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Pinchas ~ פינחס ~ 5774
Aaron’s grandson, Pinchas, is rewarded for his act of zealotry in killing the Shimonite Prince Zimri and the Midianite Princess. G-d grants him a covenant of peace and the priesthood.
A census of the people counts 601,730 men between the ages of 20 and 60. Moses is instructed on how the land is to be divided by lottery among the tribes and families of Israel. The five daughters of Tzelafchad petition Moses that they be granted the portion of the land belonging to their father, who died without sons, G-d accepts their claim and incorporates it into the Torah’s laws of .
Moses empowers Joshua to succeed him and lead the people into the Land of Israel. The Parashah concludes with a detailed list of the daily offerings, and the additional offerings brought on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh (first of the month), and the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret.
MAFTIR Numbers 29:35 – 30:1 ~ page 698
HAFTARAH I Kings 18:46 – 19:21 ~ page
Pinchas has two haftaras, one for when it falls before the 3 Weeks (this year) and one for when it falls during the 3 Weeks. It is the first of the three HAFTAROT OF TRAGEDY. In this haftarah, we read that after Eliyahu’s challenge to the prophets of Baal, the wicked Queen Jezebel threatens to take revenge against Eliyahu. The prophet then flees to Beersheva, rests wearily under a juniper tree and considers his work a failure. He begs G-d to take his life. He is miraculously provided with food and journeys to Mt. Horev where he dwells in a cave. In a vision Eliyahu tells G-d that he has been “very zealous for the L-rd, G-d of Hosts” yet, in spite of all his efforts, the people still worship idols. He witnesses in succession a hurricane, earthquake, fire, and then hears the “still small voice” of G-d that teaches him that patience and faith can be more effective than might. G-d then tells him to carry out three missions: anoint Hazael as king of Syria, to anoint Jehu as king of Israel and to appoint his student Elijah as prophet in his place. Eliyahu proceeds to carry out G-d’s will and selects Elijah as his successor.
Parashah Study Questions
- Why is the Vav of Shalom in v. 25:12 “broken” both in the actually Torah and every Chumash? How does this relate to Operation Protective Edge?
- Following the immorality sin of Baal Peor, G-d gave the command to ‘harass the Midianites’ (25:17). Are there any current ‘modern conflicts’ in which this lesson may be applicable?
- In selecting Joshua as Moses’ successor, G-d told Moses to place ‘some of your majesty upon him’ (27:20). What does that mean? Is majesty contagious? Is it transferable?
- Why are the day to day reductions of the number of bull sacrifices of Sukkot (day one = 13 bulls, day two = 12, etc.) relative to modern Israel and Jewish philo-sophy (29:13-32)?
- What is the historical AND modern relevance to the Fast of the 17th of Tamuz on Tuesday?