Sedra of the week: Pinchas 

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Sedra of the week: Pinchas 

Rabbi Sam Taylor looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

 Parshat Pinchas features the appointment of Joshua as leader of the Jewish people.

Our sages comment that Joshua earned this privilege through his devoted service to Moses’s study hall. Specifically, Joshua took upon himself the responsibility of setting the mats and benches in the study hall every day. Why did this act earn him the distinction of succeeding Moses?

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch suggests Joshua’s commitment to the physical necessities of the study hall demonstrated his devout sense of kavod haTorah, respect for Torah, but also revealed his respect to all students of Torah, not just the elite.

He concerned himself not only with the honour of Moses and his best students, but with the needs and respect of everyone who walked through the doors.

Along the same lines, we may suggest that Joshua’s
indiscriminate respect for all students reflected the honour he afforded to each individual, regardless of social or academic rank. He saw to it that every student would feel comfortable in Moses’ study hall, without singling out certain individuals from among others.

It was Joshua who could ensure that our ancestors would not be ‘like sheep without a shepherd’.

Like his predecessor, he cared for each one of his sheep, without exception, and as a result was the right man to lead the nation into the Promised Land.


  • Rabbi Sam Taylor serves Western Marble Arch Synagogue
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