Repeat, Say Again and Reiterate – Parshat Pinchas

In public speaking classes, they discuss the concept of repetition of certain themes which are central to the presentation. They point out the importance of repetition and how to execute it without seeming boring or obnoxious. It helps drive the point home.

The Torah, which is usually very stingy with words, retells the story of Korach 3 times - each time in a slightly different manner and focus.1 Chazal have noted this in other instances as well. Rav Nachman noting this phenomenon said that "The words of the Torah are poor in one place and rich in another place."2 This principle is oft-quoted starting from as early as the period of the Rishonim (950-1492). It has even become part and parcel of traditional Rabbinic thought and attitude towards our study. We get excited when we find a similar or even different description elsewhere. It gives us a fuller picture and a more profound perspective. 

It is fun likewise in life when we learn things and then see that we can apply it to other situations – from the mundane to the profound or esoteric. When I studied logotherapy and the life of its founder Dr. Viktor Frankl, the wisdom stood out for me.3 I started seeing how simple the theory was to understand, what kind of a change it could make in my own life and even help to better understand my clients. Then when I read more of Frankl's works and the works of his students, it filled in gaps and I became more excited about how well it explains the human experience. The more we read, learn and experience, the more we understand. Learning in any area may be scant in one area but plentiful in another.

We all have certain experiences in life. Some pleasurable. Others we would prefer to avoid. Even those which are unpleasant may have some value for us as we ask the important question, 'Can I gain anything from this experience?' It is probably not an experience we would have chosen but it may still have value for us. We may even have another experience later in life that can shed light on the older, unpleasant one. Life, too, may be incomprehensible through one experience and clear through another.

Even the knowledge that there can be some meaning to our suffering, even if we do not know what it is at the present time, often gives us strength to move on. It gives us hope.

Click here for another logoParsha article on Parshat Pinchas (Escape Your Genes)


  1. Bamidbar chapter 16 is the original story, 26:9-11 is this week's parsha and finally in Devarim 11:6 as part of Moshe's rebuke of the people.
  2. Otzar midrashim, 32 midot, Eisenstein, p. 268 (Hebrew)
  3. Viktor Frankl has written many books, most notably 'Man's Search for Meaning' and 'Doctor and the Soul' in which he describes meaning and the search for it as our prime motivator.

Have A Great Shabbat!laughing

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