The portion of Pinchas contains and interesting interlude that seems entirely out of place. Moshe is commanded to ascend Har Ha’avarim to glimpse the Promised Land, and is told that he will die there, in the same way as Aharon his brother had recently died on Hor Hahar.
Moshe immediately queries God about his replacement, and is instructed to appoint Yehoshua. The problem with all this is that Moshe did not die until several months later, and Yehoshua only replaced him after his death. What is even stranger is that both the instruction to ascend the mountain to die, and the appointment of Yehoshua, have parallel texts in Devarim.
In which case, what is this piece doing here in the middle of Bamidbar? It seems entirely superfluous!
Rabbi Dunner examines the pesukim both in this week’s Torah portion and in Devarim for clues, and then delved into various commentaries in an attempt make sense of this curious and seemingly extraneous narrative.
What he helps us discover offers an insight into the unique personality of Moshe Rabbeinu, and also throws light on his remarkable relationship with God.