Pinchas – July 29, 2016
S.T.A.R.’s upcoming exciting events:
- Friday Candle Lighting: 7:38 pm
- Shabbat Ends: 8:37 pm
“And it shall be for him and his offspring after him a covenant of eternal priesthood, because he took vengeance for his G-d.” (25:13)
Why wasn’t Pinchas anointed with Aharon and his descendents long before his extraordinary zeal in avenging G-d’s name? Why was it necessary for Pinchas to berewarded with a “covenant of eternal priesthood” rather than having the kehuna as his right?
The mystical sources teach that the soul of Pinchas came from the same soul-source as Cain. Cain killed his brother Hevel. The Zohar says that any kohen who murders is disqualified from the kehuna forever, and thus Pinchas, through Cain, “forfeited” his right for his offspring. Cainlost the kehuna for Pinchas, and only Pinchas’ extraordinary zeal earned the kehuna for himself and his descendents.
How did Pinchas’ actions heal the damage that Cain’s killing created?
The name “Cain” comes from the same root as kinyan, meaning “acquisition,” as Chava, Cain’s mother, said: “I have acquired a man with G-d” (Gen. 4:1). In Jewish thought, acquisition is synonymous with existence. We talk of G-d “acquiring Heaven and Earth.” G-d’s “acquisition” was the action by which he brought Heaven and Earth into existence.
In Cain’s eyes he was the only acquisition in this world, its only existence. This is the root of all evil. For there can be no room for G-d in a world which is filled with “BIG ME.” If the world is filled with the glory of ME, how can there be any other existence? BIG ME is the root of all atheism. BIG ME is the root of all jealousy. And ultimate jealousy leads ultimately to murder. For BIG ME has no more effective means to remove jealousy than to remove the source of jealousy: little you.
However, the sense of self can have a positive side. Every single person is obliged to say to himself, “The world was created for me” (Sanhedrin 37). In some way we are supposed to look at the world as though we were the only kinyan in it. In the Book of Chronicles it says, “The heart of King Yehoshofat, (son of David) was raised up in the ways of G-d.” A heart can be high with ego and evil, or it can be raised up with a zealousness to serve G-d.
When Pinchas took it upon himself to avenge the vengeance of G-d, even though he was not obliged to do so, he tapped into the positive side of Cain’s unregenerate egocentricity.
For it is only when someone does something that they do not have to do can we recognize the paradox of the heart that is raised up to serve.
- Source: based on the Shem MiShmuel