Weekly Reading Insights: Pinchas 5766

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Pinchas

To be read on 19 Tamuz 5766 (July 15)

Torah: Numbers 25:10-30:1
Haftorah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3 (1st of 3 "Haftorahs of Punishment")

Pirkei Avot: Chapter 1 in Israel (Chapter 6 outside of Israel)

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

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.

This Thursday, July 13, begins the Three Weeks: the semi-mourning period that starts with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:4166/Pinchas)

This is like a person who built an edifice that was well proportioned and pleasant to behold, but when he looked at the foundations he noticed that they were sunken and out of line on every side. That building is not complete until it is demolished and reconstructed from the beginning. Now from the point of view of the builder of the first building, everything looked fine, but from the aspect of the foundations it was poorly designed and out of line. That is the reason it is not called a completed work or a completed edifice. That is also the reason why he is called an incomplete tzadik who is rejected [since the soul may return to its previous body where the foundations were properly laid].

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:4166/Pinchas)

Know that Tzelofchad [personified] the source of the [fives] states of gevura. This is alluded to by the fact that the letters of his name spell the words for "the shadow of fear [in Hebrew, 'tzel pachad']".

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

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From Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (O:4166/Pinchas)

It is further written [of Pinchas] that G-d's covenant of life and well-being was with him, "the true Torah was in his mouth. He walked with Me in peace and equity, nothing perverse was on his lips. With complete loyalty, he served Me, deterring many from committing iniquity. For the lips of a priest guard knowledge and people seek Torah from his mouth, seeing that he is an angel of the L-rd G-d of Hosts" (Malachi 2:5, 6). This verse clearly alludes to Pinchas, since Pinchas became an angel, as our sages comment on Joshua (2:4). (Tanchuma quoted by Rashi)

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


"Let the G-d of all living souls appoint a man over the community"[27:16]

Moses asked G-d to appoint a man on the congregation: that the leader should be a man and not an angel, not a burning fire like Pinchas, but someone capable of loving every Jew.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk


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

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


" G-d said... take the sum of all the congregation of the Children of Israel from twenty years and upward." (Num. 26:1,2)
The Midrash explains that the Jewish people are counted in nine places in Scripture; the tenth and final census will be taken in the Messianic Era. This will be done either by Mashiach, according to the Aramaic translation and commentary of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel, or by G-d Himself, according to the Midrash.

(Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbat Parshat Chukat 5750) (From L'Chaim #725)


An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:4166/Pinchas)

In this week's Torah portion, the Torah speaks about dividing the Land of Israel into tribal portions. First G-d tells Moses that the Land should be divided according to the census, but then G-d continues, saying that when the lots were drawn for each tribe, this seemingly "random" lottery, perfectly coincided with the systematic dividing of the Land according to tribe size.

There were two aspects to the division. One according to the census - dividing the Land in an equitable way according to the tribes' populations. The second way of dividing the Land was according to a lottery - essentially a divine decree verifying this division, so that the tribes would not dispute the division.

Both aspects - the rational and the supra-rational - come together in this week's Torah portion, teaching us that our own efforts have to reflect this unity. To survive Jewishly and successfully face the world with all of its challenges, we have to merge together the natural and logical with the supernatural and divine.

How is this done? On the one hand, we have to work according to the rules of reality, - not to rely on miracles, using our abilities to the max; we must find logical solutions to even difficult problems, and work systematically to deal with those issues. Nevertheless, even as we do this, through our actions we also have to reveal that nature itself is directed by G-d. We have to work on the premise that if we invest ourselves to the full extent of our ability, G-d will help us arrive at the necessary goal, even if it presently seems out of reach. Chasidut teaches, "Nature itself is in reality higher than nature." This is further illustrated by another saying, "Lead a supernatural life, and G-d will provide the miracles".

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.

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