The Parshah starts off by continuing the story of Pinchas. After he slew Zimri and Cozby (Bamidbar 25:8), the plague that had killed more than 24000 Jews as they were committing idolatry and being immoral stopped. Pinchas was given a covenant of peace by Hashem (Bamidbar 25:12), because it was his heroic quick thinking that stopped the plague as everyone learned how bad it is in G-d’s eyes to be immoral and commit idolatry!!
The Parshah progresses as Hashem orders Moshe to go to war with Midyan and defeat them and also not give them a chance in war. As the Midyanites were cruel to the Jews by masterminding the plan of getting the Jews to sin. G-d even ordered Moshe to tell the Jews to provoke war with Midyan (Bamidbar 25:16-18).
The reading then continues relating another Census that took place in the wilderness in the fortieth year (Bamidbar 26:2-65). This census showed a change in the population due to the fact that Korach and his friends died, the spies and many of the Jews had died and also the deaths from different plagues in the wilderness due to their own sins.
The tribe of Shimon suffered the most casualties as there were only 22,000 left compared to the near 60000 figure forty years prior (Bamidbar 26:14).
The Torah relates that the land was to be divided into twelve different portions, one portion respectively for each tribe. The portions of land was calculated through the use of a divine lot. The Land was the inheritance from the father's of those who left Egypt (Bava Batra 117b).
Next up the Parshah discusses the episode about Tzelafchad’s daughters. Tzelafchad was a man who passed away during the forty year stay in the wilderness. Tzelafchad had 5 equally righteous daughters (Bamidbar 26:33/ Bava Batra 120a). Each were not married, as they wanted a worthy spouse. As they were all women, they were convinced that as they had no brothers, they would each share the inheritance of their father; each daughter would get a fifth each. Moshe had forgotten the law and asked Hashem, then Hashem reassured that the daughters were correct (Bava Batra 119b).
The Parshah then describes how Moshe ascended up the Mount Nevo to look at the land of Israel (Bamidbar 27:12-14). Moshe went up and observed all the tribes boundaries, in turn also showering the land with a radiant blessing.
Moshe, knowing that he was not going to enter with the Jews in to the land of Israel, requested a successor. Moshe requested a future leader that would be as good as he was; hoping secretly that one of his sons would become leader. However, Hashem stated that Joshua was to become his successor; Joshua wanted the most to become great in Torah with his enthusiasm about Torah and Mitzvot. Joshua loved Israel as we learned about his favourable report on the land in Parshat Shelach, when the spies went in with him; we also learn how he battled for the Jews against Amalek (Shemot 17:13). He was also Moshe's prime servant, waiting by Mount Sinai for Moshe to reappear during his three forty day spells in the heavenly realms. In fact the Gemara compares the appointment of Joshua as head of the Jewish nation to the Semicha ordination to the rabbinate (Sanhedrin 13b).
The Parshah then continues relating the laws on sacrifices, and the respective sacrifices that had to be brought for each festival.
The Torah relates information on the Daily Tamid Sacrifices (Bamidbar 28:3-8). The reading then discusses the Mussaf Sacrifice for Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh (New Month) and then the sacrifices brought on Pesach and Shavuot. Two bulls, one ram and seven lambs were brought as elevation offerings on these days.
We learn on Shavuot that two wheat loaves were offered, it is a festival also known as the festival of first fruits and is called an 'Atzeret.' (Bamidbar 28:26-31)
The Parshah then discusses the Mussaf sacrifice of Rosh Hashanah (Bamidbar 29:1-6) and Yom Kippur (Bamidbar 29:7-11). Relating how it is a mitzvah to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana, and how blowing the Shofar reminds Hashem of the merit of Yitzchak, when Abraham took him up to the alter (Rosh Hashana 16). Yom Kippur is also known as the day of judgement. The fast kept on Yom Kippur and the prayers in the days of Ellul and start of Tishrei can gain atonement from past sins during the year.
The Parshah then discusses the Mussaf sacrifice for Sukkot. We learn that in the seven days of Succot a total of seventy bullocks are offered, this alludes to the Jews requesting blessing for the seventy nations (Succah 55). This shows the kindness the Jews show the other nations. The Medrash actually teaches that if the nations knew how much they benefit from the offerings the Jews gave, they would have sent legions to surround Jerusalem and guard it from attack.
A total of ninty eight lambs are also sacrificed, indicating that the 98 sacrifices shield us from 98 curses mentioned in Parshat Ki Tavo (Devarim 28:15-68).
The Parshah concludes relating the sacrifices on Shemini Atzeret, a festival also known as ‘the festival of withholding.’
The natural Haftorah for this weeks reading comes from Chapter 18 and 19 of the book of Kings (Kings I 18:46- 19:21). Relating stories about Eliyahu the prophet. A man also believed to be Pinchas (Bava Metzia 114 Rashi).
This Dvar Torah is dedicated to Rivka Bat Rachel who is looking for a suitable marriage partner, please everyone pray for her to find the correct and perfect match!!! SHABBAT SHALOM!