Pinchas: True Zeal
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
“Therefore, say: Behold! I give him my covenant of peace.” (25:12)
Rashi comments; “That it should be for him as a covenant of peace, like a person who attributes goodness and graciousness to one who does him a favor. Here too, Blessed is he declared to him, his feelings of friendship.” (Ibid.)
Pinchas was bold and swift in reacting to the sin he witnessed. What he did found favor in the eyes of Hashem as we see from the previous verse which states, “…he zealously avenged my vengeance among them, so I did not consume the children of Israel among my vengeance.” (25:11)
Still in all, the question arises. Wasn’t Pinchas’ act of zeal the antithesis of peace – one of the central tenets of our faith – and thus how was it deemed commendable?
Answers the Kesonos Or, that while that usually may be the case, an act of true and pure zeal – such as the one committed by Pinchas – actually leads to everlasting peace as it did here where Hashem spared the entire nation. He did what’s right - at the right time – with the right intentions and that’s why it was commendable.
The following story illustrates such a concept.
At a Rabbinical convention during the 1960’s, a conservative Rabbi stood up and accused the Orthodox of being guilty of ‘Feinsteinism’. One Orthodox Torah giant, viewing the term as a derogatory insult to the great Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, got up and slapped the man across the face.
There are times when the right thing and right course of action in one of aggression. Nevertheless, one must not embark on such a course unless he is certain that what he is doing is totally (100%) for the sake of heaven.
Furthermore, our actions must confine within the framework and parameters of the Halacha (Jewish Law), as pure intentions don’t justify something that is really wrong and forbidden.
Of note, Pinchas went to Moshe first before taking matters into his own hands. So too we, must confer with our leaders when faced with such a challenge.
Pinchas should serve as our model. By following his example we will have the know-how and resolve to defend true, Torah Judaism, and our way of life.
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