Parashat Pinkhas / פרשת פינחס

Crop of Moses Viewing the Promised Land by Frederic Edwin Church

Summary

Parashat Pinkhas is the 41st weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the eighth reading of Bamidbar (“Numbers”). Pinkhas (פִּינְחָס) is the sixth word of the parashah and the name of the son of Elazar (Eleazar), the High Priest (Kohen Gadol). The parashah begins with Pinkhas being awarded a perpetual covenant with HaShem on account of the zeal he displayed for G-d in the previous parashah.

The parashah continues with HaShem’s instructions to Moshe (Moses) pertaining to how Yisrael (Israel) must respond to the seduction of the daughters of Moav, recounted in the previous parashah. Before these instructions are carried out in the next parashah, however, HaShem first instructs Moshe regarding another census of the congregation of the people of Yisrael; to count the men of war. It is the first census of the people in some forty-years. While there are some remarkable differences in the totals of the men of individual tribes, the total of the whole congregation is remarkably consistent with the census total from 40 years earlier, though only two special men of that generation remain alive. According to this census was the Promised Land to be divided for inheritance.

Parashat Pinkhas continues with a record of the petition of the daughters of Tzelafkhad (Zelophehad) to Moshe, the Princes, and the whole congregation of Yisrael at the entrance to Ohel Moed (the Tent of Meeting), that they be allotted a portion of the inheritance in the Land, on account of the fact that their father had no sons. Moshe consults HaShem and HaShem informs Moshe of His decree pertaining to the inheritance of a man who dies without sons, without daughters, and so forth.

After this, HaShem instructs Moshe to go up the mountain of Abarim to see the Land that HaShem is giving the people of Yisrael before he is gathered to his people. Moshe petitions HaShem to appoint a man to lead the congregation, and HaShem does so. Moshe then commissions him in the sight of the people.

Parashat Pinkhas concludes with the details concerning HaShem’s korbanot (offerings), which Moshe is to instruct the people to be careful to offer at their appointed times, including the animals that are to be offered, when they are to be offered, as well as their corresponding grain and drink offerings. The offerings are prescribed daily, weekly, monthly, and for other special occasions including Pesakh (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing, a.k.a. Rosh HaShannah), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the days of Sukkot (Booths), and Shmini Atzeret (the Assembly of the Eighth Day). These are to be offered in addition to the vow offerings and freewill offerings of the people.

Torah Portion: Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

1st Aliyah: Numbers 25:10-26:4 (13 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Numbers 26:5-51 (47 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Numbers 26:52-27:5 (19 verses)
4th Aliyah: Numbers 27:6-23 (18 verses)
5th Aliyah: Numbers 28:1-15 (15 verses)
6th Aliyah: Numbers 28:16-29:11 (27 verses)
7th Aliyah: Numbers 29:12-30:1 (29 verses)
Maftir: Numbers 29:35-30:1 (6 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
I Kings 18:46 – 19:21

When Parashat Pinkhas coincides with a special Shabbat, a different Haftarah is traditionally read:
Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:3


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