July 5, 2023 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #2205731abukspanParticipant
Classics and Beyond Pinchas – Love Peace and Chase Peace:
פינחס בן אלעזר בן אהרן הכהן – Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen (Bamidbar 25: 11).
We all understand that heritage has an impact on character, and certain traits are naturally inherited; the mingling of two family bloodlines can result in a mixed bag of mannerisms. It is also true that a refined person is himself an amalgam of various characteristics and behaviors, and it is up to him to orchestrate the proper coordination of the correct action at the correct time. As Shlomo HaMelech writes in Koheles (3:1): “La’kol zeman va’eis le’chol cheifetz tachas hashamayim – To everything there is a season, and there is a time for everything under the heaven.” Aharon HaKohen and his grandson Pinchas embodied this notion.
Rashi explains why the pasuk traces Pinchas’ ancestry to Aharon: The shevatim were disparaging him by saying, “Did you see the son of Puti, whose grandfather fattened calves for avodah zarah? Now he goes and kills a nasi?” Therefore, the pasuk is emphasizing that when Pinchas killed Zimri, he was following in the footsteps of his grandfather Aharon, who was known as a peace-monger.
Having the blood of Aharon the peacemaker coursing through his veins doesn’t seem to change the fact that he still appeared to be taking after his mother’s side of the family. What is gained by stressing that he was the grandson of Aharon, especially when he seemed to be acting contrary to Aharon`s loving and kind behavior?
Aharon was known as the “oheiv shalom ve’rodeif shalom oheiv es habriyos u’mekarvan laTorah– one who loved peace and pursued peace; loved people and brought them close to Torah” (Pirkei Avos 1:12). Aharon always sought to bring about reconciliation between bickering parties.
A novel interpretation from the Ksav Sofer shows us that at times true love and concern for another necessitates breaking people apart. Not making friendships but ending them. Not making peace but even making war. The Ksav Sofer (first piece in Parashas Emor) writes that while Aharon, acting as an oheiv shalom, attempted to make peace between people, he also acted as a rodeif shalom, as someone who chased away peace! That is why the Mishnah in Avos does not say, “rodeif achar ha’shalom – who chased after peace,” but “rodeif shalom – who chased peace.”
As the Mishnah in Sanhedrin (8:5) writes: “Dispersal of the wicked brings benefit for them and for the world, but dispersal of the righteous brings misfortune for them and for the world. Convening of the wicked brings misfortune for them and for the world, but convening of the righteous brings benefit for them and for the world.”
As much as Aharon went out of his way to promote unity, even telling the “little white lie,” this was to the righteous among the people, whose unity promotes the greater good. But for the wicked, he was just as zealous to break up their friendships and gatherings, much like a parent who will forbid his child from befriending someone whose character leaves much to be desired. Aharon’s motivation was not “world peace.” He was inspired, as the Mishnah in Avos tells us, by his love of people: “oheiv es habriyos,” and his ultimate goal was “u’mekarvan laTorah – to bring them close to Torah.”
At times, he was loving and kind, using the right words to reconcile the righteous. At other times, he was loving and kind, using a hurtful word to break apart inappropriate friendships. All this from one person. Not a sign of an unbalanced character, but of a healthy one who harmonized both traits in the pursuit of true good.
This, then, could be the pshat in our parashah regarding Pinchas. Pinchas had acted with violence in the killing of Zimri and Cozbi, and the people understandably berated him. To counter this, the Torah reminds us that he was also the paternal grandson of Aharon, to whom unfriendly or even violent behavior was not inimical. Like his grandfather, Pinchas was oheiv es habriyos, one who loved people, who was interested in the spiritual and Torah life of a person. And when called for, he would demonstrate the same passion to destroy as he would to build, to make war as he would to make peace.
There is no dichotomy in either Aharon the peacemaker or Pinchas the zealot. Both are examples of the highest principle – of loving his fellow man and bringing him close to Torah.July 6, 2023 6:17 am at 6:17 am #2206019yungermanSParticipant
Starting From 1 to 10 being the best how much are YOU willing to give in for the sake of peace? Rather its between working colleagues or family members or anyone between etc…….
Like Aharon Hakohein did his entire life if it meant giving up his life for it.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.