July 2, 2021
This week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, is commonly associated with the themes of zealotry, leadership, women’s rights, and succession planning. However, candidly, I noticed something this year that I have never considered in prior readings. (Which, by the way, is what I love most about the Torah and how although the readings never change from year to year, we, on the other hand, are a year older and a year wiser.)
So, what did I discover? We know that in the story of Pinchas, his reward is not only assigned to him but to his “descendants after him” (Numbers 25:13). Similarly, in chapter 26, when the lands are assigned to the various tribes, they are assigned to the family and their “descendants”. Then, in the next chapter (27), as part of the story about Zelophehad’s daughters, we read about the case made for an inheritance to now be passed down to future descendants through our daughters and not only our sons. Finally, we read of Moses’ transfer of leadership to Joshua and how this new leadership will be accepted by the Children of Israel as part of their next chapter in the story of our people’s heritage.
Yes, each story alone could easily provide enough content to author a post on any of these individual themes. However, collectively we see a common thread highlighting the importance of our actions today and how their rewards, consequences, and outcomes affect future generations. One decision today can change the lives of so many down the road.
Whether it is the non-decisions of a condominium building’s homeowners’ association in 2018 or the architect’s plans used for its construction 40 years earlier; even the advancement of available technology that has led to the lowest levels of youth activity in generations; all these outcomes are due to seemingly inconsequential decisions that were made so many years ago. This week’s Torah portion is a call for awareness, for us to open our eyes and consider the ramifications of our decisions today on the generations of tomorrow.
Since joining the Jewish Federation of San Antonio, I have been tasked on multiple occasions to explain our agency’s purpose and impact on our local community and Jews around the world. After a year of reflecting on our agency’s mission and vision I can summarize it as follows:
The Jewish Federation of San Antonio has three primary responsibilities: to convene and bring our community together, to plan and prepare for our community’s sustainability, and to secure the resources to achieve our community’s goals.
Just like this week’s parashah’s namesake, Pinchas, the Jewish Federation’s rewards are not only for the Jewish community of today, rather, they are for all the future Jewish generations on San Antonians yet to be born and move here.
This week’s call to action is to get us thinking about what community resources are we benefiting from today that the Jewish community leadership of 100 years ago founded, and what are we doing today to ensure that 100+ years from now our children’s, children’s children will experience because of our decisions today.
Because generations ago decisions were made to establish a Jewish community in San Antonio, today the Jewish Federation is…
HERE for you.
HERE for our community.
HERE for our Future.