Pinchas

“Parsha and Purpose” – Pinchas 5780

“Parsha and Purpose” – Pinchas 5780
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

“The Voices of a Just Cause: The Modern-Day Daughters of Tzelofchad”

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“The Voices of a Just Cause: The Modern-Day Daughters of Tzelofchad”

What a time to be alive! It seems like every time we check our phones, we see and read about truly historic events taking place.

So it’s quite timely that in a period of structural societal change taking place across the globe, Israel’s Attorney General issued a groundbreaking decision last week that will fundamentally transform Jewish life for the better – and in particular, the landscape of women’s Torah leadership.

Thanks to the remarkable efforts of the ITIM organization and others, women Torah scholars will now be able to obtain the very same level of government-approved accreditation for their Torah knowledge as men do.

This means that women who earn accreditation will be able to apply for and obtain those same positions that, when halachically appropriate, should be open to men and women alike who have mastered a corpus of Torah knowledge.

This decision establishes that at long last, women will have access to their rightful inheritance in the Torah.

That’s why it’s so fitting that we will be reading this Shabbat in Parshat Pinchas about a group of women fully committed to the future of the Jewish People who appeal what they viewed as an injustice in what they are told is Torah law.

The daughters of Tzelofchad stand before Moshe and entire leadership, pleading: 

If we are considered to be sons when it comes to the laws of Levirate marriage, why are we not considered sons when it comes to the laws of inheritance?  

Our family deserves an equal portion in the land.  

Why should it be that the status quo of a woman not receiving an inheritance causes the name of our family to be erased?

Why are we treated unequally when it comes to the laws of inheritance? Why do we not have the right to an equal portion in the land?

Why should we be denied our rights?

God acknowledges the claim of the daughters of Tzelofchad; the status quo is changed; and they are assured of their rightful inheritance.

With the decision from the Attorney General last week, we see another improvement on a contemporary status quo that has now been rightly rectified.

Until now, women who studied the same texts as men studied for rabbinical ordination could not receive any form of government accreditation that would recognize their studies and their skills.

This meant they were paid less for the same jobs as their male counterparts. And they were unable to apply for positions that were otherwise halachically-appropriate, such as kashrut supervisor in the Knesset, which required government-recognized Torah knowledge of kashrut. 

There are wonderful programs in existence in which women study seriously – such as in Ohr Torah Stone’s Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership, an intensive five-year graduate program in which they study the same subject matter as men in our kollelim who are studying for rabbinic ordination.

The women take the same tests as men, except we, a private organization – Ohr Torah Stone – administer them instead of a government entity.

These women scholars, who study full-time for five years, while at the same time nurturing growing families, do not seek to supplant the rabbinical profession, God forbid, but rather want to complement it.

We were all frustrated that until now, their privately-conferred certification did not enable them to receive the same compensation in a high school or a seminary for the same work that their male counterparts received. Until now, the current status quo meant that their studies, their impressive accomplishments, were not recognized.

Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik taught that when important events happen, look at the parsha and allow it to speak to you in a contemporary context.

This week, one need not look very far or wide to see just how true this is. 

Welcome, B’not Tzelofchad!

Shabbat Shalom.

“Shabbat Shalom” – Pinchas 5780

Rabbi Riskin

Shabbat Shalom: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin  Efrat, Israel – “Moses said to the Lord, ‘May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Pinchas 5780

Pinchas: Leading a Desert Generation

Yehuda Shtauber, OTS Deputy Director for Education

Parshat Pinchas: Leading a Desert Generation Rabbi Yehuda Shtauber is Ohr Torah Stone’s Senior Vice President of Education  Historically, two main approaches to defining suitable leaders have appeared in the study of leadership in the Western world. One approach suggests that a leader is a celebrated individual with personality traits that set him or her …

Read morePinchas: Leading a Desert Generation

Parshat Pinchas: Female advocates – a precept from the Torah

Advocate Osnat Sharon

Parshat Pinchas: Female advocates – a precept from the Torah  The daughters of Tzelofchad merited far more than just inheriting their father’s portion of the land. They merited to have a chapter of the Torah in their names, as well as to marry and start families. Rabbinical Court Advocate and civil attorney Osnat Sharon, OTS’s …

Read moreParshat Pinchas: Female advocates – a precept from the Torah

“Shabbat Shalom” – Parshat Pinchas 5779

Shabbat Shalom: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin    Efrat, Israel – “The daughters of Tzelofĥad speak right. You shall surely give them a hereditary portion of land alongside that of their father’s brethren.” (Numbers 27:7) One of the most fascinating aspects of the entire Torah is the portion which deals with the case of …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Parshat Pinchas 5779

“Parsha to the Point” – Pinchas 5778

Parshat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1) Rabbi David Stav The division of the Torah into weekly portions was not determined on Mount Sinai, and, in fact, is not an ancient practice (relatively speaking). There were times in our history when the Torah reading cycle took three years to complete, and the division into weekly portions was adjusted accordingly. …

Read more“Parsha to the Point” – Pinchas 5778

“Shabbat Shalom” – Pinchas 5778

Parshat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10 – 30:1) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – Fanaticism, particularly when garbed in the clothing of myopic fundamentalism, rarely evokes in us a sympathetic bent.  How could it, given its association with an uncontrollable zeal and violence for the sake of heaven? But when we turn to the opening of this week’s …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Pinchas 5778

“Shabbat Shalom” – Pinchas 5777

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

Parshat Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1) Rabbi Shlomo Riskin           Efrat, Israel – “Do battle against the Midianites and smite them. They are your enemies because of the plot which they plotted against you concerning the incident involving Pe’or and the incident involving Kozbi the daughter of the Prince of Midian, their sister, who was …

Read more“Shabbat Shalom” – Pinchas 5777

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