Pinchas – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

It is often said that we are the company that we keep. Bamidbar, the book we are currently reading, has three Sedras named after individuals; Korach, Balak and Pinchas. The first two sought to cause harm or disruption but Pinchas is praised. After a terrible act, which he claimed was for the sake of God, he receives the covenant of Peace. Perhaps this covenant was to teach him that, after the excesses of the wilderness years, in the settled land it is going to be law, order and peace which will be needed rather than zealotry.

Moses needs to set up his succession, Pinchas and the descendants of Aaron would go on to have a legitimate title to become a dynasty. The children of Moses would not succeed him. The mantle of leadership is given to Joshua. We speak about Moses as our greatest prophet. He gave us the Torah as an inheritance. It is something to which we, all of us, have legitimate title, but for which we all need to take positive action to acquire.

The Lord said to Moses

Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, and you shall lay your hand upon him.
וְסָֽמַכְתָּ֥ אֶת־יָֽדְךָ֖ עָלָֽיו      V’samachta et yadecha eylecha

The word “Samachta” has the same root as “semicha”, the granting of Rabbinic ordination where authority and tradition is passed on.

This is our mission today for those who will come after us.

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