WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Pinchas

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

When people think of Parashat Pinchas, this week’s Torah Reading, perhaps one might think of the overzealous man named Pinchas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, who killed an Israelites and a woman in last week’s Torah reading with a spear. And this could be a lesson for leaders – to never be so violent, or so overly zealous like Pinchas. Perhaps think before you act. But I hope none of us will even think of ever picking up a spear and using it.

Rather, I would like to focus my Weekly Words of Torah, on another leadership lesson that can be taught in Parashat Pinchas. The Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary very nicely gives headings to the chapters, and Numbers Chapter 26, verses 1 through 65, is entitled “The Second Census.” It is a long, list of names, descendants of all the clans. Families, and their names. And it is the second census. Why does the Torah need to give this list, again? Because every person counts. Each member of our Sisterhoods counts. Each of us brings our own individual unique talents, characteristics, personalities, and yes, for all of us, our quirks. That is what makes the world so magnificent! I am always amazed how incredible it is, that no two people look the same, even if people are identical twins, there has to be something different about them. I take the NYC Subway every day, twice a day. And I always marvel how amazing God is, that God creates so many people, so many unique people, with different stories, backgrounds, no two people the same. So, we each count. And the census is given again in this week’s Torah portion.

Remember that always – each member of our Women’s League counts. Find out what makes each member of your Sisterhood tick! Find out what her interests are. Find out the most unique, unusual thing is about each member – what that member brings to your Sisterhood, that will add a unique dimension – or even, if not unique, something that will make someone else say, in a great positive way, Gam Ani, me too!  We each count! And I want each person to say, I count also in Women’s League and I count in my Sisterhood. Shabbat Shalom!

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah will be a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.