Parsha – Pinchas

Well Shabbat is right around the corner so it is time to write the weekly Parsha talk. This week we read Parsha Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1).

Last week we ended the Parsha with Pinchas zealously killing two sinners who were fornicating before Moshe with a non-Jew. In this parsha G-d tells Moshe that what Pinchas did was righteous and he should promote Pinchas to the title of Kohen {priest}. According to Midrash 12 miracles were performed in the merit of Pinchas {see links for more information}.

Chapter 25
10. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 11. Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen has turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them, so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal. 12. Therefore, say, “I hereby give him My covenant of peace. 13. It shall be for him and for his descendants after him [as] an eternal covenant of kehunah, because he was zealous for his God and atoned for the children of Israel.” 14. The name of the Israelite man who was killed, who was slain with the Midianite woman was Zimri the son of Salu, the chieftain of the Simeonite paternal house. 15. And the name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, a national leader of a paternal house in Midian. 16. The Lord spoke to Moses saying: 17. Distress the Midianites, and you shall smite them. 18. For they distress you with their plots which they contrived against you in the incident of Peor and in the incident of Cozbi their sister, the daughter of the Midianite chieftain, who was slain on the day of the plague [that had come] because of Peor.

Hashem now orders Moshe and Elezear to perform another census on the Jewish people. The reason for the census is to know how many men of fighting age are in the Jewish people.

Chapter 26
1. It was after the plague, that the Lord spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen, saying: 2. Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel from twenty years old and upwards, following their fathers’ houses, all that are fit to go out to war in Israel. 3. Moses and Eleazar the kohen spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying: 4. “From the age of twenty and upward, as the Lord commanded Moses and the children of Israel who had come out of Egypt.”

After counting all the families the census finds a total of 601,736 men of fighting age. Now Hashem reveals how the land will be divided between the tribes.

Chapter 26
52. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 53. You shall apportion the Land among these as an inheritance, in accordance with the number of names. 54. To the large [tribe] you shall give a larger inheritance and to a smaller tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance, each person shall be given an inheritance according to his number. 55. Only through lot shall the Land be apportioned; they shall inherit it according to the names of their fathers’ tribes. 56. The inheritance shall be apportioned between the numerous and the few, according to lot.

Now the Torah explains the request of the daughters of Zelophehad concerning their inheritance. According to the laws which Moshe recieved it was not clear what should happen to a tribes inheritance when the patriarch died and didnt leave any sons. Women were not normally considered for inheritance but Moshe took the question to Hashem. Hashem tells Moshe to allow the daughters to inherit their fathers property.

Chapter 27
1. The daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph, came forward, and his daughters’ names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2. They stood before Moses and before Eleazar the kohen and before the chieftains and the entire congregation at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, saying, 3. “Our father died in the desert, but he was not in the assembly that banded together against the Lord in Korah’s assembly, but he died for his own sin, and he had no sons. 4. Why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he had no son? Give us a portion along with our father’s brothers. ” 5. So Moses brought their case before the Lord. 6. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 7. Zelophehad’s daughters speak justly. You shall certainly give them a portion of inheritance along with their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer their father’s inheritance to them. 8. Speak to the children of Israel saying: If a man dies and has no son, you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter. 9. If he has no daughter, you shall give over his inheritance to his brothers. 10. If he has no brothers, you shall give over his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11. If his father has no brothers, you shall give over his inheritance to the kinsman closest to him in his family, who shall inherit it. This shall remain a decreed statute, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Hashem now tells Moshe that his time alive is running out. Moshe will be gathered in like his brother who died a painless and righteous death. Moshes first thought is that the Children of Israel will need a leader in his absence. Hashem tells Moshe that Joshua, his most favorite student, will take Moshes place of leadership.

Chapter 27
12. The Lord said to Moses, “Go up to this mount Abarim and look at the land that I have given to the children of Israel. 13. And when you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother was gathered. 14. Because you disobeyed My command in the desert of Zin when the congregation quarreled, [when you were] to sanctify Me through the water before their eyes; these were the waters of dispute at Kadesh, in the desert of Zin. 15. Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 16. “Let the Lord, the God of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, 17. who will go forth before them and come before them, who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” 18. The Lord said to Moses, “Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, a man of spirit, and you shall lay your hand upon him. 19. And you shall present him before Eleazar the kohen and before the entire congregation, and you shall command him in their presence.

So Hashem tells Moshe how to pass on his leadership role in the Jewish people. Moshe took Joshua to the Kohen before the entire congregation and laid his hands on Joshuas head. Moshe bestowed some of his majesty on Joshua. As the Midrash relates, Moshe glowed like the sun and Joshua glowed like the moon.

The rest of the Parsha lists the sacred days, the yom tovim, and their associated offerings. This list includes the Shabbat and Passover. This has been a very exciting Parsha. The story of Pinchas, Zelophehad daughters, and the passing of the leadership from Moshe to Joshua.


Pinchas: A Man For All Eras And All Places :

Zealotry is like Radiation :

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One Response to Parsha – Pinchas

  1. Barry Wom says:

    What a beautiful post.

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