Parashat Pinchas – God’s Perspective on Women

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Teachings
Parashat Pinchas – God’s Perspective on Women

[Read Numbers 27:1-11]

I spent this week reading up on many different misogynist quotes of both Rabbi’s and Church fathers that really unsettled me.[1][2] And while some of these quotes are probably out of context, for many of them, there is not ever a context in which they could ever be right. Some would like to pin the cause of these quotations on the Scripture itself while others acknowledge that they originate in extra-biblical sources such as Plato and the Talmud. The good news is that due to the narrative nature of Scripture, we can see from practical examples, that Adonai highly values femininity.

The case of the daughters of Zelephad was specifically about inheritance rights. If there is not son, can the daughter inherit? Adonai states that, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right in saying you should give them property by inheritance among their father’s relatives. You are to turn over the inheritance of their father to them.”[3] This shows us that Adonai takes the welfare of women very seriously. As a side note, it also shows us that the Oral Law was not given at Mt. Sinai, because if it had been, why did Moses have to go back to Adonai for clarification? This law determined here, receives further clarification later in chapter 36.

In (Genesis 5:2) when God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God, Male and Female, He created them. Distinct from each other, yet together they are in the image of Adonai. Both masculinity and femininity are in the nature of God.

Since the beginning there has been a diabolical plan to devalue women. Every culture and every major religion has suppressed femininity and devalued women. Not so with Adonai as shown in the Parashat that we just read, and in many other Scriptures. For instance, in (Deut. 10:18) He defends the fatherless and the widow, and He curses those who distort justice for the orphan and the widow. He judges, us, His own people, in (Ezekiel 22:6-8) when we wronged the widow. And He lists this, along with sheading innocent blood, idolatry, despising His holy things, and profaning His Sabbath, as one of the reasons for the impending judgment.

In (1 Peter 3:7) we are told, “In the same way, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way. Though they are weaker partners, honor them as equal heirs of the grace of life. In this way, your prayers will not be hindered.” So often we focus on “weaker vessel”, and somehow think that weaker applies to value. But is a Rose less valuable than a nail, simply because you can’t hit it with a hammer? Why do we focus so much on the first part of the verse and forget to read the rest? Men, we are to show honour to women as fellow heirs of the grace of life. And following this mitzvot comes with the promise that our prayers will not be hindered. And this fellow heirship should remind us again of this week’s Parashat.

What about Yeshua? How did he treat women? Unlike Rambam (Maimonades) who stated that in trial, “women are disqualified from testifying” [Laws of Testimony, Chapter 9, Halacha 2], Yeshua entrusted the message of His resurrection to two women (Matt. 28:1-8).

[John 4:1-30]

In this passage we see Yeshua breaking all the protocols of culture and society to share eternal life with a Samaritan Woman; in two places in this passage, we see this explicitly. Yeshua was more concerned with reaching the heart of this woman, then he was with the perceptions of others. This woman became Yeshua’s first evangelist, and was responsible in bringing here entire town to trust in Yeshua!

There are many examples of Women in leadership throughout the Tenach. Women such as Miriam, Moses’ Sister (Exodus 15:20) who was a Prophetess, Deborah who was a Judge over Israel (Judges 4-5), Huldah who was a prophet in King Josiah’s time (2 Kings 22:14-20). The same is true for the writings of the Apostles. Anna was recognized as a prophetess (Luke 2:36-38)[4] Rav Sha’ul recommends Phoebe who is a leader in the Messianic community of Cenchrea, and Junia who is an emissary/missionary (Romans 16:1, 7) The Expositors Bible Commentary states that, “Women as well as men served in leadership positions in the early church, and there is no reason to exclude the possibility that some of the diakonois of Philippians 1:1 were women (cf. 1 Tim. 3:11)” [5]

When we look at the nature of G-d, we can see that He values femininity as much as masculinity, in that He desires intimacy, communion and relationship more than anything else. We need to repent for where ever we have devalued femininity, wherever we have suppressed intimacy. For by devaluing femininity, intimacy and love we are rejecting an aspect of the nature of Adonai.

For more study see the following links:

http://newlife.id.au/portrayal-of-women-and-biblical-inspiration/

http://theologyforwomen.org/2013/05/some-things-you-should-know-about-women-and-the-old-testament.html

[1] https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/rabbinic-exclusion-women-vs-jesus/

[2] http://newlife.id.au/misogynist-quotes-from-church-fathers/

[3] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[4] https://www.joshreading.com/single-post/2017/06/23/Women-in-leadership

[5] Everett Harrison & Donald Hagner, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Rev. Ed., Vol 11, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2008. Pg. 226.

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