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Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Pinchas – Numbers 25:10-30:1
My wife and I struggle about how to encourage our daughter’s independence. My parents prodded me toward self-reliance from an early age. I’m doing the same for Madeleine. But Melanie gets a lot of satisfaction from taking care of her needs. And who doesn’t like to be cared for? At times we confuse Madeleine. Watching the approach of her ninth year, my influence has become unmistakable. Perhaps our foremost duty, described in Parshas Pinchas, will be fulfilled:
…appoint a man over the assembly. (Numbers/Bamidbar 27:16)
This Sabbath’s parsha begins with G-d rewarding Pinchas for his zealousness. Then censuses are taken prior to the Israelites entering the Land. Zelophehad’s daughters petition to receive their father’s inheritance. The laws of inheritance are detailed. Joshua is appointed as Moses’s successor. Finally the Almighty establishes the offerings brought daily, on the Sabbath, and on holidays.
A Flock Needs a Shepherd
The generation G-d took out of slavery died off. But the younger one still needed guidance. The Children of Israel won’t wander through the wilderness any longer. They must conquer the land. Then they must adjust to a settled, agrarian life.
Such a major transition is difficult. Many new questions will arise. Moses knew he would not be there to answer them. No longer could he delay his foremost duty. He had to find a successor to continue guiding the Israelites.
Moses taught Joshua the son of Nun for years. Having served the great man for so long, Joshua proved his character by not falling prey to the negativity of the spies. He could shoulder spiritual responsibility for the Children of Israel.
Your Foremost Duty in Life
You may not be responsible for the souls of hundreds of thousands of people. But you have a family. You’re responsible for your loved ones spiritual wellbeing even after you’re gone.
It’s easy to pass along material wealth. A will or trust will distribute your physical property according to your wishes. What about your accumulated knowledge and wisdom? What will happen to it?
Children no longer spend decades serving their parents and learning at their feet the way Joshua did Moses. But that does not relieve you from making every effort at seeing they benefit from what you have learned in your life. Presumably during their childhood and teen years you passed on many lessons. Hopefully they took them to heart.
Imagine the impact on Joshua of Moses learning he not would be leading the Israelites into the land. His trusted mentor would die soon. At that moment, Joshua received the legacy. He would fulfill the Almighty’s directive to bring the people to the land.
You can have a similar effect on your children. Show them spiritual matters are at least as important as monetary ones. Whether they’re adults or still young, double down now on what you’ve done in the past. Consistently reach out to them. Demonstrate how to pursue a well-lived life. Write an ethical will. Give it equal importance to your property division. Nothing less than their future depends on it.
What have you planned to ensure your foremost duty is fulfilled? Please comment below.
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!