Words To Remember
From The Haftarah Commentary by Plaut-Stern, p.414
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you;
before you were born, I set you apart. (Jer. 1:5)
JULY BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of July. If we were together at Temple Kol Hamidbar, we would extend a Tallit over you, say a special prayer for you, and recite the following blessing (cf Num. 6:24-26):
- May the Eternal One bless you and protect you!
- May the Eternal One deal kindly and graciously with you!
- May the Eternal One bestow favor upon you and grant you peace!
KËIN YEHI RATZON (Let it be so!)
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/pinchas
Pinchas (פִּינְחָס – Hebrew for “Phinehas”, a name) – Numbers 25:10−30:1
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying, “Phinehas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites by displaying among them his passion for Me, so that I did not wipe out the Israelite people in My passion.” – Numbers 25:10-11
- Pinchas is rewarded for killing the Israelite and the Midianite woman who cursed God. (25:10–15)
- Israel fights a war against the Midianites. (25:16-18)
- A second census is taken. (26:1–65)
- The daughters of Zelophehad force a change in the laws of property inheritance. (27:1–11)
- Joshua is chosen to be Moses’ successor. (27:15–23)
- The sacrificial ritual for all festival occasions is described in detail. (28:1–30:1)
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinechas_(parashah)
When the parashah falls after the Seventeenth of Tammuz, as it does during most years, Jews read for the haftarah the first of three readings of admonition leading up to Tisha B’Av, Jeremiah 1:1–2:3.
Connection to the special Sabbath
The first of three readings of admonition leading up to Tisha B’Av, the haftarah admonishes Judah and Israel in Jeremiah 1:13–19. And then in Jeremiah 2:1–3, the haftarah concludes with consolation. The Gemara taught that Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, and as Jews read Lamentations on Tisha B’Av, this probably accounts for why a selection from Jeremiah begins the series of haftarot of admonition.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/pinchas
By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Numbers that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from Jeremiah 1:1-2:3. You can read this week’s double Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.25.10-30.1, and the Haftarah at https://www.sefaria.org/Jeremiah.1.1-2.3
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
פינחס Pinchas – Numbers 25:10–30:1
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Judith R. Baskin, pp. 983-5
Cozbi daughter of Zur; he was the tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian (25:15). As related at the end of the last parashah, Phinehas the priest killed Cozbi and her Israelite lover, Zimri, at Shittim (25:6–9). Some traditions portray the highly born Cozbi as the innocent victim of her father’s hatred for Israel. According to Midrash B’midbar Rabbah 21.3, Zur was so eager to ensnare the Israelites in sin (Numbers 25:1–5) that he sacrificed his own daughter, a princess, to harlotry. B’midbar Rabbah 20.24 relates that Zur had instructed Cozbi to have relations with no one but Moses, but Zimri convinced her that he was even higher in rank.
BT Sanhedrin 82a, discussing consequences for men who have sexual relations with non-Jewish women, denigrates Cozbi, a reflection of the considerable sexual anxiety the Rabbis harbored about the attractions of foreign women. Cozbi’s name is linked to kazav, the Hebrew word for “falsehood,” and she is castigated in the coarsest terms as a common prostitute.
This passage about Cozbi also reveals the serious problems raised for rabbinic commentators by Moses’ passivity in the face of the events at Shittim and by Phinehas’s extreme zealotry. The Rabbis explain that Zimri justified his relationship with Cozbi to Moses and the elders of Israel on the grounds that Moses had also taken a foreign consort, the Midianite Zipporah, Moses was rendered speechless by this challenge, and his great-nephew, the fervent Phinehas, had to remind him of the prohibition against cohabitation with foreign women, a law that Moses himself had taught the people when he descended from Mount Sinai. B’midbar Rabbah 20.24 describes how Moses’ failure to act at this moment of crisis demoralized all the Israelites except Phinehas and concludes that it was in punishment for this public weakness that Moses was buried in an unknown location. The passage concludes, “This serves to teach you that we must each be as fierce as a leopard, swift as an eagle, fleet as a hart, and strong as a lion in the performance of our Maker’s will.”
The name of Asher’s daughter was Serah (26:46). This statement in the tribal genealogies of Numbers 26 is startling because Serah bat Asher was also mentioned among the seventy family members who accompanied Jacob to Egypt several centuries earlier (Genesis 46:17). The Rabbis transform Serah into the longest-lived individual in midrashic literature and praise her for her wisdom. They attribute her remarkable longevity to the potent blessing that her grandfather Jacob was said to have given her after she informed him through music that Joseph was still alive. BT Sotah 13a relates that it was Serah who later showed Moses where Joseph was buried at the time of the Exodus so that his coffin might be returned to the land of Israel. Midrash B’reishit Rabbah 94.9 identifies her also with the clever woman who negotiated on behalf of her city with David’s general Joab (II Samuel 20:16–22). And Midrash P’sikta D’Rav Kahana 11:13 even imagines the venerable Serah resolving rabbinic disputes about events that she witnessed in biblical times. In medieval writings, Serah is among the nine human beings who are said to have entered heaven alive; according to the Zohar (3:167b), she lives in a heavenly palace and teaches Torah.
The daughters of Zelophehad . . . came forward (27:1). The Rabbis taught: “When the daughters of Zelophehad heard that the land of Israel was being apportioned among the males of the tribes but not the females, they consulted together as to how to make their claim. They said: ‘The compassion of God is not like human compassion. Human rulers are more concerned with males than with females–but the One who spoke and brought the world into being is not like that. Rather, God shows mercy to every living thing, as Scripture says, Who gives food to all flesh / Whose steadfast love is eternal (Psalm 136:25), and The Sovereign is good to all / God’s mercy is upon all God’s works (Psalm 145:9).’” This rabbinic midrash from Sifrei B’midbar 133 represents the daughters of Zelophehad as canny and competent women who trusted that divine mercy would transcend the mutable norms of a human society in which women were subordinate beings. According to the Rabbis, these admirable sisters epitomized the females of the wilderness generation who consistently outshone their male contemporaries in their faith in God and their personal courage. B’midbar Rabbah 21.10 relates that women refused to participate in making the Golden Calf; they also rejected the disheartening counsel of the scouts who warned of the dangers of invading Canaan. Similarly, the daughters of Zelophehad are understood to have demonstrated their complete confidence in the ultimate fulfillment of the divine promise when they petition Moses to secure their inheritance in the land of Israel.
BT Bava Batra 119b praises the daughters of Zelophehad in three ways: as intelligent women, since they spoke at an opportune moment; as scriptural exegetes knowledgeable in Jewish law, since they were aware of the legal issues involved in their situation; and as sexually chaste, since they did not marry until their inheritance status was resolved, despite their advanced ages. The rabbinic sages awarded the daughters of Zelophehad this exalted standing among biblical women because they prompted Moses to seek divine help in clarifying the laws of succession of property. Nor did it hurt that God supported the sisters’ claim. According to B’midbar Rabbah 21.11, by expanding the Torah these women earned merit for themselves and for their forebears listed in 27:1–including Joseph, the founder of their tribe. So pious and self-sacrificing were these women that they are said to have humbled Moses himself.
The Rabbis, who sought meaning in every detail of the biblical text, noticed that the order in which the five daughters are named is not always the same. Sifrei B’midbar 133 says that this inconsistency is meant to show that all the women were equal in good qualities. BT Bava Batra 120a speculates that 27:1, where the daughters seek their inheritance, names them according to their wisdom, while 36:10, which describes their marriages, lists them by age–since age takes precedence at a festive gathering.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 19 Tamuz through 25 Tamuz, we lovingly remember:
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, July 7, 2023.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Haftarah Pinchas: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
Time: Jul 7, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Jul 7, 2023 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat – Gut Shabbos!
PS – About the Book of Jeremiah:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From Jewish Virtual Library
Timelines from Wikipedia