Commentary for Pinchas

29 Jul

This week’s parshah contains a very rare occurrence. A group of Israelites come to ask Moses a Halachic question, and Moses does not know the answer. This happens only four times in the entire Torah, but the occurrence in this week’s parshah is truly unique. In the other three instances, God immediately provides Moses with an answer, but in this week’s parshah, we are specifically told that “Moses brought their claim before the Lord (Num. 27:5).” This is the only time in the entire Torah where Moses goes to God and says, “I don’t know the answer to this question. Can you please tell me what it is?”


As is evident from even a basic reading of the Torah, Moses was an extremely wise and learned man. The fact that of all of the questions asked to him, there were only four times that he didn’t know the answer demonstrates that he has a dept of knowledge about Jewish Law that has rarely, if ever, been rivaled. But not even Moses knows everything, and as this week’s parshah shows, even Moses has to ask for help every once in a while.


The Torah specifically includes the verse “And Moses brought their claim before the Lord (Num. 27:5), ” to teach us that there is no shame in not knowing everything. Shame is found in realizing that you don’t know everything and still acting out of ignorance instead of consulting someone knowledgeable enough to guide you down the right path.

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