Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Pinchas with Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt

July 29, 2016

Our guest this week is Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, leader of the B’nai Tzedek congregation in Potomac, MD. Rabbi Weinblatt is the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. He has served as President of the Washington Board of Rabbis, twice chaired the National Convention of the Rabbinical Assembly and chaired the Annual Israel Bonds’ Ambassador’s Ball in Washington, D.C. He has been an adjunct professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. where he has taught Jewish history and theology. Rabbi Weinblatt has given the opening prayer at sessions of the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, both houses of the Maryland State legislature, the inaugurations of Maryland’s Governors and Montgomery County Executives, as well as numerous other public gatherings. 

This week's Torah Portion – Parashat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1) – begins with Pinchas being rewarded for his problematic act of killing the Israelite and his Midianite paramour in the previous portion. A census is then conducted and God tells Moses how to divide the land between the tribes and people of Israel. The five daughters of Tzelafchad ask Moses to grant them the land of their father, who died with no sons, and God accepts their claim and adds it to the Torah's laws of inheritance. Moses names Joshua as his successor, and the Parasha ends with a detailed list of daily offerings and of offerings brought on different holidays. Our discussion focuses on the reward Pinchas gets for his problematic deed.

Our previous discussions of parashat Pinchas:

Rabbi Annie Tucker on feminist elements in the interesting tale of the daughters of Tzelafchad.

Shmuel Goldin on the fascinating formula used to divide the land of Israel between the people of Israel

Rabbi Roberto Arbib on the Pinchas’ violent act and its odd reward

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