May 27, 2022 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Pinchas

Having recently read Torah for the first time I've come to appreciate the importance of becoming familiar with the text as it appears on the scroll. There are sometimes variations from standard Hebrew printing. In this week's Parshah Pinchas, for example, we see the ambivalence towards Aaron's grandson who slew the Israelite man and Moabite woman for flagrant immorality at the end of last week's reading. Pinchas is elevated to the priesthood, seemingly a reward. Yet when he is first mentioned (Num. 25:11) the "yud" in his name is written smaller than the other letters, suggesting that he has been diminished as well. In the next verse, where God says He has given Pinchas a "b'rit shalom" (a pact of peace and friendship) the "vav" in "shalom" is written with a break, symbolizing that peace brought about by violent acts will inevitably be imperfect. The lesson is that there are things to learn even from the letters of Torah. It's also a reminder that if you're going to be reading Torah, you'd better check the scroll first.

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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