A SUMMARY OF PINCHAS, Num. 25:10 -- 30:1

God proclaims Pinchas a hero of peace for killing the prince and princess who threatened the moral mission of the Jewish people. God then declares a Jewish war on Midian.

Ch. 26: Moshe's to order a military census of the new generation, which will also determine the division of the land. The Levites, who neither fought, nor acquired a portion of the land, were counted separately.

Ch. 27: Moshe rushed to God with the petition of Tz'lafchad's orphaned daughters for equal rights to their father's share in Israel- God agreed (but only after they raised their claim!) and delivered laws determining a Jew's share in the land. God tells Moshe that his time's up, but lets him see Israel from Mt. Passages. Moshe's only concern is a worthy successor to lead Israel. God immediately appoints Yehoshua, who will imbibe Moshe's spirit and work with Eliezer the High Priest.

Chs. 28-29 give details of the daily and holy day public sacrifices.

30:1 adds that Moshe delivered all these commandments to Israel, before his next task- to teach the laws of vows.

THE HAFTORA, I Kings 18:46-19:21, describes the aftermath of Eliyahu's zeal. He brought the people temporarily back to God with his impressive demonstration on Mt. Carmel, killed the Baal prophets, and brought rain to the drought-ridden land; yet he had to flee from Jezabel; she and her idols retained popular support. He's taken from the world, but will return to herald Messiah-- true zealots can't function in a world so imperfect. He bows to King Achav-- Eliyahu, as Pinchas, can't be a national leader; an improved Achav can. Eliyahu's angry and depressed by Israel's quick reversion; God shows him His spirit's not found in noise and power, only in the sound of the finest silence (Hirsch). He's to appoint Hazael King of Syria, Jehu King of Israel, and Elisha, a hard-working farmer, his successor; only patient leaders, who are both temporal and spiritual, will eventually reconcile God and His creation. God retires Eliyahu, tho praising Pinchas-- Pinchas makes atonement for Israel, whereas Eliyahu condemns them, proclaiming they ignored God's covenant, circumcision (Yalkut); God then made him attend every future brit mila, a witness that even secular Jews keep it!-- see The Eighth Day video.

Elisha, as Yehoshua, is the man for this hour; he accepts his radical new role without ?; he first parts from his parents and throws a farewell banquet for his workers (cf. Moshe's parting from Yitro). A prophet rooted in life, Elisha doesn't expect such quick results; the ex-farmer is content to plod and plow forward yidel by yidel, little by little-- Per Hirsch, true God-connection must combine agriculture and Torah; so Yissachar supported himself, tho Z'vulun helped with haggling on the commodities exchange. When 17 Tamuz occurs before this shabbat, we read Jeremiah 1:1-2:3-- tho chosen to be the prophet of impending doom, destruction, and punishment, he must also keep alive Jewish hope of eventual glorious redemption by God-- He remembers their youthful plunge of faith, following Him into the bleak desert; eventually, all their persecutors will themselves be punished, and their false claims to be Israel's replacement exposed.

If we read Pinchas during the first of the 3 weeks of mourning for the Temple and our exile, we read Jer. 1:1- 2:3, first of 3 haftarot of doom. Jeremiah was predestined to be the mocked and despised prophet of the imminent destruction of idolatrous Judah and Jerusalem. He felt inadequate. God promised to back him up and give him great power, despite the fierce opposition of the wicked. Jeremiah must also keep alive Jewish hope of eventual glorious redemption by God- He remembers their plunge of faith, following Him into the bleak desert in their youth; eventually, all their persecutors will themselves be punished, their false claims to be Israel's replacement exposed.

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