This parsha looks forward with eager anticipation to Israel’s entry into the land of Israel. With the nation already poised on the border (22:1), we read how “the land is to be apportioned by lottery; according to the listings of their ancestral tribe” (26:52-4), and the appointment of Joshua who will lead the nation into its national home.
This parsha presents a diverse array of powerful leaders, the zealous Pinchas, Joshua “the man who has spirit within”, and the five daughters of Zelophchad.
I love the names of the daughters of Zelophchad, each of them is indicative of movement. The name Mahla – from the root “to dance”; Noa – to move; Milka – a derivative of the verb “to walk”, Hoglah – from a root that indicates a circular motion, Tirza – contains the root “to run”. These women are literally movers and shakers.
These five women are hailed as feminist heroes, as they stake a claim to land inheritance, in a time and place where only men were the inheritors of land.
Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Pinchas: The Power of Few.
Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.
Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.