Shabbat Shalom, 20 Tammuz 5773

The parsha this week is Pinchas פִּינְחָס (a name) covering Numbers 25:10-30:1.

In Pinchas the second cenus is taken ( ordered by Moses and Elizear at the request of G0d) of Israelite men over the age of twenty, which showed interesting growth trends among the 12 tribes:

Population Change Between the Two Censuses
Tribe Numbers 1 Numbers 26 Change  % Change
Manasseh 32,200 52,700 +20,500 +63.7
Benjamin 35,400 45,600 +10,200 +28.8
Asher 41,500 53,400 +11,900 +28.7
Issachar 54,400 64,300 +9,900 +18.2
Zebulun 57,400 60,500 +3,100 +5.4
Dan 62,700 64,400 +1,700 +2.7
Judah 74,600 76,500 +1,900 +2.5
Reuben 46,500 43,730 -2,770 -6.0
Gad 45,650 40,500 -5,150 -11.3
Naphtali 53,400 45,400 -8,000 -15.0
Ephraim 40,500 32,500 -8,000 -19.8
Simeon 59,300 22,200 -37,100 -62.6
Totals 603,550 601,730 -1,820 -0.3

The census was used by Moses to divy up land which seemed like a fine plan until the five Daughters of Zelophehadבְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד  noted that this was unfair, as their father had no sons. Moses brought their concerns to G-d, for a hearing, and THEY WON! Because of the Daughters of Zelophehad, women now had some right to hold property. Of course, the daughters were wise, honorable scholars of Torah with fine legal minds.

In Pinchas, Moses is also told where andhow he will die (on the heights of Abarim, viewing the land of Israel) and told to commission Joshua so that the Israelites will not be like shepardless sheep with his passing. It is also in Pinchas that the details for observing the following holidays are explained:  Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur,Sukkot and Shmini Atzeret.

There is debate over the number and type of commandments in Pinchas, Mainonides noted 12 positive and 6 negative while the Sefer ha Chunich found only six positives with no negatives.

Translation via JTS:

Sources of commentary can be found at:


My Jewish learning:

Animated at G-dcast:

Funding for Whidbey Island Jewish Community was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

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