Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Pinchas

A Promise of Peace

The Lord promises Pinchas that most valuable and yet the constantly elusive gift – the blessings of the covenant of peace. The world has known very little peace over the long millennia of human existence. Strife and conflict, war and violence, have been the staples of human existence from time immemorial. Many historians and social scientists maintain that war and violence are the natural and constant states of human affairs.

So the promise of peace to Pinchas seems to be a little extravagant, especially since it appears that Pinchas has earned this reward of peace by committing an act of violence and war. Shall we say that a time of peace is merely the absence of war; a negative state of being that only marks the interregnum between wars and continued violence?

We are all well aware how difficult it is to achieve peace and how fragile its existence is when, apparently, it is somehow achieved. Its fragility is attested to in the Torah, where the vav in the word shalom is broken and incomplete. So, we may certainly wonder what actually and practically was God’s promise to Pinchas - and how was it ever to be fulfilled.

This perplexing issue is especially pertinent regarding Pinchas himself, who participated in the wars that Israel conducted against Midian and later against the Canaanite tribes in the Land of Israel during the times of Yehoshua and the Judges. Where is the promise of peace present in the life of Pinchas himself, let alone in the lives of the future generations of his descendants particularly and the Jewish people generally?

Many of the commentators to the Torah defined God’s promise of peace to Pinchas and his descendants as being a personal and individual state of inner being, of what we colloquially call “being at peace with one’s self.” Pinchas is undoubtedly disturbed by the act of violence that he committed and by the widespread criticism of his actions by many of the Jewish people at that time.

Nevertheless, the Lord tells him that he did the right thing and that history will later thank him for his boldness and alacrity in stemming the tide of immorality that threatened to overwhelm the Jewish people. So Pinchas acquires, through God’s blessing, the peace of mind and the necessary confident inner conviction of having committed an act that Heaven and history will deem to be justifiable and correct, even if it is currently unpopular in the eyes of much of society.

President Harry Truman is reported to have said that he lost little sleep over the atomic bombing of Japan which concluded World War II because he believed that he saved millions of American and Japanese lives by his awesome decision. He never again agonized over that decision since he had achieved an inner peace regarding the matter.

Our conscience always disturbs us when we make wrong decisions and pursue failed policies. It never rises to plague us when we have behaved correctly and decided wisely and morally. It is this blessing and reward that the Lord bestowed upon Pinchas and his descendants – the blessing of inner peace and moral contentment.

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


 






ARTICLES ON SHOFTIM AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

That Prescient Moment of Pause…
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Second Pincher
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Judging By The Situation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Page Out of Tanach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Accidental Manslaughter
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

The Law and Beyond
Shlomo Katz - 5765

> The Meaning of Life
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5770

Love Out of Fear
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The Essence of Jewish History
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Repentance and Changing History
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

In A Theatre Near You
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

ArtScroll

There is a Treasure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Let the King Be Proud
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Poor Beginning, Wealthy End
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

You'll be the Judge of That
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765



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