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Parashat Pinechas; Numbers; Chapter 25 Verse 10 – Chapter30 Verse 1

07/05/2018 04:12:03 PM


Parashat Pinechas; Numbers; Chapter 25 Verse 10 – Chapter 30 Verse 1

General Overview: In this week's Torah portion Pinechas is rewarded for his bravery. A census of the Israelites is taken. The daughters of Tze’lophchad successfully argue for a portion in the land of Israel. Joshua is ordained Moses' successor. G‑d relays to Moses the details of all the holiday sacrifices.


1st Section: Last week's reading concluded with Moabite and Midianite women seducing Jewish men and enticing them to idol worship. At that point, Pinechas unilaterally executed a Jewish leader along with the Midianite princess with whom he was cohabiting. This week's reading opens with G‑d praising Pinechas and rewarding his bravery by granting priesthood to him and his descendants. G‑d then commands the Jews to punish the Midianites by hounding and smiting them. The fulfillment of this command is described in next week's reading. G‑d commands Moses and Elazar the High Priest to conduct a census of all males over the age of twenty.


2nd Section: The Israelites are counted, and the totals are given for each of the twelve tribes. The grand total of all the tribes combined is 601,730. The tribe of Levi is not included in this census.


3rd Section: As per G‑d's command, the land of Israel was to be divided amongst all those who were counted in this census. The location of each tribe's portion would be determined by lottery. The tribe of Levi is now counted. There were 23,000 Levite males above the age of one month. The daughters of Tze’lophchad approached Moses and stated that their father had died leaving behind only daughters. They requested to receive their father's portion in the land of Israel. Moses relayed their request to G‑d.


4th Section: G‑d agreed to Tze’lophchad’s daughters' request. Moses is then instructed the laws of inheritance. Included in these laws is a daughter's right to her father's estate if he does not leave any sons. G‑d tells Moses to climb to the top of Mount Abarim from where he would see the Promised Land before he died. Moses asks G‑d to appoint a worthy individual to succeed him. G‑d instructs Moses to endow Joshua with some of his spiritual powers and publicly name him as his successor.


5th Section: From this point until the end of this week's reading, the Torah details the various communal sacrifices which were offered in the Tabernacle and Temple at designated times. This section discusses the twice-daily "Tamid" sacrifice, as well as the additional sacrifices offered on Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the Jewish month).


6th Section: This section discusses the sacrifices offered on Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. The Torah also discusses some of the laws related to these holidays.


7th Section: This section discusses the sacrifices offered on the holidays of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.


Haftara: Kings 1; Chapter 18 Verse 46 – Chapter 19 Verse 21


Haftara Summary: The prophet Elijah is the main character of this week's haftarah. According to tradition, Elijah shared the same soul as Pinechas, the hero of this week's Torah portion. They also both zealously fought on G‑d's behalf, while disregarding the dangers involved.


Following the showdown with the Baal prophets at Mount Carmel, which led to the execution of the Baal priests, the evil Queen Jezebel issued a death sentence for Elijah. Elijah fled to the Judean desert and asked G‑d to take his life. While he slept, an angel awoke him and provided him with food and drink. Reenergized, Elijah went for forty days until he arrived at Mount Horeb (Sinai), and he slept in a cave on the mountain. And the word of G‑d came to him and asked him for the purpose of his visit. "And [Elijah] said: 'I have been zealous for G‑d, the Lord of Hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant. They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I have remained alone, and they seek my life to take it."


Elijah was instructed to leave the cave and stand on the mountain: "Behold! G‑d's Presence will pass." There was a great and strong wind splitting mountains and shattering boulders, but Elijah realized that G‑d was not in the wind. Then came an earthquake followed by fire, but again Elijah understood that not in the earthquake nor the fire was G‑d. After the fire there was a subtle silent voice, and Elijah realized that the Divine Presence had appeared.

G‑d asked Elijah again for the purpose of his visit, and Elijah repeated his earlier response. G‑d instructed Elijah to go to Damascus and anoint Chazael as king of Aram and Jehu as king of Israel and to anoint Elisha as a prophet in his stead. These three would continue Elijah's battle against the Baal.


Elijah followed the instructions and he immediately found Elisha and recruited him as his aide and eventual successor.

Tue, July 17 2018 5 Av 5778