Parshat Pinchas Summary

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Parshat Pinchas is the 8th parsha in Sefer Bamidbar (also known as Numbers).

This parsha is verses Numbers 25:10 – 30:1, or a total of 168 verses.

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Numbers 25:10 – 26:4, 13 verses

Parshat Balak ends with a Jewish man sinning with a Midianite woman. Pinchas killed both of them and ended a plague that had begun among the Jewish people.

This parsha begins with God’s reward to Pinchas. He is granted a “covenant of peace” and a “covenant of priesthood.”

God commands Moses and Elazar to take a second census of the Jewish people. The first census was taken about 39 years earlier. They are to count the men from age 20 and above.

Aliyah 2: Numbers 26:5 – 26:51, 47 verses

Here are the results of that census per each tribe. I’ve included the count and the change from the first census in parenthesis:

  • Reuben – 43,730 (46,500, decrease 2,770)
  • Simeon – 22,200 (59,300, decrease 37,100)
  • Gad – 40,500 (45,650, decrease 5,150)
  • Judah – 76,500 (74,600, increase 1,900)
  • Issachar – 64,300 (54,400, increase 9,900)
  • Zebulun – 60,500 (57,400, increase 3,100)
  • Joseph / Menasseh – 52,700 (32,200, increase 20,500)
  • Joseph / Ephraim – 32,500 (40,500, decrease 8,000)
  • Benjamin – 45,600 (35,400, increase 10,200)
  • Dan – 64,400 (62,700, increase 1,700)
  • Asher – 53,400 (41,500, increase 11,900)
  • Naphtali – 45,400 (53,400, decrease 8,000)

The total of this census is 601,730. The total of the first census was 603,550, so there was a decrease of 1,820.

As before, this census does not include the Tribe of Levi.

Aliyah 3: Numbers 26:52 – 27:5, 19 verses

God assures Moses that the people included in this census are the ones that will enter the Land of Israel. They are the ones that will receive an inheritance in the Land.

These was a separate census of the Tribe of Levi. Their count was from the age of one month and above. In this census their total was 23,00.

Their previous census was recorded in Parshat Bamidbar. At that time their count was 22,300, so their number had increased by 700.

Zelophehad, a man from the tribe of Menasseh, had died in the wilderness. He had no sons, but he did have 5 daughters. The daughters approached Moses and asked to inherit their father’s portion in the Land of Israel.

Aliyah 4: Numbers 27:6 – 27:23, 18 verses

God told Moses that indeed the daughters of Zelophehad should receive their father’s portion.

In brief, the order of inheritance after a man dies is this:

  • first to inherit are the sons
  • if no sons, then the daughters
  • if no sons nor daughters, then the brothers of the deceased
  • if no brothers, then the brothers of his father
  • if no brothers of his father, then whoever is the next closest relative

God again tells Moses that he will not be permitted to enter the Land. Moses asks for God to appoint a successor. God designates Joshua to become the new leader.

Aliyah 5: Numbers 28:1 – 28:15, 15 verses

The rest of Parshat Pinchas is about the offerings that are to be brought daily and on festivals.

We learned in Parshat Shelach that each burnt offering has brought with it a meal (wheat) offering and a wine libation. The meal and wine offerings are also mentioned here in Parshat Pinchas. However, the new idea here are the number of offerings to be brought on each day.

Here is a summary of the meal and wine offerings brought with each type of animal offering:

  • Sheep: meal offering 1/10 ephah, wine 1/4 hin
  • Ram: meal offering 2/10 ephah, wine 1/3 hin
  • Young Bull: meal offering 3/10 ephah, wine 1/2 hin

There are various opinions about the modern equivalents of these measures. A midrange opinion is that an ephah is about 6.5 US gallons and a hin is about 1.1 US gallons.

Daily Burnt Offering
A daily burnt offering is to be brought in the morning and afternoon. This offering is a male lamb of the first year. Each one is accompanied by a meal (wheat) offering and a wine libation (as mentioned above).

This offering is brought every day, even if other offerings are also brought on that day.

The other offerings that are to be brought on special days are collectively known as “mussaf / additional” offerings.

Shabbat
The mussaf offering on Shabbat is 2 male lambs of the first year. They are accompanied with a meal (wheat) offering and a wine libation for each lamb.

New Moon
The additional offerings on Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) are:

  • 2 young bulls
  • 1 ram
  • 7 male lambs

Also included with them are their meal (wheat) offerings and wine libations.

Also brought on Rosh Chodesh is a male goat for a sin offering.

Aliyah 6: Numbers 28:16 – 29:11, 27 verses

Passover / Pesach
The festival of Pesach / Passover begins on the 15th of Nissan and is seven days long. Every day these mussaf burnt offerings are brought:

  • 2 young bulls
  • 1 ram
  • 7 male lambs

Also every day a male goat is brought as a sin offering.

Shavuot / Festival of Weeks
Shavuot is celebrated on the 50th day after the first day of Passover. It is a one-day festival.

Here are the mussaf burnt offerings for Shavuot:

  • 2 young bulls
  • 1 ram
  • 7 male lambs

Also a male goat is brought as a sin offering.

Rosh Hashanah / New Year
The first day of the 7th month (the month of Tishrei) is Rosh Hashanah. As stated in the Torah, it is a one-day celebration. However, in our times it is celebrated for 2 days throughout the Jewish world.

Here are the mussaf burnt offerings for Rosh Hashanah:

  • 1 young bull
  • 1 ram
  • 7 male lambs

Also a male goat is brought as a sin offering. Because Rosh Hashanah is also Rosh Chodesh, the mussaf offerings for Rosh Chodesh mentioned above are also brought.

Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement
The 10th of Tishrei is celebrated as Yom Kippur. This celebration is for one day.

Here are the mussaf burnt offerings for Yom Kippur:

  • 1 young bull
  • 1 ram
  • 7 male lambs

Also a male goat is brought as a sin offering.

A unique offering on Yom Kippur is the two goats. The High Priest designates one of them as a sin offering and the other is sent to “Azazel.” See Parshat Achrei Mot for more details about them.

Aliyah 7: Numbers 29:12 – 30:1, 29 verses

Sukkot / Festival of Booths
The festival of Sukkot begins on the 15th of Tishrei and lasts for 7 days.

Here are the mussaf burnt offerings for the first day of Sukkot:

  • 13 young bulls
  • 2 rams
  • 14 male lambs

Also a male goat is brought as a sin offering.

The same set of mussaf offerings are brought each day of Sukkot, with one important difference. The number of young bulls is decreased by 1 each day.

Therefore, here are the mussaf offerings for the seventh (last) day of Sukkot:

  • 7 young bulls
  • 2 rams
  • 14 male lambs

Also a male goat is brought as a sin offering.

Shemini Atzeret / 8th Day of Assembly
What would be the 8th day of Sukkot is actually a separate festival called Shemini Atzeret.

Part of the evidence for Shemini Atzeret being a new festival is found by looking at the mussaf burnt offerings for that day:

  • 1 young bull
  • 1 ram
  • 7 male lambs

Also a male goat is brought as a sin offering.

As you can see, these offerings no longer follow the pattern of Sukkot, but are much more like the other festivals.

Haftarah Summary

1 Kings 18:46 – 19:21

The prophet Elijah was a zealous defender of God and sought to return the Jewish people to following God. However, he thought that he had failed. God tells him who to anoint as his successor. He also reveals to Elijah that there are still 7000 people in Israel who have not fallen into idolatry.

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