title.jpg (23972 bytes) subscribe

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues


Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying. "Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohain, turned back My wrath from upon the Children of Israel, when he zealously avenged Me among them, so I did not consume the Children of Israel in My vengeance" (Bemidbar 25:10-11).

Usually when the Torah mentions someone by name, it records his name and his father's name. It is a bit strange that here Pinchas' grandfather's name is mentioned too.

Rashi explains, according to the Sages, that the Israelites spoke disparagingly of Pinchas saying, "Have you seen this grandson of Yisro who used to fatten calves for idolatrous sacrifices (before he converted to Judaism) and he has dared to slay a prince of one of Israel's tribes!"? Therefore, Scripture came and connected his genealogy with Aharon.

I once heard the Pupa Rav zt"l explain that the Jews were not impressed with Pinchas' sacrificial act of killing the prince. They explained his action as simply being a natural consequence of his being a grandson of an idolatrous priest who surely has bad quality traits. Therefore, the Torah pointed out that he was also a grandson of Aharon the Kohain and bore witness to the fact that his quality traits are indeed similar to his; being one who loved all Jews. Therefore, it was extremely difficult for him to kill a fellow Jew and it was surely an act of extreme piety and self-sacrifice.

Rabbi Dan Ungarisher shlita of Monsey once told me an interesting story. The Satmar Rebbe ztvk"l was known to be a great zealot who was famous for reprimanding Jews for their misbehavior. Many criticized him and argued that he apparently lacks proper ahavas Yisroel - love and compassion for fellow Jews.

Once there was a meeting of a group of Rabbis who all condemned his behavior as being improper. Attending the meeting was a Rabbi from Israel who decided to defend the great leader of Israel. He said the following:

"In Jerusalem, we witnessed an interesting event recently. A great Rabbi passed away and many attended his funeral. It was a well known fact that this Rabbi's wife was a shrew who never gave him peace of mind. She always criticized him and would even embarrass him in front of others. At the funeral, she insisted upon saying a few words too. Everyone, who had described the deceased as being a very special individual, was afraid that even now she wished to discredit her husband of his well-deserved fame. But she totally surprised us all when she announced the following:

"'Honored assembled. Everyone knew that my husband was not blessed with tranquility at home. I made his life miserable. But there is something no one knows but me. My husband was a greater tzaddik (righteous man) than any of you can imagine. Before our wedding, he took me aside and told me that it is written that one who suffers at the hands of his wife will have all of his sins forgiven. Therefore, he will only marry me if I promise to give him no peace at home and help him, in this way, receive atonement for his sins.

"'I, of course refused to do such a thing but he insisted that he will only marry me on that condition. I knew he was very special and so I had no choice but to agree. None of you can possibly imagine how difficult it was for me to fulfill my wedding vow. I would soak my pillow at night with tears because of what I was forced to do. But that was his will and the will of Hashem which I had to obey.'

"Gentlemen," the Rabbi from Israel concluded, "do you actually think that the holy Rabbi of Satmar enjoys arguing with so many Jews and reprimanding them? He is full of ahavas Yisroel and I assure you that he soaks his pillow at night with his tears because of what he is forced to do. But it is the will of Hashem and he complies with it.

"Heaven forbid that we, who are not nearly on his level, should criticize him for his conduct."

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel