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Pinchas

Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1. פִּינְחָס

Pinchas – the Slayer of Uncertainty

A strange episode at the end of the last Torah portion, Balak, where Pinchas (Phinehas) slain a Jewish prince caught in the act with a heathen woman, is rewarded in this week’s present eponymous Torah portion with the priesthood.  This begs the question, what is the connection between the act of zealotry by Pinchas and the reward of priesthood he receives for it? By way of background, as we read in the previous Torah portion, the evil king, Balak, fails to bring a curse on the Jewish people by Bilam (Balaam).  According to Midrash, Bilam advises Balak to send most beautiful Midian women to seduce Jewish men (see Flavius Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter VI, Paragraphs 6-12). Balak heads the advice and uses Moabite and Midianite women to seduce Jewish men [...]

A curious Case of Retrocausality—Dead Inherit the Living

Pinchas You shall apportion the Land among these as an inheritance, in accordance with the number of names. To the large [tribe] you shall give a larger inheritance and to a smaller tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance, each person shall be given an inheritance according to his number. Only through a lot shall the Land be apportioned; they shall inherit it according to the names of their fathers' tribes. Bamidbar-Numbers 26:53-55 Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel in Princeton Einstein once said that he only went to his office at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton to have an opportunity to chat on the way home with his friend, Viennese mathematician, Kurt Gödel. Once, the story goes, Gödel came to Einstein's birthday party with a present – a new cosmological solution of Einstein's [...]