This week’s Torah portion discusses the incident with the Midianite woman, reward for Pinchas, census, dividing of the land, tally of the Levites, daughters of Tzelafchad, Moses told to prepare for death, Joshua replacing Moses and holiday offerings.
In last week’s Torah Portion the king of Midian Balak couldn’t curse the Jewish people because they were blessed. He decided if the Jewish people could sin than he would remove G-d’s protection from them. He asked his countrymen to allow their daughters to seduce the Jewish people into sinning both through immorality and idol worship. A high ranking Jewish man and princess was found in the midst of this sin. Pinchas confronted both of them in the act and killed both simultaneously.
Questions and Answers
Who was Pinchas?
Pinchas was the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest.
What was his reward?
Eternal priesthood. That he and his lineage will be able to continue the covenant of peace.
Which man is cited from the Jewish people that slept with the Midianite woman?
He was Zimri the son of Salu a prince of the Simeonite.(Shimone)
Who was the Midianite woman?
Kazbi (commentary say that she was the daughter of Balak (King of Midianite)
Who was asked to take the consensus of the Jewish people?
Moses and Eleazar (son of Aaron the Priest)
How old was each male that was counted? SECOND CENSUS
Every male over 20 years old who is fit for duty. The levites counted differently.
How were the levites counted?
Every male over one month old was counted.
Why was it important to count now?
Depending on the size of the tribe will account for the division of land allocated.
Each group will be his hereditary properties based on the below tally.
Each property shall be granted to paternal families through a lottery system.
How did the lottery system work?
There were two baskets of slips one with the names of the tribes and the other with the names of the land areas. These would be chosen in pairs.
Who didn’t receive property?
The Levites didn’t receive inheritable property. They were not placed in the lottery system. They totaled 23,000. (up 1,000) from the first census. This second census didn’t have any old people from the first counting. This was because G-d had decreed to them that they would die in the desert. The only one who survived was Caleb and Joshua.
Could a daughter receive property?
Yes, the daughters of Tzelafchad brought this case to Moses. G-d told Moses that if a father has no sons than a daughter can receive the property.
Order of allocation of property:
If a man has no brothers than it will be given to his father’s brothers.
Closest relative in his family who shall act as the heir.
|Name of Tribe||Second Census||First|
Encamped on the South side losses: -45,020
*Reuben: (Dathan and Aviram were the communal leaders who led a revolution against Aaron and Moses in the portion of Korach)The earth opened and swallowed them including Korach
^Simeon:Commentaries say that the 24,000 missing can be accounted for those that were killed as a result of the incident with the midianite woman (see above)
Gad: That this tribe was encamped on the south side adjacent to the tribes of Reuben & Simeon where losses for the Jewish people were at a high
Encamped on the East side net gain: +14,900
Judah:76,500 ( up by 1900 from the first census)
Encamped on the West side net gain: +22,700
Benjamin: 45,600(up 10,200)
Encamped on the North side net gain: +5,600
Did Moses get to see Israel before his death?
Yes, he was told to climb up to Avarim Mountain. Moses was able to see the land of Israel from that location.(commentaries say that from this peak he was also able to also see the burial places of Aaron and Miriam)
Who was Joshua?
Moses asked G-d to appoint a man over the community after his death. G-d told Moses to take Joshua. Moses gathered the Jewish people together and publicly placed his hands on Joshua in front of the priest, Eleazar.
What did Moses (Moshe) do before his death?
He presented the Jewish people with their leader: Joshua.
To remind the Jewish people that the offerings must be given at their set time.