Weekly Message 07/10/2020 Parashat Pinchas
Bimidbar - Numbers 25:10 - 30:1 Pinchas Son of Eleazer, Son of Aaron
As I write this message, we are entering the saddest three-week period in the Jewish calendar, i.e. the weeks between the 17th day of the month of Tammuz and Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the month of Av--the period between the breaching of the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians and its total destruction followed by the occupation of the land of Israel by them and then after the rebuilding of the Temple, by the Romans. This period always occurs during the hottest days of summer when we normally feel our strength being sapped by the heat and humidity and long for better times.
This year, of course, the sadness is greatly magnified by the pandemic and our not being able to do many of the things that keep us happy, healthy, and sane in more normal times. However, during this time as always, there is much to be grateful for. I have had the good fortune to speak with many of you this week and am happy to report, that I am not aware of anybody in the congregation who is ill with the virus. Also, we continue to hold our Friday evening service remotely and in-person for those who choose to attend while keeping socially distant and following the CDC and government guidelines. We will meet again tonight at 7:30 pm. If you would like to join us via Zoom, simply follow these instructions:
JCC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Shabbat Service
Time: Jul 10, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 497 903 0958
This week, we read the portion of Pinchas in the book of Bamidbar (Numbers). It recounts a zealous act (the murder of a Midianite woman and Hebrew man) by the grandson of Aaron who is praised for it initially, but analyzed and criticized by generations of commentators since. We also learn that Joshua will lead the children of Israel into the promised land and that Moses will only be able to view it from afar just prior to his death. And finally, all of the sacrifices for holidays and other special days are recounted. On each festival day and on Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of each month), we read from two Torahs rather than one, and the second Torah is always from Pinchas delineating the specific sacrifice mandated for that day.
In accordance with the season, our Haftorah (the beginning chapter from the Prophet Jeremiah) is the first of three Haftorot of Rebuke that are read between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av. These three Haftorot recount how the Hebrew nation abandoned its ideals and morality and have now paid the ultimate price: destruction and desecration of the land and its symbols together with personal tragedy. After Tisha B'Av, our readings from the Prophets will include nine Haftorot of Consolation (Nachamu) which will lead us right to the celebration of Rosh Hashanah.
I'm looking forward to sharing more thoughts with you tonight whether you are at the synagogue or on Zoom, so please join in.