2. Looking for a connection to this week's Parsha.
3. The importance of Tefillin in the war against Midian
4. An interesting connection of the importance of putting the Shel Yad on before the Shel Rosh and the war against Midian in the Medrash Shir Hashirim, a connection which may be implied in a Gemara in Menachos. Or it might just be a coincidence.
5. General marei mekomos.
1. Sometimes, such unlikely coincidences occur that one can be forgiven thinking that they signify something.
Last Friday night, I saw that the shul had acquired the Teshuvos of Harav Kapach. I was curious about what Teimani psak looks like, so I took it out, and the first teshuva I saw was a discussion of whether a person who does not have a Bris Millah (because of a dangerous medical condition) may or must wear Tefillin on Shabbos. This question, and its premise, was entirely new to me, but I saw that he says that this question actually has considerable history, and stems from a Medrash/Zohar and a Smag (ספר מצוות גדול, עשין כב)
Although our Gemara (Eiruvin 96a) says that the reason one does not wear Tefillin on Shabbos is either because of Reb Yosi Hagligli's drasha from מימים or Reb Akiva's drasha from והיה לך לאות על ידך מי שצריכין אות יצאו אלו שהן גופן אות, this Zohar or Medrash says that one אות, one sign, is not enough. Every Jewish man needs two signs of his Judaism. During the week, the two signs are the Tefillin and the Bris Millah. But on Shabbos, you don't need the Tefillin because you have two signs besides the Tefillin, you have the Milah and Shabbos. On that basis, the Radvaz (6:2334) and the Trumas Hadeshen (108) and others have to say "do not take this to mean that a non-mahul has to wear Tefillin on Shabbos." Either he's also called a Mahul, or because it's a Medrash and not meant lehalacha, or whatever.
So I said, ok, that's what a psak looks like in a Teimani sefer. It was fascinating, although the idea of some people being obligated to wear Tefillin on Shabbos was not entirely new to me. I already wrote that the Biur Halacha seems to hold like those poskim that a person that has to act on Shabbos exactly as he does during the week (for example, a man that is lost and doesn't remember what day of the week it is,) might be chayav to wear Tefillin on Shabbos. On that basis I was mechadeish that Reform Jews, both men and women, are obligated to wear Tefillin on Shabbos. Basically, the idea is that since they are 100% mechallel Shabbos, Shabbos is not an Os, and so they have to wear Tefillin on Shabbos, and since they have to wear Tefillin on Shabbos, it is not, for them, a Mitzvas Asei SheHazman Gramma, so their women would be chayav to wear Tefillin too.
The next morning, when I glanced at the Shem Mishmuel, I found that in Parshas Pinchas he brings this Zohar, too. I don't remember ever seeing this Zohar or Medrash in my sixty one years, and then I see it twice within twelve hourse, in entirely unrelated contexts. I have since found the discussion in the יד יצחק and the בית נפתלי .
The Trumas Hadeshen:
2. I said to myself, this is amazing. There has to be a reason for this almost Jungian synchronicity. But there's nothing in my life that has anything at all to do with this. I used to go to the mikva with Reb Avraham Kohen, and I know absolutely that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my bris. Perhaps there is something in Parshos Mattos/Massei that has some connection!
3. No, there isn't. Absolutely nothing.
4. But there is one interesting reference to Tefillin in this week's Parsha, in Mattos, where it talks about the strenth of the Tribe of Gad, which lived on the frontier, away from the rest of Klal Yisrael. It is said that the source of strength for the Tribe of Gad, and for the entire army of Klal Yisrael in times of war, is the zechus of Tefillin, or, along the same lines, that they never ever put on their Shel Rosh before their Shel Yad. This is brought in Rabbeinu Bachay, all the way at the end of Parshas Mattos, who says
But I still don't know why this coincidence happened, unless I meet an Hemophiliac Jew that follows the Zohar lehalacha, but here are the sources that talk about Tefillin in the context of our parsha as being a source of victory in battle. As we will see, there is another possible coincidence that turned up.
But who knows. Maybe it's just a coincidence.
The Rosh in הלכות קטנות – הל' תפילין סט"ו in Menachos says שמפני קיום מצות תפילין ותיקונן, יתקיים באנשי המלחמה וטרף זרוע אף קדקד, like Rabbeinu Bachay, but he doesn't address the importance of the Shel Yad preceding the Shel Rosh.
and Rivevos Ephraim.
7. I don't want to leave out Kiddushin 37b,