Earning our inheritance (Pinchas)

Parshat Pinchas contains a number of stories which seemingly have little in common. We read about Pinchas who killed Zimri & Kozbi, we are told of the census of the Jewish people and the distribution of Eretz Yisrael, we hear about the claim of the daughters of Tzelofchad and we read about the appointment of Yehoshua as Moshe’s successor. However, embedded in all of these stories is a simple lesson that ‘what we do with our lives determines our worth far more than which family we happen to come from’ (see below).
To start with, we read about Pinchas whose actions lead God to reward him with eternal Kehuna. Yet, as is explicit from the verses, Pinchas is already a Kohen. Nonetheless, as many commentaries take pains to point out, what we learn from this story is that Pinchas attained his individual status as a kohen not from where he came from but by what he did.
In a similar vein we are told that Tzelofchad died due to his own sin, which may have led some to believe that his daughters should not be given a share in the land. However, it is from the efforts of these righteous women that we again learn that it is what we do with our lives which determine our worth far more than which family we happen to come from.
Finally, we are told that when the time came for Moshe to consider his successor, he hoped that his sons may be able to take over his mantle. Yet, as is evident from the appointment of Yehoshua, this was not to be the case. Here too we see the lesson that ‘what we do with our lives determines our worth far more than which family we happen to come from’.


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