Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Pinchas

Tying Generations Together

The Torah records for us the genealogy of Pinchas, the true and justified zealot of Jewish history. There are many reasons advanced as to why the Torah felt impelled to tell us of the names of his father and grandfather. Many commentators saw in this an explanation to justify Pinchas’ behavior while others emphasized that it was an explanation for Pinchas’ reward and God granting him the blessing of peace.

But aside from these insights there is another more general message that the Torah is recording for us. And that is that a person’s behavior affects all of one’s family members, even those of previous generations who may no longer be currently numbered among the living.

A great act of sanctification of God’s name such as the one performed by Pinchas enhances the reputations and stature of previous generations as well My rebbe in the yeshiva summed this lesson up in his usual concise and pithy manner: “If both your grandparents and your grandchildren are proud of you and your achievements then you are probably alright in Heaven’s judgment as well.”

Our idea of immortality is based upon generations of our families, both previous generations and later ones. We find vindication of our lives and efforts in the accomplishments of those that come after us and continue our values and faith. We cannot control what children and grandchildren will do, whom they will marry and what type of life they will lead. But innately, we feel that we have a connection to the development of their lives and the actions that they will take.

The Torah emphasizes for us that Pinchas’ zealotry did not come to him in a vacuum. The Torah allows everyone freedom of will and behavior. Neither good behavior nor evil behavior is ever predestined. Yet as medicine has shown us, in the physical world there is an element of physical predestination in our DNA. And this DNA affects our moral behavior as well.

Judaism always envisioned itself not only as a universal faith but as a particular family as well. In our daily prayer service we constantly recall who our founding ancestors were. We name our children in memory of those who have preceded us. We extol a sense of family and a loyalty to the values that our families represent.

One of the most destructive trends in modern society has been the erosion of the sense of family in the world and amongst Jews particularly. Assimilation means abandoning family and abandoning family certainly contributes to intensified assimilation and loss of Jewish feelings and identity. It is ironic that in a time such as now when most children can be privileged to know grandparents and even great grandparents the relationship between generations in many Jewish families is frayed and weak.

Pinchas comes therefore to reinforce this concept of tying generations – past, present and future – together. It is imperative for us to know Pinchas’ genealogy for otherwise we have no clue as to who Pinchas was and why he behaved as he did in those given circumstances.

Shabat shalom,
Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND PESACH:

View Complete List

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Aaron's Unlimited Access
Shlomo Katz - 5758

The Senior Partner
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Break Free!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Now Become Holy!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

In Pursuit Of Holiness
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

> Shabbos Hagadol
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Would it Have Sufficed?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Holy, or Not Holy - That is the Question!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Who Has To Honor Whom?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Why Is this Portion Different From All Other Portions?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

Love From Inside Out - Part 2
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

ArtScroll

Who Knows One?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Why On This Night Do We Dip Twice?
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Empty Nest
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

The Servants of G-d
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 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