From Chukkat to Pinchas

At the last service, we left the children of Israel on the Plains of Moab overlooking the Jordan after their monumental 40 year journey from Egypt into the wilderness and their arduous struggle to reach the Transjordan. Generations have died off; as they settle here, the ups and downs of their final months of camping out before Joshua leads them into the Promised Land is about to be narrated in the final few chapters of B’Midbar. The wonderful story of Balaam and his ass takes place, and to tell the truth, the ass, operating on much higher moral ground than either Balaam or the Israelites at times, must set the example. But, because God is in control, as Balaam looks down upon the Israelite encampment, he utters the famous lines which begin most of our Shabbat services: How good are you tents O Jacob! But are they? For this maybe God’s story and plan being enacted, but the children of Israel seem unable to allow the rest of the narrative to go without a hitch. No sooner do they settle in, than the temptations of Moabite women and false gods enter the picture. Again! This, of course, leads us to the next series of conflicts when another heroic figure in our history, Pinchas, must try to save the day. To learn more about the whys and wherefores, another heroic figure, our own Adam Feldman, will be on hand to let you know the details at this next Shabbat service. Be there!

(Pat Lipert)