This Week’s Torah Portion: Pinchas

Name: Pinchas

Reading: Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:3

Parsha Summary – Pinchas

God Rewards Pinhas

God decides to reward Pinchas for maintaining His presence in the Israelites’ camp. He gives him a covenant of peace, and eternal priesthood.

Moses Takes a Census

God then tells Moses to take a census of all the Israelite males aged 20 and older, by household. Every family is counted and numbered; this confirms the 24,000 deaths from the previous Torah portion. God tells Moses to apportion a piece of land as inheritance to each household. Larger families will receive larger portions of land; smaller families will receive less.

The Daughters of Zelophehad, and Inheritance Laws

A man who had five daughters and no sons, called Zelophehad, died in the wilderness. The five women approach Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the whole community at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. They say that their father died without sons and ask for a portion of land in their own name.

Moses takes their request to God, who decided that they have spoken fairly. He tells Moses to award them a legal, hereditary inheritance with the same right as the men of the camp. He sets into law: if a man dies with no sons, his daughters shall inherit instead. If he has no daughters, his inheritance passes to his brother. If he has no brothers, it goes to his closest kin.

God Names Joshua as Moses’ Successor

God tells Moses to climb a mountain and look out over the land of Israel. He tells him that after he sees it, he will die, because he disobeyed God’s words in the wilderness. Moses asks God to appoint a new leader so that the people will have guidance. God tells him to appoint Joshua, son of Nun, as his successor. God tells Moses to present Joshua to the priests and the people.

God then tells Moses and to tell the people to make sacrifices every season at the holidays; the details of these sacrifices are explained. Whatever the sacrifice, its role is to express love and affiliation to God.