Ya’acov leaves his home to escape the wrath of his brother Esau and travels to Haran (Mesopotamia – in Iraq of today) to the home of his uncle Lavan….
Rabbi Marcus – Pinchas
Although named after Pinchas, the ‘hero’ of the previous Sidra, whose act of courage stopped the plague that devastated the children of Israel, this weeks Sidra covers a variety of different subjects. Firstly we read of the reward of priesthood for Pinchas for his quick and decisive action in killing Zimri, a leader of the tribe of Shimon who was involved in an open and brazen act of idolatry and immorality with a Midianite woman.
Secondly we read of the second census of the people prior to their entry into the ‘Promised Land’. Almost 40 years had elapsed since the first census and for military and administrative reasons a second census was required. Thirdly women’s rights of inheritance are affirmed following the approach of the daughters of Zelofchad to Moshe. In the event of no male heir, a man’s property could rightfully be inherited by his daughters as opposed to being transferred to the nearest male relative.
Finally much of the Sidra is devoted to a description of the various sacrifices to be brought to the Tabernacle for daily and festival worship.