Rabbi Eisen’s Shabbat Shalom Message

Shabbat Shalom!


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Candlelighting for
Friday, July 29, 2016 • 7:04pm

• Our Portion for the Week

PINHAS – Numbers 25:10 – 30:1

In this portion we read that Pinhas, the grandson of Aaron, is rewarded for his zeal in dealing summarily with the idolatry of Baal-peor by having the priesthood become the possession of his descendants for all time. We now turn to the preparations for the conquest of the Promised Land. Moses takes a census of the generation born in the wilderness to determine the number of fighting men and the number of families who would share in the division of the land. God gives Moses instructions for apportioning the land, and we learn of a decision affirming the right of daughters to inherit property when there are no sons. Moses is told to ascend the mountain to prepare to die and to designate Joshua as his successor. The reading concludes with a calendar of the Festivals of the year and the public sacrifices that are to be offered daily and on every Shabbat and Festival after the Israelites have entered the land. Maintaining this calendar is to be a means of tying together God, the land and the People of Israel.

• Our Question for the Week •

The land, moreover, is to be apportioned by lot; and the allotment is to be made according to the listings of their ancestral tribes. Each portion shall be arranged by lot, whether for larger or smaller groups. (Numbers 26:55-56)

Compare this passage with other references to "goral" (lots) in the Bible: selection of the sacrificial goat on Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16), identification of Jonah as having offended God, the "lottery" at the heart of the Book of Esther, and the "conviction" of Achan in Joshua 7:18. How do these texts illuminate our Parashah?

What does the not infrequent reference to "goral" in Scripture say about the national self-perception of the People Israel?