֶ֔ךָ have to do with buying food?  Rashi explains that Moshe was telling the people to pay full price and not look for discounts, coupons, etc. לפיכך לא תכפו את טובתי להראות כאילו אתם עניים, אלא הראו עצמיכם עשירים.  You should not let Eisav think that you are poor and can't afford it.  On the contrary, show them that Hashem has blessed you and that the price is no concern.  Unlike Ibn Ezra and Rashbam who explain these pesukim as a reshus, a matir -- if you want to buy from them, you can, but if not, not -- Netziv explains that it is a command, אכל תשברו – בלשון צווי, because in doing so you are advertising Hashem's bracha.

HaKsav v'haKabbalah notes that the words  וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֑ם and וּשְׁתִיתֶֽם in the first pasuk seem to be extraneous.  You obviously buy food to eat; you buy water to drink.  Why does the pasuk have to spell it out for us?  He answers that the Moshe was telling Bnei Yisrael that whatever food they bought when passing through Eisav's land should be eaten there, on the spot, and the same with whatever drink they bought.  There was no need to ask for a doggie bag or stock up on supplies for the road.  My wife suggested that based on this, you can read the connection to the next pasuk a little differently.  כִּי֩ ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ בֵּֽרַכְךָ֗ ... לֹ֥א חָסַ֖רְתָּ דָּבָֽר׃  You know that for 40 years Hashem took care of you and you can bank on Him.  Therefore, don't clear the shelves off the supermarkets in Eisav's lands because you are worried about tommorow's meal.  Show them your bitachon.  

Friday, July 21, 2023

where have I heard that story before?

From The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes:

Out of curiosity in 1940, while visiting Berkeley to deliver a lecture, Enrico Fermi attended a seminar one of Oppenheimer’s protégés led in the master’s style. “Emilio,” Fermi joked afterward with Segrè, “I am getting rusty and old. I cannot follow the highbrow theory developed by Oppenheimer’s pupils anymore. I went to their seminar and was depressed by my inability to understand them. Only the last sentence cheered me up; it was: ‘and this is Fermi’s theory of beta decay.’ ” 

Menachos 29:

  אמר לפניו רבש"ע הראהו לי אמר לו חזור לאחורך הלך וישב בסוף שמונה שורות ולא היה יודע מה הן אומרים תשש כחו כיון שהגיע לדבר אחד אמרו לו תלמידיו רבי מנין לך אמר להן הלכה למשה מסיני נתיישבה דעתו

He [Moshe] went and sat at the end of eight rows [of students in Rabbi Akiva's Beit Midrash], and he did not know what they were talking [about]. He got upset. As soon as he got to one [other] thing, his students said to him, "Our teacher, from where do you learn this?" He said to them, "It is a law [that was taught] to Moshe at Sinai." He [Moshe] calmed down. 

Maharal on free markets; Ishbitzer on the number 9; Og and Yosef

I have an idea that maybe needs some fleshing out and development, but I think the outline is good enough to share.  

Last week I was learning Maharal with my wife and came across the following idea (2:13):

The gemara (Meg 17b) discusses the structure of shmoneh esrei and explains the order in which the brachos were arranged.  With respect to the ninth bracha of "bareich aleinu" the gemara writes

ומה ראו לומר ברכת השנים בתשיעית אמר רבי אלכסנדרי כנגד מפקיעי שערים דכתיב שבור זרוע רשע ודוד כי אמרה בתשיעית אמרה

We ask for a bracha for our crops in this ninth blessing because the ninth chapter of Tehillim (in our text it is the 10th chapter, but the gemara counts the first 2 perakim of Teh as one) contains the pasuk of שבור זרוע רשע which refers to people who jack up the prices of wheat and try to corner the market.  

How do we know that this is what the pasuk of שבור זרוע רשע is referring to?  Rashi explains

וממאי דבמפקיעי שערים כתיב דכתיב בההיא פרשתא יארב במסתר כאריה בסוכו יארוב לחטוף עני וכי הליסטים אורב את העני והלא את העשיר הוא אורב אלא במפקיעי שערים הכתוב מדבר שרוב דעתם לעניים הוא וקא בעי דוד רחמי עלה דמילתא שבור זרוע רשע ותן שובע בעולם ובכך זרועו שבור ורע תדרוש רשעו בל תמצא וזה שהיה בדעתו להיות רשע כשתדרוש רשעו לא תמצא עולה שלא הספיק לעשותה:

The continuation of the pasuk refers to יארוב לחטוף עני, setting a trap to snare the poor. A normal robber aims for a rich target, not the poor.  Chazal therefore interpret the pasuk as referring to those who inflate the market prices, which disproportionally harms poor shoppers.   

Maharal rejects Rashi's pshat.  If Rashi is correct, ikar chaseir min ha'sefer -- the gemara should have cited the end of the pasuk and explained this whole chain of reasoning.  Maharal explains that the word רשע itself, which the gemara quotes, is the basis for the limud.  Maharal in many places talks about the importance of seder.  There is a normal course by which things function, and interfering with that normal seder is wrong and destructive.  He applies the same idea here.  Someone who tries to artificially inflate prices is a rasha because they are interfering with and disrupting the normal seder of the market (free market theorists, rejoice!).

The 9th bracha undermines the disorder of the rasha.  A tzadik is the opposite side of the coin as the rasha.  The word tzadik is rooted in the letter tzadi, gematriya 90, because the tzadik brings order back to creation.

This talk about the number 9 brought to mind an Ishbitzer on our parsha, who speaks about the significance of the 9th pasuk.  בכל מקום בפסוק התשיעי נמצא עומק שלא כפי פשוטו .  The Ishbitzer tells us that the 9th pasuk in a parsha always reflects a depth of meaning beyond the pshat:

ואומר אלכם בעת ההיא לאמר לא אוכל לבדי וכו' הבו לכם אנשים חכמים ונבנים וידעים. כאשר היו קרובים לכנוס לא"י והרגיש מרע"ה כי רצון הש"י הוא שע"י יהושוע יכנסו לארץ, והוא היה רוצה שיתפללו ישראל לה' שאינם רוצים במנהיג אחר, וזה שרמז להם במאמרו לא אוכל לבדי וכו' אף שמצינו שאח"כ בקש מה' שהוא יכניסם, ואומר להם כדי שיבינו שהוא צריך לתפלתם כעת, וזה הפסוק הוא פסוק תשיעי מהתחלת הסדרה ובכל מקום בפסוק התשיעי נמצא עומק שלא כפי פשוטו, וכמו שמבואר בפ' בלק [ד"ה ויאמר בלעם], והם לא הבינו ואמרו טוב הדבר, וע"כ אמר אח"כ ואקח מאתכם אנשים חכמים וידועים וכו' ואמרו חז"ל (נדרים כ':) מה שלא הוזכר נבונים כי נבונים לא מצא וז"ש ונבונים לא מצאתי רומז כי לא מצא מי שיבין כוונתו, כי באם הבנתם את כוונתי והתפללתם אולי הייתם מועילים בתפלתכם.

Here in the 9th pasuk Moshe told the people that he could not lead them alone because the burden was too great to bear.  Moshe was hoping that the people would get the hint and daven to Hashem on his behalf to preserve his leadership.  He was hoping that they would read between the lines and get the message below the surface.  But they didn't, and so they ended up with a bureaucracy of judges.  

What does the Ishbitzer mean that בכל מקום בפסוק התשיעי נמצא עומק שלא כפי פשוטו?  Nine is the sefira of yesod, which corresponds to Yosef haTzadik.  Yosef dressed like an Egyptian, spoke like an Egyptian, the chitzoniyus of his identity was Egyptian.  The pnimiyus, however, was completely different.  Yosef never lost sight of his being on of the shivtei K-h.  Don't judge Yosef by his appearance -- there is an עומק שלא כפי פשוטו to who he is.

Rashi explains that the first pasuk of our parsha alludes to the tochacha Moshe gave Bnei Yisrael for their sins in the desert, but the Ohr haChaim sees an allusion to 9 middos necessary to acquire Torah:   ואפשר לפרש כל הכתוב דרך רמז באופן אחר, והוא כי במקרא מועט למד משה כללות יראת ה׳ ומדות ההגונות הצריכין להולכים בתורת ה׳ והם מדות תשעה.  These midos are not spelled our explicitly, but again, נמצא עומק שלא כפי פשוטו.

My hunch as that just like 9 represents the hidden tzidkus of Yosef, there is a 9 which is the opposite side of the coin that on the surface does not look so bad, but there is great evil lurking below that.  I think you find that in our parsha as well (3:11).  The Torah tells us about Og:  הִנֵּ֤ה עַרְשׂוֹ֙ עֶ֣רֶשׂ בַּרְזֶ֔ל הֲלֹ֣ה הִ֔וא בְּרַבַּ֖ת בְּנֵ֣י עַמּ֑וֹן תֵּ֧שַׁע אַמּ֣וֹת אׇרְכָּ֗הּ וְאַרְבַּ֥ע אַמּ֛וֹת רׇחְבָּ֖הּ בְּאַמַּת־אִֽישׁ  Putting aside the details of whether his bed was literally 9 Amos long, or whether that is 9 regular amos or Og sized amos, what I think is important here is the mention of the number 9 as charactering Og.  (The number 4 may allude to this attribute spreading through all 4 olamos, see Maor v'Shemesh.)  

The Zohar in Chukas (12) writes that Og was among the household of Avraham who undertook the mitzvah of bris milah:

וַיֹּאמֶר ה׳ אֶל מֹשֶׁה אַל תִּירָא אוֹתוֹ, תְּרֵין אוֹתוֹ אִינּוּן שְׁלֵימִין בְּאוֹרַיְיתָא בִּתְרֵין וָוִי"ן, חַד דָּא, וְחַד, (דברים כ״ב:ב׳) עַד דְּרוֹשׁ אָחִיךָ אוֹתוֹ. מַאי טַעְמָא. בְּגִין דְּאִינּוּן אוֹת מַמָּשׁ. עַד דְּרוֹשׁ אָחִיךָ (אחיך ממש) אוֹתוֹ, דְּבָעֵי לְפָרְשָׁא הַהוּא אוֹת, דְּהַהוּא אֲבֵידָה. 

אוּף הָכָא דֵּין אוֹתוֹ, דָּא עוֹג, דְּאִתְדַּבָּק בְּאַבְרָהָם, וּמֵאַנְשֵׁי בֵּיתֵיהּ הֲוָה, וְכַד אִתְגְּזַר אַבְרָהָם מַה כְּתִיב, וְכָל אַנְשֵׁי בֵיתוֹ וְגוֹּ. דָּא עוֹג דְּאִתְגְּזַר עִמֵּיהּ, וְקַבִּיל הַאי אָת קַדִּישָׁא, כֵּיוָן דְּחָמָא עוֹג דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל מְקָרְבִין גַּבֵּיהּ, אָמַר הָא ודַּאי אֲנָא אַקְדִּימְנָא זְכוּתָא דְּקָאִים לוֹן, וְדָא שַׁוִּי לְקָבְלֵיהּ.  בֵּיהּ שַׁעֲתָא דָּחִיל מֹשֶׁה, הֵיךְ יָכִיל לְאַעְקְרָא רְשִׁימָא דְּרָשִׁים אַבְרָהָם.

Meaning, the chitzoniyus of Og, his physical body, had a bris, showing that he was someone connected to Hashem, but that outer appearance just was a disguise for Og's true essence.

In parshas Lech Lecha in the war where Lot is taken captive, a survivor of the battle runs to tell Avraham what happened, (14:13) וַיָּבֹא֙ הַפָּלִ֔יט וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאַבְרָ֣ם הָעִבְרִ֑.  Chazal tell us that that survivor was Og.  At first glance, this sounds like a heroic act -- in the middle of war, Og's concern is for Avraham's family.  Yet the Midrash tells us otherwise. This נמצא עומק שלא כפי פשוטו in the negative sense!  Og reported Lot captured because he was hoping Avraham would go to battle and be killed and he would have Sarah for his own.  

Who is it that is zocheh to take the land of Og, the anti-9, once he is killed?  Our parsha tells us וְיֶ֨תֶר הַגִּלְעָ֤ד וְכׇל־הַבָּשָׁן֙ מַמְלֶ֣כֶת ע֔וֹג נָתַ֕תִּי לַחֲצִ֖י שֵׁ֣בֶט הַֽמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה  It is none other than Menashe, descendent of Yosef, who personified 9 in the positive sense.

This upcoming week is 9 Av, a tragic day, a day of sorrow, but don't be fooled, as we are dealing with the number 9 and נמצא עומק שלא כפי פשוטו. This is a day which is also called a mo'ed, the day mashiach was born, the day in which when our enemies entered the heichel they found the keruvim intertwined in an embrace of love, showing the great love of Hashem for Klal Yisrael. Our parsha writes that after we spent a lot of time wandering around Har Seir, the land of Eisav, Hashem told us  פְּנ֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם צָפֹֽנָה (2:3)  The Midrash explains the word not as a direction, but like the word צפון in the haggadah, i.e. hidden.  If you want to escape Eisav, go hide in the words of Torah.  The Shem m'Shmuel explains that Eisav is all chitzoniyus. If you want to escape, you have to dig deeper, meaning, you have to live a deeper, more meaningful life, a life of   עומק שלא כפי פשוטו.  When that is the aim, then we no longer need to hang around Har Seir in the orbit of Eisav, and we will be able to experience the  עומק שלא כפי פשוטו of 9 Av as well, celebrating it as a moed, as a day of geulah.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

get used to your nine days menu!

Reported in Arutz Sheva:

Kosher meat prices in the US to skyrocket by up to 79%

"According to a Feeder Cattle price chart, the price per pound of cattle meat was just around $125 in 2005 and again in 2020 as opposed to the $248/pound selling today."

Bidenomics at work for you! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

why NYC transit continues going down the drain

From the Citizens Budget Committee:

The MTA’s budget gap for 2023 had widened to $2.6 billion largely due to declining ridership, the decision to skip the 2021 fare increase, and a substantial increase in fare evasion.

Headline in the news from about a year and a half ago:

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg Says His Office Won't Prosecute Fare Evasion, Resisting Arrest, Prostitution And More Without Accompanying Felony Charge

The report continues:

The MTA’s budget gap for 2023 had widened to $2.6 billion...In 2029, CBC projects the MTA will face a budget gap exceeding $900 million, once the benefit of federal COVID-related is exhausted.

In the news today:

Free rides are coming to five city bus routes by Sept. 24, the MTA said on Monday.

Just brilliant!  I would not expect anything less from the City of NY.   

Monday, July 17, 2023

two dinim in the chiyuv to say aneinu on a taanis

Rambam quotes the din to add aneinu on a fast day in hil tefilah 2:14

בימי התענית אפילו יחיד שהתענה מוסיף בשומע תפלה עננו וכו'. ושליח ציבור אומרה ברכה בפני עצמה בין גואל לרופא וחותם בה העונה בעת צרה

And then again in hil taanis 1:9

כשם שהצבור מתענים על צרתן כך היחיד מתענה על צרתו. כיצד הרי שהיה לו חולה או תועה במדבר או אסור בבית האסורין. יש לו להתענות עליו ולבקש רחמים בתפלתו. ואומר עננו וכו' בכל תפלה שמתפלל.

Why does the Rambam repeat the chiyuv in hil taanis but not repeat, for example, the chiyuv to say al ha'nissim in hil chanukah and megillah?

In classic Brisker style R' Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi and R' Shternbruch in Moadim u'Zmanim (7:247)  explain that there are two dinim in saying aneinu: 

1) a chiyuv to mention mei'ein ha'meora, like we do on any special day, as the gemara in Shabbos (24) tells us: דתני ר' אושעיא ימים שיש בהן קרבן מוסף כגון ר"ח וחוש"מ ערבית ושחרית ומנחה מתפלל שמונה עשרה ואומר מעין המאורע בעבודה ואם לא אמר מחזירין אותו ואין בהן קדושה על הכוס ויש בהן הזכרה בברכת המזון ימים שאין בהן קרבן מוסף כגון שני וחמישי (ושני) ותעניות ומעמדות שני וחמישי מאי עבידתייהו אלא שני וה' וב' של תעניות ומעמדות ערבית ושחרית ומנחה מתפלל שמונה עשרה ואומר מעין המאורע בשומע תפלה ואם לא אמר אין מחזירין אותו;

2) the taanis itself is mechayeiv extra tefilah, as the Rambam writes in the beginning of hil taanis (1:4) בימי התעניות האלו זועקין בתפלות ומתחננים 

This yesod helps explain the safeik of the gemara (Meg 22) as to how many aliyos should be read from the Torah on a taanis:

 איבעיא להו תענית צבור בכמה ראש חדש ומועד דאיכא קרבן מוסף ארבעה אבל הכא דליכא קרבן מוסף לא או דלמא הכא נמי איכא מוסף תפלה

Rashi explains that  מוסף תפלה here refers to aneinu.

Why does the gemara not entertain the same safeik regarding chanukah and purim where we also have מוסף תפלה of al ha'nissim?

The difference is that al ha'nissim is mei'ein ha'meora, but having an extra aliya depends on מוסף תפלה which is a kiyum in the day, the second aspect of aneinu, which is unique to taanis

Friday, July 14, 2023

the WSJ hits the nail on the head

The first paragraph of an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal hits the nail on its head:

Why does President Biden go out of his way to snub, criticize and give marching orders to the government of Israel? At least rhetorically, the President and his Administration treat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition worse than they do the ruling mullahs in Iran.

Worth also noting that a letter recently sent by a number of Republican Senators characterized the White House's policy of not cooperating with research done by Israeli universities located in Yehuda and Shomron as "an antisemitic boycott of Israel."  

There is no mystery as to why President Biden would behave this way, as he is a corrupt puppet just expressing the animus toward Israel that has long been State Dept policy and which has become part of the Democrat party platform.  Witness the Democrat Congressmen who are lining up to boycott President Herzog's speech before Congress.  

The question needs to be asked is why anyone in our own community would vote for people like this, putting their hatred of Trump or other interests above the welfare of the Jewish people and our homeland.  

How could you have supported, or continue to support, a President who treats the Jewish state this way?   

Thursday, July 13, 2023

yishuv ha'aretz -- without machlokes; should Rachav have been spared?; an Ohr haChaim that speaks to our times

A simple question: Why didn't Moshe tell the members of the tribes of Reuvain, Gad, and Menashe that they cannot settle in Eiver haYarden because by doing so they would be forgoing the mitzvah of kibush/yishuv Eretz Yisrael?   

Seforno answers (32:33):  כדי שלא להכנס במחלוקת הסכים משה לדבריהם

I don't understand.  If the Bnei Reuvain and Gad did not want to observe Shabbos, would Moshe have accepted that and given in to avoid machlokes?  If they didn't want to put on tefillin, would Moshe have accepted that to avoid machlokes?  Aderaba, we see in the end of of Sefer Yehoshua (ch 22) that when the Bnei Reuvain and Gad built a mizbeiach in Eiver haYarden which the other tribes mistakenly thought was an act of rebellion against Hashem , they did not just let it go.  They immediately called Reuvain and Gad to task and demanded an explanation.  Why then here did Moshe give in here to avoid machlokes?

I think what you see from here is that the mitzvah of yishuv ha'aretz in particular is dependent on not having machlokes.  We are in the three weeks, and we all know that churban bayis sheni happened because there was machlokes and sinas chinam.  We were be banished from the land because machlokes and yishuv ha'aretz are tartei d'sasrei.  The two cannot go together.  Eretz Yisrael is the fulfillment of our dream to live as a nation.  If we can't get along with each other and there is no unity, then how are we a nation?  If we are not a nation, why do we deserve a homeland?  

Moshe gave in to make peace because yishuv ha'aretz by force or coercion would defeat the whole purpose of the mitzvah.  It can only be done b'shalom.  

2) Ohr HaChaim has a comment that is mamash ruach hakodesh on the pasuk (33:54) and speaks to our times:

 וְאִם־לֹ֨א תוֹרִ֜ישׁוּ אֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֣י הָאָ֘רֶץ֮ מִפְּנֵיכֶם֒ וְהָיָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תּוֹתִ֣ירוּ מֵהֶ֔ם לְשִׂכִּים֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וְלִצְנִינִ֖ם בְּצִדֵּיכֶ֑ם וְצָרְר֣וּ אֶתְכֶ֔ם עַל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֖ם יֹשְׁבִ֥ים בָּֽהּ׃

He makes two points.  First, אין והיה אלא לשון שמחה.  You think that not clamping down and finishing off the enemy will bring you simcha, וְהָיָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תּוֹתִ֣ירוּ מֵהֶ֔ם.  Maybe you think it will be to your benefit in some way, e.g. you have cheap labor, you buy favor with the EU and US, etc. Forget about it -- it's not going to work.

Secondly, if you give the enemy a foothold, not only will you have problems in the areas that you leave aside for them, whether it is Gaza or Area C or anyplace else, but you will have problems in the areas that you have conquered, the areas that you think are under your control now.  The problems will be in הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֖ם יֹשְׁבִ֥ים בָּֽהּ, whether it be Tel Aviv, Yerushalayim, or elsewhere c"v.

3) The Yalkut Shimoni writes an amazing chiddush on this same parsha:

אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי (דברים כ׳:י״ז) ״כִּי הַחֲרֵם תַּחֲרִימֵם״, וְאַתֶּם לֹא עֲשִׂיתֶם כֵּן אֶלָּא (יהושע ו׳:כ״ה) ״וְאֶת רָחָב הַזּוֹנָה״ וְגוֹ׳ הֶחֱיָה״ וְגוֹ׳, הֲרֵי יִרְמִיָּה בָּא מִבָּנֶיהָ וְעוֹשֶׂה לָכֶם דְּבָרִים שֶׁלְשִׂכִּים בְּעֵינֵיכֶם וְלִצְנִינִם בְּצִדֵּיכֶם, לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ הַכָּתוּב לוֹמַר ״דִּבְרֵי יִרְמִיָּהוּ בֶּן חִלְקִיָּהוּ״.

According to the Yalkut, its not the terrorist in Jenin that the pasuk is warning us about, but rather it's Yirmiyahu haNavi who came from the lineage of Rachav.  This is the thorn in our side that will plague us because we don't eradicate the sheva umos. 

(Once upon a time I quoted from R' Tzadok that this is why the pasuk says  והיה, a lashon of simcha.  The tochacha of the navi, which is a painful thorn in our side, is what eventually drive us to do teshivah and bring us out of galus.)

Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, who needs a refuah shleima and learning his Torah should be zechus to bring that about, quotes the Yalkut Shimoni in Sefer Yehoshua (2:11):

אמר הקב״ה לרחב את אמרת כי ה׳ אלקיכם הוא אלקים (יהושע ב׳:י״א) ניחא בארץ שמא בשמים ממעל את אמרת מה שלא ראית בעיניך חייך שבנך עומד ורואה מה שלא ראו הנביאים כמד״א נפתחו השמים ואראה מראות אלקים (יחזקאל א׳:א׳)

How can we square the two views?  On the one hand, we see from Rachav is given lavish praise for her believing in Hashem, and as a result is rewarded by having among her offspring Yechzkel haNavi, who saw the maaseh merkava, beyond what all other nevi'im saw.  Yet on the other hand, the Yalkut in our parsha is critical of Bn"Y for leaving her alive (the Yalkut must hold that she did not have giyur)?  

He writes that it's no stira. וְהָיָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תּוֹתִ֣ירוּ מֵהֶ֔ם לְשִׂכִּים֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וְלִצְנִינִ֖ם בְּצִדֵּיכֶ֑ם is like a law of nature.  There may be good reason for Rachav to be made an exception to the rule, but rules don't work that way.  Barring a miracle, if Rachav were to jump off the wall of Yericho, the law of gravity would assert itself and she would fall to the ground no matter that she had hidden the spies or that she had professed belief in Hashem.  So too, no matter how worthy she may have been, the outcome of sparing her life would inevitably be painful.  That pain may come in the form of a prophet like Yirmiyahu and not c'v a terrorist from Jenin, but pain of some sort is inescapable and unavoidable.  

4) That section of the parsha ends off  וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּמִּ֛יתִי לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לָהֶ֖ם אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶֽם.  Here too, we have the word וְהָיָ֗ה, and אין והיה אלא לשון שמחה, which again seems very difficult in this context.  How can there be any simcha in  אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶֽם?  The Ohr haChaim is silent here, but the Agra d'Kallah comes and helps us out, albeit a bit on the desrushy side.  He explains that the original plan at the time of yetzias Mitzrayim was for Hashem to take care of the fighting for us and for us to sit back and watch the show.  For better or worse, we chose the path of doing things for ourselves.  Hashem did not command us to send meraglim to spy out how to conquer the land because it was not necessary, but we chose to do so.  The challenge is for us to recognize that even when we seem to be doing things ourselves, behind it all is still yad Hashem -- not us.  The only difference is whether we have a nes nigleh or nes nistar.  The pasuk promises וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּמִּ֛יתִי לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לָהֶ֖ם, what I Hashem planned to do myself to those nation, אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶֽם, I will do through you.  I will bring about the same result, but couch it in the efforts you put forward.  He writes:

 ויהיה כאשר דמיתי לעשות להם אני בעצמי ואתם תעמדו מנגד, יומשך הענין שאעשה לכם בעשייתכם בטבע בחרב ובחנית במלחמה טבעיות, ואף על פי כן אני העושה וזה יהיה הנסיון, והבן מאוד

This is the time of year to work on the  והבן מאוד.

Monday, July 10, 2023

לָכֵ֖ן אֱמֹ֑ר - HaKsav v'HaKabbalah on responding to criticism; a proof meant for us

1) Our parsha opens with Hashem declaring that Pinchas would be rewarded:  לָכֵ֖ן אֱמֹ֑ר הִנְנִ֨י נֹתֵ֥ן ל֛וֹ אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֖י שָׁלֽוֹם  Netziv writes מלבד שיהא כן, יודיע לו שיהא כן. והוא חיבה יתירה.  Meaning, we see from the pasuk not only that Pinchas was rewarded, but לָכֵ֖ן אֱמֹ֑ר, but also that his reward was announced, which shows Hashem's special love.  Meshech Chochma in many places quotes a yesod from the Rambam in the into to Peirush haMishnayos that a nevuah that is just revealed privately to a navi can be changed and retracted, but a nevuah which the navi is told to declare can never be changed.  Therefore, Hashem not only showed Moshe was Pinchas' reward was, but he told Moshe to articulate that promise so that it would never be subject to retraction.   

The reward given to Pinchas stands in contrast to the reaction of the shevatim to his actions.  Rashi writes that the shevatim criticized Pinchas for killing Zimri, saying that it was not right for the gransdon of an oveid avodah zarah to kill the nasi of a sheiveit.  HaKsav v'haKabbalah interprets the word אֱמֹ֑ר here along the lines of the pasuk  וה' האמירך היום להיות לו לעם סגלה כאשר דבר־לך ולשמר כל־מצותיו (Devarim 26:18)  Ibn Ezra there translates  מלשון גדוּלה, like בְּרֹ֣אשׁ אָמִ֑יר (Yishayahu 17:6), meaning, "the uppermost branch."  Before even talking about the reward for what he did, Hashem told Moshe that if Pinchas is being criticized, לָכֵ֖ן אֱמֹ֑ר, you have to pick him up, you have to give him immediate affirmation.  What a great lesson in how to react and respond when you see someone being put down for nothing.

2) Rashi writes that because the nations cast doubt on the purity of the families of Bn"Y, therefore, there is a letter hey before each family name and a letter yud at the end in our parsha because Hashem wanted to show that his name was connected with each family, a testimony to their purity:  

 לפי שהיו האומות מונין אותן: מה אילו מתייחסין על שבטיהם, סבורים הם שלא שלטו המצריים באמותיהם, אם בגופן היו מושלין קל וחומר בנשותיהם, לפיכך הטיל הקב״ה שמו עליהם, ה״י מצד זה ויו״ד מצד זה, לומר: מעיד אני עליהם שהם בני אבותיהם.

Are the nations of the world who had this taanah going to open our parsha and start reading and see this connection to the shem Hashem?  Do you really think this will convince them that they are wrong?

R' Chaim Elazari in his Nesivei Chaim answers that the proof is not meant for them -- it's meant for us.

When you live in a society surrounded by the umos ha'olam and you hear them talking, sometimes a little of what they say seeps in.  Witness how many poor misguided Jews sadly have been brainwashed by what they hear on college campuses, mainstream media, the internet, and the Democrat party, and have come to think that the poor Palestinians are victims of Israel's aggression, or have come to think that supporting some alphabet soup of LGBT+whatever else rights is a value that we can subscribe to.  The parsha is meant for us, to reaffirm what we know the truth to be against the tide of lies that come from elsewhere.  (I assume he would explain the first Rashi in Braishis in a similar way.)

Friday, July 07, 2023

kana'us for the sake of love

Rashi writes that the Torah spells out Pinchas' yichus because the shevatim criticized him saying, "How dare a descendent of Yisro, someone who fattened sheep to offer as sacrifices to idols, kill a prince of a sheivet!" The Torah therefore links Pinchas to his grandfather Aharon.  

Taz asks: either Pinchas was justified in killing Zimri because kanaim pogim bo or he wasn't; either way, his yichus has no bearing on the issue.  Secondly, reminding us that Pinchas was a descendent of Aharon, which surely everyone knew, does not take away from the fact that he was also descendent from an oveid avodah zarah.  

We've discussed this before, but I wanted to add another twist this year.  R' Tzvi Yehudah Kook explains that there was never a question that the din of kanaim pogim bo justifies killing even the leader of a sheivet.  The issue the shevatim had was the question of motivation.  When there is a cost involved -- loss of life or otherwise -- proper intentions matter.  For example, there are shitos that hold yibum must be done lishma because by definition, there is a conflict between the mitzvah and the issur kareis of eishas ach.  It's the intent and motivation of the mi'yabeim which transforms the act from an issur into a kiyum mitzvah.  Similarly, Ramban in parshas Lech Lecha asks why it is the Egyptians were punished for enslaving Bnei Yisrael when they were just fulfilling the prophecy given to Avraham that his children would be slaves for 400 years.  One of Ramban's  answers is that the Egyptians were punished because they were lacking the right intentions; their motivation was she'lo lishma.  Enslaving a people, with all the negative consequences that go along with that, is something that can only be done for the right reasons.  When Shaul failed to eradicate Amalek, the navi Shmuel tells him (Sh I ch 15) that he was guilty of turning away from Hashem and making Hashem's words disgusting.  Shaul may have failed to finish the job, but how was he guilty because of that of "turning away from Hashem?"  The Chofetz Chaim explains that by substituting his own thinking regarding who to kill and what to eradicate, Shaul proved that he was acting on his own initiative, not purely lishma to carry out the dvar Hashem.  That amounts to murder, not the fulfillment of nevuah.  Here too, even if Zimri deserved to be killed, the shevatim questioned whether Pinchas did so with the right motivation.  Could this descendent of an idolator kill, someone purely lishma, or perhaps there was a little bit of bloodthirst in his genes that led him to act?  By linking Pinchas to Aharon, the great oheiv shalom v'rodef shalom, the Torah gives a stamp of purity to Pinchas' actions.

The pasuk in Tehillim (106:30)  וַיַּעֲמֹ֣ד פִּֽ֭ינְחָס וַיְפַלֵּ֑ל וַ֝תֵּעָצַ֗ר הַמַּגֵּפָֽה tells us that that Pinchas davened (Targum of יְפַלֵּ֑ל is וְצַלֵי, though the derash [Sanhedrin 44] reads it differently) and brought the mageifa to and end.  The gemara (Eiruvin 65a) writes that R' Chanina would not daven on a day when he got angry . רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בְּיוֹמָא דְּרָתַח לָא מְצַלֵּי, אָמַר: ״בְּצָר אַל יוֹרֶה״ כְּתִיב.  How then, asks the Pnei Menchem, was Pinchas able to daven at this moment of kana'us and passion when he killed Zimri?!  

Al korchacha, Pinchas did not act out of anger.  Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon the oheiv shalom v'rodef shalom, acted lishma, out of love -- love for Bnei Yisrael, who were suffering a mageifa.  That is the only motivation that can justify kana'us.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

days of teshuva or days of mourning

1) Chasam Sofer (208) points out that according to Rambam (Hil Taanis ch 5) the fasts of 10 Teves, 17 Tamuz, 9 Av, etc are days of teshuvah, not days to commemorate the past:

יש שם ימים שכל ישראל מתענים בהם מפני הצרות שאירעו בהן כדי לעורר הלבבות לפתוח דרכי התשובה ויהיה זה זכרון למעשינו הרעים ומעשה אבותינו שהיה כמעשינו עתה עד שגרם להם ולנו אותן הצרות. שבזכרון דברים אלו נשוב להיטיב שנאמר והתודו את עונם ואת עון אבותם וגו':

Achronim point out that other Rishonim disagree, e.g. the Ran (end of 4th perek of Taanis) writes that there is a chiyuv to say neila on a taanis geshem but not on these days stems because taanis geshem is a day of tefilah and teshuvah, while these are days to mourn over the past.

Rav Shternbruch points out what seems to be an inconsistency within the Rambam, as in Hil Tefilah (13:18) Rambam distinguishes between the fasts that commemorate the churban, שאנו מתענין על מה שאירע לאבותינו, and other fast which are days of teshuvah:

 ובשאר התעניות שאנו מתענין על מה שאירע לאבותינו קורין בשחרית ומנחה. הראשון קורא ויחל משה ארבע פסוקים. וקורא השני והשלישי מפסל לך עד אשר אני עושה עמך. ובתעניות שגוזרין אותן הצבור מפני הצרות כגון בצורת ודבר וכיוצא בהן קורין ברכות וקללות כדי שישובו העם ויכנע לבבם כשישמעו אותם 

So even according to shitas haRambam, there is an element of commemoration, not just teshuvah and tefilah. 

R' Yitzchak Sorotzkin reads Ramban is a middle ground between these positions.  Ramban writes in Toras haAdam that the original takanas nevi'im that applied in eis tzarah was for the fasts of 10 Teves, 17 Tamuz, etc. to all have the same halachos of 9 Av.  Nowadays, when there is no eis tzarah, we continue to observe the fasts because Klal Yisrael accepted upon ourselves to do so, but we only accepted the din of not eating on the day of the fast, not the other chumros.  Why the split?  The takana of the neviim was to fast in order to commorate the churban, and therefore 10 Teves, 17 Tamuz were all like 9 Av.  Nowadays, we fast to inspire ourselves to tefilah and teshuvah. The different mechayeiv creates a different set of halachos.  

The gemara (Taanos 16) mentions a minhag to visit the cemetery on a taanis geshamim. Tos extends the minhag to apply to 9 Av.  R' Shternbruch points out that the chiddush of Tos may hinge on the above views.  One could argue that taanis geshem is about eliciting teshuvah, while the focus of 9 Av is mourning, and therefore the halachos are not the same (See Ah"S  457:18 who writes that yeri'im do not go to the cemetary, but for a different reason.)

2) The SA paskens that a chasan is obligated to fast during the week of sheva brachos.  The simcha of the individual is not doche the chiyuv tzom of the rabim.  Rav Shternbruch (vol 7 #246) asks why this should be true in our times when the chiyuv tzom is only a minhag and not still based on the takanas nevi'im.  I do not understand his question.  Minhag is binding like a neder.  If someone takes a neder not to eat matzah, for example, he is not allowed to do so even on leil ha'seder.  The minhag/neder to not eat on 17 Tamuz therefore of course is doche the obligation of sheva brachos.

R' Shternbruch distinguishes between the chiyuv simcha for a chasan and the chiyuv simcha on Yom Tov.  The latter demands eating meat and drinking wine; the former requires making the kallah happy.  It is not a chiyuv to eat per se, just a chiyuv to rejoice together.  Furthermore, that chiyuv is subject to mechila on the part of the kallah, and a mitzvah that is subject to mechila cannot be doche issurim (see Kesubos 40).

Monday, July 03, 2023

parah adumah as a prelude to entering Eretz Yisrael

According to Rashi, the parsha of parah adumha was already given right after kri'as Yam Suf.  Rashi comments on  שָׁ֣ם שָׂ֥ם ל֛וֹ חֹ֥ק וּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט וְשָׁ֥ם נִסָּֽהוּ׃ (Shmos 16:25)  במרה נתן להם מקצת פרשיות של תורה שיתעסקו בהן: שבת, פרה אדומה, וכיבוד אב ואם.  The gemara (Git 60a) writes that the parsha of parah was given on the day the Mishkan was inaugurated: דאמר רבי לוי שמנה פרשיות נאמרו ביום שהוקם בו המשכן אלו הן פרשת כהנים ופרשת לוים ופרשת טמאים ופרשת שילוח טמאים ופרשת אחרי מות ופרשת שתויי יין ופרשת נרות ופרשת פרה אדומה.  Rashi comments there: . לפי שביום המחרת נשרפה הפרה להיות נטהרין לפסחיהן וקודם לכן לא יכלו לעשותה דבעינן והזה אל נכח פני אהל מועד (במדבר יט) והכי אמרינן במסכת מגילה ירושלמי באחד בניסן הוקם המשכן ושני לו נשרפה הפרה.  Why then does the parsha of parah only appear at the beginning of Chukas, which records events of the final year in the midbar when chronologically it had been given much earlier in time?

This question is addressed by the Rishonim.  Ibn Erza comments right at the start of the parsha ונסמכה זאת פרשה בעבור שהיא לכהן.  Meaning, Korach ends off with the list of matnos kehunah, so the Torah stuck parah here because it is something that is done by the kohen.  I don't understand the sevara, because it begs the question of why parah and not korbanos, or the parsha of negaim, which also require the participation of a kohen.  

Abarbanel writes that although ashes of a parah had been prepared by Moshe at the start of the journey in the midbar, the parsha was given again here in anticipation of the wars that would be fought to conquer Eretz Yisrael, which would bring many more people in contact with the dead, as well as because of the many people who had died during the rebellions against Moshe whose bodies had to be dealt with.  

אמנם בסוף ארבעים שנה שהיו מעותדים להכנס לארץ ראה יתברך שבמלחמת העמים ירבו חללי ה׳ ורבים מבני ישראל יגעו במת לכל נפש אדם בערי׳ שיכבשו גם על פני השדה בחלל חרב או במת או בעצם אדם או בקבר ויטמאו להם ואפר הפרה שעשה משה לא יספיק להם לכן צוה עתה ית׳ למשה ולאהרן אופן עשיית הפרה גם שבסבת הנשרפים פתח אהל מועד מקרח ועדתו מן המתים במגפה במתלוננים רבים מעמי הארץ היו מתטמאים וגם הם ימעיטו אפר הפרה שעשה משה ועל כל הדברים האלה באה הצוואה במקום הזה ממצות הפרה.

The problem with Abarbanel is that the Mishna in Parah (ch 3) records that there have been only 9 parot adumot in history, and only one in the days of Moshe.  There was no need for an additional parah for centuries despite the additional number of people who became tamei. 

Shem m'Shmuel also sees parah here as anticipating the conquest of Eretz Yisrael, but not for the practical reason suggested by Abarbanel. Parah is given here because in order to succeed in our drive to settle Eretz Yisrael, we need to internalize the lesson of parah adumah, namely, that not everything in life needs to make sense or can be understood.  How can one nation possibly fight the 31 kings who lived in Canaan?  How can one nation fight off multiple hostile Arab states, absorb millions of refugees expelled from those Arab States in addition to Holocaust survivors, create a working government and infrastructure with no past experience in doing so?  If you want answers up front before starting, you will never get off the ground.  "Zos chukas haTorah..."  Chazal tell us that Avraham was promised Eretz Yisrael in the zechus of milah.  Milah means  הִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ לְפָנַ֖י וֶהְיֵ֥ה תָמִֽים, with simple faith.  Don't get too bogged down in questions that you cannot answer, in mysteries that you mind can never unravel.  It will work out anyway, whether you understand how and why or not.