(This Torah Teaching is for Shabbat of July 11th, 2020)
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Pin’has (פִּינְחָס)— Hebrew for “Phinehas,” a name, the sixth word in the parashah and is the 41st weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Numbers 25:10–30:1
Torah Parsha Pinchas Summary
Aaron’s grandson Pinchas is rewarded for his act of zealotry in killing the Simeonite prince Zimri and the Midianite princess who was his paramour: God grants him a covenant of peace and the priesthood.
A census of the people counts 601,730 men between the ages of twenty and sixty. 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; God accepts their claim and incorporates it into the Torah’s laws of inheritance.
Moses empowers Joshua to succeed him and lead the people into the Land of Israel.
The Parshah 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.
Hebrew Anomolies in the Torah Parashah:
There are two anomalies in the Hebrew text in this Parashah. One is an undersized “Yod” in the name Pinchas in Numbers 25:11, and the other is a broken “Vav” letter in the word “shalom” in Numbers 25:12.
The Small Yod: As the smallest of all the Hebrew letters, the Yod is considered a picture of selfless humility. The zeal and righteous indignation of Pinchas is therefore understood in light of his humility and devotion. Even though Pinchas had executed judgment on behalf of God, he was given peace.
The Broken Vav: Since the Hebrew letter Vav is traditionally looked at as representing man (as it is upright and the 6th letter of the aleph-bet) the broken Vav represents the man of peace is broken. This verse then alludes to a man that has been broken for the sake of a covenant of peace that brings atonement to Israel – a clear picture of Yahoshua HaMashiach and his ultimate atonement for us!
In this week’s haftarah, the prophet Elijah is the main protagonist with a righteous indignation for God and the nation of Israel following His ways. According to tradition, Elijah shared the same soul as Pinchas, the hero of this week’s Torah portion. They also both zealously fought on God’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 God 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 God came to him and asked him for the purpose of his visit. “And [Elijah] said: ‘I have been zealous for God, 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 God 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 God. After the fire there was a subtle silent voice, and Elijah realized that the Divine Presence had appeared.
God asked Elijah again for the purpose of his visit, and Elijah repeated his earlier response. God instructed Elijah to go to Damascus and anoint Hazael 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.
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Torah Parashah teaching with video and audio and illustrations by Rabbi Isaac. © 2020 Assembly of Called-Out Believers. Use by Permission.