Popularized by Harry Belafonte in one generation and by the Grateful Dead in another, the song “Man Smart (Woman Smarter)” comes to mind for me as we read Parashat Pinchas, which contains the transformative and important story of the daughters of Zelophechad.
It’s not unusual for people to respond with anger and a desire to stop the words or actions of those who seem to undermine what they hold dear. UC Irvine’s
Muslim Student Union received a one-year suspension for what the university deemed was a planned disruption of a speech on campus by Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States. And during an L.A. Jewish community rally for Israel on June 6, demonstrators booed a speech by Americans for Peace Now’s West Coast Regional Director David Pine.
The proverbial apple may not fall far from the tree. Often, though, the question is: which tree?
Can you name the sons of Moses? You're probably in good company if you can't. The fact of the matter is that other than their names, the Torah tells us virtually nothing about them. Their deeds and destiny are unknown.
People often complain that if we only had leaders like those in past generations, we would not have the problems we face today. It seems to be a chronic malady that we never are satisfied with the leaders of our own time. Yet, an old Jewish adage states, "each generation receives the leader it deserves." In truth, nowhere is this fact so apparent as in this week's Torah reading.