Drash Cards for Pinchas (5762)
by Marc Mangel
• In this parsha, God praises Pinchas for his zealousness, the second census is conducted leading for purposes of land allocation; the daughters of Tzelophochad request land; God tells Moses to install Joshua; and we have details of sacrifices for daily and holy days.
• In Ch 27, v 1-12 we have the daughters of Tzelophochad, discussion of Lashon Ha Ra, uncorrectable errors and leadership.
• The Rabbis love these girls! The Midrash says “For 40 years men tore down fences and women built them..when the men lost hope [because of the spies] the daughters of Tzelophochad came forward for their share.
• About LaShon Ha Ra: In the Talmud, Rav Akinva teaches that Tzelophochad was the man executed for wood gathering on Shabbat. The sages rebuke him “If Tzelophochad were innocent, you have libeled an innocent man. If he is guilty, and the Torah chose not to name him, why should you shame him?”
• Uncorrectable errors: Out of ‘nowhere’ come verses 12-23 about Joshua as leader. Rashi write that Moses thinks maybe God’s mind has changed about entering the promised land
• But no! The decree stand in place. Moses failed in not believing (an internal flaw) and showing anger and a lack of words (an external flaw)
• Then Moses asks God to appoint a new leader and ALL of the commentators ask “Why not Pinchas?” But God never gives criteria for leadership
• Rashi says “The guiding principle [for choosing a leader] is tolerance, treating one’s community with love with the aim to serve them”
• Pinchas Peli writes that the zealousness of Pinchas frightens Moses “A man OVER the congregation” may not be able to tolerate all views
• R. Joseph Radinsky (Modern Orthodox) writes that we must “Appoint a leader who will be able to bear with the differing minds of every one of your children” and about this, Rashi writes that tolerating different opinions does not mean being spineless. A good leader must know his or her own views, and stand up for them, but also be able to change his or her mind.