Below is a collection of Parashat Pinhas resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
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DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: In Parashat Pinhas, we read about the request of the daughters of Zelophehad to inherit their father’s land. Traditionally land was given only to men, but since they had no brothers, they felt they had a good case and made it in a very logical and respectful manner. They bravely speak to Moses, Elazar, and the elders, and although Moses does not know the answer, God gives his approval. Did you ever have to ask for something from someone very important? How did it feel? How did you formulate your request so you could get a positive answer?
Look inside the text (Bemdibar 27: 1-7):
וַתִּקְרַבְנָה בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד בֶּן חֵפֶר בֶּן גִּלְעָד בֶּן מָכִיר בֶּן מְנַשֶּׁה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹת מְנַשֶּׁה בֶן יוֹסֵף וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֹתָיו מַחְלָה נֹעָה וְחָגְלָה וּמִלְכָּה וְתִרְצָה:
וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה לִפְנֵי משֶׁה וְלִפְנֵי אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן וְלִפְנֵי הַנְּשִׂיאִם וְכָל הָעֵדָה פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר:
אָבִינוּ מֵת בַּמִּדְבָּר וְהוּא לֹא הָיָה בְּתוֹךְ הָעֵדָה הַנּוֹעָדִים עַל ה’ בַּעֲדַת קֹרַח כִּי בְחֶטְאוֹ מֵת וּבָנִים לֹא הָיוּ לוֹ:
לָמָּה יִגָּרַע שֵׁם אָבִינוּ מִתּוֹךְ מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ כִּי אֵין לוֹ בֵּן תְּנָה לָּנוּ אֲחֻזָּה בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵי אָבִינוּ:
וַיַּקְרֵב משֶׁה אֶת מִשְׁפָּטָן לִפְנֵי ה’:
וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה לֵּאמֹר:
כֵּן בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד דֹּבְרֹת נָתֹן תִּתֵּן לָהֶם אֲחֻזַּת נַחֲלָה בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵי אֲבִיהֶם וְהַעֲבַרְתָּ אֶת נַחֲלַת אֲבִיהֶן לָהֶן
The daughters of Zelophehad, of the Manassite family—son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph—came forward. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the chieftains, and the whole assembly, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and they said, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not one of the faction, Korah’s faction, which banded together against God, but died for his own sin; and he has left no sons. Let not our father’s name be lost to his clan just because he had no son! Give us a holding among our father’s kinsmen!” Moses brought their case before God. And God said to Moses, “The plea of Zelophehad’s daughters is just: you should give them a hereditary holding among their father’s kinsmen; transfer their father’s share to them.”
Question #2: Parashat Pinhas lists all the special korbanot (sacrifices) which were brought on Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh, and the holidays. Although we no longer bring sacrifices, this mitzvah is preserved in our Torah reading and our prayers. The korbanot (sacrifices) were a way to express our gratitude to God and come closer. How do we make our holidays special today?
Question #3: God tells Moses that it is time to die, but Moses refuses to step down until God appoints a successor. What quality of a person is expressed when they insist on finding someone who can continue the job that they started? What quality is expressed when they insist that there is no one who can fill their shoes?
Question #4: The daughters of Zelophehad appealed to Moses that their father’s name not be erased from the land because he has no sons. Every human who passes through life has a desire that something of them remain after they are gone – their name, children, an idea, or something that they did. Beyond the desire to immortalize ourselves, is there a meaningful value in publicizing the good acts and generosity of individuals? Which is more important – making a difference in people’s lives or being known for making a difference in people’s lives?