The Torah/Pinchas

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Moab Leads Israel into Sin (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible)

Questions[edit | edit source]

Here are a few of the questions that the Rabbis raised about this Torah reading:

  • Why does the Torah detail Pinchas’s ancestry (in Numbers 25:11)?[1]
  • What special circumstances justified Pinchas’s taking justice into his own hands?[2]
  • Why another census?[3]
  • Why did the tribe of Simeon lose so many people between the two censuses?[4]
  • What happened to Korah’s children (referred to in Numbers 26:11)?[5]
  • Who was Serah bat Asher (referred to in Numbers 26:46)?[6]
  • Why (as Numbers 26:62 reports) didn’t the Levites get an inheritance of land?[7]
  • What was it about the case of Zelophehad’s daughters that puzzled Moses?[8]
  • Who was Zelophehad?[9]
  • Why does the designation of Joshua follow the incident of the daughters of Zelophehad?[10]
  • What was it about Joshua that qualified him to succeed Moses?[11]
  • On which Festival did the priests sacrifice the most animals?[12]
  • Why does the Torah (in Numbers 29:12–34) require the Israelites to sacrifice 70 bulls on Sukkot and one bull on Shemini Atzeret?[13]
  • Why did the number of sacrifices on Sukkot decrease every day?[14]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 82b.
  2. Mishnah Sanhedrin 9:6; Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 81a–82b.
  3. Midrash Tanchuma Pinchas 4.
  4. Numbers 1 & 26.
  5. Babylonian Talmud Megillah 14a, Sanhedrin 110a–b.
  6. Genesis 46:17; Babylonian Talmud Sotah 13a; Genesis Rabbah 94:9; Zohar 3:167b.
  7. Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 122a.
  8. Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 119a.
  9. Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 96b–97a.
  10. Numbers Rabbah 21:14.
  11. Numbers Rabbah 21:14.
  12. Numbers 28:9–29:38.
  13. Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 55b; Numbers Rabbah 21:24.
  14. Numbers Rabbah 21:25.