Sedra: Pinchas
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here
Analysis

Sedra: Pinchas

Rabbi Alex Chapper looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

Rabbi Alex Chapper

It must have been the most devastating moment in his life. Having led a fractious people for 40 years, taken them out from slavery and guided them through the wilderness to the verge of the Promised Land, Moses is told by God he will not enter it with them.  

Instead, he is to ascend Har Nevo so he can be shown the land in its entirety and there he “will be gathered to his people” – passing away without fulfilling his life’s work and dream of leading the Jews in the land of Israel.

Having previously petitioned God on behalf of the people, sometimes when they did not deserve it, Moses, instead of pleading his case, asks God to
appoint a suitable leader so the nation would not be left “like sheep without a shepherd”. Why did he not first pray to God that he be allowed to enter the land? 

Rashi, quoting the Midrash, explains that Moses’ surprising action shows the praise of the righteous: when they are about to depart from the world, they abandon all thought of themselves and are occupied with the affairs of the community. The Torah records Moses’ incredible response as it displays the hallmark of the righteous who, to the very end, are more concerned for the needs of others than their own.  

Moses reminds us no one lives in a vacuum, no one can be so self-obsessed they cannot think of others and no one is bigger than the community. Perhaps his greatest legacy is an imperative for us to think more about how we can help others rather than just ourselves, and that each of us must find our place in and give of ourselves to the community.

  • Rabbi Alex Chapper serves Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments