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Tuesday, Tammuz 20, 5782 / July 19, 2022


This week’s Parsha, Pinchas, begins with G-d rewarding Pinchas for his role in stopping a plague which killed 24,000 of the Jewish people. 


The plague was brought upon them as a result of immoral acts which they committed by having relations with the Moavite and Midyonite women and worshipping their idols.


Pinchas risked his own life and as a result he was rewarded that G-d gave him His covenant of peace. Pinchas becoming a kohen means that from now on he would perform the service in the Holy Temple, like his father and grandfather. This reward would also extend to his descendants for future generations.


In the Parsha we also read that, after the plague, G-d commands Moshe to count the Jewish people (except the tribe of Levi), every man from the ages of 20 to 60.  Their total sum was 601,730. 


The second half of Parshat Pinchas is about the required sacrifices which were to be offered each day; each Shabbat; every Rosh Chodesh; Rosh Hashana; Yom Kippur and on the three festive holidays, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. 


This Parsha is unique in that every Rosh Chodesh and every holiday we read from Parshat Pinchas the portion which pertains to the sacrifices of that particular holiday.


Q.   A kohen is someone whose father and grandfather are kohanim.  It is passed on through paternal lineage.  Pinchas was the son of Elazar and grandson of Aaron, who were both kohanim. As a son and grandson of a kohen he should have already been a kohen.  Why did he become a kohen only after his heroic act, which took place about 39 years after his father and grandfather became kohanim?


A.   When G-d made Aaron a kohen, He granted the priesthood only to Aaron and his four sons and to all their descendants who will be born from then on.  But the children and grandchildren who were born already didn’t become kohanim.  Thus, Pinchas was not a kohen although his father and grandfather were.  Only after he stopped the plague, did G-d grant him, as a reward, the priesthood.


Q.    G-d made Pinchas a kohen, by giving him and his descendants after him the covenant of peace.   How is the priesthood (kohen) connected to peace?


A.     The kohen has the special mitzvah to bless the Jewish people with the following blessing; “May the L-rd bless you and watch over you. May the L-rd cause His countenance to shine upon you and favor you. May the L-rd raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace.” Blessings bring peace, especially as this blessing ends with the blessing of peace


Our sages instruct us, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, love peace and pursue peace.” Shalom-peace is the greatest blessing. May G-d grant us all peace, within ourselves, our family, and the world. Amen.