Shabbat Parashat Pinchas Believe!

Dear Friends,

Standing up for what is right, especially if it might be seen as self-serving, takes courage. It takes determination. It takes faith – faith that our actions can lead to positive change.

And, in order for change to happen peacefully, it also takes leadership that is willing to listen respectfully. It takes leadership that is willing to admit that they don’t necessarily have all the answers based on what had been the prevalent custom or the social givens up to that point in time.

This week’s Torah portion features the five daughters of Zelophechad. These courageous women were knowledgeable and respectful of Torah and of Moses’ leadership. Yet, when they perceived a wrong in the way the Torah was being interpreted…they went straight to Moses. They spoke up, supporting their claims with respectful and knowledgeable arguments.

Moses had no answer. But Moses was wise enough to admit that he needed God’s guidance in addressing the issue the women had brought before him. Even though Moses could not see his way to aceeding immediately to their demands, Moses respected the learned arguments of the women enough to turn to God for guidance. And, God said, in no uncertain terms, that the women were right and that the interpretation of the Torah needed to change.

What a powerful lesson for all of us! The way things are, is not necessarily the way things ought to be in the future. We are meant to re-think our positions. We are meant to be open to discussion. We are meant to believe that our insights, shared in respectful ways, may in fact be doorways to a better world.

May we be inspired by the daughters of Zelophechad – whose names, by the way, are: Machlah, Noah, Choglah, Milkah, and Tirzah – to believe in ourselves and to stand up for what we see as right. May we learn from them the value of taking the time and trouble to educate ourselves about the issues. And, may we speak our truth, respectfully, so that those in leadership positions may hear our words and consider joining us in an effort to make the world a better place.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror