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A gold compass with the word leadership written inside of it

Parashat Pinchas: Picture The Scene of The Petition of Tzelofchad’s Daughters

Parashat Pinchas: Picture The Scene of The Petition of Tzelofchad’s Daughters

Frand, Rabbi Yissocher
July 1, 2021

Later in the parsha, Moshe is told to prepare himself for death. “Go up to the mountain of Avarim and see the land that I have given to the Children of Israel. You shall see it and you shall be brought to your people…” [Bamidbar 27:12-13]

Hearing this news, Moshe realized that the time had come to pick a successor. He asked Hashem: “May, Hashem, G-d of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the assembly…” [Bamidbar 27:16]

…Rashi notes that this pasuk uses a peculiar expression found virtually nowhere else in Torah. Where else do we ever find Hashem referred to as “G-d of the spirits of all flesh”?

…Rashi explains: Moshe said before Him, “Master of the World! The personality of each individual is revealed before You; they do not resemble one another. Appoint a leader who can put up with each individual according to his personality.” You, G-d, know better than any human that no two people on this planet are exactly the same…. Therefore, I ask You to appoint a leader who will have patience with and be able to tolerate each person according [to] the needs of that person’s individual personality.

…The Kotzker Rebbe… asked why the portion dealing with [the] appointment of Moshe’s successor appears at exactly this point in Chumash, in Parshas Pinchas. Why, he asks, is it not found towards the end of Sefer Devarim?

…The Kotzker Rebbe answers that Moshe Rabbeinu did not wake up one day and discover that he needed to have a successor… He thought his heir apparent was Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohen.

Then the incident occurred in Shittim… Pinchas took a sword in his hand and he was jealous on G-d’s behalf. His act of zealotry saved the Jewish nation. He stopped the plague. He was given the Covenant of Peace.

…However, at that point, Moshe realized that Pinchas could not be the leader. The zealot cannot tolerate the foibles of every mortal.

…So it was appropriate that… in Parshas Pinchas, Moshe turned to Hashem and told him “I need someone to succeed me and I need to move on to ‘Plan B’. My… plan, that Pinchas would be the next leader of the Jewish people, will not work… What I need is someone who will serve in the Image of the “G-d of the spirits of all flesh”. I need someone who appreciates, can live with, and work with all individuals, people with totally disparate spirits, interests, and personalities…



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