Weekly Reading Insights: Pinchas 5764



Overview of the Weekly Reading: Pinchas

To be read on 21 Tamuz 5764 (July 10th )
TTorah: Numbers 25:10-30:1
Jeremiah 1:1-2:3 (1st of 3 "Haftorahs of Punishment")

Pinchas is the 8th Reading out of 10 in Numbers and 41sth overall, and 2nd out of 54 in overall length.

Pirkei Avot: Chapter One

Pinchas  receives priesthood as reward for his zealous act (see end of Balak) of killing a tribal prince who acted immorally. After that is the census of all the tribes followed by instructions for dividing the Land of Israel according to families. The five daughters of Tzelofchad came to Moshe saying that their father died leaving no male heir to inherit his portion of land. G-d commands that these women be given their father’s portion and also commands what should happen in all future cases where a direct heir is not available. Before his death, G-d tells Moshe to view the Land from Mt. Avarim, as he will not enter it; instead, Yehoshua, his main pupil and attendant, is publicly commissioned as future leader of the Jews. The parsha concludes listing details concerning daily, Shabbat, new month, and holiday offerings.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:41-64/Pinchas)

Abraham saw in the stars that he would have no children, but that changed after G-d promised him that a son would be born to him and Sarah.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:41-64/Pinchas)

The nut symbolizes in Kabbala the phenomenon of evil surrounding holiness, just as the shells of the nut surround the inner meat. Here, too, anger is a shell that must be discarded, and in so doing, one reveals the inner goodness of the soul.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:41-64/Pinchas)

G-d answered these angels that He was well aware that even if the righteous people had admonished their compatriots, it would have been to no avail.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"Pinchas ...was the one who zealously took up My cause." (literally "was jealous with My jealousy")

The motivation behind Pinchas' deed was completely pure and for the sake of heaven, without any personal desire for vengeance. This is similar to G-d's "jealousy," for He has mercy on all His creations and chastises those whom He loves. Pinchas was therefore "jealous with My jealousy," i.e., without personal motivation or consideration.

(Rabbi Yehoshua of Kutna)

"The children of Korach did not die." (26:11)

They did not die, and in every generation Korach's "inheritors" -- those who rebel against the Moses of that generation -- are alive and well, continuing in his path.

(Sefer HaSichot)



from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:41-64/Pinchas)

The time known as the Three Weeks began Tuesday (July 6) with the fast day of the 17th of Tamuz, and will end on (July 27) with the fast of the 9th of Av. It is a period of mourning in connection with the destruction of the two Holy Temples. The daily offerings, the main way the Jewish people would serve and connect to G-d for over 1500 years were halted, not to be resumed again until the third Temple is rebuilt (may it be immediately).

All of Jewish traditional life is affected by this. It is a commandment to constantly remember our loss and to yearn for Mashiach who will rebuild the Temple. The breaking of a glass during the wedding ceremony is to remind us that even at our greatest moment of joy we are still in exile.

The Opter Rebbe was known for his insightful advice. Once, a person came to him with a long and sorrowful list of painful events and problems. After listening to him patiently and for a long time, the Rebbe gave him many blessings and also a piece of very powerful advice that would help him in the future.

As the man was leaving, the Rebbe called him back again and announced with great emotion the following: 'You must know after all that has transpired, a greater tragedy than what has befallen you has occurred today to the Jewish people! The great tragedy is that the daily offering was not brought in the Temple at its time and in the appropriate manner, since the Temple is still destroyed!'

We have to remember, even in the midst of all of our travail, that we will never be whole until the Temple is rebuilt!

The main reason given for the destruction of the second Temple is the lack of brotherly love between the Jewish people. Therefore, it is customary during this time of year to be extra sensitive to our friends and neighbors, looking for ways to help and be kind.

The Torah reading Pinchas always comes at the beginning of the Three Weeks. Rabbi Yosef Dov Soleveichik makes a connection between Pinchas and the Three Weeks.

In the middle of the Torah portion is the story of the daughters of Zelofchod. Having no brothers as heirs, these women wanted to inherit their father's portion of the land of Israel. Moshe asked G-d, and G-d answered that these women should inherit Zelofchod's portion of Land.

Rabbi Soleveichik writes that there are four times in the Torah that Moshe did not know the answer to questions posed to him: the inheritance of the daughters of Zelofchod (Bamidbar 27/5); Pesach Sheni, when a group of travelers were impure and therefore unable to bring the Pascal offering and Moshe turned to G-d for an answer (Bamidbar 9/6-7); the person who cursed G-d (Vayikra 24/10-12); and the person who gathered fire wood on Shabbat (Bamidbar 15/32-34).

In the first two instances, Moshe immediately asked G-d what to do. In the second two, Moshe waited until G-d instructed him how to proceed. Why?

The answer Rabbi Soleveichik gives is that the daughters of Zelofchod came because they loved the Land of Israel and wanted their share.

In the case of Pesach Sheni, they people acted out of a desire to serve G-d, not wanting to miss out on an important commandment. Moshe said to himself, 'These people want to be involved in holiness! I have to expedite their cases and try to fulfill their requests!'

In contrast, in the latter two cases, where punishment for an ill deed was involved, Moshe reasoned, 'Why should I push for a resolution so fast. Let us wait and see what G-d decides.' When we have a situation that will reward someone, it is a mitzvah to expedite as much as we can. But this is only when we are helping someone benefit. If the outcome is negative, patience is the order of the day.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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