Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts on Parashat Pinchas - פרשת פנחס

Old City of Jerusalem: In the Jewish Quarter 

Photo: Miriam Woelke


The Torah tells us that Zimri took a Midianite Princess as a lover until both were killed by Pinchas. It was Pinchas taking the initiative after plenty of Jews had started worshipping the Midianite idol Ba’al Peor. By the way, ancient idol – worshippers used to worship Ba’al Peor by smearing human excrements onto his statue. I don’t understand how this kind of a “religion” could have attracted any Jew but never mind. 

The Arizal (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, 1534 – 1572) compares Pinchas with Kain who killed his brother Hevel (Abel). Whereas Kain murdered Hevel due to jealousy (G – d accepted Hevel’s offering but rejected the offering of Kain), Pinchas turns the scene around and kills Zimri and Cosby in order to save the Jewish people. Or in other words, Pinchas did a Mitzvah. Other commentators teach that Pinchas’ and Eliyahu HaNavi’s (Elijah the Prophet) souls are identical and never died. To us, Pinchas represents a person who is willing to take responsibility and act instead of keeping quiet and stepping aside. 

Further great insights here:

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