Pinchas: Not Fit for Leadership

July 06, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest was the one who so zealously took up My cause among the Israelites, and turned My anger away from them” (Bamidbar 25:10). Whereas normally, the Torah identifies a person with their father’s name, in this instance, the Torah emphasizes the fact that Pinchas was the grandson not just of Aaron, but of Aaron the priest. Pinchas may have been the biological grandson of...
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Pinchas: Idolatry for Adultery

July 14, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And they called the people to their religious sacrifices, and the people ate and worshipped the Moabite gods" (Bamidbar 25:2).  How could the Jewish people—on the threshold of entering the land that the "eyes of G-d, your Lord, are on it at all times"—violate the most cardinal of Judaism's precepts? Nothing shakes the foundations of Judaism more than worship of other gods. Had they learned nothing...
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Pinchas: New Leadership

July 29, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  The illustrious "career" of Moshe Rabbeinu is coming to an end. G-d has told him that he will not be the one to lead the Jewish people into the land of Israel. His co-leaders, Miriam and Aharon have already passed away. The Jews are "encamped on the bank of the Jordan, opposite Jericho" waiting for the order to march forward. While Moshe is still alive and well, his influence appears to be fading. Jewish people are...
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Pinchas: Leadership

July 11, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Parshat Pinchas presents us with at least three distinct models of leadership. Our parsha gets its name from the zealotry of Pinchas who, without warning, killed a leader of the tribe of Shimon and the Midianite women he was sinning with. Ironically, his act of violence earned him a covenant of peace; Pinchas merited both safety from those who might have sought revenge, and inner peace and calm allowing him not to feel guilty over the lives he...
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Pinchas: Moving On

June 28, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And Moshe did as G-d had commanded and he took Joshua and stood him before Elazar Hakohen and before the people" (27:22). Moshe's role as leader is coming to an end. His fervent desire to enter the land of Israel is to be denied. "G-d said to Moshe, climb the Avarim Mountain where you will be able to see the land that I am giving to the Israelites" (27:12).  Yet despite his personal disappointment it is he who...
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