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    A mouth of brass – Pinchas

    Only five of the fifty-four sidrot are named after people, beginning with No’ach in the book of Genesis.

    This current sidra is named after Pinchas, and we can use this as a convenient moment to speak about protesting. Indeed, one of the interpretations of the name Pinchas is “mouth of brass”, suggesting that he is the forebear of those who mount protests.

    The Jewish doctrine of protest can be summarised in these ten commandments:
    1. Don’t remain silent. Even if you are not heard you have to give voice to your conscience.
    2. Instead of ranting, use “a disciplined tongue” (Isaiah 50:4).
    3. Rebuke out of love. The Torah says, “Do not hate your brother in your heart” (Lev. 19:17).
    4. Don’t tell people what to think: give them the facts and let them draw their own conclusions.
    5. Avoid overkill, in words and actions.
    6. Avoid violence: don’t hit people or destroy property, but persuade.
    7. Stick to the real agenda – don’t wrap up the issue in extraneous considerations.
    8. Don’t give up in the middle.
    9. Don’t make your own side the enemy.
    10. Don’t play God.

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