Thursday, July 12, 2012

Parshas Pinchas

This week’s parsha, Pinchas, commences with Hashem praising Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon (Pinchas the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron), for killing Zimri. Zimri, who was the nassi- leader- of the Tribe of Shimon, openly descreted Hashem’s name when he committed acts of immorality (a.k.a extra marital affairs) with Balak’s daughter, Kozbi (she was a Midiyanite princess).

Why does the verse state Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aharon? Wouldn’t have it been enough to just state Pinchas the son of Elazar? The Torah is extremely concise, thereby, an additional wording must be teaching us something important.

Firstly, to understand the root of this ‘extra wording’ we have to analyze what is really going on in the story. Can you believe that Pinchas was praised by Hashem for murdering a fellow Jew? A nassi of a Tribe committing murder?! Moreover, no one even gave him the permission to do so. Why exactly was Pinchas praised for this act? Additionally, one can’t help ponder whether Pinchas killed Zimri to sanctify Hashem’s name or out of hatred against Zimri. What is going on here?! In order to clear up any confusion about the true motivations behind Zimri’s death, Hashem tells Moshe to publically proclaim that Pinchas is a tzadik ben tzadik (a righteous man son of a righteous man) in order to portray that his true motivations were in fact inspired by the same motivations of his righteous father, Elazar, and grandfather Aharon. In other words, this portrays how the merits and attributes of our parents and grandparents are passed along to us, as Aharon’s were passed down to Pinchas.

Furthermore, when Hashem mentions Pinchas’s relationship to Aharon he is sending us a message that Pinchas’s deeds were emulating that of his grandfather Aharon. Aharon was known for bringing peace and kindness to all of Bnai Israel. Whenever there was conflict, or rebuke was necessary, Aharon always provided it gently. Although it seems that Pinchas’s act was much harsher than that of his grandfathers’, by killing Zimri, Pinchas saved Bnai Israel from death. The fact that Bnai Israel tolerated those sinful acts amongst their very midst indicted them to death.

This should shed light onto all of us. Everyday we witness many Jews sinning and committing acts against the will of Hashem. We stand idly and do nothing about it! By doing nothing about it, on a spiritual sphere, it is as if we are guilty of committing the sin as well! Although we may not be in the position to rebuke others, we can take action by being a positive example for those around us. Our positive behavior may shed some light onto others to look retrospectively within; thereby, possibly contemplating a change. If our own actions can influence and bring positivity to others, shouldn’t that be motivation enough to become better people? The answer is easy, the choice is yours.

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