Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Pinchas

Parshas Pinchas - Self-Worship

Pinchas Son of Elazar, Son of Aharon The Kohein turned My anger away from the Children of Israel (Numbers 25:11).

This week's parsha begins with the reward Pinchas receives for a deed he did in last week's parsha. He took responsibility to avenge G-d's honor from a couple who were involved in immoral behavior and idol worship.

The Torah calls the idol Ba'al Pe'or. It was served by the Moabites, and a large group from the tribe of Shimon got involved in immoral behavior with the Moabite women, and then began to worship Ba'al Pe'or. The sages explain that the Moabite women made their consent conditional on the men serving Ba'al Pe'or.

The Sages tell us that Ba'al Pe'or was served by defecating on the idol, a most unusual way of serving a deity.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, of blessed memory, asks how it is possible to pay homage to a god in such a disrespectful fashion. In addition to that, how did the Children of Israel sink so far? The answer he gives is extremely relevant to us today.

The depth of this form of worship is that everything goes. One can even defecate on one's god. The Talmud relates that a certain fellow actually wiped himself on the idol's nose, and the priests lauded him for his excellence and originality! In other words, there is no accountability! This is the highest level of service of Ba'al Pe'or. One can do anything he wishes, and never need to regret it. Now we can understand what the draw was to join the growing membership of these particular congregations of idol worshipers.

This is how the Children of Israel got involved with this idol worship. Once they went over the line of immorality in regard to the Moabite women, it snowballed quickly to manifest itself in the most lewd form of behavior.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz also explains that the view of these idol worshippers is really a slight perversion of a proper world view. That is, that mankind is very great and superior. The attitude that we have greatness can bring a person to a lack of accountability - that he has no one to answer to. In direct contrast - the Torah perspective - is also that we are above all other aspects of the creation. Even angels, come from a lower spiritual source than does the human soul. Consequently, it is an immense responsibility to be on that lofty plain. The accountability is manifold times more when so much more can be expected, and accomplished.

We see from here how easily a person lacking objectivity can err. Only with intellectual integrity and objectivity will a person be willing to draw correct conclusions from facts available to him. If a person is not interested in doing the right thing, and he wishes to follow his eyes and his heart - about him the prophet writes "For the ways of G-d are straight; the righteous go with them, and the negligent will trip over them."

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © 2000 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

The Sounds of the Shofar
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Happy New Year!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

ArtScroll

Are We listening?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

A Plug-In For Your Browser
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

A Time to Remember and Be Inspired
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Ever-Present
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

The Epitome of G-d's Kindness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Learning History
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

> The Healer Is On-Call
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

A Kinder and More Truthful Nation
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Heaven Help Us
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Gift of Time
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

The Bond that Ties - Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

The Shofar: A Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Nerve Centre of the Year
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information