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About Parashat Pinchas


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

10 Av 5763
I heard a dvar torah of an Orthodox Rabbi justifying that Pinchas killed Zimri and his girlfriend. For me he commited a double "Retzach". Is he an hero or a "Rotzeach"? Thank you very much and Shabbat Shalom.
Pinchas -as can be seen from the beginning of the Torah parsha that bears his name- was praised by G-d for what he did, an act which saved the Jewish People from the plague that was decimating their numbers. It is incorrect to see Zimri as a "lovely fellow" who just happened to have a Gentile girlfriend. The Jews were being threated by assimilation and intermarriage and the intent of the Midianites was to destroy the identity of Israel. That said, the rabbis teach that Pinchas is not an example to be followed by all; he is the exception rather than the rule. Jews in the Diaspora today are again threated by intermarriage and assimilation. The solution is not to act as Pinchas did but to strengthen Jewish education and more important: to come to Israel on Aliyah.
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