Sunday, July 12, 2009

Do As I Say, Do As I Do- Parsha Pinchas

It becomes apparent upon contemplating what the episode of Pinchas, the census, Zelophedad's daughters, Yoshua ben Nun's appointment as successor, and the enumeration of the festival sacrifices have in common that all instances underscore how appropriate behaviour is rewarded.

In the case of Pinchas, he acted for the sake of the community despite knowing that the probable reaction of the klal would be detrimental to his well-being. It is because he rose above this knowledge to do Hashem's will and save the klal irregardless of the personal consequences for himself that Hashem rewards Pinchas and his offspring with the kehuna. By acting out of love for his people, Pinchas demonstrated his worthiness as a conduit for Hashem's blessings and forgiveness for the klal.

Similarly, each of the other individuals identified above demonstrated an acute awareness of the appropriate action to take, one that would benefit the entire klal, not only themselves. It was this ability to remain true to Hashem's commandments, to sublimate their personal needs for those of the nation- be it as a conduit for the giving over of new commandments, as was the case of Zelophedad's daughters, or due to faultlessly demonstrating time and again the correct emphasis, as was the case of Yoshua ben Nun- that justified their reward. Therefore:
  • Pinchas's action resulted in halting the plague/immorality, which resulted in the census being taken. Hashem, in turn, remembered those who had remained pure-hearted, in the merit of Pinchas, in addition to elevating Pinchas due to his great action.
  • Zelophedad's daughters acted out of respect for their father's memory, and were rewarded with the giving of the commandments regarding inheritance by women in their name. The repeated reference to their being the daughters of Zelophedad underscores not only the purpose of the commandments, i.e., what to do when a father begets only daughters, but also echoes their emphasis on their father's memory.
  • Yoshua ben Nun's dedication to his teacher Moshe was rewarded by his appointment as his Rebbe's successor. Hashem, in turn, instructed Moshe in the laws about the mussaf offerings, which would be an integral part of spiritual life once the klal entered the land under Yoshua.
Hopefully by their example, we can become adequately inspired to ourselves always follow the correct path in our thoughts, actions, and deeds.

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